ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 22, 2005


      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 or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday 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.


      From all of us in the All Arts Council of Franklin County, we wish you joy, happiness, and beautiful music throughout the holiday season.


      Dan Pattullo of Sheldon wears three hats: he prints fine art reproductions, he is a somewhat lapsed Vermont artist, and he has a day job.
      "A giclee is a fairly new process," he said of his art prints. Pronounced ZHEE clay, the French term means to spray or squirt, which describes the workings of an inkjet printer works. "It's a digital process where the original painting is scanned digitally into the computer, color corrected digitally, and printed. I use a seven-color archival printer."
      In giclee printing, no screen or other mechanical devices are used; there is no visible dot pattern. The image retains the hues and tonalities of the original painting. All giclee printers use special light-fast inks. Mr. Pattullo's Epson 7600 uses pigmented ink and accepts a 24" wide paper; its ability to accept thick water color papers has endeared the brand to artists. "Giclees can be printed on different types of paper like watercolor paper, photo paper, matte paper, or canvas. Most people familiar with the term are used to seeing it on canvas." By comparison, the typical home or office printer prints letter or legal size paper and most wide format tabloid size printers will generally produce no larger than 11-12" x 17-40" prints.
      "What I've been doing for Corliss Blakely is all on canvas. For some other artists I've been printing mostly on a watercolor paper called Somerset velvet. It's not a heavily textured but it's a nice texture."
      His customers come mostly from Northern Vermont including a watercolor painter from Addison County. He has gotten contacts via the web from California and Texas, "but I haven't gotten any work from there yet."
      One Essex photographer is a regular customer. "There aren't a lot of good quality photo papers available," Mr. Pattullo said. "He does a lot of panoramics, some that are 30" long, and the prints tend to get wavy when they are framed because the papers are not quite heavy enough in the finish he wants."
      Some photographers supply a digital file. Some artists take their paintings to other photographers for a digital photo. "I print directly from those files," he said. "The only disadvantage I've found is the photograph doesn't capture the texture of a painting as well as a scanner does. I think the scanner picks up the shadows and the vibrancy better." He scans at 300 dpi with a standard 12" x 17" flatbed and stitches larger paintings together.
      Translating from a painting, a negative, or even a digital photograph to the printed page involves a little bit of science in color matching and a bit of art and experimentation.
      The cost of a Pattullo giclee is similar to the cost of printing at home, particularly once the printer purchase is factored in. And the setup includes a lot of experimentation. For one local artist, he has used "half a roll of canvas just to get the color right. Sometimes on the screen it looks good but when you print it it looks [subtly] different. It needs to be tweaked."
      Mr. Pattullo was also know for realistic landscapes and seascapes of New England, but he hasn't painted "recently. It's something I want to get back into, but right now I just don't have the time." He is a professional picture framer at the Champlain Collection.
      The next part of his business is to develop a web site with "booths" for individual artists. He has a local developer working on the database-driven site now. "I hope to be online in February."


     St. Albans City has joined five Vermont cities and towns as the first participants in the Creative Community Program. The Vermont Council of Rural Development program gives all five communities technical support and access to grants to harness the creativity of the business, cultural, and community groups to spur economic development. Hardwick, Rockingham, the city of Rutland, and Windsor will also take part in the program.
      We are identifying ways to encourage creativity in every field and ... working to sustain a healthy combination of both commerce and culture, said Helen Labun Jordan, Director of the Creative Communities Program.
      Part of the local Creative Community effort has been undertaken by St. Albans for the Future, Advancing the Creative Economy (A.C.E.), and the All Arts Council.
      "The Creative Communities Program will be a great vehicle to help our community move from conversation to action," Liz Gamache said. "We expect that with VCRD's assistance, we will be able to develop a strategic plan that will help us to create a more vibrant community by advancing the Creative Economy!"
      The report, Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy, identified the creative cluster of economic activity--artists, designers, filmmakers, writers, publishers, galleries, clothing stores, printers and bookstores--and showed that it has the fastest growth rate in New England. These businesses employ about 14,000 Vermonters, or nearly 5 percent of the state's work force.
      The Vermont Council on Rural Development launched this program last Wednesday (too late for this column's deadline). Nine more communities will be chosen over the next two years. The next application deadline is April 21, 2006. Call 802.223.3793 or e-mail Ms. Jordan for an application including the details of program participation.
      Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy, VCCI's Final Report and Recommendations is still available online at . It is a one megabyte .PDF file; you will need the (free) Adobe Reader. The council's activities with the Creative Communities Program is funded through a two-year $224,000 grant from the Jane's Trust.


     So. Christmas is three days away and you are still stuck. The All Arts Council has a host of gift ideas by area artists here.
      Melissa Haberman created the 2006 Random Acts of Kindness .calendar; proceeds go to the Valerie Papillo and Thomas Patras Memorial Fund. "I used what is in my heart and spirit to spread a bit of beauty and happiness to our community because that is what Val and Tommy did on a daily basis." This calendar includes the artwork of seven artists from Montgomery: Bobby Anderson, Sandra Beaty, Michael Domina, Melissa Haberman, Kevin Harkey, Susan Kelley Harkey, and Henry Trask Reilly.
      Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard has hand painted Vermont slates on display at L.G. Printing in St. Albans. "I also do the hand painted custom slates."
      The site also includes Corliss Blakely, Janet Bonneau, Jim Branca, John Cassel, Counterpoint, Kris Jarrett, Jesse Potts, Will Patton, Nobby Reed, Lauren Young, Valerie Ugro, and me.


      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 © 2005 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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