Tony Harris has been painting golf landscapes professionally for more than 15 years. He was introduced to the game by his father and spent countless summer days playing at the Peterborough Golf and Country Club often finishing as the sun was setting. The dramatic light at dusk during those long summer days had an impact on Tony, and has become his favorite time to sketch and paint a golf hole. Since completing his first golf landscape commission in 1995, Tony has compiled an impressive portfolio that includes over 200 clubs across North America.
Tony is the official artist of the RBC Canadian Open and of the Clublink Corporation.
A Testimonial by Paul Hickey
My friend paints golf courses.
No, I don't mean he paints the fences surrounding golf courses, or benches and tee markers. He paints golf holes. He's a golf landscape artist. And he is among the best in the world at it. His paintings hang in clubhouses, halls of fame, and in the trophy rooms and dens of winners of the annual RBC Canadian Open - as he's the official artist of our national golf championship.
His specially commissioned works hang in numerous private collections of professional athletes and business leaders across the globe. And in my home. Yes, I joke with him that I have a goal of being among the biggest collectors of original Tony Harris pieces in the world someday.
What makes his works so powerful and so real is his connection to the sports he paints. The sports that Tony focuses on in his art; golf, hockey, football, are sports which he knows inside and out. I count many incredible all-around athletes as good friends, and Tony is one of them. He was a Major Junior A goalie for the Kingston Canadiens. He was one of the nation's top CIAU quarterbacks with the Bishop's Gaiters, and he's a low single digit handicap on the golf course.
When you see his goalie and quarterback work - you feel like his time in the crease and in the pocket gives him a unique take on what the close up action in these sports looks and feels like. In Tony's golf work, his understanding of the game and how it's played at the top levels, is reflected in the angles and scenes he chooses on the golf courses he paints.
One of Tony's American "competitors," and I use that word correctly, as Tony is as competitive as they come, is more of a landscape artist who happens to specialize in golf courses. When I look at her work, which hangs in some very impressive locations around the world, I don't get the sense that she is a golfer. That she understands the meaning of the shapes and colours and depths that surround her when she's scoping out her subjects. If I see her rendition of the 12th hole at Augusta I don't believe that she's actually hit a 7-iron to that teeny tiny green.
When I see Tony's interpretation of No. 18 at St. George's, or the opening hole at Peterborough GCC, I know he's been there, hundreds of times. He's hit the shots. And that gives his art special meaning for me.
A few years ago I got the opportunity to play a private course outside of Montreal. The whole day there was perfect. It was unhurried. The company was perfect. The course was a simple, delightful masterpiece.
When I returned home I called Tony and asked him if he would paint a scene of his choice at this club, that I could present to the member who hosted us that day. I fell in love with the final product. It had such meaning to me.
It was more than a landscape. It felt like it was me paying homage to a great golf course and a great day. So I, somewhat guiltily, decided to keep it for myself. I sent the host a nice thank you note. I'm competitive too. And I've got a collection to build.