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go to: Charlie Duane - published articles - gold leaf article
As a teenager I excelled at sailboat racing. The shapes, motion, and appearance of a boat on the water became second-nature to me as a sailor. I have the agility to climb a mast. This background helps me adapt to the oddities encountered in the boatlettering specialty - such as working from staging in cramped quarters. I have always been comfortable around boats.
Sailors take pride in and hold great affection for their craft. I have discovered that a good-looking name adds the finishing touch to a well-maintained boat. A distinctive lettering job gives the boat higher resale value. Knowledgeable customers have taught me that a good graphic distinguishes their boat from the rest, yet costs only a tiny percent of their investment.
I continue to handletter everything from rowboats to luxury yachts. I also cut vinyl letters and spray masks with a computer. Handlettering is faster for transoms on land; vinyl is handy for boats already in the water. But watch out for gusts of wind when you're applying letters!

I have handlettered boats regularly since 1978, and written technical articles about signmaking for nearly as long. In 1994 I lettered Dennis Conner's "Stars and Stripes" and documented the technique in a cover story for Signs of the Times magazine. I did graphics for America3's Mighty Mary, and builder's plaques for our three America's Cup contenders.  In 1999, I decorated 2 America's Cup boats named Young America.  Other notable yachts include Esmeralda, Sleighride, Chessie, Shaman, Idler, Sforzando and Krazy K-Yote.

For three years I wrote a monthly technical column in Signs of the Times, featuring 30 finished projects done with hardware and software. These included photographic documentation of the completed work. Projects included life-size cutout figures and billboard-size enlargements of a compressed image carried on a floppy disk.
For one column, I published a public domain document (colstan.jpg) for color printer calibration, now widely used in the sign industry. I speak about digital imaging at signmaking seminars. Recently, as "guest of honor" at SignItalia98, I gave a presentation to an audience of 420 people on how to prepare images for the internet.  In 1999, I demonstrated website design for the same audience.
In the course of regular trips to the SignItalia trade show in Milan, Italy, I have photographed the 2,000-year-old Milanese Canal System. The documentary photographs have been acquired by the Art Library Museum of the Sforza Castle, and my related research on Leonardo Da Vinci has been published by the Raccolta Vinciana, the journal of record. See "The Legend of Leonardo and the Milanese Canals" at my personal site.
Working as a journalist in the sign industry led to some interesting projects. I photographed John Benson carving inscriptions during the construction of the FDR Memorial. Later, the Roosevelt Institute acquired one of these photos for a gift to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Princess Magriet of the Netherlands. The FDR Memorial Commission took interest in my work, had me document the Dedication, and preserved my photos in the National Archives.  A book for sale by the Park Service includes this work.
Recently, I have promoted the virtues and rewards of Scouting, while following the careers of my sons, James and Karl. We often hike in the White Mountains of New Hamphire, where James performed his Eagle service project. The New Bedford Standard Times documented our winter adventures in the article "Where Eagles dare: SouthCoast group hikes Italian Alps in Scouting Tradition." This group included 5 Eagle Scouts and 3 Scoutmasters.
During the summer of 2000, I hiked Vermont's Long Trail in 17 days, and during the summer of 2001, I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 97 days.

go to: Charlie Duane - published articles - gold leaf article

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