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Phyllis Benson’s Online Art Gallery » Blog Archive » Welcome to Phyllis’ online gallery
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Welcome to Phyllis’ online gallery

Phyllis Benson was a Toronto painter, and also a mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend to many of us. She passed away on February 5, 2007, following a 25 year battle with breast cancer.

This site serves as a memorial to her life and art.

• Some of Phyllis’ favourite paintings are displayed here. Visitors are encouraged to contribute their impressions, memories and stories in the comments section. For more information about future development of the site, click here.

• The Phyllis Benson Art Fund has been established by The Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre to advance Phyllis’ commitment to both social outreach and the fine arts. You can contribute to the fund by making a memorial donation or by purchasing a painting. All proceeds will go to the fund. For more information about The Phyllis Benson Art Fund, click here.

- David, Chris and Jim Benson

This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer, Netscape or Firefox. The Safari browser is not supported.

32 Responses to “Welcome to Phyllis’ online gallery”

  1. skip shand Says:

    Dear Phyllis:

    What an admirable range of paintings! The work is beautiful; and so very gentle and kindly–qualities I have always associated with you. I look forward to showing your paintings to Pat. And we will remember you in them.

    Our fond best wishes to you,

    Skip (and Pat, of course)

  2. Mary Stockdale Vernon Says:

    Dear Phyllis,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with so many. I have always admired your gifts for expressing beauty in all its many facets.
    I adore the painting that you did of 4 of my 5 grandchildren. It has a special place in our home and in our hearts. The children find it amazing to see themselves in a portrait !
    You are a very special friend to me and I cherish the times we have spent together. You are also an inspiration to many of us for so many things.

    much love,

    Mary

  3. Joanne MacDonald Says:

    Dear Phyllis:
    The first portraits I remember you making were decorations for Bowles House, Victoria College in 1959. Since then it is the beautiful note cards and Christmas cards you have sent over the years that reached out to keep in touch. Now with the web site of David we can enjoy the wide range of your creativity and sense the true essence in your vision.
    With love,
    Joanne ( & George)

  4. Maxine Graham Says:

    Dear Phyllis,
    What a beautiful exhibition! Your work is so colourful, excellently painted and so sensitive. It makes me want to share them with the world. You have come so far since Owen Sound! It’s a joy to know you and your work.

    I have forwarded your site to Director Alf Bogusky at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery. Their website is: www.KWAG.on.ca

    Lots of love, Maxine

  5. Alessandro Says:

    Dearest Phyllis,

    I feel forever honored and blessed to have one of your original works right here in my house - the irises and fruit on the table. You never got to see the frame I chose for it, but I think you would approve of the match.

    I am very grateful to David for putting together this wonderful website so that we can all enjoy the full range of your work and, through it, your infinite beauty and kindness.

    Love, as always,

    Alessandro

  6. Susan Hilts Says:

    How good it is to look at your beautiful work, Phyllis , on this cold , grey snowy day (Feb.4th) . I thank Sheila for sending your online gallery to me , and also for sending me your nasturtium picture, several Christmases ago . with love–Susan

  7. Bill Benson Says:

    Dear Phyllis - It’s wonderful to see the full range of your work, which I’ve known mainly from your “Pulaski pictures”, and the privilege of being one of your portrait subjects many years ago.
    much love, - your brother-in-law Bill

  8. Jessie Barr Says:

    Hi Phyllis,

    What a delight to view your lovely work here. I am particularly enamoured with your nudes and portraits — “p1010029.JPG” is exquisite! (They don’t seem to have titles per se…)

    I have such a fond memory of helping you find all your supplies at grumpy old Mr. Gwartzman’s art supply store. Thank goodness I don’t work there anymore, but while I did it was folks like you who were the highlights of my days.

    With love and best wishes,
    Jessie B.

    p.s. Dave — picture “p1010368.JPG” (a nude hugging her knee) doesn’t seem to enlarge properly when I click on it, and I would so like to see a bigger version — it looks so beautiful!

  9. Bob Wallace Says:

    Dear Phyllis,

    How wonderful to be able to be able to view so many of your paintings on here. I love seeing them, but enjoy them more in person where their size and vibrant colours enriches heps to enrich the experience.

    I still have one of your Christmas Cards, which I have stored away. I am so pleased that I can view more of your work–especially the portraits and the nudes, most of which I have not seen before.

