Masterful Combination: Bill Barley’s Giclee Printing and Jim Harrison’s Fine Art

Giclee Printing on Canvas
Renowned fine artist Jim Harrison checking out canvas gallery wrap reproductions of his coastal scenes, faithfully reproduced on LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas by Bill Barley, Studio BB&A.

It takes a master to reproduce a master’s art. Bill Barley, owner of Bill Barley & Associates (aka Studio BB&A), Lexington, S.C., recently had the unique privilege of printing giclees for one of South Carolina’s top veteran artists, Jim Harrison.

Canvas Gallery WrapsHarrison’s work typically depicts South Carolina’s natural beauty, especially its grand coastal areas. Harrison began his career as a sign painter in the days long before the advent of any vinyl-cutting or printing technology, then turned his talent to fine-art painting.

Now in his late 70s, Harrison has dived into the digital world with Bill Barley.

“You might call him the artist emeritus of South Carolina,” says Barley. “He’s doing a series of coastal scenes and I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of canvas printing for him. He’s a traditional artist, who for most of his career has sold only litho prints. Now he’s jumped into giclee printing big time.”

Photographing Fine Art
Capturing one of Jim Harrison’s beautiful South Carolina fine art landscape paintings at Studio BB&A.

Barley’s print process using an Epson Stylus Pro 9890 and the ImagePrint RIP fully and faithfully reproduces Harrison’s masterpieces.

“I’m using LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas. It looks like real artist canvas and the artists I work with love it. That canvas is worth every penny,” says Barley. “Jim Harrison is exacting in the landscapes he creates, and demands the same of me for his reproductions.”

Barley adds that the gallery wraps are custom built in collaboration with his framer since artists like Harrison don’t paint at standard sizes and prefer not to crop their work. Most of the gallery wraps shown here are 1 1/2″ thick.

Invested in Art at Editions Limited

Studio EL artwork for health care environments
Studio EL provides unique original art and design services for health care, hospitality and corporate environments on a variety of materials, including alternative materials like acrylic, aluminum and sustainable bamboo.


When attempting to describe Joanne Chappell’s 45-year journey from art student at Indiana University to owner of an influential, enterprising and constantly evolving art publishing business based in the San Francisco area, “investment” is a word that captures the core of what made that journey a success.

Editions Limited and its affiliated companies – Studio EL and Drybrush Graphics – are the culmination of Chappell’s early investment in the art world. That initial investment in time, money and passion has paid off, not only for Chappell and the 31 team members at Editions Limited, but more importantly it has paid off by bringing original art to more people and introducing hundreds of artists to a wider audience.

Art for Hospitals by Studio ELEditions Limited began in 1969 when Chappell started a high-end art gallery in Indianapolis after organizing art shows for non-profits and teaching art for several years.

About ten years later, Chappell moved her gallery to San Francisco’s financial district. Her new location dictated to some degree the direction Editions Limited would ultimately follow.

“Because we were in the heart of the financial district we had corporate people walking in and wanting us to help them find artwork for their companies. We started looking for artwork that would meet their needs, and in doing so we shifted away from residential applications,” explains Chappell.

Editions Limited in Emeryville, California
Editions Limited operates from a spacious historic building in Emeryville, Calif. Pictured in the upper left inset from left to right are Todd Haile, Joanne Chappell (with Hugo the dog) and Meghan Faulkner.

Editions Limited eventually ended up in its present space in Emeryville, Calif., a 100-year-old brick building with high ceilings and plenty of space to house the design and printing operations.

Today, Editions Limited focuses on creating poster art for the masses. Studio EL, which was launched about seven years ago, is focused on creating custom print-on-demand (POD) art for health care, hospitality and corporate environments. Drybrush Graphics, which launched about ten years ago, provides limited edition (250 and less) signed and numbered custom reproductions to a more exclusive audience.

Essentially, Editions Limited covers the gamut, from the narrow niche served by Drybrush Graphics to the less narrow but custom niche served by Studio EL, to the wider consumer market served by the company’s poster publishing arm.

Art on Aluminum at Editions Limited
The exterior of Editions Limited’s building features banner artwork on aluminum by Stephen Donwerth.

Though Editions Limited is the flagship operation from which everything else flows, Studio EL has been the company’s fastest growing and most dynamic component. It was created to meet the demand for high-end yet economical art specifically designed for each location in which the artwork is placed.

“Studio EL is a collection of fine art archival prints that are custom tailored to each project. The sizing, substrate and finish are determined by the client while the artwork is sourced by us,” explains Chappell. “I brought in a different team for cutting-edge, trendsetting art. The Studio EL team works with an amazing amount of artists and it’s usually a collection of limited edition fine art prints or utilizing some of the art from our poster art collection.”

Even with more than six million images from which to choose, the Studio EL team will source new artists and photographers to ensure a perfect fit for their clients. Moreover, Studio EL prints to practically every medium, including fine art papers, canvas, aluminum, wood, glass, acrylics, wall coverings and even mirrors.

