Animals and humans leave tracks on the ground. The landscape, habitations, and objects display marks that are witnesses of their use and history. Our bodies too are marked by life, with scars and wrinkles, or with the voluntary mark of a tattoo. Records of activity, and perhaps more fundamentally of existence, tracks, and marks are at the core of art-making, as artists, too, leave marks with their brushes and chisels.

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Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, oil on shaped canvas, 70 1/4 x 48 1/2 in., 1964 (photo: K. Weinberg, On the Threshold, Met Breuer, New York, 2019).

Artists look to nature for inspiration in its shapes and forms and use materials, making marks, creating textures, and layering color in ways that resemble worn rocks and peeling paint. For some artists, this is a process that brings attention to the work’s surface, while for others, their mark-making process is secondary, a material underpinning of a representational image. Mark-making can also be a way of disclosing to the viewer—and sharing with the beholder—the act of art-making while also reflecting upon the ontology of artistic creation.

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Frans Hals, Malle Babbe, oil on canvas, 78.50 x 66.20 cm., c. 1633, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin.

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Frans Hals, Malle Babbe (detail), oil on canvas, 78.50 x 66.20 cm., c. 1633, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin.












Do you—and how do you—respond to the tracks of time, nature, or events?

Do marks and tracks inform your iconography, and what meanings do they hold for you?

Do you create marks to track a fresh idea or perspective?

In what ways do you use mark-making as a means of revealing your artistic process?

Do you use the physicality of materials in a way that remembers or reflects the textures, recorded movements of earth, water, stone, weather, animals, or the wear and tear of human dwellings and possessions?

Share your work with us for the Summer issue of the Maine Arts Journal and let us know how marks and tracks inform your art.

Journal Submission guidelines for UMVA Members Showcase

Deadline: June 1st, 2021.

  • We invite MAJ member artists (to become a member: click here) to submit up to 4 JPEG or png images (NO TIFF files), approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.
  • Include an image list and statement or brief essay (600 words or less) in Word doc. format, NOT a PDF.
  • Label each image file as follows: your last name_Number of Image_Title (with no spaces in the title). Please DO NOT put whole caption/credit in image file label, see image list/caption format below (if you are submitting for a group put your own last name in first).
  • Label your document file names: Last Name_Title
  • Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
  • Please wait until all of your material is compiled to submit.

Put “Marks and Tracksin the subject line and submit by email to by the June 1st deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members’ Showcase” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

We are no longer able to accommodate artists’ pre-formatted visual essays. Our editors will lay-out text and images submitted using the new guidelines above.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.

Thank you,

MAJ Editorial Board

Natasha Mayers, Nora Tryon, Véronique Plesch, Kathy Weinberg, and Betsy Sholl (poetry editor)


Image at top: Hands at the Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, Argentina (photo: Wikimedia Commons).