ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 18, 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 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, 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.


      So, you got stuck in the post-Thanksgiving snow and again in the storm on Monday? You don't like trudging down the Interstate to the "big box" stores? A gift of art is the most enduring present at any time of the year. Most of the items in this list are available at local stores or directly from the artists.
      "I've been designing and illustrating books for teenage boys," said Bob Benson of Montgomery. "Girls also happen to like them, much to the amazement of the author and myself."
      The books are eight (so far) novels of mystery, sports and adventure for teen age boys written by Robert Holland of Woodstock, CT, and published by Frost Hollow Publishing. They are available at Better Planet, Bear Pond Books, and are best sellers on
      Mr. Benson is "working on three more now."
      Corliss Blakely, Vermont's premier fine artist, portrays the homes, farms, and antiques of her Vermont ancestors in oil. She has a new line of limited edition prints at Rail City Market. Visit to see other examples.
      The Counterpoint Christmas CD has some great southwestern Christmas music, a Swedish carole, a Puerto Rican carole, and an African Christmas song, as well as Away in the Manger. "It truly is a 'Christmas around the world CD'!" Claire Hungerford said. It is available at As The Crow Flies, the Dressing Room, the Kept Writer, and Rail City Market for $16.
      Better Days, Josh Brooks' new CD has romance, humor, and social commentary from the accidental songwriter and standup Vermont comic. Mr. Brooks is a regular performer at First Night, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, the AAC Summer Sounds concert series and at the Kept Writer. His CDs are available at Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies and on online at and
      Coeur Fragile is Michele Choiniere's new album. The CD has original waltzes, ballads, upbeat dance music sung in French and English.
      "Some of it is nice, some is tragic, some is sad, some is happy a wide range of the emotions that can cause the heart to be fragile," Ms. Choiniere said. There is a focus on nature, on the social issues of being Franco-American in this area and, appropriately Vermont feelings of "how one feels snowed in. Coeur Fragile was written by candlelight in the middle of a storm." It is available at Rail City Market and the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington.
      "Prints make great Christmas gifts," Jeanette Fournier said. The Blue Eyed Dog Gallery has prints of a Brook Trout, the Swanton Swans (one of her favorites), the flamingo, and more.
      Georgia singer/songwriter John Gibbons sings solo and in a trio with Karen McFeeters and Craig Anderson. Ms. McFeeters Bachelor Girl CD has a triple Franklin County connection since she is a St. Albans native.
      Rail City Market has framed whimsical photographs by April Henderson for sale. Her sugarbush scenes include Out of the Woods. The matted and framed photos are sized from 5" x 7" to 11" x 14". Prices range from $20-$60.
      Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard of Franklin hand-paints Vermont Welcome slates with Vermont scenery--mountains and lakes or small animals, and florals--and Welcome painted in script. They are available for $20 at L.G. Printing, 75 North Elm Street, St. Albans, until Christmas. She also fills custom orders. 933-8370 or E-mail.
      Peripherique comes from Will Patton of Bakersfield. The CD offers gypsy jazz and Brazilian tunes and features the Will Patton Quintet. The CDs are available at Kept Writer, Rail City Market, Pure Pop, Borders, Barnes and Noble, as well as on online at and
      Blues singer/songwriter Nobby Reed sells the Double Live album on his site or at gigs. The Nobby Reed Project played Thursday night with April Wine at Higher Ground "and the next day someone from St. Albans went online and bought the album," he said. Double Live was a two set night in Bradford at Miller's Music Hall or Middle Earth Music Hall recorded on his new digital recorder. They will play the Saratoga First Night this year. His other CDs are available Better Planet and As the Crow Flies.
      Singer, graphic artist, photographer, sound producer, and AAC treasurer Tim Stetson has series of digital photographs including Bridge Over Falling Water, the bridge of Flowers and Lights in Enosburg Falls with the Missisquoi waterfall in the background. Call 933-2513 or visit to see other examples.
      Deborah Travis and Mark Sustic remind us to "spend more time with your kids and express your love and affection."
      There are more than 60 All Arts Council members and other Franklin County artists with work for sale or public exhibit listed at the AAC online. Each listing includes an email address, website and a brief description of the artist's work. Click here


      The Blue-Eyed Dog Framing and Gallery series of All Arts Council exhibits offers three different shows of artists working in oils, watercolors, and fine art photography. Our 10-day exhibit of the fine art photography of Bob Brodeur, April Henderson, Gustav Verderber, and me ends tomorrow. On Saturday, we will hang the final exhibit of the 2003 season featuring the work of Josh Derner, Jeanette Fournier, Mary Harper, and Cynthia Pease Stratton. Although our emphasis is watercolor, expect to find mixed media, pastel, and more. All work is for sale.
      Josh Derner is best known for his colored pencil wildlife imagery. He also works in acrylic, pastels, and watercolor.
      Wildlife artist Jeanette Fournier uses watercolor and pen and ink to create detailed works of domestic and wild animals. She will exhibit a brand new original watercolor called Chickadee.
      Watercolor artist Mary Harper's paintings often use water to portray water. This exhibit will include the cold deluge of Niagra Falls and a warm window of house plants.
      Cynthia Pease creates watercolors, mixed media work, and henna body art, and teaches studio classes.
      The AAC exhibit at the Blue-Eyed Dog Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10-6 at 1 Lake Street in St. Albans. The AAC artists will be on exhibit through New Year's Day. Call 524-4447 for info.


      The Counterpoint Christmas concert repeats Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church in Burlington. The program has three sets, A Boy Was Born, From Far and Wide, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas and features Hodie Christus Natus Est, Angels We Have Heard on High, El Noi de la Mare, God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, The Souling Song, and more. Click here for tickets and info. Tickets will also be available at the door.


      Marketing is a strange beast. I searched for song lyrics for Christmas carolers holiday parties and discovered the two most popular sites are run by a business consulting house and by an entertainment booking agency. Both offer a free assortment of popular lyrics to enjoy.
Heavenly Voices
Tantara Songbook


      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).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.