"I drop in from the sky disturbing the silence only momentarily, then leaving the ancient land once more to converse with the sky. It's my home and all I need."
Toni Onley was born on the Isle of Man in England. After emigrating to Canada in 1948, he continued his studies in Ontario and in Mexico to study mural painting in the 1950s.
Onley gradually acquired celebrity status as a landscape painter for the recognizable local places he painted in an impressionist style with varying degrees of abstraction. His love of flying gave his works a unique perspective of a landscape from above, and won him the nickname of Canada’s “Flying Artist.” Tragically, it was also flying which took his life in 2004 when he crashed his plane into the Fraser River.
He represented Canada in the Paris Biennial, and in 1999 was named to the Order of Canada. His works have been exhibited at the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museums in London, at the National Gallery of Canada, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, among others. A year before his death Onley wrote:
Alongside of my abstract work in collage, I continue to paint watercolors out of doors and oil landscapes in my studio. I have always painted landscapes and always will. All my ideas come from landscape.