There are no vineyards on Mackinac Island like the one Maeve Croghan painted to win the Georges Duboeuf 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau Artist Label Contest. But the artistry she exhibited in her winning work has been cultivated for decades in the lovely environs of the northern Michigan vacation destination.
For the past 25 years, Croghan and a group of fellow artists have honed their craft by painting outdoors amidst the unparalleled natural beauty of Mackinac Island. They are continuing a longstanding tradition of artists staying and working on the island in the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan’s two peninsulas, where two of the five Great Lakes meet.
The natural splendor of Mackinac Island has made it a magnet for artists for generations.
More than that, it’s the unique charm and pace of life on car-free Mackinac Island that nurtures the artistic spirit. As Croghan says, “you can come here and you see that things are done differently, that things can be interpreted in another way. It opens up a little avenue in your brain.”
Croghan spent much of her childhood on Mackinac Island and recalls art galleries in town and local paintings hanging on the walls of her home. She remembers rainy days when she would gather rocks from the beach and paint them. Art was just always a part of life on Mackinac Island when she was a little girl.
When she was 15, Croghan began pursuing a career in painting and today she has a gallery of her work on display at Maeve’s Arts, right downtown on Mackinac Island’s Market Street. Hers is one of several shops and galleries that alone make Mackinac Island worth a visit for art lovers. In addition to Croghan’s oil paintings, visitors will find pottery, photography and jewelry, too.
Works of art on Mackinac Island
There also are some interesting works of art permanently on display around Mackinac Island including a clan of turtles along the road near Grand Hotel and a statue of Jacques Marquette at the foot of Fort Mackinac. In the Mackinac Island Peace Garden that commemorates friendly relations between the United States and Canada, a bronze-cast sculpture named “Be Still” features a Native American spirit of peace alongside an eagle, lion and turtle.
Of course, Mackinac Island also is home to the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, which showcases fine and decorative arts from throughout Mackinac Island’s history. Exhibits include photographs, paintings, garments and maps as well as interactive elements and hands-on displays.
After summering on Mackinac Island, Croghan spends the winter in northern California where she fixes her eye on the intriguing nature of vineyards. Her winning painting in the Georges Duboeuf wine label competition comes from a scene she painted at a vineyard in Sonoma County. She describes wine vines as “fascinating creatures,” and in her painting they take on an air of movement and dance.
Croghan’s painting was chosen as a contest finalist out of more than 1,000 submissions from around the country. Then, after more than 10,000 votes were cast on social media, “Russet Vines” was declared the winner.
An image of “Russet Vines” started appearing on the label of more than 1 million bottles of the French vineyard’s 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau wines in November. The wine should be available in the United States until early January 2021. Croghan’s original painting will be placed on permanent exhibit in the Georges Duboeuf Vineyard Museum in France.