by June Pichel Cook
GREENSBORO – Greensboro artist Elaine Cole-Kerr has completed the first in her Vermont Covered Bridges Calendar Project memorializing covered bridges in Vermont. The project will take eight to nine years to complete; Series One launched with the 2021 calendar.
Covered bridges are known for their romantic appeal and are among the most photographed sites. The state even promoted a Vermont tour of covered bridges. A covered bridge, according to Cole, is considered authentic not due to its age, but by its construction. The authentic covered bridge uses trusses in its construction rather than other methods, such as stringers. The roofs are designed to prolong the life of the bridge itself.
Vermont has the highest number of covered bridges per square mile in the United States, Cole-Kerr said. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge, shared by Vermont and New Hampshire, is the longest wooden covered bridge in the U.S. and spans 449.5 feet. Built in 1866, the bridge is 24 feet wide with 12.9 feet vertical clearance. The bridge will be featured in a future Series.
“The bridges are so beautiful. Even though some are very plain, they’re individual,” Cole-Kerr said. “I was amazed at how many covered bridges we have in Vermont.”
Of her inspiration for the project, the artist said, “I love capturing the beauty of Vermont on canvas. One day my sister, Shirley, suggested that I do a calendar of covered bridges. After planting that seed, my project began.”
Cole-Kerr’s first covered bridge painting, of Fisher Bridge in Wolcott, is featured in Series One of the calendar project. She works in both acrylic and watercolor, often using her own photographs for reference.
“I have taken photos of some (bridges),” she said, “and have been granted permission by other friends and photographers to paint from theirs.”
Capturing bridges in every season can be challenging and Cole-Kerr said she takes artistic license in some of her paintings.
On most days, she can be found in her studio at 1492 Town Highway 8 in Greensboro where her original work can be viewed by appointment.
“When I start a project,” she said, “I keep at it.”
The calendars are found locally at Smith Store in Greensboro, as well as in Newport at the NEK Crafters Emporium, in Lyndonville at the Freight Stop and in West Burke. Calendars can also be found at Agway.
Series One features the following bridges: A.M. Foster Bridge, Cabot Plains; Comstock Bridge, Montgomery; Twin Bridge, North Hartland; Bartonsville Bridge, Rockingham; Slaughter House Bridge, Northfield; Fisher Bridge, Wolcott; Ome Bridge, Irasburg; Poland Bridge, Cambridge; Power House bridge, Johnson; Taftsville Bridge, Windsor; Miller’s Run Bridge, Lyndon; and Waitsfield Bridge, Waitsfield.
Further information is available at colekerroriginals.com.