Alan Deacon

For the Love of Horses

Alan Deacon’s story of perseverance, paint, and ponies

If vibrant yellows and greens warm your heart in the summer, then Alan Deacon has the perfect paint pallet for you! Swing by Harris Hill Nursing Facility, or open Facebook and watch Alan’s livestream for a daily dose of color. Alan is an artist and resident at Harris Hill who creates fabulous watercolor paintings. Even more fascinating than his beautiful brushstrokes is how they get there. Faced with MS, and loss of mobility in his arms and legs, Alan paints with a brush attached to the brim of his ballcap, an ingenious invention devised by his son Alex.

A construction owner by trade, Alan was always on the fringe of the artistic world creating custom dynamic drawings and buildings. “Painting is a way to contribute and become relevant again,” he stated. While Alan’s passion is painting, there’s truly a higher purpose behind each stroke. He sells his paintings to support Phoenix Rising Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation, a horse rescue organization he and his wife Karla own at Spruce Meadow Farm. The Deacons purchased the farm in 1989 and opened the rescue in 2009. “My wife loves horses and I love her,” Deacon remarked about acquiring the farm. Many of the horses came from racetracks, abusive situations, and kill pens.

Alan was diagnosed with MS in 2005 and became a resident at Harris Hill Nursing Facility in August 2022. As someone who was always on the go, he began looking for ways to stay active. Now the walls of his room are lined with painting caps donned with brushes of all sizes. He paints with the help of a specialized electric chair that allows him to stand at his easel and work his magic. Alan sells matted prints for $40 and originals starting at $75.

As if his unique method of painting isn’t incredible enough, Alan also creates videos and photo collages of his artwork using an assistive head mouse device implanted into the lens of his glasses. Alan’s electronic chair, head mouse, and a retrofitted vehicle he uses for transportation were made possible by generous donations from members of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Clarence Center where Alan and his wife have been parishioners since 1989. Currently, the Deacons are in the market to replace the 2001 vehicle with something newer and more reliable. The Deacons’ organization is a 501(c)(3), and each year they host a variety of fund-raisers. They provide lessons, summer camps and other activities at the farm.

Alan’s talent is no doubt remarkable, given the challenges he faces. But it is his love for his family and the horses that brings him to the easel each day. Most importantly, he gives all the glory to God and operates under the motto, “If I can, I will.” And that he surely does!

Alan can be contacted about his paintings, rescue, or donations at or 716-253-7282. Learn more at Visit to learn more about Harris Hill Nursing Facility.