MacGinnis was an early plein-air Impressionist. He was born near Martinsville, Indiana, halfway between Bloomington and Indianapolis, and studied with the Hoosier greats, including J. Ottis Adams, who always referred to him as his favorite pupil.
To cut to the chase, MacGinnis went to Europe to study, came back and settled in Trenton, New Jersey. He painted the movers and shakers of the Garden State and landscapes there and in New Hampshire and Vermont, where he had homes. He also was a muralist and a respected teacher. His memberships included the Society of Western Artists and the Salmagundi Club. Collectors of Hoosier art seem to have written him off, perhaps unable to forgive him for not returning to his home state. That is not the case in the East.