Elliott Louis Gallery Canadian Fine Art

Toni Onley  Bio  ·     ·  Exhibitions:   Toni Onley Watercolours  ·  Letters to Yukiko  ·  At the Evergreen Cultural Centre  ·  The Chaos Of Love



Toni Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man, where he received his early training and was influenced by the work of the great British watercolorists.He came to Canada in 1948.

After moving to British Columbia in 1955, he studied in Mexico, at the Instituto Allende, and in London, England, where he studied etching and re-established his landscape roots with the Norwich School of Watercolor Painting. His course was now set toward the work he is best known for today: landscape of simplicity and power.

Public collections of Toni Onley's work include those at the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London England; the National Gallery of Canada; the Seattle Art Museum; the Vancouver Art Gallery; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Mr. Onley was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, 1999. In 1999 he was also bestowed with an Honorary D. Litt. from Okanagan University College.

Toni was killed tragically on February 29, 2004 at the age of 75. He had been piloting his LA4 Buccaneer amphibious plane when it crashed into the Fraser River and became submerged.

Books:
A Silent Thunder.Prentice-Hall, 1981
Onley's Arctic.Douglasd McIntyre, 1991
The Walls of India.Onley/Woodcock, Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1985.
Toni Onley's British Columbia, A Tribute.Raincoast Books, 1999.
[photo: Yukiko Onley]






Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.

Toni Onley - Browning Bay, North Pender Island, B.C. - click for larger image

Browning Bay, North Pender Island, B.C.
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1995
Toni Onley - Entering Glacier Bay - click for larger image

Entering Glacier Bay
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1997
Toni Onley - Tent Island, B.C. - click for larger image

Tent Island, B.C.
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1995
Toni Onley - Chain Island, Saltspring, B.C. - click for larger image

Chain Island, Saltspring, B.C.
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1999
Toni Onley - Mt. Baker across Boundary Pass, B.C. - click for larger image

Mt. Baker across Boundary Pass, B.C.
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1987
Toni Onley - Chehalis Lake, B.C. - click for larger image

Chehalis Lake, B.C.
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1999
Toni Onley - Anthony Island - click for larger image

Anthony Island
printer's proof
12 x 16 Inches 
serigraph
$950
Toni Onley - Wudang Mountain, Hubei Province, China - click for larger image

Wudang Mountain, Hubei Province, China
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1988
Toni Onley - Divided Landscape - click for larger image

Divided Landscape
11 x 15 Inches 
silkscreen on paper
$950
Edition 2 of 9
Toni Onley - Spirit Island, Pointe au Baril, Ontario - click for larger image

Spirit Island, Pointe au Baril, Ontario
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1984
Toni Onley - Low Water, Silver River, Harrison Lake - click for larger image

Low Water, Silver River, Harrison Lake
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1987
Toni Onley - Franklin's Last Camp, Beechey Island - click for larger image

Franklin's Last Camp, Beechey Island
19.5 x 23.5 Inches 
oil on canvas
$10,000
1974
Toni Onley - The Lyons Over Burrard Inlet  - click for larger image

The Lyons Over Burrard Inlet
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1985
Toni Onley - Rain Door Pass - click for larger image

Rain Door Pass
20 x 24 Inches 
oil on linen
$10,000
1986
Toni Onley - Quiet Inlet  - click for larger image

Quiet Inlet
20 x 24 Inches 
oil on panel
$10,000
1985
Toni Onley - Phantom Glacier - click for larger image

Phantom Glacier
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1986
Toni Onley - Black Island Harrison Lake - click for larger image

Black Island Harrison Lake
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1984
Toni Onley - Morning Mist, Lookout Island - click for larger image

Morning Mist, Lookout Island
19.5 x 23.5 Inches 
oil on canvas
$10,000
1984
Toni Onley - Landscape of the Megaliths - click for larger image

Landscape of the Megaliths
19.5 x 23.5 Inches 
oil on canvas
$10,000
1974
Toni Onley - Pond, Asuka, Japan - click for larger image

Pond, Asuka, Japan
30 x 40 Inches 
oil on canvas
$15,000
1984
Toni Onley - Driftwood, Vargas Island BC - click for larger image

Driftwood, Vargas Island BC
30 x 40 Inches 
oil on canvas
$15,000
1986
Toni Onley - Cloud, Chilliwack Mountain BC - click for larger image

Cloud, Chilliwack Mountain BC
30 x 40 Inches 
oil on canvas
$15,000
1984
Toni Onley - High Tide Mark - click for larger image

High Tide Mark
30 x 40 Inches 
oil on canvas
$15,000
1987
Toni Onley - Old Steam Boat Channel - click for larger image

Old Steam Boat Channel
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Point au Basil - click for larger image

Point au Basil
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Drift Logs, Harrison Lake - click for larger image

Drift Logs, Harrison Lake
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Chain Islands, Ganges Harbour - click for larger image

Chain Islands, Ganges Harbour
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Khumtzeymateen River, B.C. - click for larger image

Khumtzeymateen River, B.C.
11 x 14.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,250
1991
Toni Onley - Cape Cranford, Borden Peninsula, Baffin Island   - click for larger image

Cape Cranford, Borden Peninsula, Baffin Island
22 x 30 Inches 
watercolour
$9,500
1986
Toni Onley - Ancient Tomb, Asuka, Japan - click for larger image

Ancient Tomb, Asuka, Japan
19.5 x 23 Inches 
oil on canvas
$10,000
1985
Toni Onley - Garden at Trevaylor, Cornwall - click for larger image

Garden at Trevaylor, Cornwall
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Stackhouse Cove, Cornwall - click for larger image

