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  • Drawing Fundamentals & Community with North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Register for North Van Arts' six-week Drawing Fundamentals and Community course with Artist/Instructor..
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  • Intermediate Acrylic Painting with North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Register for North Van Arts' four-week Intermediate Acrylic Painting course with Artist/Instructor Jeff..
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  • Art Rental Show at North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Come and visit CityScape Community Art Space to view the second installment of..
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  • All is True - #NorthVanArts Film Screening

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    The North Van Arts International Film Series is presented by North Van Arts..
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  • Didukh Building Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Learn how to make a didukh, a sheaf of grain traditionally prepared by..
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  • Vertep Building Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    In this workshop, you will create a Vertep (Christmas Manger) as your newest decor..
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  • Intermediate Oil Painting

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Paint a rainy urban scene in oils while you stay comfortably indoors! Learn..
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  • From Around Ukraine in Stitches

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    This new series, a Technique Taster of Stitches, will introduce participants to embroidery..
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  • WANTED: WEBSITE DEVELOPER

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Wanted: Website Developer Artists in Canada is looking for a website / UI developer..
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  • IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU

    Location: Toronto, ON

    AWOL COLLECTIVE 20TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, September 14-September 29, 2019, Saturday and Sunday 1-5 pm...
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  • Call for Art - 9th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 5th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Leaves & Petals online art..
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  • Exaltation : Intangible Journeys of the Human Spirit: Nikola Wojewoda

    Location: Niagara on the lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre presents Exaltation : Intangible Journeys of the Human..
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  • HUB @ 302

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all juried members, associate and non-members to..
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  • Open Call for 2020 exhibitions

    Location: Vernon, BC

    We are an artist run gallery seeking submissions from emerging artists for our..
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  • Beacon Original Art Fall Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Saturday October 19, 2019 from 10am - 4pm. Featuring more than 30 artists..
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  • Open Call:

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) is having an open exhibition for members..
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  • Open Call: All 10

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Calling all Canadian Artists! This is an open submission call for a lightly..
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  • Earth

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all Juried, Life, Student, Associate Members and..
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  • Reza Rezaï / Mehmoon

    Location: Calgary, AB

    TRUCK Contemporary Art is pleased to present Mehmoon by Reza Rezaï. Through the..
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  • Outside, In

    Location: Lethbridge, AB

    Opening reception September 28th 7-9pm for the Allied Art Council's Gallery Stroll! OUTSIDE,..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • “Motion” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline October 31, 2019

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Moving or being moved. Shifting, stirring, changing places. The rise and..
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  • Beaver Sheppard: Solo Exhibition

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary presents a comprehensive solo exhibition of Beaver Sheppard’s artistic canon, for..
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  • ANCESTRAL MINDSCAPES

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Ancestral Mindscapes is an autobiographical collaboration using video, sound and photography to explore..
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  • Clay Tile Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Participants will be working with clay to hand-build tiles using a variety of..
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  • Edible and Medicinal Gardening Lecture

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Ukrainian settlers brought with them a wide range of traditional knowledge and practices,..
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  • Acrylic Painting for Beginners

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Do you want to create a bright & beautiful acrylic landscape in one..
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  • New Craft Coalition: Call to Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    New Craft Coalition, invites applications from all mid-career and professional artists to be..
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  • Invisible by PAINTER8

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Please join us at PAINTER8, and other Edmonton art lovers alike, for the..
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  • 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    The 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour is an event you don’t want to..
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  • Wheat Centrepiece Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Join this class to learn how to make a didukh-style centrepiece that can..
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  • LOOK AGAIN!

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    LOOK AGAIN! PAINTINGS BY KATHLEEN SLAVIN AND GAIL PRPICK AT UNIVERSITY..
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  • Figureworks 2019

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Figureworks 2019 Call for Artists The call for submissions to the 10th annual juried..
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  • Quasi-Nature

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Quasi-Nature, a group exhibition curated..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Unsettling Nature

    Location: Toronto, ON

    An Exhibition at: The Garage Gallery Benmiller with Artists Jill Price, Leslie Putnam, Morag Webster..
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  • Through the Eyes of a Child

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    Artists Statement: Ed Flanagan My wife had a career as an elementary school..
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  • Exposition solo Lac-Mégantic

