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leone tonkinson


Tonkinson artist


 leone Tonkinson


Leone Tonkinson 1983
Tonkinson studio 2006
south african fine artist LC Tonkinson
tonkinson pleinair painting 2014

South African born fine artist. (1963 - )

At the early age of 6, Leone was already drawing profusely, boasting a well oiled collection of art materials.

By the time she reached primary school, she had clients, needless to say, as the demand for her work grew, her father honed her business skills and so she came to graduated from high school with a university exemption for graphic and commercial art.

In 1994 Leone left a 13 year career in Architecture, (designing Schools, Shopping Centers and Sporting Facilities), to pursue a BA Fine Arts degree at UNISA.

In 2000 she relocated to Port Elizabeth and it is here where she saw an opportunity to open an Art School which quickly grew into The Port Elizabeth School of Fine Art.

In 2005, Leone sort accreditation from NMMU and accepted a sponsorship to complete her sabbatical in the Netherlands,
however, while studying abroad, she came to love the Dutch culture and decided to make the Netherlands her home.

In 2006:

Leone relocated to the Netherlands, and went on to establish an Art School by the name of - TonkinsonARTmasters. Now popularly know as TAM.

Tonkinson - Picasso (Spain)
TAM painting holiday in Kutna Hora 2013
hotel oranje oort tonkinson
TAM openday 2010
Tonkinson art


“Mijn uitdaging is het spelen met licht en de magische illusie van licht in een kleur.

Ik vind het een uitdaging om kleuren te mengen. Ik heb er een theorie over ontwikkeld en het is nu mijn favorite les onderwerp.”

de Stentor, David Levie


Radio Kootwijk 2006
Artistieke handen Tonkinson
Tonkinson 2007
3 Baby giraffe by Tonkinson
Tonkinson 2002

As far back as I can remember I have been studying, exploring and recording the world around me, insatiably fascinated by the intricacy of the different art making processes that I have uncovered along the way.  I am a great fan of keeping a sketchbook too. Over the years I have filled thousands of sketch books with my dreams, designs, concepts and doodles. It is here that I build my concepts and that leads to my next painting. Some ideas take longer than others, but once the decision is made to take my concept to paint, there is no stopping me.

I draw my ideas directly onto a panel or canvas and my study gradually emerges, sometime it consists of just a few rhythmic lines and other times,  it's an in depth study with hours of research behind it with every single detail worked out in its finest. To the surprise of many, I just follow through with color decisions right on top of my beautiful drawing.

After applying my color decisions, I build up layers- each layer consists of a compilation of different techniques. Some techniques are allowed to dry, while others are worked wet into wet. I am a great fan of artists who apply paint with spontaneous brush work, e.g. Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Van Gogh. These Masters inspire me daily, to keep my application spontaneous and the movements of my brush application transparent. The transparency of brush strokes allows others to see and appreciate the mark making process in my work. 

I love the thick creamy consistency of oil paints and the versatility it offers me in creating a huge variety of textures - sometimes, all with one brush. Needless to mention the abundance of oil painting mediums that offer me never ending solutions. 

I accept commissions throughout the year, regardless of the subject matter. However, I do get very emotional and passionate when asked to paint our wild life heritage. I also enjoy the challenges of private portrait commissions. However, for myself, there is nothing more rewarding than wondering off into the forest behind my house with a few student artists in tow, into the 63 kilometers of forest with pochade and stool in hand.

artist in action tonkinson 2000
Tonkinson 1982

header art carrier

TAM demo lesson glass
trompe liole TAM demo lesson
TAM demo lesson silver
TAM demo lesson flowers

To date, Leone offers workshops introducing all levels of artists to the wonderful world of oil painting and oil painting techniques.

Despite her busy schedule, Leone is still an active artist. She works from her studio in the quaint little village of Radio Kootwijk, which is situated in a Nature reserve, in the Netherlands. She is also active as a passionate teacher and enjoys traveling throughout Europe to share her experiences in oil painting and every year Leone hosts a joint exhibition with all her students.


2017 - 2019

Leone plans to dedicate the next 2 years on developing  composition in wild life. Using her back yard and the Hooge Veluwe Nature Reserve as her source of inspiration.

2014 - 2016

Leone dedicate  3 years of study to contemporary Dutch Art Masters such as, Walter Elst, Henk Helmantel, Jura Bedic, Ger Stavenga, Tjalf Sparnaaij and Mohlmann.

In 2008

Leone hosted her first solo exhibition in The Netherlands.

She went on to establish a non-profit organization namely, The EuropARTexpo. A platform for artists from all around the world to come together under one roof.

