Kanata artist, John Mlacak was a passionate outdoor oil painter. His work captured both the bold and subtle colours of the Canadian seasons and the vibrant red and green roofs of Québec farm buildings and towns. He was fascinated by the play of light and shade weaving through trees and over the white torrent of rapids and waterfalls.

John Mlacak photo

CREDIT: Siobhan Mlacak

While John created large oil canvases of stone terraces, flower-filled gardens, porches and impressionistic scenes of yesteryear, he returned frequently to the grandeur of the Canadian landscape. His en plein air paintings journey through such magnificent locations as Gatineau Park, Rivière Rouge and the Charlevoix area of Québec. Other paintings reflect scenes in Ottawa-Carleton and travel in the Maritimes, New England and Europe. He viewed his art as an extension of his former interest in design work as an engineer.

John painted for 35 years and was a full-time artist who enjoyed a steady demand for his work. His paintings were exhibited in local, Ontario and Québec galleries and he is represented in private and corporate collections in Canada, the United States, Europe, South America, Australia, Korea, Indonesia and Japan. John was an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) and the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA).

John studied with a number of renowned artists. He was influenced by the late Canadian artists Brodie Shearer and Bruce Heggtveit, and greatly admired Canada’s own Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and the French Impressionists. John participated in numerous group and solo shows annually and won many awards for his art in juried exhibitions. John was well respected for his repeated generosity in providing work to a considerable number of charities.

On October 29, 2010, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, presented John with the Lucille Broadbent Award for Artistic Achievement at the 2nd Annual Ottawa Art Expo.

John at work

CREDIT: George Hutchison

John retired in 1994 after a 35-year career with Bell-Northern Research. For 11 years he was active in local and regional municipal politics in Ottawa. He served a three-year term as a Commissioner on the National Capital Commission and was a member of the Visual Identity Advisory Committee of the Ottawa Transition Board during 2000 when it recommended some of the civic symbols for the new amalgamated City of Ottawa.

John and his wife, Beth, have lived in Kanata since 1965 and have three children, Bill who lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two daughters, Kirsten and her husband in Australia and Siobhan in Paris, France.

In addition to his interest in music and politics, John enjoyed cycling and photography.

John died on September 19, 2014.