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)