Inspired by the power of landscape, I am drawn to study the natural layers found on the Earth through art. I don’t always know what form this may take though it usually begins with sketching or writing. Whether inspired by the beauty or awe of a moment, the tangled web of history and the contrast presented with our times or moved by an upsetting environmental crisis, art provides a path for me to advocate for the protection of our precious natural and historic resources.
Once in the studio, sketchbooks and notes help reinvigorate that initial inspiration and paintings, prints, poems, performances or installations are born. The process of printmaking provides a perfect medium to physically create the many layers that contribute to cultural evolution and challenges we face today. Incorporating words as texture in printmaking, enables me to capture a sense of the passage of time and combine the human connection with it.
To get lost in the printmaking process on a great studio day is to dance with the Muse. No longer are you thinking about backwards or front to back but instead each image—each plate---flows into the next. I find myself printing off the prints and by the end of the day each print has become a “little painting.” Creating these images helps to combat the sense of loss I feel regarding the environment and community in these times. Each print becomes an icon of hope and a record of another time.
Blair Folts is an artist and environmental activist living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her work is inspired by nature and her connection to the earth. She is passionate about adventuring to remote areas in search of natural mysteries which she refers to as “landscapeness.” After graduating from the University of Maine with a degree in English and Art, Folts attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where she pursued painting and printmaking.
Though she considers herself a painter first, Folts is also deeply connected to the printmaking process. She approaches printmaking as she does her painting and combines many layers of ink and many passes through the press in order to create the finished prints. Using printmaking this way, Folts depicts the layers of time and presents how change is impacting the culture and the environment in the 21st century. She had her first major show in 1991 at the Currier Museum of Art where she had the opportunity to exhibit paintings, prints and an environmental installation about Acid Rain. Since then she has exhibited across New England and has shown internationally in Canada, China and Italy.
An ardent conservationist, Folts is also the founder and was executive director of the Green Mountain Conservation Group, a seven-town conservation group located in the Ossipee Watershed in New Hampshire until 2020. Her experiences have pointed her to be intensely involved in the relationships between art and nature. “My creative inspiration begins through sketching the natural world even if the final work is later abstracted into huge canvases or alternative dance performances.”