Artist Spotlight: Daniel Anstey

When you feel the tug of your life’s calling, some ignore the pull, while others choose to take the road less travelled, enjoying – and capturing – the scenery and the beauty along the way


While Daniel Anstey may make his home in St. John’s these days, there’s no denying his rural roots. Born and raised in Twillingate, he may have moved ‘to town’ seven years ago, but the accent will never leave, he says proudly

A retired nurse, Anstey moved to be closer to his children. He also knew it was where he’d pour his heart and soul into his true life’s passion. “I knew I needed to do this art thing, so I put everything I had into my art,” he shares. 

Anstey’s art, admittedly, holds a ‘variety’ of styles, though some things stay constant.

“I use a lot of brighter colours. I try to do things in a series at times, and I paint some realism – which are picture perfect paintings – but the thing I like to do the most is abstract work. I like to let the brush go and see what comes out of me. That’s my favourite thing to do.”’

‘A Strong Image’

Like the piece he did in honour of the legalization of pot. 

“It’s a strong image of Canada coming into the world as far as legalization of marijuana goes, because it’s legal in many places around the world, but this is Canada’s turn and Canada’s way and this image is showing the globe in the eye ball and the force of the bull bringing the marijuana. Hopefully it will make a difference and open some


Another series is one created on the Beothuk. “Coming from Twillingate and growing up in Back Harbour, a lot of artifacts were found and when I was nine or ten years old I was drawn to that. Growing up as a young man and finding artifacts, this image is one I created from my mind of what I thought Back Harbour would have looked like 500 years ago.” These pieces will be on display this summer in his old hometown. 

Anstey also tackles the fishery; from fish plant eras to the so-called floater fishery of 1954. “Some things just draw you in,” he says.

“Some paintings, you are drawn to and can’t leave until they are finished – it may take weeks or moths or years. I’m a spiritual painter in that I have to be pulled in and then I’ll paint and then stop and then go back when I’m pulled in again.”

Born to Do It

Speaking of the ‘pull’ Anstey says he knew what he was born to do. 

“As a young man I really wanted to be an artist, but I wasn’t allowed because my parents didn’t want me to be an artists – it was something that did not pay bills,” he says with a slight smile. 

Those were the days, he says matter-of-factly. He tried a few careers on for size before becoming a nurse before returning to his art. “I couldn’t hold it in any more, I had to paint.” 

Anstey’s artwork can be found at Art Cansel on Kenmount Road. For more visit his Facebook page, Daniel Rex Anstey .

2 thoughts on “Artist Spotlight: Daniel Anstey

  1. Daniel
    December 11, 2018

    Thank You again Pamela and The Newfoundland Herald team for a great feature. Blessings to you all.

  2. Michael Cox
    June 8, 2022

    I have several beautiful Daiel Anstey works in my home. All of his pictures have a story. He sat with my daughter and I telling us of the inspiration behind each piece. Amazing artist!!

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