Since the early colonial days, New Hampshire has been a welcoming environment for the arts. During the 19th century, the famous poets T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost, and the world-renowned artists Albert Bierstadt and Winslow Homer were drawn to the majestic beauty of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and picturesque wooded countryside. Today, that creative tradition continues to flourish in our local towns, including Peterborough, which remains a modern hub for the arts.
Among the artists that reside in Peterborough is Laura Jayne Blackmer. She is a talented artist whose paintings explore the art of working in wax, a technique known as encaustic art, that can be dated back to the ancient Greeks of the fifth century B.C. What exactly is encaustic painting? It’s a mixed media technique that incorporates a heated mixture of beeswax and resin to which colored oil-based or pastel pigments have been added. The word encaustic is derived from the ancient Greeks and is defined as “burning in.” Successive layers of heated wax are applied throughout the process, creating a subtle translucent depth as the layers are built up, one by one. The heated liquid may be applied to a prepared canvas or to a similarly prepared wood surface. To create texture the artist may include a variety of materials, among which can be paper, found objects, or natural botanical materials. The top layer may be buffed to a soft gloss. The final product is quite durable, though temperatures of 180 to 200 degrees should be avoided for both you and your paintings!
Laura Jayne, also known professionally as LJ, studied this artform at Franklin Pierce College. She attended the school between 2012-2016 and graduated with dual majors in art and psychology. She began her studies in psychology; however, because of her innate artistic nature she elected to take a class in caustic painting. The professor was so impressed with her talent that he urged her to include the study of art in her curriculum. For the last two years, LJ has devoted much of her time to pursuing her art and has received recognition for her work. She also participated in the fall Monadnock Art Studio Tours in 2018 and 2019.
LJ has fully immersed herself in the arts, and to that end, she works at The Monadnock Center For History And Culture, as well as The Fry Fine Art Gallery in Peterborough, where she will be a featured artist in an upcoming show that begins on Feb. 7 and runs through May 30, 2020. In addition, her works can be seen at The Gallery at Depot Square in the Offices at Depot Square in their new show, RECLAIMED, RECYCLED, REIMAGINED. The exhibit profiles artists who incorporate discarded and recycled materials into their work, giving those items a second chance at “life.”
LJ’s Facebook page is a great place to get acquainted with the artist, and her art. A wide range of her paintings and encaustic works can be seen there. The paintings range in size from 5”x7” miniatures to larger works, and she will even create custom-designed mugs for discerning thirst quenchers! And, you can also commission LJ to create original works of art, to meet your specifications and your expectations.
Artists always bring their own sensibilities to their creations. That’s what imbues their works with their own unique visions. When LJ was asked how she defines art, she said, “Art should make the viewer feel something, it should evoke an emotional response.”
For more information on LJ’s upcoming show at the Fry Fine Art Gallery, located at 36 Grove Street in Peterborough, you can call: 603-784-5420. A Reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 7, from 5-7 p.m.