Saint-Gaudens and the Mountain

I’m incredibly fortunate to live within a thirty minute drive of two National Park Service sites. Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park is the closer, just down the road in Cornish, New Hampshire.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited, with family, friends, on my own and most recently, with my plein air group.

I’m boring… I paint the same building each time, the Little Studio, getting better with every rendition even though I continue to struggle with perspective. This day I sat in the field ignoring the yellow-jacket buzzing around me and focused on grape vines twining on the pergola as the tours came and went.

Once I was finished I looked for my artist friends but they had spread out across the property. Eventually I joined one who was painting from a lovely bench with a view of Ascutney across the river in Vermont.

Yes, that’s the other scene I consistently paint but no regrets here… it’s just fun!

OK… I’ve had enough with the Little Studio! I hereby declare I will paint something else when I next visit. But sorry no promises about the mountain. As Cyndi Lauper sang, girls just want to have fun.

A5 landscape Arteza Watercolor Book

What’s a Belvedere?

What’s a Belvedere? That was my question of the day.

Today I joined my plein air group as we visited Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont. Ten of us spread across the Terrace Garden, most choosing to include the central fountain in their work while I moved slightly further afield to sketch ‘The Belvedere’.

Merriam-Webster defines a belvedere as “a structure (as a cupola or a summerhouse) designed to command a view. It’s from the Italian, literally ‘fair-view’.  Bel as in ‘beautiful’… vedere as ‘to view’.

It’s definitely that!  The summerhouse sits above the garden with a lovely view of the nearby pool and the distant mountains.


Each time I sketch in a National Park I make sure to stamp my work with the park’s unique date stamp. It’s a little thing but it just seems to be the perfect ending to the outing. Today I was doubly happy to stamp my book… two stamps! One for the date and the other commemorating the centennial of the National Park Service!


The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. That’s next Thursday!

If you live near ANY location in the National Park System, I hope you will consider visiting to celebrate 100 years of nature, history and beauty.  I know I will. I’m planning a visit to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site!

Where will you go? (Not sure what’s near you? Find your park here.)