Print Room at Editions Limited
The print room at Editions Limited.

Though each market sector with which Studio EL works – be it health care, hospitality or corporate – has its own general style, each individual project varies considerably. Artwork for the health care market, for instance, is typically designed to take patients out of what is usually a stressful environment and transport them to soothing and exotic locales.

“In the hospitality business it’s more site specific; what coordinates with the furnishing and design of the room, plus something that ties into the geographic area. Editions Limited is a bit more of a mainstream look whereas Studio EL has a different aesthetic, possibly a bit more of a fine art feel in steyle, with subject more cutting-edge to eclectic that are perfect for site projects,” says creative director Todd Haile.

Hospitality Art by Editions Limited
For this hospitality project, Studio EL used a combination of alternative materials and LexJet Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper.

Studio EL utilizes a fleet of printers, including two Epson GS6000 low-solvent printers, three Epson 11880s and an older Epson, which is used primarily for proofing necessary in offset printing. The trick for the digital department has been to ensure quality and color calibration across the various print platforms, from offset to giclee.

“This company is over 35 years old and the business model for many years was primarily offset posters. Since the addition of giclee printing we’ve got it to the point that the calibration and profiling is dead-on. We’re so much more efficient now,” says Haile. “A lot of our customers request some of our poster images for on-demand applications. They’re used to seeing the poster interpretation of a specific image and we wanted to make sure that we’re resembling that with inkjet so we’ve worked hard to profile and calibrate everything consistently.

Hospitality Fine Art by Studio ELWhat that means practically, says Haile, is limiting the inkjet printers for those poster-to-giclee projects since inkjet allows a much wider color gamut. “The very nature of the Epson printers is that they produce color that’s much richer than what you get from offset so you end up having to limit them somewhat when you make that transition. You get this rich, almost pastel chalky texture to an aqueous inkjet print that’s luscious compared to an offset print,” he says.

The low-solvent printers are used primarily for canvas reproductions. Haile explains that printing on satin canvas with low-solvent inks negates the need for post-production coating since the ink and canvas surface bond with each other and provide more protection than output from a standard aqueous printer.

While creating an efficient and calibrated workflow has been an important contributor to the company’s success, most important has been the consistent presence of a dedicated, professional staff.

“Most of our people have been here 15 years or more. Even during the recession, we kept everyone on board. I think that’s really very important because the art consultants, for example, have very specific territories and people know them, and we’ve been intensely involved in finding art that works in a lot of different situations,” says Chappell. “That’s an area in which we’re unique. We are relentless about finding artists and artwork that fits all these different situations.”

New Sunset Canvas from LexJet Designed for Production

Production inkjet printable canvasPrint shops and art reproduction companies looking for an economical inkjet-printable canvas alternative for longer production runs that provides consistent quality can now add LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas to their arsenal.

“Of course I really like the price of this new canvas from LexJet, but it still provides good color reproduction. It has a little more tooth to show the canvas texture for mass production projects that require that look,” says Richard Herschberger, owner of Herschberger Galerie in Arthur, Ill. “I also like the fact that I can get it in 60-foot rolls so I’m not changing it out as often; you get more bang for the buck that way.”

LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas has been engineered for the latest aqueous printer and ink set technologies from Canon, Epson and HP. It is a bright-white, water-resistant 100% polyester matte canvas with the look and feel of a traditional 2-over-1 weave for all types of art and décor applications. It’s designed to work flawlessly with Sunset Gloss Coating and Sunset Satin Coating, either sprayed or rolled on.

“The new canvas effectively rounds out our award-winning Sunset Canvas line because it gives companies with high-production environments the perfect balance between price and quality in a highly repeatable, consistent large format inkjet print solution,” says Alex Ried, LexJet product manager. “That’s what we were aiming for when we developed it, and our feedback so far indicates that we hit the target.”

LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas is now available and shipping from LexJet’s Nationwide Delivery Network, which provides the vast majority of the United States with one-day ground shipping on all LexJet products. It is available in 60′ roll lengths and 24″, 36″, 44″ and 60″ widths.

For more information about LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas and the Sunset Canvas line, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

ARTtrust Online Helps Photographers and Artists Protect the Value of Their Prints

Whether you print fine-art photographs and art reproductions for yourself or as a service to other photographers or artists, you might want to check out ARTtrust Online. It’s a high-tech, print-authentication system designed to protect the value of photographic and art prints by assuring buyers that each print in an edition is unique and authentic and isn’t an unauthorized copy.

ARTtrust registration reduces risks for buyers of high-value art prints and better protects the rights of photographers and artists. Auction houses, galleries, museums, and collectors can use ARTtrust to trace the ownership of each print over time.

ARTtrust fills a real need in the market for fine-art photography and art prints because the same digital imaging and printing technology that makes it possible to create consistently color-accurate, long-lasting reproductions of fine art and photographs can just as easily be used to make counterfeit prints.

