If you're strolling a beach or ferry deck as sunset casts its glow on British Columbia's Coast Mountains, there's a good chance someone within earshot will say, "It looks just like a Toni Onley". That's how closely Onley is identified with the landscape of Canada's West Coast. Don't be fooled. The serenity of those watercolours reflects only one facet of Onley's work -- and very little of his tumultuous life. This book gives you the whole canvas, from a rustic riverbank on the Isle of Man to a plane wreck on a mountain glacier. With sly humour, disarming candour and an artist's eye for detail, Onley recalls a life of professional triumphs and personal tragedies. For a painter known for landscapes and collages, Onley proves a dab hand at word portraits, from haughty maharajahs and quirky Manxmen to the alcoholic -- and even homicidal -- habitues of an artists' colony in Mexico. None is more colourful than Onley himself. From the cocky schoolboy painting an extra petal on a daffodil to the Rolls-Royce rebel facing down Revenue Canada -- and winning -- Onley's passion for art and zest for life leap from every page.
Art lovers will cherish his lucid, unaffected insights into the creative process, not to mention the lavish illustrations, representing every stage of Onley's career.