ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 19 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 5, 2015


      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.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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UNINTERESTING--Robert Genn's recent piece in the Painter's Keys starts with "A subscriber who wishes to remain anonymous wrote, 'Making art is something I do for me -- I can't see my creations being very interesting to anyone...'"
      When your creations interest and engage and delight you, you have the very best reason to compose something new. Still, it's nice to please others, or even to make a buck, and that means coming to understand that your works may not be interesting to everyone but that they are interesting to someone.
      My mom, painter Mary Harper, changed her watercolor style in mid-stream in the 1990s. While she had never been a photo-realist, she had studied fashion design as a young woman. That brought precision and proportion and perspective and scale to her work.
      Then she changed her mind.
      "I want to learn how to smush," she told me then.
      Blob and smush is all about softening the edges. You "blob" on the color on, then "smush" it down by drawing a damp brush under the color. It keeps the buildings and palm trees and people from looking too much like they were pasted from a photograph.
      She did learn and her output blossomed.
      She pleased herself.
      Her audience changed but it grew. I didn't like the new work as much but others did, so her work interested others.
      And it sold.
      Mr. Genn made the point that the mantra, "Valuable Only If Money is Made," is spreading. "We're living in a time when people who make art are also expected to market it," he wrote.
      My mom was a semi-pro working artist. She was a member of the Florida Keys Watercolor Society and sold by Bougainvillea House Gallery. She did sell but she painted because she loved to paint and whether her paintings were on her walls, on my walls, in the hospital show, or sold to you gave her equal joy.
      The very best reason to compose something new is when because your creations interest and engage and delight you.
      Mr. Genn misses the point, though. Self-gratification is lonely. It is nice to make a buck, but finding those someones who find your work very interesting is marvelous.
      You can see some pre- and post-smush examples here.


ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery watercolor artists Millie Boyd, Barbara Hamm, Dolly MacNeil, Bev Montiel, Jane Murray, and Linda Wirts this month. The works include people, landscapes, and flowers.
      The artists paint together with Instructor/Artist Kathleen Berry Bergeron of Jericho. Call Ms. Bergeron (802.899.4628) for painting and class info. "At any age you can start painting and do wonderful work," she said. She is very proud of this group.
      To buy one of the pieces or to learn more about how you, or someone you know, can become the featured Artist of the Month on the NMC Art Wall at NMC, call Katherine Winchester in the Volunteer Office (802.524.1055).
      The show continues through the end of March.

ST ALBANS--The Village Frame Shoppe hosts the Vermont Peace Corps Art Show starting with a reception on Friday at 6 p.m.
      This is Peace Corps Week. The exhibit theme is "Celebrating Our Host-Country Heroes."
      The show continues through the end of March.

MARATHON, FL--The Marathon Community Theater hosts the Florida Keys Watercolor Society's 33rd Annual Show in the Grand Lobby starting tomorrow and continuing every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. through April 4.
      The exhibit showcases colorful, luminous, original watercolors by artists from Key Largo to Key West.
      Click here for more info


ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers Blues Night with the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m. Vermont's own blues trio includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals.
      Friday brings the Contois School of Music Band at 5 p.m. and Franklin County favorites, the Phil Abair Band at 9 p.m.
      Mackenzie & Missisquoi play Saturday at 5 p.m.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Vern Colburn in the Dining Room on Friday at 5 p.m., James & Sophia on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and Piano Night in the Back Room on Monday at 6 p.m.
      Mr. Colburn has been a musician, teacher, and entertainer in Vermont for 55 years.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info or booking requests.

WINOOSKI--Justice returns to Winooski as CK's Sports Bar brings "total Justification to the joint" on Saturday at 9 p.m. It is a new stop for the Franklin County band.
      With Scott Belisle on bass and backup vocals; Rodney Bushey, lead guitar and vocals; Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Mike Stella, drums; and Scott Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals, Justice hammers a strong mix of 70s, 80s, 90s, and current dance rock.


      The Montgomery Town Library film series, Freedom & Unity: One State--Many Visions, continues Sunday at 2 p.m. The film screening and discussion series looks at our state with a six-part series of films shown every other Sunday. Part 5, Cere's Children this Sunday, explores participatory democracy and ethics in conservation and farming with a discussion led by Nora Jacobson.
      The Vermont Humanities Council program is hosted by the Friends of the Library. Call June Abramowitz (802.326.4239), email, or click here for more info.


      The Swanton Free Public Library will host a Grant Seeker Workshop on Tuesday, March 17.
      The Cultural Facilities Program awards grants of up to $30,000 to assist Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities to expanding the capacity of existing buildings to provide cultural activities for the public.
      We've seen other similar size communities like Marathon with a Community Theater building and outdoor amphitheater in the community park. They give us a good example.
      The Grant Seeker Workshops are the best way to get a head start on this year's grant rounds for any organization planning to apply for a Cultural Facilities grant this year.
      The workshop schedule also includes the Barre Opera House on Monday, March 9, and the Rutland Free Library the following Monday, March 16. All workshops will be held from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Workshops are free. Call Troy Hickman (802.828.3292) or email to RSVP.


      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 © 2015 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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