How Mark McMahon Maximizes His Art Exposure with Gicleé Reproductions

Mark McMahon makes his own giclee reproductions of his watercolor paintings.

Here’s  a great example of how an enterprising artist has built a thriving career for himself and is successfully using in-studio printing and materials from LexJet to make his own giclée reproductions.

The tension between the creative urge and the need to eat isn’t new. Michelangelo spent as much time lobbying the Pope and Medici families to fund his art projects as he did painting and sculpting. However, Lake Forest, IL-based artist Mark McMahon seems to have managed to balance the economic realities of this world with the demands of the creative muses. A veritable institution in the Chicago area, the entrepreneurially minded watercolor artist has embraced many different technologies to promote, replicate and sell his work. Like his father before him, McMahon isn’t shy about marketing matters. And when inkjet-based gicleé technology emerged, it was as if McMahon had been anticipating it for decades.

Mark is the son of Franklin McMahon, an internationally known artist/reporter who chronicled five decades of twentieth-century history in sketches and watercolors – particularly Civil Rights events, space race NASA and presidential campaigns. Among other famous events in the elder McMahon’s portfolio is the 1960 Nixon Kennedy debate and the 1955 Emmett Till murder trial. On the wall near Mark McMahon’s fireplace is a reproduction of one of his father’s paintings of the 1969 Chicago Seven conspiracy trial.

Artist Mark McMahon used an Epson Stylus Pro wide-format printer and Hahnemühle German Etching 310 Digital Fine Art Paper from LexJet to print a reproduction of one of his father’s watercolor paintings from the coutroom of Chicago 7 Conspiracy trial in 1969. It was the trial in which seven defendants were charged with conspirary related to riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. ©Franklin McMahon.

In some ways, this print represents the culmination of McMahon’s technological evolution over the years, as he explored methods that would allow him to increase his income while maintaining artistic integrity and pleasing his customers. Both he and his father have digitized thousands of their works and licensed them to Corbis.

FBI Studios Hosts Gratitude 4: Giclée Print Art Show

To express their appreciation to the artists who hire Fine Balance Imaging Studios (FBI Studios) to reproduce their work, co-owners Joe Menth and Nancy MacFarland hosted the Gratitude 4: Giclée Print Art Show in February.  More than two dozen artists and photographers were featured in the show which was held at the Bayview Cash Store Hub from Feb 1-Feb 27 and from Feb 19-26 at the Open Door Community Gallery in Bayview Corner on Whidbey Island, Washington.

According to Joe, the show is unique for three reasons:

  • The artists get to be in a gallery show, without the usual gallery fees. 100% of the sales go directly to the artists.
  • All of the art on display are giclée fine-art reproductions, produced by Fine Balance Imaging.
  • The featured artists represent all skill levels and different kinds of original mediums, including acrylics, watercolors, photographs, oil paintings, and mixed-media collages. Some of the artists are internationally famous and some are just beginning their career. The artists featured in this year’s show ranged in age from 10 to 80.

Fine Balance Imaging hosts the shows, handles the marketing, and advises the artists on how to finish and price their work.  They also throw a big reception party for the artists.

In The Canopy by Gaylen Whiteman

FBI Studios uses the show as an opportunity to demonstrate that high-quality giclée printing can have the same visual quality as original art. On his blog post about this year’s Gratitude show, Menth pointed out that, “Works shown at the Seattle Art Museum for many exhibits (including reproductions of some paintings in the recent Michaelangelo exhibit) were created using the same process FBI Studios uses for local Whidbey artists. Many galleries offer these prints as viable alternatives to high-priced original works of art.”

He added that correctly produced giclée prints on certain types of papers will resist fading for over 200 years, which is decades longer than prints created with offset lithography: “In fact, most giclée prints will outlast original watercolor paintings and traditionally printed photographs.”

In addition to showcasing a variety of artists, the Gratitude show demonstrates how different types of print materials can enhance the look of different types of art. Eyescapes 6 by Ellen Martorelli was output on LexJet Sunset Photo Semimatte paper and Koi Attack by Chris Spencer  was printed on Moab Moenkopi Washi Unryu kozo/mulberry paper.

For the Gratitude show, the piece entitled In The Canopy by Gaylen Whiteman was output on Ellie Poo paper a 100% recycled paper that contains elephant dung. Reprints were available on Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art or Epson Somerset Velvet.

This is the fourth year FBI Studios has sponsored the Gratitude show. They do it because they both feel so fortunate to be working with artists. As Menth puts it, “We love talking with incredible artists, being inspired by the conversations and friendships, and getting the chance to make a living doing something we’re really passionate about.”

Koi Attack by Chris Spencer

At LexJet, we like hearing stories about how our customers are helping their customers market their work. If you have stories you’d like to share, call your LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.

Eyescapes 6 by Ellen Martorelli