Painting – creative therapy for soldier

WO Fred Trainor, of Ottawa’s 764 Squadron, recently contributed his painting entitled ‘Shipwrecked’ to the Steel Spirit art project. Steel Spirit was founded by military wife and former paramedic Barbara Brown in 2017. Steel Spirit showcases the artwork of currently serving and former military members and first responders.

WO Fred Trainor, of Ottawa’s 764 Squadron, recently contributed his painting entitled ‘Shipwrecked’ to the Steel Spirit art project. Steel Spirit was founded by military wife and former paramedic Barbara Brown in 2017. Steel Spirit showcases the artwork of currently serving and former military members and first responders.

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer
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Artist Fred Trainor says each brush stroke he applies to a canvass offers him a path to healing.

The 58-year-old Ottawa Valley resident, and currently serving Warrant Officer, was deployed to war-torn Afghanistan in 2005 and again in 2007. Those deployments led to an operational stress injury that remains to this day.

He has also dealt with the death of his father and two uncles from cancer, and overcame his own battle with cancer, losing a kidney in the fight.

“Creating art is the only way I can really deal with my injury because I’m able to stay calm and it helps me focus.”

He paints in a large, dome-shaped studio inside his Manotick home, which he calls his “private retreat.”

Portraits, farms, landscapes ablaze with fall colours, and abandoned relics are all part of his repertoire, in both paint and pencil. 

He treats every day and every painting as a “God-given” gift.

His latest work Shipwrecked speaks to that.

Shipwrecked depicts a trawler that has seen a lot of sea time and has been left on the shore to rust away. To me, it’s a metaphor for life. As you slowly get old, slow down, and then finally stop, you drift back into nature as part of God’s creation.”

His sister and Bob Ross were the ones who sparked his creativity. At age 12, his sister gave him two instructionla art school books, which he still has, that showcased how to draw and paint.

Further inspiration came after watching Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting.

Trainor still follows the same methodology of Ross, mapping out each design in pencil, covering the base in acrylic paint and then using transparency layers over top with oil paint.

In two years’ time, his military career at 764 Squadron’s SATCOMS Operations Centre as an IT specialist (SOC Troop WO) will come to an end. He plans to move to his homwtwon of Fredericton and continue creating art in a new studio.

Steel Spirit Gallery

Trainor is a featured artist with The Steel Spirit Galley, which hosts the artwork of military, first responders, and hospital practitioners.

The founder of Steel Spirit, Barbara Brown, a military wife and former paramedic, created the forum to recognize and give back to those that serve their community and country. 

She is always accepting new artists; contact thesteelspiritcanada@gmail.com if interested.

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