Editorial and a quick introduction to the issue — Our theme for the WINTER 2019 Maine Arts Journal is SKETCHBOOK.

We asked you to send us your sketchbooks, to share who you are, and how you got here. This issue of the Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly is full of the wisdom (and secrets) of 35 artists.

Many of you have shared pages from past and present sketchbooks, with both images and words, observed or imagined things, old ideas and experimental new ones, intimate wishes and regrets, rants, dreams, scribbles, portraits, life drawings, and landscapes. They are private, fresh, original, visionary.

Sketching, whether you have continued it or not, is an early, beloved, essential practice that helps form who you are. It’s how one learns to see both the thing and the spaces between, where abstraction is born. It’s where you play with an idea, experiment, create a storehouse of images to draw on, or record a scene. The sketchbook is an uncensored place to store or reveal your secrets, where you let your feelings come to the surface and recognize them on the page in front of you. There you can witness your progress, with growing awareness and confidence, the journey from first observations to finished work.

Some of us don’t take the time to sketch anymore, drawing directly on our canvases in hopes of retaining some of the spontaneity of our sketches.  Some artists’ directions have led them away from the figurative, others find joy when drawing from life or in front of a subject. Some sketchbooks resemble journals, full of notes and quotes, lists and revelations.

We thank you for what you have taught us and for your trust.

We hope this issue of the Maine Arts Journal will re-ignite your passion for drawing and encourage you to pull out your old sketchbooks to see who you were and are now.

And now to the issue—Enjoy!

From the editors, Dan Kany, Natasha Mayers, Jessica Myer, Nora Tryon, Kathy Weinberg, and Betsy Sholl (poetry editor)



The inspiration for the SKETCHBOOK theme came from a CMCA exhibit, First Traces, in 2008, curated by Britta Konau, for which the CMCA has kindly provided the curatorial statement and images.

Our Featured Artists include Michael Boardman, Richard Iammarino, Judy LaBrasca, Stephen Petroff, Lewis Rossingol, Nikki Schumann, and Jeff Woodbury.

In our Members’ Showcase we welcome 22 UMVA member submissions (the most ever!), all sharing their art and stories:  Kay Carter, Alan Crichton (and Crichton/Shahn sketchbook), Valera Crofoot, David Estey, Emma Geiger, Ellen Hodgkin, Nina Jerome, Suzanna Lasker, Lin Lisberger, Anne McGurk, Janice Moore, Leonard Meiselman, Wendy Newbold-Patterson, Don Mallow,  Mark Nelsen, Marcus Parsons, Brian Reeves, Claire Seidl, Pam Smith, Bonnie Spiegel, Mary Becker Weiss, and Amy Peters Wood.

—Regular contributor Ed Beem compiles an extensive history of Portland murals.
—Sarah Bouchard shares the horrors of having her work destroyed.        

—Ari  Solotoff, Esq. of Bernstein Shur provides some legal advice to Maine artists.
—Tom Burkhardt’s installation at CMCA prompts an essay by Michael Torlen.
—Poetry by Elizabeth Tibbetts and Kifah Abdulla is introduced by Betsy Sholl.
—Our Insight/Incite feature is by Jason Morgan, Cony High School art teacher who works with New Mainers.

We have an exceptionally rich trove of UMVA features in this issue. Robert Shetterly, our inspired UMVA President for more than 20 years, is stepping down, and it seems a fitting moment to thank him publicly and remind us all what important work the UMVA is continuing to do.

–We have some work by old time UMVA members (Stephen Petroff, Carlo Pittore, Abby Shahn, Pat Owen, Pam Smith) because they drew together, incubated ideas, and made manifestos on the pages next to their drawings

—William Hessian, the new president of the UMVA, writes a letter to members and introduces the new Board members.
ARRT! and LumenARRT! share their most recent work.
-Maine Masters launches the upcoming film about Rob Shetterly and Americans Who Tell the Truth.  
— Shetterly writes a stirring, not-to-be-missed piece about the current exhibit of his entire portrait series at Syracuse University.
–UMVA sends out a fundraising letter.
UMVA Portland chapter lists its upcoming exhibitions.
–UMVA sends out a state-wide call to artists to submit work to The Way Life Is – Maine Working Families And Communities.
UMVA Lewiston/Auburn
issues a chapter report.
UMVA Archives is a new feature, a selection by Pat and Tony Owens, which includes their letter from Ireland

Look to the “submit” page for our SPRING issue’s theme invitation and guidelines for SANCTUARY.

