Art Conversations


Corrections Officer: Danno, the portrait of a man who served

Have restarted this portrait. Often when I do a portrait whether it is as a landscape, realistic or abstract it will take  a few attempts. Friends lose their minds with me when I pick up work I’ve studied and patiently tweaked for weeks, ripping it to shreds.  I’ve had friends try to sneak out pieces that I dislike.  I often look at some pieces around the world of Picasso’s and feel immensely sorry for him, he never intended all his scratches and musings to be hung as if they were his masterpiece. Danno is a complicated man. We were introduced on FB and have been firm friends for a while now.  Danno has Complex PTSD from his years of service as a Corrections Officer for Canada.  His story is one that I hope is repeated less, and less often as we educate others on PTSD but it is all too…

Life After PTSD

One of the things I noticed in the world of mental health advocacy is that maintaining relevancy for the cause, apparently, requires us to remain broken. Broken?  The same cop stands up and tells the same story: it happened 15 years ago and in that time he’s had 100’s of hours of counseling but it still keeps him locked.  Trapped?  His service dog is still a crutch he needs to be in public or to speak.  The PTSD/Depression/Addictions/MH Whatever book is released and suddenly a trip back to the emergency is on the cards, with full social media fanfare.  The veteran angrily defends his right to be, well, angry.  The stereotypes dance and my brain rejects the entire display. As I watched the dance and listened to the babble of the broken, I began to realize that once somebody has stepped onto the Mental Health wheel of fortune it is…


The greatest gift I have from life, other than my family and friends, is the ability to tell another person’s story, place it for all time in a piece of art and remove that burden of carrying it anymore.  That doesn’t mean that all my commissions are dark or emotionally charged, far from it.  Most are landscapes or a portrait of an individual in abstract or as an animal or with animals.  BUT it is a deeply personal experience and everybody carries something within themselves that is better placed on the wall than carried everyday. The title piece expresses a homesickness for New Zealand and a love of the sea, of family and a need for peace. Art is healing.  It saves lives. I chose the piece below because it was done for a beautiful woman whom I met by luck one day on Twitter, just as…

Getting my head around a new commission

Some commissions are simply obvious. The canvas almost paints itself and the process runs smoothly.  Generally, that’s landscapes or a simple portrait, with nothing more to do than to absorb the subject and translate it. Then there are the abstracts. The super complicated individual who commissioned the piece can also add a layer of complexity. It can take me months to figure out the design of a piece.  Often I will work on three different canvases before hitting upon the right one.  This image above was part of that process for an abstract horse portrait of a family of three.  It makes me smile when I hear people commenting on abstract art declaring, “I could do that!”