Featured Artist John Chehak

Artist John Chehak paints colorful acrylic landscapes in a refreshing signature style. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.


abstract landscape with a village reflected in water by John Chehak

“Village Reflection” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″


I have been a professional artist for only twenty years; hence, I often use the description “contemporary” in my biographies. Just to be clear—I’m old—the paintings are young.


abstract landscape of sailboats on the water by John Chehak

“An Urban Sail” acrylic matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″


Although I always had a knack for drawing, sketching and painting, I lacked the confidence that anyone would purchase my art. It was a nice hobby, but not a profession.


abstract landscape of trees along a lake by John Chehak

“Forest Reflection” acrylic on canvas, 35″ x 36″ x 2.5”


Early in my life, I was determined to become a pharmacist and work within the legal boundaries of drug dispensing. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1973 with a degree in Pharmacy, and worked in my family’s small ethical chain of drug stores for ten years. I was busy being married, working, raising two daughters and occasionally dabbling in painting. The art results were boring, at least to me—barns and still lifes.


abstract landscape of a tree grove on the river by John Chehak

“Grove on the River” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″


Forging ahead twenty-five years, after some significant milestones, various health care and computer jobs, a divorce, grown children and still chasing rainbows, I remarried. It was an inspirational intersection of where I was going and where I had been.


abstract landscape of trees at night by John Chehak

“The Blue Night” acrylic, matted and framed, 30″ x 20″ x 1″


Out of nowhere, I had a great desire to us acrylic paints and develop a style, create my own color palettes and play with subject matter, then see if anyone liked what I had done. The results were interesting, but at first they were drab, dark and almost colorless.


abstract landscape of buildings and trees with splatter paint by John Chehak

“Splatter Series Village” acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″


It was a great boost to my confidence to appear in numerous galleries and make a few sales. It wasn’t until I forced myself to use unusually bright and uncomfortably bold colors did I start to create a unique perspective and concise focus.


abstract landscape of woods and a lake by John Chehak

“Northwoods Scene 1″ acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1”


The first thing I realized was that I had to stop being a perfectionist. One man’s Picasso is another man’s trash. Obviously, we are all individuals with independent likes and dislikes, which are neither right or wrong. To this day I am amazed when I sell a painting I didn’t originally like and didn’t think would sell. I had to stop being overly judgmental of my work.


abstract landscape of a snowy woods by John Chehak

“North of Frisco” acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″


I discovered that I really enjoy acrylic painting on archival paper, then matting and framing the finished work. Many people, after seeing the original paintings under glass, think they are prints or reproductions. The typical size is 23 inches by 23 inches. My paintings on canvas are usually 3 feet by 3 feet. I focus on using vibrant colors and palette knife work.


abstract landscape of a snowy woods by John Chehak

“The Thaw in the Mountains” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″


The next step was to understand the art fair festival scene, associated costs and how to best take my work to the masses. I did my research. It’s expensive, but I bought a tent and display racks, made my own travel packaging and decided to apply to a number of juried shows within a 250-mile radius of my home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This included the Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis regions. My wife and I have been participating in summer shows for almost nine years and have sold close to 600 original paintings.

We’ve met hundreds, if not thousands of people. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I now paint all year long and at any given time have 30-50 paintings in inventory.


Artist John Chehak working in his studio

Artist John Chehak working in his studio


I’m very proud to have been selected as the poster artist for both the 2018 St. Louis Art Fair and the 2020 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago. I very much appreciate the acknowledgement of my work by show promoters and patrons who keep me going. When I’m not painting, I seem to always be managing my website. And yes, I still remind myself not to be too judgmental.


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  1. These are all so interesting. My favorite is Northwoods Scene 1.

    • Thank you Martha.
      This painting is still available for purchase at my website http://www.easelwork.com
      Also, if you go to my website and sign up for my, occasional if not sporadic, newsletters I will send you a special promotional discount code to use when you purchase a painting.


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