We look forward to seeing what you are making and what you are doing.

From the editors, Dan Kany, Natasha Mayers, Jessica McCarthy, Nora Tryon, Kathy Weinberg, and Betsy Sholl (poetry editor)

Introduction to Fall 2018: Dialogue


This issue shares the response to our call for dialogue. The contributors give examples of artists engaged in a conversation with a place, with their own thoughts, through time, or in response to the work and stories of another. It was an opportunity to explore topics rather than reach conclusions.

Susan Smith works with a community to make her art. She collected the statements of a hundred women and their stories of abuse and screenprinted them on textiles.

Mary Bernstein writes about the 20 year long community art project, Mother Tongue, and its “call and response” way of working, based on physicist and philosopher David Bohm’s dialogues.

Writer Katy Kelleher contributes an essay on dialogue as touch.

Greta Banks writes about capitalism and our broken relationship with nature.

Kyle Patnaude contributes to the conversation: “We can’t engage with complex and diverse thought without the views of those who see and experience the world as different from our own.”

Abby Shahn and Mark Melnicove share three of their 31 painting/poem collaborations, in which the poems “add whole histories and layers of meaning to the pictures”.

The art collective Waldman-Plesch+Plesch-Waldman, “united in a creative dialogue,” was born in Hinckley, Maine, at the L. C. Bates Museum.

Lori Tremblay asserts that all meaningful relationships are sustained through dialogue.

Regular contributor Carl Little writes about artist Alan Gussow who ”carried on a conversation with his surroundings all his life, whether he was visiting Monhegan Island or running alongside the Hudson River” and “managed to combine his environmentalism with his art.”

Ed Beem writes about photographer Jocelyn Lee’s recent exhibition, her art, ideas and her “respectful female gaze.”

Dan Kany writes on photographer Scott Anton’s collaboration with the subject of his images, and Kany has a conversation with Charlie Hewitt.

Poems by Estha Weiner, introduced by Betsy Sholl, create a sense of dialogue “through the briefest suggestion.” And Margaret Yocom, in ALL KINDS OF FUR, asks what Cinderella would say if she could tell her own tale?

Andrea Curtis writes from her perspective as an art educator at the Farnsworth Museum, for our regular Insight/Incite column.

CMCA’s  Bethany Engstrom writes on dialogue in her role as assistant curator at CMCA.

Lisa Jahn-Clough shares the art of her late mother and artist, Elena Jahn. She writes of her search for meaning and legacy, of “something that speaks to us.”

UMVA member Diane Dahlke has a dialogue with time, and for Anne Strout, art “starts with those conversations in my head.”

C.E. Morse makes images that beg the question: “What is it?” which starts a conversation/dialogue.

Gregg Harper sees dialogue as “a double use of the metaphor muscle memory.” Bruno-Torkanowsky  thinks of her work as a “dance of opposites.”

ARRT! and Lumenarrt! invite us to glimpse the continuing dialogues their projects engage in with Mainers across the state.  

Maine artists are participating to help get out the vote in the 2018 election and the Maine Arts Journal is featuring some of their efforts, in partnership with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections.

Genevieve (G.A.) Morgan writes an open letter to our Senators and Representatives, as a part of the national dialogue on the ACA and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The multiple facets of this topic give the reader many voices to consider. The final word is actually a starting point for the next chapter in an ongoing dialogue. If you turn to the last page of this issue you will find the Invitation for the Winter 2019 Issue: Sketchbook. And just like that, a new conversation begins.

And now, to the Issue!

MAJ Editorial Board
Natasha Mayers, Dan Kany, Jessica Myer, Nora Tryon, Kathy Weinberg, and Betsy Sholl (poetry editor)