Deb Caplan moved to Peterborough about a decade ago. Since then she has grown very fond of not only the town, but the many notable landmarks that are recognizable to locals and visitors alike. Places like Harlow’s Pub and the library, the Stone Barn, Roy’s Market or the MacDowell Art Colony mean something to both those from here and those from afar.
To capture these special places, Caplan creates black and white drawings which she then reproduces for anyone who wants a taste of “Our Town” to take home.
“My family and I have been in Peterborough for almost 10 years and we just love it here,” Caplan said. “I am proud of this town and when I have visitors, I show it off. There are places here like Harlow’s and the Peterborough library, or the Peterborough Players that have been around for over 80 years, that are these iconic images of the town.”
Before moving to Peterborough Caplan was a juried member of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Artists Guild. She worked mainly in “small clay figurative sculptures,” but wanted to move toward something that was a little less “cumbersome and messy” that she would be able to do from home.
“When I went off to college, I did a double major in studio art and art history at Brandeis University,” she said. “I did my thesis on Louis Prang. He was a lithographer at about the same time as Currier and Ives who is credited with bringing art to the masses. I don’t know why, but that stuck in my head and I thought about creating things that I could reproduce and would be affordable.”
While the region boasts of many renowned artists and photographers, sometimes their works, while beautiful and unique, can be cost-prohibitive to own. With her sketches of local spots and buildings, through her brand LineScapes, Caplan tries to capture what makes Peterborough such a special place.
By being able to reproduce her work to meet demand, Caplan keeps prices low enough to guarantee almost anyone can bring home a piece of art to remind them of their hometown or visit to the area.
“I like to capture a moment in time,” she said. “I like to focus just on the familiar like Roy’s Market. Even though it is kind of a funny deco building, people respond to it because it is familiar.
“The Stone Barn, for example, is both iconic and familiar, because there are very few stone barns left. So, I look for a familiar, iconic moment in time which could be a building or could be something like Children and the Arts [an annual Peterborough festival]. Things that express the feeling of being in town.”
Caplan works primarily in black and white, but her prints are also available in hand-colored variations. She is drawn to the black and white partly from feeling that there are still so many new technique and things to learn about the medium. She also said she likes the feel of the pen in her hand and to experiment with the different nibs on the pen.
“It has always satisfied me,” she said of the black and white sketches. “I haven’t felt the need to branch out as I am still learning. I feel like I could spend my whole life learning new techniques for black and white.”
Although she has been working on her Peterborough pieces for under three years, Caplan has been amazed at the level of interest from locals and tourists alike.
“One of the things I love is when people are looking at my images and I see someone smile. It is a smile of recognition. A smile of finding something familiar,” Caplan said.
Finding something well-known is an experience Caplan hopes to bring to more people, and in particular to those in towns beyond Peterborough while still remaining New Hampshire-centric. In addition to prints, she has thought about designing things like Christmas cards, a perpetual calendar or perhaps even a children’s coloring book.
But first, Caplan will be attending the Amherst German Christmas Market on Dec. 7 where she will see how people respond to images of Amherst, instead of Peterborough. For this event, she developed a new series based on the sites and moments in Amherst that she hopes will resonate with the residents there.
“You get a sense of history in this region,” Caplan said. “With the iconic buildings, they were here before us and that inspires me.”
Deb Caplan’s LineScapes will be vending at the Broke Arts Fair on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Peterborough Town Hall, plus the Amherst German Christmas Market on Dec. 7 at the Wigwam Museum in Amherst. Her works are also available year-round at The Toadstool Bookshop at 12 Depot Square in Peterborough. To place a direct order, request a custom drawing or learn more, visit linescapesnh.com.