Note: The Summer 2019 MAJ is our 21st issue. We have successfully completed 5 years of collaborating with and showcasing over 400 Maine artists and writers.


Welcome to the Summer issue of the Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly.


The theme for the Summer issue of the Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly is Art in BalanceMany artists and writers have shared with us the balancing act that life as an artist demands, They write about how they make, find, and sustain time for their art, what they give up, how they navigate and negotiate responsibilities to their families or community, and share the toll taken or benefits received by their lifestyle in the arts.

We are featuring Edgar Allen Beem’s essay, Maine in the Abstract, written in 2012, about symbolic, natural, geometric, and figurative abstraction in Maine. Sixty artists are included in this extensive, historical, inclusive, and brilliant survey and sampling of some of the best non-representational art in Maine.  It was originally commissioned to appear in Maine Art New, a selection of essays and artist profiles edited by Edgar Allen Beem and Andres Verzosa, to have been published by the University of Maine Press. Unfortunately the book project was cancelled in February of 2019, but we are delighted and honored that the essay has found a home here.


–Carl Little writes about Michael Lewis balancing life and landscape. ”After a time, he stopped “viewing” the world and began to experience it as part of his being”…..painting landscapes that served as, “metaphors for inner emotional/psychological/spiritual experience.”

–In Sarah Bouchard’s interview with the forthright Heather Chontos, internationally recognized abstract painter, we learn that “It’s a complete and utter juggling act of responsibility and time and space allowance….It feels like I give up everything that is “me” outside of my daily life as a parent, caregiver, and support system.”

— Kate Chappell provides advice and revelations about doing it all, about art as a life-long learning process, about failure, and much more.

–Joe Della Valle and his partner, Alex Rheault, interviewed by Dan Kany, talk about balancing their working relationship as photographer and model.

–Jane Bianco tells us that Marguerite  Zorach, beginning early in her career, strove for balance as an artist, wife and mother.

— Kathy Weinberg’s work is a fusion of many interests: writing, photography, still life, allegory, textile and ceramic patterns. Dan Kany writes about her search for balance in her worklife (in historic restoration) and paintings.

–Duane Paluska and wife Ellen Golden write about. having their work and home lives so connected makes finding a balance easier. Running ICON gallery has added to Duane’s art practice while Ellen found it challenging to build hers while working full time.

–Jared Haug describes his experience of image fatigue and its implications for creative labor: “The pursuit of poetry as an antidote to image fatigue led me to spend time writing in the studio, or put another way, to use writing as part of my practice.”

— In The Mystic Impulse, Brown Lethem writes about what drives and authenticates the visionary artist and provides numerous examples of his favorites.

–Pat and Tony Owen‘s lively UMVA archives column tells of the Camden Hills Site-Specific Show sponsored by the UMVA and Vision magazine, and how, “for a brief period in 1981 the balance of this landscape changed”.

–Betsy Sholl introduces us to the work of two poets: Gibson Fay-LeBlanc and Colin Cheney.

–Read ARRT!, LumenARRT!, Maine Masters, UMVA Portland and Lewiston/Auburn chapter reports.

And from UMVA Member Contributors:

Susan Read Guthrie: “Then there was just me. Alone for the first time in 26 years, after a year of constant, significant care that was both my honor and the deepest intimacy of my life. Love holds up. You’ll see. And grief is good; the inevitable, soul-quivering consequence of loving. And truthfully, aloneness is an old, welcome friend.”

–Val Porter: Balance is like a gyroscope on a tight rope…..”

–Paula Dougherty: ‘Constant, constant is the desire to create.”

–John Ripton: “We can never fully escape the world – its banalities and injustices – but we can try to bring greater balance to it. Photography, as well as writing, are ways I can critique and counterbalance the warped state of national and global affairs.”

–David Allen: “I have worked hard to maintain my practice in an environment that often feels as if the cards are stacked against me.”

In addition to our themed essays, we are introducing a new feature, In Focus,  a column which showcases art education institutions from around Maine. In this summer issue of the Maine Arts Journal Jeff Badger of Southern Maine Community College and Sarah Maline of the University of Maine at Farmington write about the art programs at their schools. Pitch us an idea about your institution. It might be a recent or upcoming show,  a faculty member or artist in residence, a student who is doing interesting things, an exciting visual art activity or curricula, how to conduct a critique, etc.

Read and enjoy! Don’t forget to check out the Archives of past issues. And PLEASE forward the journal far and wide.

From the editors,

Natasha Mayers, Nora Tryon, Dan Kany, Christine Sullivan, and Betsy Sholl (poetry editor)

Image on top of page: MAJ Fall 2019 Cover Art: Joe Della Valle, “Chute the Chute”, Raptured Moments series, silver gelatin print