Anthony J. Batten

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One of Canada's best painters comes to Pelham
April 04, 2008 Article by Danni Gresko
Award-winning Tony Batten teaches the tricks of the trade.

photo: Sue DickensOne of Canada's most elite artists put his brush and palette to work recently in Pelham.

An entertaining and award winning artist, Tony Batten held an art workshop last weekend at the Pelham Library.

The event was organized by the Pelham Art Association.

Batten's workshop focused on achieving perspective in artwork, as he is well-known for his architecture and structural art pieces.

"It's really about reviewing basic drawing skills." said Batten.

As an accomplished artist for over three decades, Batten is able to combine his irreverent, fun sense of humor with his artistic gift to create a refreshing and enjoyable experience for those who attend his art workshops.

"Great instructor, very knowledgeable and a ton of fun," said local artist Pat Haftar, who attended Batten's workshop.

"Tony is warm and passionate about art and teaching. The wonderful entertaining man is one of our country's most elite artists alive today."

The former art teacher has established himself as a renowned artist, appearing in numerous juried shows and art exhibitions over the years.

He has also won several awards and commissions.

Most recently being selected as a life member of the Canadian Society of Painting in Water Colours.

Batten was also a student of Arthur Lismer -- one of the original members of the famous Group of Seven.

A true artist, Batten is able to combine his interest in heritage and historical architectonics in his work.

A "romantic view" or setting will often inspire a painting or art piece.

"I'm personally interested in heritage and things like that so I tend to do a lot of that in my own work," he said.

A viewer may recognize many of Batten's art pieces as familiar streetscapes and landmarks from places like Toronto and Venice, Italy.

In 2006 Batten, along with 25 other artists, had the opportunity to travel on an Arctic quest to the far Canadian north.

The 12-day voyage was in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen's 1906 navigation through the Northwest passage.

"It was absolutely phenomenal," said Batten of his journey. "I've never felt so Canadian in my life."

It was on Batten's northern expedition where he was able to take on new heights.

Large landscapes, massive snowbanks and all that far north Canadian ice and snow provided a new territory for Batten to lay down on canvas.

Landscapes and views such as the ones he captured in Nunavut are not something Batten usually works on.

However, as artists are always evolving, Batten enjoyed the opportunity to take on a challenge.

His work from the Arctic, along with the 24 other artist's, has been touring on exhibition venues across Canada and the U.S., creating an educational and historical insight on the Canadian Arctic.

While Batten's northern voyage was an experience of a lifetime, a touch with royalty is what stands out in his mind as a significant moment in his lengthy art career.

"I was invited to have lunch with Prince Charles," said Batten.

Tony was one of a small group of artists selected to visit London, England for a presentation of 75 Canadian Water Colour paintings to the Royal Collection.

He went on a private tour of Windsor Castle, and wined and dined with the Prince.

Local Niagara artist Linda Kemp also made the trip to England.

"That stands out in my mind as a very significant moment in my career," said Batten.

"It's not every day you get to meet the Prince."

Up next for Batten is a trip to Trinity, Nfld., where he will be creating architectural renderings.
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