A SELF-confessed frustrated artist has finally found the time to organise the first exhibition of his paintings, drawings and sketchbooks 10 years after becoming a father.

The exhibit called Family by Cameron Bennett, an expatriate American artist who has taught at both Forest School and Tanbridge House School in Horsham, focusses on the less glamorous aspects of family life and the cleft familial responsibility can drive between working parents and their personal pursuits.

The show, currently in the gallery space of the Capitol Theatre in Horsham, is a rare glimpse into the life of an artist who is honest about his personal vacillations between familial love and frustration, who has not been able to show his work in over a decade.

Cameron Bennett is an expatriate American artist who settled with his family in England in 2012 and has taught in secondary schools and sixth form colleges across Sussex and Surrey. He describes himself as “a member of a growing contingent of artists whose work has turned away from pure abstraction and re-centred on the human figure” and as “fanatical about the practice of drawing from observation”.

He “loves the old idea of the celebrity illustrator who paints other celebrities and endorses cigarettes and insurance”, even though he himself doesn’t smoke and “can’t afford insurance”. He “loves to paint” and says he “breathes it, eats it, dreams about it”. He is also “crazy about pen and ink, and has been known to draw black cross-contour lines over his wife to have her look more like the Gibson Girl she is”. 

He has illustrated 10 children’s books, some in collaboration with life-coach and author Kathy Brodsky of Helpingwords.com. He says, “Each of these books deals with timely, socially-conscious themes, often involving a protagonist who is challenged in some way, but who overcomes major obstacles through courage and personal growth,” he says.

Among his works are large indoor murals in schools in Reigate and Caterham, and his portrait commissions include notable US lawyers and Cuckfield mayor Ken Gregory. In the US, Cameron produced illustrations for publications including Boston Scientific, America Magazine, NH Magazine, NH Home and Garden and the Salem Observer. 

Family by Cameron Bennett is in the gallery space of the Capitol Theatre, North Street, Horsham, until Sunday June 3. There will be a reception with refreshments will be held from 4pm-6pm on Sunday May 27, when the artist will be present to meet attendees and to give a brief talk about the work. The gallery is open Monday-Saturday from 10am. Phone 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.