Alan Maciag’s exhibit at Twisted Fish Gallery, featuring new paintings created specifically for this show, has been extended through September.
“A Rural Perspective: Paintings of the Michigan Landscape” now runs through Sept. 28.
Maciag is well known for his landscapes and plein air paintings, made throughout Michigan, “from Midland to Charlevoix,” he says. The paintings range in size, with some exceeding five feet and others closer to two feet. They’ve never been shown anywhere else, Maciag says, and he’s excited to see viewers’ reactions to them. “They’re freshly painted since last fall,” he says.
Maciag’s style is contemporary and impressionistic and he always paints in oils. His signature is brisk and lively scenes, with clever use of color. “I like the way light hits objects, whether manmade, like a corn crib or barn, or natural, like windrows of trees early in the morning.” Maciag paints seven days a week, all year long. He likes to set up on farms or fields and often paints a picture for the landowner as a thank-you. “I do really love to paint long vistas,” he says, “flat land that goes for miles.”
After retiring from teaching art in the Frankenmuth Public Schools for 32 years, Maciag was able to turn to his passion full time. His love of teaching still shines through when he explains his work, from explaining his color choices to pointing out the changes in the shadows a tree makes. One of his signature moves is to paint the entire canvas red-orange before starting the actual painting. The finished painting may show only 2 to 5 percent of the red-orange, but knowing it’s there brightens all the colors — especially the blues and greens — and makes it more visually stimulating, he says. “The viewer might not understand why,” he smiles.
Because plein air painting makes up a large part of Maciag’s portfolio, he’s become adept at adapting to changes. “Paintings are a conglomeration of events,” he says. “Changes in color, light, shadow, clouds.” He says a painter’s job isn’t to record, but to create a visual story. “The viewer can create their own story from your painting,” he says.
Twisted Fish Gallery is one mile south of Elk Rapids, 10443 S. Bayshore Drive, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, go to twistedfishgallery.com or call 231-264-0123.