    With all best wishes,

    Bob

  10. Bev Westman Says:

    Dear Phyllis,

    I loved all your paintings in your on-line gallery.You’re so talented.

    I’m thinking of you.

    Much love, Bev

  11. rhondda fahey Says:

    Dear Phyllis, I remember so many giggles, so many shared meals and adventures. Perhaps there weren’t so many but they standout as wonderful moments in my life, maybe because your artist’s eye and wit made them different and memorable.
    It seems we may never share a villa in Spain or Italy but they were great adventures in the mind. Do you remember sitting in the administrative chair in the Town Hall in Valencia?
    I remember also your sitting in my back garden in Sydney and your artist’s eye finding , then showing us all, the beauty of an old tin roofed shed rather than in the flower garden.
    I’ve never been able to send off many of your set of cards because I’ve selfishly kept them to myself.
    Thanks to David to posting your paintings. They bring back memories of the way they crowded into your house even the kitchen.
    With love and gratitude for the times we’ve shared, rhondda

  12. Patti Vipond Says:

    Hi Phyllis,
    I have always loved your portraits - especially “‘Dennis” who now lives with Trish, and the blonde woman in black with her arms entwined before her - but I am now totally in love with your landscapes. Your consistent beauty and versatility in your artwork is awesome. Thank you for making things lovelier around here.

    I’m assuming landscape p1010248 (trees beside a lake with waves) has a home because it is so gorgeous. David - could you send me a high resolution version of that picture so I cansave it? Thanks for putting this site together.

    You have many people, including me, sending prayers and good thoughts to you, Jim, David and Chris right now, so know you are surrounded by love at all times.
    Cheers,
    Patti

  13. Kerstin McCutcheon Says:

    Phyllis:

    I was so happy to be told about this website yesterday. As I had only seen a couple of your portraits at Fairlawn (which I loved), I was so happy to see your still life and landscapes too. I fell hard for the flowers in your work! I also enjoyed sharing the gallery with my family…..This is a site we can pop back to often for a real lift.

    With our warmest thoughts for you…..
    The McCutcheons

  14. Donna Tranquada Says:

    Dear Phyllis,
    Your on-line gallery is beautiful and a lovely display of your extraordinary talent and passion for art. One of your nudes hangs proudly in our home and I’m always tickled to say it was painted by one of my ‘North Toronto art buddies.’ We will treasure it always as I will treasure our laughs and conversations at the annual Fairlawn art show.
    Love to you and your family, Phyllis.
    Donna

  15. M.T. (Terry) Kelly Says:

    Dear Phyllis:

    These are wonderful to have. I am delighted that this site is up.
    I guess I can only say, O never mind the source. You work is splendid, and “Rapture! It all coheres.”

    Love, Terry

  16. Patrick Spearing Says:

    Dear Phyllis,

    What a tremendous body of work, all the more impressive for its arrangement in this collection. All of your paintings are so generous, overflowing their borders, full of colour, and true to the subject - at least that is how I read them. You must understand them on a deeper level altogether. Perhaps one day, on reflection, I will too.

    Thank you so much for the inspiring exhibition, and for your equally heartening, steadfast friendship over these many years.

    With love, Patrick

  17. Liz Guccione Says:

    I am sorry I was unable to tell Phyllis how wonderfully unique she was, but I can say it to you, Jim, Chris and David… she was one of the kindest, most gentle, and best persons I’ve ever met — and also one of the most unassuming and modest. But I’m sure you already know that.

    She will be terribly missed by all of us.

    Liz

  18. Anne Rawson Says:

    Few can say they have shared a gift of such passion and spirit with so many. You are an original and your work provides an amazing glimpse of an amazing woman. It has been a joy to walk with you along the way and I will be nourished throughout my lifetime by the energy of the wonderful painting of yours I recently purchased. As I told you, my man is my conscience. We check in continually. Thank you for that gift.

  19. Pauline Sprague Says:

    Dear Phyllis,

    What a privilege it is to be able to view your beautiful paintings on your website. They are all lovely, but I especially enjoyed the landscapes and the amazing portraits. I had no idea that you were painting portraits. I regret that we did not visit your show at Trinity College that December day a couple of years ago when we Oaklawners etc. had our annual Christmas lunch at Hart House. We obviously missed something.

    As I view your art from time to time on your website, I’ll think of you and your sweet nature, as I contemplate and admire your exquisite talent, and your modesty.

