Diane Ptolemy

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April, 2012. Scrutinizing a painting of the Titanic.

Like all artists, my style is ever changing. I have completed a few hundred commissions as an illustrator/painter; many of them house portraits, or sketches for businesses. Much of my work and inspiration has been focused on the Niagara Peninsula, but in later years I have left my paintbrush legacy in Whitby, Ontario, mostly with the creation of two historical murals in local public schools. You may have passed me on the side of a road in any town photographing subject matter for a future picture. I have a sentiment for the old broken down buildings and landscapes that are being altered with expansion. These scenes are my favorite subject matter.

Diane Ptolemy 1980's 
1980's - Exploring an old house in Beamsville. 

From an early age I had a desire to draw and a keen interest in architecture or scenery. I can remember walking to public school in Beamsville and admiring a certain oval stained glass window in a house or gawking at Woodburn Cottage while I collected chestnuts from the sidewalk. Once I spotted an artist in front of the United Church in town doing a painting of an old building across the street which I too, thought was beautiful and historic. I stood there mesmerized by the creativity of the painter and imagined myself doing the same thing one day.

School years were defining in helping me to realize that I had artistic talent. I loved the trips to Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo where we admired the pop art icons such as Andy Warhol and trips to Toronto to see the Group of Seven collection at the McMichael Gallery, or to view the great masters in the AGO.

I was one of the first group of students to attend the brand new Sheridan College, Oakville campus studying Interpretive Illustration. I will always be grateful to my parents for encouraging me to follow my passion. Since then, I have had the privilege of taking several art classes under the direction of some incredibly talented artists.

I participated in several outdoor shows in the eighties including those located in Niagara on the Lake, Fonthill, Thorold, Stoney Creek and Grimsby. Back then, the Grimsby show was limited exclusively to Nelles Boulevard . As a participant in the show, I was fortunate to become acquainted with residents on the street who were there to readily assist with staking out a good spot to display artwork and also providing driveways for parking. I made friends with a lovely couple who asked me to do a painting of their home. I will forever be grateful to the late Ernie Matton for his support during those years and for channelling his passion for art as seen in the creation of the extremely successful Grimsby Festival of Art.

I have done many volunteer art projects for charity or friends and family, and have volunteered to run art classes for schools, churches, Guides and after school programmes. My art experience has opened doors for me, especially at job interviews. Over the years, I have been called on to create murals, posters, and paintings at work.

In the eighties, a group of professional artists, teachers and supporters formed the Lincoln Regional Arts Council. I took on a minor role as a board member and was encouraged to participate in community art shows. With advertising support from the committee and cooperation with the Lincoln Public Library, I presented my art in a show at the Fleming Branch in 1986. In those days I was inspired by local artists including John Davies, the late Alice Reiser, Michael Dobson, Brian Romagnoli, and Kathy Hagerman. Those were good times, and despite government cutbacks cancelling funds to the Arts and my relocation out of the Niagara area, I have been fortunate to still maintain a connection to the people and happenings there.

In the late eighties and early nineties I was hired as a clerk to do page layouts of training manuals in the Audio Visual Department of the Ontario Hydro training department in Orangeville. Eventually I was trained to do technical illustrations by computer.

I have done many commissions for personal and corporate customers including the City of Hamilton, Town of Grimsby, Town of Lincoln, Foodland Ontario, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and murals in Dr. Robert Thornton and Col. Farewell Public Schools in Whitby. I have created a backdrop for a Fiddler On The Roof play for the Westminster United Church in Whitby as well as a variety of other church related projects. One of my latest paintings is showcased in the hallway of Anderson Collegiate Vocational High School, as part of a tribute to ending violence against women.

 Diane Ptolemy 2012
 2012 - Exploring an old mansion in Whitby.

Over the last several years I have been revisiting the many photos I have taken over my lifetime of living in small town Niagara or the countryside north of the Golden Horseshoe and around my home in Whitby. Many of the scenes that I have photographed are of buildings torn down long ago or altered, or of scenery that caught my eye. Some of my artwork has evolved just for fun and entertainment. I hope you enjoy my website and plan on revisiting my ever expanding gallery.





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