Kanata artist, John Mlacak is a passionate outdoor oil painter. His work captures both the bold and subtle colours of the Canadian seasons and the vibrant red and green roofs of Québec farm buildings and towns. He is fascinated by the play of light and shade weaving through trees and over the white torrent of rapids and waterfalls.
While John creates large oil canvases of stone terraces, flower-filled gardens, porches and impressionistic scenes of yesteryear, he returns 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 views his art as an extension of his former interest in design work as an engineer.
John has been painting for 35 years and is a full-time artist who enjoys a steady demand for his work. His paintings are 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 is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) and the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA). John had one of his oils accepted into the SCA 40th National Open Juried Exhibition in Montreal in August, 2007. Six of John’s oils were exhibited at the Karas Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia in December, 2007 in a show entitled “Tracing Our Heritage”. Two other artists of Croatian heritage were also in the show.
John has studied with a number of renowned artists. He was influenced by the late Canadian artists Brodie Shearer and Bruce Heggtveit, and greatly admires Canada’s own Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and the French Impressionists. John participates in numerous group and solo shows annually and has won many awards for his art in juried exhibitions. John is well respected for his repeated generosity in providing work to a considerable number of charities.
In the spring of 2004, John was awarded first in oils at the Ottawa Art Association’s 85th Anniversary juried show at the National Gallery of Canada. John participates annually in the Ottawa Art Festival. The former Mayor of Ottawa, Bob Chiarelli, invited John to exhibit his paintings at Ottawa City Hall in the Council Chambers in early December, 2004. John’s work was accepted to be shown in the Mayor of Ottawa’s First Fine Art Festival. He is a founding member of the Kanata Artists Studio Tour and the Kanata Civic Art Gallery. 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.
SOS Children’s Villages Canada selected John as a 1997 featured Canadian artist and reproduced his oil painting, “Ste-Marie-de-Charlevoix” as a Christmas card. The card proved to be very popular and SOS made it available again in 1998 and 1999. Canadian Health Services Research Foundation purchased a painting of John’s and featured it on the cover and throughout their Annual Report in 2002. There was a cover photo and feature article on John in Due West Magazine in 2003. In it’s March-April 2004 issue, Diplomat & International Canada, the news journal for Canada’s international community covered John’s solo show at the Croatian Embassy. Magazin’Art, a Québec publication, profiled John and his work in it’s autumn, 2004 issue, and since 2002 has listed him in it’s Biennial Guide to Canadian Artists in Galleries. The Ottawa Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and the Kanata Kourier-Standard all covered John’s participation in Big Brothers Big Sisters Fine Art Auction in October, 2004 as Honourary Art Patron. In August, 2005, John was featured in an article by Alex Munter, in the Ottawa Citizen titled, “In search of Ottawa’s most creative postal code”. John is the cover artist on the 2007 Lanark County Travel & Recreation Guide, Maple Lanes.
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 Hanover, New Hampshire with his wife and two daughters, Kirsten and her husband in Ottawa, Ontario and Siobhan in Paris, France.
In addition to his interest in music and politics, John enjoys cycling and photography.