John Hartman was born in 1950 in Midland Ontario, and studied Fine Art at McMaster University.
He established his reputation with the exhibition Painting the Bay at the McMichael Canadian Collection in 1993. These were large-scale paintings of Georgian Bay, aerial views of the landscape, painted with thick, juicy paint. In the skies Hartman painted stories about the places depicted.
Hartman continued to experiment with works that combined figurative, narrative and landscape. He received national exposure with the exhibition and book Big North which toured Canada between 1999 and 2002.
Hartman’s path of painting the intimate and intertwined relationship between people and place, took a turn in 2003. He began to paint aerial views of cities as living organisms. These paintings made up the exhibition and book Citieswhich toured Canada and internationally from 2007 to 2009.