Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site Cornish New Hampshire

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Here in Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont we so much natural beauty that it is almost taken for granted. Mountains to hike, rolling farm fields to soak in, rivers and ponds to paddle, amazing fall foliage. We even have a couple of National Parks. Over in Woodstock, Vermont there is the Marsh Billing Rockefeller National Historic Site and on this side of the Connecticut River we have The Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

Some have said that The Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is one of New England’s least visited national parks, attracting fewer than 34,000 visitors annually which is a shame because the site makes for a wonderful visit. Any lover of art, history and simply beautiful gardens and homes would enjoy a visit to the park. Plus its a bargain at something like $5 a visit or even free in the off season.

Tucked away in Cornish, New Hampshire, right across the Connecticut River via the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, this sprawling estate should be on every art lover’s New England itinerary, particularly when autumn accents the landscape with rusty hues. On your visit you can watch a film about the Cornish arts colony and Augusta Saint-Gauden’s life and work, tour the home, his studio and many of his sculptures.

The sculptures visitors encounter as they roam the property provide a unique look at the legacy of this talented and well-connected artist, who was followed to New Hampshire not only by his team of assistants but by artists who sought his guidance and camaraderie and who were likewise inspired by the surrounding landscape. Among the artists who formed the Cornish Art Colony were painters Maxfield Parrish, Kenyon Cox and George de Forest Brush; sculptors Paul Manship and Herbert Adams and architect Charles Platt. At its height, the colony counted 90 artists among its ranks.
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Besides the park, the Cornish and Windsor area have ample attractions for visitors. In Cornish just outside the park you can visit the Blow Me Down Mill and four covered bridges in the area. On the Vermont side in Windsor there is the American Precision Museum housed in an old gun factory as well as visit the artisan park which features cheese making, a distillery, a Harpoon Brewery and the glass blowers and pottery makers of Simon Simon Pearce. The region has historically been known for hand crafted quality work from manufacturing to fine art and this tradition continues.

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The Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site’s grounds, Aspet house and exhibit buildings are open daily from Memorial Day weekend through October. Hours are 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and the grounds remain open until dusk. In the off-season, exhibit buildings are closed, but the Visitor Center is generally open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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The Peaks and Valleys of a Creative Journey

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“Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.” –Pablo Picasso

When you set out on a life journey based on creativity, be it a writer, artist, actor, photographer, one has to be prepared to experience the peaks and valleys of the creative path.   Unlike a salaried position or even a business with predictable seasonal fluctuations, the creative person will find success bundled with failure, rejection and simply lack of interest with no predictability.  The release of a new book, a new piece, a new show, a new movie will bring about a sudden influx of popularity and attention only to be replaced by a (hopefully!) temporary lull in activity.  Its easy to be excited by ones choice of a creative path during the peaks but it can also be emotionally draining during the low points.  An extra kick in the butt is needed to push forward in these times.

Here are some ideas to help you through the slow times, time when you might be feeling creatively drained, perhaps unappreciated or simply wondering what the heck I am I doing?

  • Make a list of things you want to accomplish with your work.  Is this a good time to contact that gallery you’ve been meaning to approach?  Time to organize your work into that book?
  • Put down your brushes and camera for a while.  Take longs walks without your tools and simply soak in the inspiration and store it away for your next burst of creative.
  • Get organized.  Slower periods are great time to clean out and get more organized.  Clear away the lingering chores that will hinder your creative process in the future.
  • Connect with other artists.  See what they are up to, get inspired by their work and projects.
  • Keep focused on the big picture.  Where is it you see yourself in five years?  Plan out the little steps you need to accomplish to reach your goals.  Keep in mind that there are very few overnight successes.
  • Take time to balance your life.  Have you been so busy with your artwork that you have neglected other aspects of your life?  Spend more time with your significant other, your family, your friends.  Get some exercise and eat better.   Pick up a new skill like cooking and find some inspiration excising a different part of your brain.
  • Get out and see other work.  Go to museums, galleries, art fairs.  See what is going on in your art community.  Learn more about the buyers of art

Its all too easy to become sad and disappointed when one is in a valley but if you turn it around into an opportunity then you’ll be all the more ready for your next climb to a peak.

 

 

Thoughts? Comments?

Edward M. Fielding is a fine art photographer. His work can been seen www.edwardfielding.com

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