After a 13 year carrier in architecture, Leone boasted a portfolio of  over 163 portraits of government officials.

2007 - 2013

Her European portfolio still continues to grow in private portraiture commissions as well as  commissions for her African wild life.

2000 - 2006

Leone gracefully painted her way into African wild life and specialized in wild cats.


header passion for color and light

Dish cloth demo lesson by Tonkinson
dish cloth 2 by Tonkinson
oil paintng workshop - silver

Its no wonder that Leone's work carries a distinct architectural discipline. Her work resonates with a compilation of eclectic textures, typical of her South African roots.

Leone's work is exceptionally neat and articulately assembled. She is a perfectionist in every senses of the word.


artists bio



L E O N E   T O N K I N S O N
SOUTH AFRICAN born fine artist (1963-).

Leone Tonkinson, (, - At the early age of 6, Leone was already drawing profusely, boasting a well-oiled collection of art materials. By the time she reached primary school, her father honed her business skills and so she came to graduate from The Pretoria School of Art, Music and Ballet with a university exemption for graphic and commercial art.

Leone first went on to study Architecture. Leaving a 13-year career behind her and a portfolio of 163 portraits, Leone set out to pursue her BA Fine Art Degree at UNISA. Within her second year of study she worked as a BA Fine Arts Lecturer at CAUSE Academy. Here Leone furthered her studies in Entrepreneurship and Business Development and became the founding director of Tonkinson Studios cc. Two years later Leone established The Port Elizabeth School of Fine Art. As the Art Master, Leone became recognized for her expertise in oil painting techniques.



To ensure accreditation for her courses and on the request of MMNU, the local university, Leone sort a sabbatical in Europe. While studying abroad Leone fell in love with the Dutch people and decided to make the Netherlands her home. Here she registered her studio as TonkinsonARTmasters, lovingly known as TAM Art School. While in The Netherlands Leone spent much of her time surrounding herself with Dutch art history “ Right out of her school text books”, thus focusing on the 17th century Dutch and Flemish art as well as the oil painting techniques of Dutch Contemporary Artists.

Today Leone lives in the quaint town of Radio Kootwijk, which is situated on the Hooge Veluwe in a Nature Reserve. Leone is continuously inspired and in awe of nature, wild life in particular. What fascinates, intrigues and charms her is the gentle caressing European light and its effect on color, so different from the harsh sun of South Africa. Her obsession for the study of the Dutch Great Masters has also significantly influenced her own signature which is leaning more and more towards realism. Her dynamic approach to realism is awe-inspiring as she depicts the trans formative effects of light dancing with color. Her application is confident and full of energy. She plays to the strengths of her medium to achieve a variety of textures, from velvety surfaces to soft color merges as well as crystal-clear and vibrant hues.

Leone's artwork is included in numerous private art collections in France, Kutna Hora, Scotland, South Africa, The Netherlands, UK and the USA. Her commissioned work mostly consisting of African wild life, wild life or pet portraits and family portraits.



willa krause Leone Tonkinson

Tonkinson europart expo 2012

leone tonkinson europartexpo 2009





Over Leone Tonkinson

Leone is in 2006 naar Nederland gekomen. Ze werdt geraakt door de Nederlandse cultuur en besloot hier te blijven. Zij is bekend om haar Afrikaanse wildlife schilderijen en portretten. Wat haar onderscheidt is haar beheersing van kleur en haar begrip van licht. Of zoals zij het zelf omschrijft: “de dans van kleur en licht”.

Het is ongelofelijk hoeveel technieken het schilderen met olieverf biedt. Er zijn eindeloze mogelijkheden voor kunstenaars van ieder niveau. Leone hoeft alleen de juiste combinatie van technieken te vinden die het beste passen bij de wensen en vaardigheden van de student. daarmee helpt ze hen een uniek kunstwerk te creeren, doordrongen van hun eigen persoonlijke stijl en signatuur.

Leone is gefascineerd door de kleine dingen die gebeuren in de schaduw en door de reflectie van kleuren. De magie van licht op vorm en kleur. de gloed van huid en fruit. de manier waarop kleur verandered als het zicht van je af be weegt. het verband en de balance tussen “positive and negative space”houdt haar continue bezig. En niet te vergeten het kiezen van de juiste kleur palette voor het juiste werk.


leone & marie in South Africa

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This web page is the home page of Art Master Leone Tonkinson. She is the sole, worldwide copyright holder and web master of all her creative works. All her images in this and all other web sites can only exist through her express permission. The artist reserves the right to publish, make copies and to sell reproductions of all her artworks, which appear on this site as well as all other web sites, for the sole purpose of her income and towards her pension fund.


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