Troy artist makes museum magic

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 25, 2015

 Troy resident Ron Maki’s oil painting titled “An Evening at the Museum” won the Corinne Robinson Award at the juried “Current Student Works” exhibit at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and is on exhibit there through March.

Troy resident Ron Maki’s oil painting titled “An Evening at the Museum” won the Corinne Robinson Award at the juried “Current Student Works” exhibit at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and is on exhibit there through March.

Photo provided by Gwenn Rosseau

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Longtime resident Ron Maki’s wife, Kaye, is used to seeing her husband’s paintings in various stages of creation throughout their home and often wonders when they will “move out of there,” Maki said.

His paintings have been moving on at a brisk pace lately.

“I’ve been selling quite a few paintings,” he said recently.

His oil painting titled “An Evening at the Museum” won the Corinne Robinson Award at the juried “Current Student Works” exhibit at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and is one of 172 paintings on display in the exhibit through March 27.

“An Evening at the Museum” has already been sold.

“This annual show is important as part of the BBAC’s education process by giving students a genuine exhibition experience, from the jurying to a professional gallery setting,” said Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC, in a prepared statement.

This year’s juror is Franklin resident Russell Thayer, who received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Institute Allende, San Miguel d’Allende, Mexico, and a Master of Arts degree in sculpture and a Bachelor of Science degree in design from the University of Michigan. He is a retired professor who taught art at the University of Michigan and Delta College.

Maki said he has always drawn, and he earned money with his pencil drawings years ago while obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State. He got a job servicing and repairing machines at post offices, where he worked for many years. He got back into his art through the continuing education program of the Troy School District in preparation to return to painting when he retired. He then started taking classes with instructor Tim Widener at the BBAC about five years ago.

“It’s a superb place filled with kindred spirits and creative souls,” said Maki, now retired.

“I’ve always loved painting people and how they interact with art,” he said. “Museum settings are a favorite of mine.”

The painting featured in Maki’s painting is “Lady Agnew,” by John Singer Sargent, which he saw during a special exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in a 1979 exhibition. The painting is now exhibited in the Scottish National Gallery. He didn’t use actual models for the people in his painting, but rather his imagination.

“I hope to keep improving as a painter,” he said.

He has a small studio in his basement, but he prefers to work at the BBAC along with others. “I learn a lot from the students.”

The BBAC provides more than 500 classes for people of all levels of art skills, from preschoolers to senior citizens, and is supported by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. The BBAC is a 25,000-square-foot facility, with nine classroom studios, four exhibition galleries and  a retail gallery shop. It is located at 1516 S. Cranbrook Road, south of Maple in Birmingham. For information, call (248) 644-0866.

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