ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 1, 2003


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons, at the Kept Writer in St Albans most Friday and Saturday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      Roy Newton will show never-before-seen prints of Scenes from an Island Year at NMC throughout the month of May. This is his tenth year of exhibiting at the hospital.
      "Most of the prints I do are relief block prints," Mr. Newton said. "You carve into linoleum or wood carve away part of the block. What remains is then inked and printed on the paper." It is the oldest form of printing; he draws the image on the block and "carves away the part I don't want. It is a process of whittling down to the essence of what you feel is the theme."
      He uses transparent water-based inks, "so I can print one color onto the paper and sometimes while it is even a little bit damp I can print the other color on top and the shade will show through. I find it interesting to exploit the overprinting to watch the shade differences come through."
      The work on exhibit at NMC includes two groups of two from landscapes around the Islands plus some individual prints.
      Mr. Newton has moved away from the traditional form of printing each color from a block.
      "I've been experimenting the last few years to amalgamate a form called monoprinting," he said. Monoprinting is the process of painting with printer ink onto a hard surface such as metal or glass, and then pulling a single paper print called a monotype.
      "I do the color with one block or sometimes two blocks and overprint them with monoprinting so what I'm arriving at is a kind of form where the color is much more painterly in the background." These prints maintain the detail with the key block printed on top.
      The prints are from a series called An Island Year and are part of a book about his feelings "and how this place has stamped its beauty upon my vision." Rather than do 70 completely different scenes, "I found five or six key places that I wanted to revisit and did a series of prints of each scene through the year. I would go to a certain bay do the winter scene with the ice fishers, then go back in the spring when the ice fishers and the ice were gone, but with high water in leaves on the trees. Back in the summer, then the full foliage, and then back the full circle to winter."
      There is some text. In the course of the sketching he also kept notes "of little incidents and the people I was meeting." That notebook puts his pictures into his own words.
      Mr. Newton grew up in Manchester, England, and has maintained some of the sound of Manchester, and took a degree in Graphic Design The Manchester College of Art and Design, Manchester Polytechnic. He followed up with a two-year postgraduate course in film making.
      "They were trying to start a film department in the college," he said, "so they got five or six interested students, and we were sort of the guinea pig students who got it going for them. It was very fulfilling and kind of an extension of the graphic design. We had done photography already but this was movie photography. I learned about shooting film and mainly film editing. I was very interested in how films were structured in the editing room. "
      Rather than work in graphic arts, he became a free lance film editor specializing in documentaries for over 20 years.
      "I always carry a sketchbook so documentary film was a natural extension, going there with a camera and recording reality."
      He moved here in the 1980s and took short courses with Bill Davis at UVM. "I picked up some new skills and new tips and got back into the swing. I thought I would dust off my sketch books and get out into the field and get some of this wonderful Vermont scenery."
      Mr. Newton is also the resident artist at the Red Onion in Burlington.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls and the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union Tobacco Coalition present the S.O.S. Players on Friday.
      "We're looking to improve the quality of life and entertainment in our area," said Joanna Jerose, FNESU Tobacco Coordinator.
      Skits Outreach Services, the S.O.S. Players, is a touring teen acting troupe from Wisconsin. They offer shows on social issues such as smoking that affect young people today. Their message is one of hope and positive decision-making, accomplished through prevention theater. The sketches are rewritten and revised to reflect current social trends and issues.
      S.O.S. Players was founded in 1990. They have 40 actors performing 125-175 shows per year and own the Fourth Street Playhouse in Hudson, Wisconsin.
      The S.O.S. Players will perform on Friday at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session returns Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

QUEBECOIS WORKSHOPS IN SWANTON--Benoit Bourque of Montreal will teach traditional Quebecois dance and percussion in the MVU library on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 6-7. The workshops are designed for all MVU students studying French; all parents and community members are invited to attend.
      M. Bourque has offered similar workshops at MVU in 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2001. Call Michele Choiniere at MVU (868-7311) for more info.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Annual Franklin Northeast Supervisory District Student Art Exhibit begins Tuesday, May 6, at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. The show runs through May 10.
      The Emerging Talents Series presents talented young people drawn from all parts of Vermont in a variety of performance arts events and demonstrates the Opera House commitment to encourage and support young artist as they develop an understanding and love of the arts.


      Sculptor Peter Hawksworth of Enosburg creates Agri Art from the found objects of antique agricultural machinery: seeders, harrows, gear boxes, and manure spreaders. He disassembles them, spreads out his components and works and reworks the layout until he finds placement and shapes that match his vision.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2003 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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