The Art of Bennecelli
James (Jim) Bennett

Major Awards
“Virginia Artists 1969” – Certificate of Distinction
Southwest Ohio Art Education Educator of the Year, 2003

My Story
I have worked as an artist and teacher for five decades. Since my retirement in 2015 from full-time teaching, I have focused on writing and producing art that is an exploration of dream imagery and the subconscious workings of our minds.

I was raised in the rural south and exposed to a lot of superstitions and paranormal phenomena indigenous to the culture. On several occasions when I was very young,  I perceived the spirits of my deceased grandfather and great-uncle visiting me.

As a teen, I was fascinated by the supernatural and performing tricks of mental magic. It was at this time that I discovered I was able to dowse. I also began to experience involuntary premonitions of future events. These premonitions have continued throughout my life. 

With all these experiences in my background, one might logically write me off as some new age crackpot. Nevertheless, I see all these experiences as having completely rational explanations which can be found in a deeper understanding of the subconscious mind. My art is all about delving into the subconscious in hopes of bringing about such an understanding.

The artist who is my greatest inspiration is Paul Klee.

My current artwork is an investigation of religious symbols and dreams – which have been called " the windows into the subconscious."

My Pictures
When viewers approach one of my pictures from a distance, I want them to think they are looking at an ancient artifact. Then, when the picture is viewed up close, an array of hidden images and archetypal symbols is revealed. Perhaps there is an element of surprise when the viewer discovers these “secret” details hidden in the image.

I’m inviting the viewer to see beyond her first impression of outer appearances and to look deeply within to find the hidden elements. At that level, I hope we will step in unison into a realm of our imagination where we might perceive and appreciate a shared consciousness of our ancient origin.


Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, 1963-66. Studied with Ray Prohaska, noted illustrator.
Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, 1967. Studied with Washington Color School painters: Thomas Downing, Gene Davis, and James Twitty.

BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1970

MFA, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1972


Numerous Juried Shows in Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina, 1967 – 1974

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia

                “American Painting 1970” – Selected by Peter Selz

                Solo Show, 1970

“Virginia Artists 1971”

Undergraduate Fellowship, 1969-70

Graduate Fellowship, 1970-71

University Of North Carolina at Greensboro

                Graduate Assistantships, 1970-1972

Exhibited widely in Poughkeepsie
                Barrett Arts Center, 2017, 2018, 2019
                Arts Mid-Hudson, 2017, 2018
                Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, 2017
                Art Centro, 2017, 2018, 2019
                Gallery 330, 2018
                Crafted Kup Coffee House, 2018
                Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, 2016


1975 – 2015 I taught at several private schools in Virginia, Ohio, and New York. Explored a variety of styles and techniques including calligraphy, illustration, murals, and portraiture, but did not exhibit during that time.


Authored Calligraphy For Dummies, 2007, as well as other books on art and four novels including The Poughkeepsie Mystery, 2016, To see all my books, please visit

Copyright © James Bennett, 2019