Stackhouse Cove, Cornwall
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1981
Toni Onley - Carfury Farm, Cornwall - click for larger image

Carfury Farm, Cornwall
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,200
1981
Toni Onley - Hillside, Grenada, Spain - click for larger image

Hillside, Grenada, Spain
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1985
Toni Onley - Canal - click for larger image

Canal
11 x 15 Inches 
silkscreen on paper
$950
Toni Onley - Tokatsu Valley Japan - click for larger image

Tokatsu Valley Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Fire Reflection, Fukurode, Japan - click for larger image

Fire Reflection, Fukurode, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Rain, Choyonuma, Kyushu, Japan - click for larger image

Rain, Choyonuma, Kyushu, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Seifuso Ryokan, Kyushu, Japan - click for larger image

Seifuso Ryokan, Kyushu, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Three Pines, Yamatsuri, Japan - click for larger image

Three Pines, Yamatsuri, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Fukuroda Ryokan, Japan - click for larger image

Fukuroda Ryokan, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Pine, Parsimmon, and Birds - click for larger image

Pine, Parsimmon, and Birds
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Four Pine Trees of Seifuso, Kyushu, Japan - click for larger image

Four Pine Trees of Seifuso, Kyushu, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Tree at Fukurida, Japan - click for larger image

Tree at Fukurida, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Namas Fuji Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. - click for larger image

Namas Fuji Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
11.75 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1983
Toni Onley - Neko Dake, Kyushu, Japan - click for larger image

Neko Dake, Kyushu, Japan
12 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1981
Toni Onley - Nujubashi Gate and Moat, Imperial Palace - click for larger image

Nujubashi Gate and Moat, Imperial Palace
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Morning Shower, Mt. Fuji - click for larger image

Morning Shower, Mt. Fuji
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1988
Toni Onley - Misagisho Eastern Gate, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo - click for larger image

Misagisho Eastern Gate, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1988
Toni Onley - Nujubashi Gate, Imperial Palace, Tokyo - click for larger image

Nujubashi Gate, Imperial Palace, Tokyo
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Asuka-ni-imasu Shrine, Asuka, Japan - click for larger image

Asuka-ni-imasu Shrine, Asuka, Japan
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Tsurugi-no-ike, Asuka, Japan - click for larger image

Tsurugi-no-ike, Asuka, Japan
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Bamboo, Tsurighi-no-ike, Asuka Japan - click for larger image

Bamboo, Tsurighi-no-ike, Asuka Japan
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Ishibutai Barrow, Asuka, Japan - click for larger image

Ishibutai Barrow, Asuka, Japan
11 x 15 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1984
Toni Onley - Tiger Pagoda, Suzon, China - click for larger image

Tiger Pagoda, Suzon, China
11.75 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1988
Toni Onley - Raining on the Left Bank of the Li River - click for larger image

Raining on the Left Bank of the Li River
11.75 x 15.5 Inches 
watercolour
$3,000 (unframed)
1988
Please email the gallery to view more works by Toni Onley.


Biography
Toni Onley is one of Canada’s most celebrated artists. His landscapes have always provided a special significance for Canadians in reviving an appreciation for our surroundings. Onley viewed the landscape with an exceedingly distinctive character. His scenes are unpopulated and figures, either human or animal, are absent from his paintings. Toni Onley has taken his place in a distinctive Canadian succession, however, he has done so as an individual, and without any sense of breaking with his tradition.

Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man, just off the west coast of Britain. This location provided him with the perfect setting to develop his talents for landscape painting. Onley loved to paint and draw at a young age, and at 14 he began his formal education in drawing, watercolour painting, and etching at the Douglas School of Art. After World War II, difficult times forced Onley to immigrate to Canada in 1948. He stayed briefly in southern Ontario, where he studied with landscape painter Carl Schaeffer, and discovered the inspirational watercolours of David Milne. Following his move to BC, in 1955, the urge to travel took Onley to Mexico where he studied Abstract Expressionism at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel. While in Mexico, he began to experiment with collages. His collages, shown in a one-man exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1958, launched Onley’s career.

Onley saw Mexico as a “black and white landscape with occasional primary colours” which limited his artistic inspiration. He had initially painted a series of paintings in oil, however, he was discouraged with the results and ripped the paintings into small pieces. He discovered the beauty of these pieces when he decided to place them together in a collage of shapes and images.

Studying the work of great watercolorists, such as John Sell Cotman, David Cox, Peter De Wint and J.W.M. Turner, at the Norwich School of Watercolour Painting in England, prompted Onley to return to landscape painting in 1964. He returned to Vancouver to revitalize his connection with the Canadian landscape. Since 1967 Onley has captured the Canadian landscape through a unique artistic lens. He became a pilot and flew throughout BC and Alaska, landing his float plane in remote locations. Armed with his watercolour painting kit and his eye for capturing the essence of the moment, Onley created works that continue to have a profound effect on Canadians.

Onley has been credited as a “modern day explorer with an insatiable curiosity to travel to the reaches of the world in search of line, shape and colour.” In addition to exploring the Canadian and British landscape, Onley travelled to Italy, Japan, China, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Alaska, Ireland, Egypt and the Arabian Gulf.

Japanese watercolour painting and his experience with Abstract Expressionism gave Onley’s later works a strong feeling of the flux between time and space. These works depict a profound awareness of the moment, light and the powerful presence of what he witnessed while viewing the land around him.

Toni Onley’s art is found in several distinguished collections, some of which are the Royal Albert and Victorian Museum and the Tate Gallery in London, England, the National Gallery of Canada, as well as the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


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