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John Osler paints on board and canvas in oils. Best known for his ability to capture an emotional moment, his work shows his deep respect for his subject. He combines a fresh and free approach to color and style with a mature skill set. His work is especially admired by fellow artists for its strength and directness. John has won Gold Medals in the prestigious Scarab Club shows and is currently in collections in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Seattle, Monterey, Minneapolis, New Orleans, throughout the country, Europe and New Zealand.






John,  the son of an illustrator and an art teacher grew up in Detroit surrounded by art.

John worked for 30 years in national advertising photography before turning to painting. During this time, he founded Midcoast Studios and Spike Osler Photography.

In 1992 he walked away from a successful career to return to painting. He traveled and painted. He met extraordinary people many of whom had modest means and fragile futures. They were, however, free with their friendship and rich in spirit. They revealed to John their joy, pain, and hopes. John has tried to capture their time together with the dignity they deserve. He spends his time painting in Detroit, France and New Orleans.



“From the joyful abandon of boys splashing in the ocean to the confident dignity of an African-American woman sitting in the back row of a church, John Osler exhibits a masterful understanding of color and light and equally important, a magical ability to translate passion, joy, grief, resignation, and dignity to canvas. What I find so remarkable is how Osler reveals his subjects’ innermost thoughts: their turmoil and resignation, their pain and peace. In a painting that hangs in our dining room, Osler offers a glimpse into his grandfather’s heart in the aftermath of his daughter’s death.  The grandfather strides forward and his next step may take him out of the painting.  His movement captures his determination to carry on with his responsibilities in this world. Yet even as he moves forward, his mouth tells a story of loss and grief.  When I look at this painting I am transported into this man’s inner life: will he laugh again?”

DR. ANNE LEWIS Minneapolis, Mn.

“You have such a strong unique talent and perspective. Keep up the great work!”

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL Artist and Portraitist

“After purchasing a portrait of Barack Obama by John Osler, I arranged to meet him at his home in Detroit where I was struck by the vividness of John Osler’s work. At that point I was responding to the intensity of the color in his paintings and the self confidence which permitted his inclusion of high energy color without overpowering the subject of the painting. Then he did my portrait.  Everyone who has seen it expresses amazement that he was able to bring me to life, as I truly am, personality intact, and flashing. John Osler leaves aside photographic accuracy and reveals the essence of his subjects. He is probably the best impressionist working today.”



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