Plein Air Painting at the Cornish-Windsor Bridge


This weekend my son’s pastel class with Derek Bell from the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire headed out to the Cornish-Windsor bridge to do a little plein air pastel painting. This bridge spans the Connecticut River connecting the towns of Cornish N.H. and Windsor, Vt. and is the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world.  They set up in a nice spot at the boat launch between the entrance to Saint-Gauden’s and the Windsor-Cornish Covered Bridge.  There is a nice flat, grassy spot with a perfect view of the river and the bridge.

Plein Air

Video of a plein air pastel painting class working on landscapes in the Cornish and Windsor area of the Connecticut River Valley. This region is home to the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, USA, preserves the home, gardens, and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s foremost sculptors.

The Cornish Art Colony (or Cornish Artists’ Colony, or Cornish Colony) was a popular art colony centered in Cornish, New Hampshire from about 1895 through the years of World War I. Attracted by the natural beauty of the area, about 100 artists, sculptors, writers, designers, and politicians lived there either full-time or during the summer months. With views across the Connecticut River Valley to Mount Ascutney in Vermont, the bucolic scenery purported to resemble that of an Italian landscape.

The central figure of the Cornish Colony was Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Beginning around 1885, Augustus attracted a summer colony of artists that grew into a single extended social network. Some were related, some were friends, some were promising students from the Art Students League of New York that Saint-Gaudens had co-founded, and some were Saint-Gaudens’ assistants who developed significant careers of their own.

While the students painted I had a chance to retrace my own paths to some of areas natural and historic treasures.  I spent a fast hour attracting ticks, poison ivy and photographing and filming the waterfall and historic buildings around the Blow Me Down Mill on the Maxfield Parrish Highway near Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.  I also grabbed some reference photographs of the Cornish-Windsor bridge for one of my colored pencil techniques of altered digital works.

Art Prints

Art Prints

Photography Prints