Gracing the walls of Creative 360’s gallery are 125 beautiful paintings of the farms and fields of Midland County. The exhibit encompass 18 months of work by Michigan artist Alan Maciag. These paintings, a nod to the local farmers, were painted both en plein air and in the studio and showcase Maciag’s life-long love of Michigan’s rural areas.
Many guests at the exhibit opening exclaimed proudly, “That painting is my farm!” as they pointed out one of his exquisite works. Maciag forged many new friendships as he knocked at farm house doors to ask if he could spend time painting on their properties. Not everyone gave him an eager welcome at first. Now, after developing a reputation with farm families, he often has people call with an offer to let him paint on their land. The result is a collection of paintings that includes farm houses, implements, corn fields, livestock, and hay bales.
Maciag’s rural landscapes are a balance between form, distance, color and content. This balance creates a sense of calm and bucolic reverence for the rural heritage of Michigan. “It is as though you have been given a gift; to simply “step in” for a moment and be surrounded by the spirit captured on that canvas,” Maciag explained.
In the awaking light of early morning you might find him sitting in nature capturing the essence of the visual moments presented before him. Maciag, who started his craft when was 42, says he uses no formulas for painting, but has learned to trust his own vision to find the truth before him.
“As an open air painter, I channel all my sensory faculties to absorb the truth in sight complemented by the atmosphere around me. This is the basis of plein air painting – to see nature not as form, but rather light on form,” he said.
Alan Maciag is a 1974 graduate of Central Michigan University with a Master’s Degree in Art Education. He retired from the Frankenmuth School District after teaching art
first to high-schoolers and then to grades K-8 for thirty-two years.
After creating more than 1,000 paintings, Maciag says his favorite is the next one. “When I start a new painting, it’s like opening a new box of toys,” he said.
Visitors can enjoy Maciag’s exhibit at Creative 360 weekdays 9:00 am – 4:30 pm through Friday, October 6. Call for evening and weekend hours. Everyone is welcome. There is no charge.
He also has a permanent installation being unveiled September 15 at Central Michigan University. These paintings are of the new botanical gardens. He is one of 50 artists on exhibit at Studio 23 opening October 12, and a show that opens in November in Saginaw Township.