Friday, July 25, 2008

Final Words from Maine

Tonight was the lobster/steak dinner and show at the Maine Media Workshop and it did not disappoint. We saw work from a number of the artists, from the older (mid-career folks) and their documentary and multi-media work, to the younger artists, black and white photographers, screen writers, etc. The food was good fun (how can you ignore a freshly steamed Maine lobster? Fresh corn? Baked potatoes? A good white wine?). The media work we saw was, for the most part, very impressive. It was clear that these folks had worked hard over the last two weeks and I felt kind of privileged to see so much good work (okay, there was some stuff that wasn't much, but not from the youth program folks, who were quite talented). Jesse had five prints in the slide show from his group (I recognized three, thought maybe a fourth) and look forward to seeing his portfolio tomorrow. We learned tonight that his teacher, a very good photographer, Isabel Foley, lives only about ten blocks from us in Brooklyn, and I hope that means that he'll be able to get some good feedback from time to time on what he is doing.

On the whole, I think a really successful trip. Jesse did some great work, met some good people, and I think learned a lot. One of the things that Katherine and I both noticed from the dinner time and the presentation of work was that it reminded us of places like the VCCA and Byrdcliffe; in other words, it was a real artist colony even as it had this strong teaching element to it. But there was kind of mutual respect in conversation about work (even between the older artists and the younger) that impressed me. If Jesse decides he wants to return next year, I say yes! Compared to SOCAPA, well, there is no comparison so I won't bother.

For the cottage couple, I finished a new poetry manuscript Invisible Man (at least a good draft that is now an intense working period away from being done), got some good work done on Hinojosa, and also thought a lot about my teaching for the fall. Katherine did some beautiful work in water color and oil pastel and pencil, and gave her a sense of some good new ways of working. So art prospered at the sea side cottage, as did the Cannonball, who got to roam the grounds, go to the beach, play endless games of stick.

We leave tomorrow for a meandering trip down to Framingham, MA where we stay for the night before getting back to Brooklyn. Then we have some days for Katherine to be in the studio, for me to do some revision on Celia Cruz (more later), and work with Jesse on footage for his documentary of the Poet in New York tour. A lot to do and a lot more to come. But two weeks that were really quite special. And have us all moving forward.



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