I visited the Maine College of Art not to do a lecture this time, but I was invited to review the illustration program. It is a small but incredibly vibrant school. The students are quite dedicated and I loved seeing their work and the program.
Once in a blue moon, I am invited to review an illustration program. It's a lot more busy work and not as satisfying because I don't get to spend as much time with students as I would if I was doing my usual guest speaking thing.
Still, being an educator, it is always interesting to meet other faculty and dig into programs to see what makes them tick and how they operate. Of course, the discussions usually go to curriculum and how to educate to make the best illustrators possible.
I was there for two days and unfortunately, I can't go into detail but it was a wonderful time. The students I did meet and had lunch with were incredibly kind and self-aware. The teachers are also very dedicated at this school. The facilities throughout the school are pretty amazing. If I had no life and unlimited funds, I'd cycle through all the programs just to use the equipment they have.
If you have a family up in Maine, I wouldn't pass up taking a look at the facilities if someone is thinking about attending a small art school in a very small town. For me, it would be too small but for someone used to living in very rural areas, this might be perfect.
I stayed an extra evening to visit the Portland Museum of Art and see the Matisse exhibition. I took a few photos but you can visit the website and see more of the Matisse work available there.
The ease of expression that comes from Matisse's work is amazing and effortless.
A nice surprise while I was there was a show dedicated to whale art called Of Whales in Paint that seem to have a hub with Rockwell Kent. There were quite a few Kent's on exhibit. I stole this photo without being caught because photos aren't allowed in the exhibition. It's rare to see original Rockwell Kent's out in the world so I was delighted. The sharpness, clarity and weight of the pieces are brilliant. More so in real life.
If you ever are thinking about Maine, this was a good time to go. There weren't very many tourists around and the city is manageable.