John Chehak: Acrylic Midwestern Landscapes on Canvas & Paper

Published Jan. 23rd 2013

Architectural shapes and forms (both realistic and abstract) make up most of Iowan John Chehak’s Midwestern landscapes.

Chehak is a masterful draftsman and painter, and is no stranger to mixed-media or three-dimensional work, either. His wide expanse of expertise and style make his artwork a treat to explore, and although I found myself initially fond of his realistic style, moments later I found myself falling in love with his highly impressionistic and cubist landscapes.

Let’s begin with a realist landscape painting, and slowly move on to his more impressionistic pieces.

Anyone who’s been to the Midwest knows that Autumn’s final weeks leave much to be desired. Dirt roads turn dry, and clouds of dusty earth churn up chokingly at the wheels of each passing car.

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The wooden posts above, turned grey with age, may have lost their luster, but their dependable utility remains, keeping livestock tucked safely away.

In the bitter Midwestern wind, trees shiver and shake brittle leaves from stiff branches. Their leaves tumble across the open prairie, creating a sea of brown foliage that no doubt crunches crisply under feet heavy with boots. I truly appreciate the beauty in this lonesome, wind-whistling scene.

In John’s next painting, I see abstraction beginning to take place. A busy urban setting depicts tightly-spaced buildings as colorful as the diverse population of people who reside within them. And everywhere you look—shapes!

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Triangular umbrellas pop up along the street, beckoning welcomingly and urging locals to swing in for a quick cup of coffee or waterside chat. Squares make up most of the painting, constructing buildings, their windows and canopies, and the sturdy brick wall. Even the canvas is a perfect square! We begin to see hints of cubist influences within this painting.

And plain and simple, this last painting can only be described as fun! A rural setting has been simplified so much that it takes on a view of the countryside oftentimes only seen on a plane hundreds of feet into the air.

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Sections of farmland are divided (echoing the many canvases used in painting) into colorful squares, showing the various types of land that make up the Midwest.

You’ve got the rows of agriculture planted between squares of pasture and squares of unplanted, tilled land; and a sky that stretches out as far and wide as the barns below depicts the airy openness of this bountiful setting. Circular trees dotted here and there compliment the many greens found in God’s rich, nurturing land.

Whether rolling hills, farms with bright red barns, or a twisted, dusty road, Chehak paints one heck of a picture of the Midwest—and in nearly every style you can imagine, to boot! Be sure to visit his website today, to check out the rest of his gorgeous paintings.

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