Arja was born in Helsinki, Finland, and came to Canada with her parents in 1957. Her artistic talent was apparent early in life, as she preferred to draw instead of playing with dolls.
She was exposed to art training throughout her public, and secondary schooling in Finland. After moving to Canada, she continued her art studies in both Northern and Central Technical Schools in Toronto under tutelage of a fine group of teachers such as John Bennett, Don Fraser, Doris McCarthy, and Robert Ross to name a few.
To keep up with her love of art, while pursuing an airline career, and raising a family, she furthered her studies with numerous courses in life drawing, portraiture, and oil painting. During that time she had her work shown at various art exhibits, and did private commissions as well.
While living in Newfoundland between 1985-1987, Arja decided to devote her time solely to art, and become a full-time artist. Her work became well sought after, so much so, that she ended up opening her first gallery in her home. At the same time she partook on several art exhibits both in St. John’s and Placentia, and as well taught art classes at the Naval base, in Argentia. Her work was also for sale at “The Gallery” on Duckworth St., in St. John’s.
After returning to Ontario, Arja with her husband Joe Kurek established Studio 737 in 1988. They themselves are amazed of the success it has had from its start. The Land-O-Lakes area has been very inspirational for Arja’s painting as well, and her work has changed more towards the impressionistic style, since her move here. Undoubtedly, as a result of having over the years, such great painting partners as Don Fraser, and Poul Thrane.
In addition to having her work shown regularly in her own gallery, Arja’s work has been displayed in several ECOAA shows, Fine Art festivals at: Corbyville, Lakefield, Belleville, Ameliasburg, and Tweed and the Ottawa Wildlife Show. Solo shows at the Tweed Public Library, and King Ranch, in King City. Her work has also been shown at the Merton Gallery in Toronto, and Echoes of Nature Gallery in Marmora. Her paintings have sold across Canada, Finland, Europe, and the United States.
In 1994, Arja was commissioned to paint the Nokia Corporation Headquarters in Ajax, Ontario.
Through her art, Arja hopes to convey her love of people and animals as well as nature.
She is a member of East Central Ontario Arts Association (ECOAA), and Quinte Arts Council.
ARTWORK BY ARJA PALONEN
*PAINTINGS NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL APRIL, 2017