Tonny was born in 1938,appropriately right next door to The Royal Academy of Fine and Applied Arts in The Hague, Holland. Her father's diplomatic work took the family to Indonesia when she was still a baby. Consequently, during WWII they spent 3 years in a Japanese prison camp. Enduring the most brutal conditions, Mom, Dad, and baby Tonny survived and returned to Holland.
During her Elementary and High School years, Tonny studied ballet, music, and fenced competitively. She always received the highest marks for her drawing and was promised a brilliant future with “Golden Hands”. However, Tonny was not interested in an art career and wanted to become a ballet dancer. She studied ballet for 9 years but had to stop due to health reasons and chose the alternative: enrollment in The Academy of Fine Arts. She would never regret the decision.
After graduating from High School, Tonny attended the same Academy beside which she was born and completed 5 intense years of study to earn her Master’s Degree. She started in a class with 23 students; only three finished with an M.A. while the rest dropped out due to the demanding training. This was followed by 2 years of commercial design training. Her art studies included a double major in drawing and fashion design, which qualified her for academy teaching. She taught art at The Academy and High Schools for 6 years and did freelance designing, simultaneously developing her musical skills.
Tonny married talented musician and composer Alexander Moser and completely switched careers to teach music for the next 15 years: flute, accordion, recorder, and mandolin banjo. Together, she and Lex started a music school and 2 youth orchestras. They had a daughter in 1969 who also became a musician.
Tonny never felt at home in Holland though she loved to skate over the frozen canals between the small villages. Given the chance, during the holidays she and her husband would escape to other countries for 4-5 weeks and hike in the mountains of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Tonny’s parents lived in Curacao (Dutch Antilles) and later Tenerife and many family holidays were spent exploring the islands.
In 1979, the Mosers visited Canada for 5 weeks and fell in love with British Columbia. The following year, the family immigrated to Vernon and shortly thereafter, Tonny divorced. She started painting full time in 1983, after second husband Walter Karen discovered her real talent and profession. Tonny completely devoted herself to her art, often painting 8-10 hours per day.
Under the loving inspiration of Walter, she entered National and International Shows with overwhelming success. Her Annual Solo Show, a tradition since 1983, became a great attraction for art collectors and art lovers. It was Tonny’s one opportunity each year to spend time with her fans who would come from all over Canada to see her new works.
Tonny accepted many commissions for portraits, animals, and flowers, but she is known mostly for her incredible three-dimensional scenes of the Okanagan. Regarded as the “Painter of the Okanagan”, Tonny's work has been in high demand for book covers and publications and her Limited Edition Prints are collected and sent all over the world. She painted for others, not for herself and always said “If people don’t want my works anymore, I will just quit painting.” Of course, this would never be.
The gardens surrounding Tonny’s art studio always teamed with deer, birds, raccoons, and even a gang of wild turkeys who decided to make their home amidst her shrubs during the winter months (many a visitor was shocked to be welcomed by the gobbling group). This private sanctuary facilitated the flow of Tonny’s talent to create not only a scene or portrait with a physical and visual likeness but one that captured the essence and the depth of the inner soul.
Tonny was an enthusiastic ambassador for the beautiful Okanagan valley and strove to bring a new local scene into print each year. Her love and awe for this paradise are expressed in each of her paintings and she has touched the hearts of everyone who has seen them. She carried such a radiant spirit within her and of the many people she met, her positive outlook on life affected one and all. She felt a responsibility to bring joy and beauty to each of us, lifting us above our daily problems to a higher spiritual level.
Tonny Moser passed away peacefully during the Christmas holidays in 2008, Vernon, B.C.