ARTIST OF THE MONTH: “Everyone can relate to my paintings, because we all were kids,” Michael Maczuga says.
The Cleveland, Ohio transplant began painting scenes in the life of children back in 2000, after attending art workshops in Scottsdale, where his family had moved when he was a young boy. But though Maczuga’s childhood was spent in a desert metropolis, his paintings portray Midwestern, Rockwellian environments with an impressionist touch: a little girl walking through fall foliage, or a boy enchanted by something he found in a garden, rendered in soft strokes with an ethereal, almost watery-looking aesthetic.
“I try to express images with broken color that come to life,” says the self-described representational impressionist. “It’s representational work that has an impressionist feel because of the spots of color I put down for viewers. The suggestion is there and the viewer fills in the blanks.”
Maczuga, 57, attended Coronado High School where his teacher, Joseph Gatti, encouraged his art. He was on track for a creative career when he enrolled at Arizona State University and decided to study education. He became founder of the famed Arizona Marlins Swim Club and coach at Phoenix Country Day School. But every day when he drove past the Scottsdale Artists’ School, he pondered his passion to paint.
“I thought, if I am ever going to do it, it’s now,” Maczuga says. He enrolled in art workshops and says, “It lit the fire and I became obsessed with painting. It’s my peace of mind, my solitude. It’s really where I can step away from the world and get lost.”
An exhibition of his work opens December 1 at Scottsdale Fine Art, 7116 E. Main St. Meet Maczuga from 7-9 p.m. at the artist reception on December 4. Maczuga’s work can also be viewed at michaelmaczuga.com.