    Location: Lac-Mégantic, QC

    L'eau, une mine d'Art du 8 juillet au 8 septembre 2019..
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  • Sustainable Fashion Designer Looking for Studio Space in Mississauga

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    Hi, I'm Amanda, I am an emerging fashion designer starting my business designing..
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Toni Onley

By Robert Amos May 17, 2004

} Toni Onley By Robert Amos Until his recent death in an airplane mishap, Toni Onley was perhaps the most public artist in this province. Everyone here recognizes his name and most people know at least part of his story. His career was long and his output prolific. Onley was news. A short man, his exploits seemed larger than life. He faced down the government and threatened to burn his inventory when the taxation department persisted in trying to tax his paintings before they were sold. When he crashed his plane for the first time, it came to rest suspended by its wingtips over a glacier crevasse. Onley was the first artist in our region to drive a Rolls Royce. It was possible to resent this fame - after all, he made paintings that looked easy. He was known for his small watercolours, horizontal in format, featuring distant elements of the landscape. When circumstances were right, he could paint three in an afternoon. Thousands of these watercolours were painted “on the spot”, their locations and dates noted in the lower margin. In the course of reviewing many of his shows, I too have at times been tempted to discount his achievements. I’ve tried to reduce what he did to a formula. But, let me assure you, after careful and repeated examinations, I have found Onley’s paintings brilliantly crafted and perennially surprising. Furthermore, I have never before seen such a fine selection of Onley’s paintings as this memorial retrospective. It was “hand picked” by Gunter Heinrich, Onley’s longtime dealer and now the agent of his artistic estate. Heinrich has been given a free hand. Surveying just about everything not already sold, he has brought out a “greatest hits” collection spanning the length and breadth of Onley’s career. Thanks to the publication last year of Onley’s biography, Flying Colours (Gregory Strong, Harbour Publishing), we are able to view his many phases in sequence and context. Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man. By the time he emigrated to Canada in 1948 his destiny as an artist was already formed. The earliest of the 93 items in this show is an oil from 1958. Entirely abstract, it is a souvenir of his artistic evolution at San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Nothing of Onley’s Polar Series from 1962 is available. Those works, assembled from torn fragments of painted canvas, have become sought-after in the auction sale rooms. But Winchester Gallery is deeply committed to abstraction. A number orf small, white Onley panels from 1964 bear only the slightest markings yet even today their austere minimalism has the power to shock. Onley’s early years were studded with honours, prizes and grants. In 1978 a retrospective of his work was presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery, including 314 works! It seems paradoxical that at that point, when his work had been collected by the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Canada and the Library of Congress in Washington, he would change his style. After 1980 his works were generally small in scale and representational rather than abstract. Predominantly the current show presents the later watercolours, 46 in all. With many hundred to choose from, Heinrich has selected pieces each of which is dramatic, incisive and appealing. A few have strong foreground elements - a fence, a cabin, a stand of trees in stark silhouette. Always evident is Onley’s uncanny brush play. He can draw our attention from a windblown mountain ridge down the sunny glacier slope to meltwater in a pool below - all in a single brush stroke. His dramatic and ambiguous skyscapes never relax into a formula. The British watercolour landscape tradition was reborn in Onley: topographic subjects, transparent watercolours, and a romantic mood. Like a true Victorian adventurer, he painted the Arctic, Japan, India, Georgian Bay and, in profusion, views of his beloved West Coast. Winchester is particularly intersted in Onley’s oils. Of the 15 on show, most are paintings derived from his favourite sketches. Heinrich says there were very few oils left in the studio, a fact which attests to their popularity. Onley’s considerable skills were constantly honed back in his studio. His distintive italic handwriting was just one facet of his interest in Chinese and Japanese brushwork. The practice of this artform entails considerable “waste” of paper. Onley had the utmost respect for the fine materials he chose and thus elements for collage were abundant. He pasted down fragments of journals, written characters and the odd attractive brushstroke, leaving a playful record of his concerns beyond the landscape. Winchester has kept the prices of this show in line with Onley’s last exhibit there. And considering the quantity of work on hand, I don’t expect his prices will immediately skyrocket. Frankly I think he’d want it that way. Onley was a populist. His oils, watercolours, collages, etchings, screen prints, posters, books and cards will long continue to take his vision to the people. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com