    Much love,
    Paulie Sprague

  20. Brian Smith Says:

    Dear Phyllis;
    What a pleasure to view this incredible body of work. Though we have only worked together for a short time, I have been a fan right from the start. You are a pleasure to instruct and I must say that I feel I have learned more from you than you from me - it is always that way with the best students….and, you know you have always been ‘my favourite’. I would love to have a higher resolution version of image number “p1010398.JPG” - the nude of Georgina - which I think is an exquisite painting.
    Thinking of you often,
    Brian Smith

  21. Fiona Knight Says:

    From the first moment I met Phyllis in the hallway at 12 Shuter in 1991, I knew of her wonderful giving spirit, she welcomed all into her generous talented world and I am the better for having met and worked with her, my sincere thoughts and blessings are with her as she transcends and with you her loved ones as you celebrate her work and life. Many thanks for allowing a glimpse of her talent in this website. Best Wishes Always. Fiona (staff at FoodShare from 1991- 1993)

  22. Carrie Loring Says:

    Tonight I, like many, am remembering the talents, the smiles and the many kindnesses of Phyllis. I remember the fresh-picked strawberries she brought to me right after my baby boy was born. Our conversations, always on the fly, were about music and art. She always came out to hear our music. We remember Phyllis with all her colours, in her beautiful pensive paintings.
    With love, Carrie

  23. Gordon Says:

    Wherever and whenever I have been with Phyllis, we talked about painting. I even admitted to her many years ago that I tried my hand at water colours, yet I think she would have smiled politely at anything I had managed to produce. And now that I look at Phyllis’s art, I too can smile, but at the humanity that it captures, in her subjects, but especially in herself.

    David, this website of your mother’s work is a more than fitting tribute to a remarkable woman who, so very gently and unassumingly, touched the lives of those who had the privilege to know her.

    And Phyllis, if you’re listening, just….thanks!

  24. Nora Snyder Says:

    How little I knew how important Phyllis would be in my life on that September day in 1957 at Victoria College when we were introducedas roommates. ( Our parents had attended Vic together many years before. ). Through all these years we have kept an intermittant friendhip alive mostly due to Phyllis’ eforts.
    Three weeks ago Phyllis, Joanne MacDonald, another roommate from 57-60, and I met for lunch and a visit in Phyllis’ warm cozy home full of her art. I could see and feel Phyllis in every painting. It was a magical meeting.
    It is so wonderful to read all these messages and to learn how loved and appreciated Phyllis was.
    Love to her family in your loss.
    Nora Snyder

  25. Anne MacLennan Says:

    I love the color and life and adventure in Phyllis’s paintings, particularly, perhaps, the portraits. I will miss very much the thoughtful, gracious woman, but I will hold the idea of her and of her strong, steady commitment to continuing to learn and grow as woman and artist. Thank you, Phyllis, for making these pictures and, to her family, especially David, for this generous opportunity to keep enjoying them through the sadness.

  26. Marie Finkelstein Says:

    I had the great fortune to paint with Phyllis these last few years. I am a great fan of her work which reflects her gentle soul and generous spirit. She was a positive enery force in our little group and we are all bereft in her absence. I will always remember her shy smile and quiet courage.

  27. Estelle Vilensky Says:

    For the past three or four years, Phyllis has been part of our little family of painters. We formed a mutual admiration for eachothers’ work from the day she joined our group. I will never forget how she came to paint even when she was in extreme discomfort. She was so brave, so talented, so humble and just such a sweet person–such rare qualities in today’s world.

  28. Sheila Laitman Says:

    I knew Phyllis from our art class. From the beginning, I admired her talent and her beautiful paintings. I also admired her character. She was such a kind and gentle person, always very humble. When I found out that she was ill and was fighting a life-threatening illness, I was astounded by her bravery and determination. I feel honoured to have known her and am sad that she is gone.

  29. DEREK WiLSON Says:

    I find myself often fondly thinking of the great times as kids out @ the Stevenson cottage! So much family, so much time, so many adventures - early..and i mean EARLY morning breakfasts, swimming the length of the lake!, fishing, rebuilding the dock and all of the adventures around the boathouse, and of course the tree swings, de-scaling the fish, the old fashioned charcoal BBQ, all of us working together to make the meal and clean up afterwards(…ok, well the adults did, we struggled over the decisions of which game to play), the guest cottage that Aunt Kay & Uncle Jack stayed in, the outdoor john!(pee-ew) and fight to find the flashlight for the latenight …visits. Lol! Love you all lots, Derek Wilson!

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