Sandra Hildreth, who writes regularly about Adirondack arts and culture, grew up in rural Wisconsin and is a retired high school art teacher. She lives in Saranac Lake where she was spends much of her time hiking, paddling, skiing, and painting.
Today, Sandy can often be found outdoors Plein air painting - working directly from nature, and is an exhibiting member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake. She is also active in Saranac Lake ArtWorks. Sandy’s work can be seen on her website sandrahildreth.com.
Here is a quick summary of some of the unique exhibits on display in the northern Adirondacks right now. They would be great for a family “rainy day” outing or a good reason for a road trip when the black flies are too fierce to be outdoors. The descriptions are brief, but there are many hidden gems among these various offerings and they are well worth seeing.
BluSeed Studios, in Saranac Lake, is featuring the work of artist Dave Fadden. Indigenous Reflection is a powerful exhibit of mostly figurative paintings, in a unique contemporary mosaic style, that do reflect upon and address past and present issues impacting Native Americans. The Gallery is open 2-6 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and by appointment. Sponsored by the Adirondack Diversity Institute, there will be a closing reception and artist conversation on June 25, from 5 – 7 pm. BluSeedStudios.org, 518-891-3799, email@example.com
It looks like this year, 2022, I can finally put aside all the paperwork and endless planning, and just take part in the 14th Adirondack Plein Air Festival as an artist. Like the event, I have evolved and matured, both as a painter and as the event organizer.
I came up with the idea to have Saranac Lake ArtWorks host a plein air festival back in 2009. I had heard about an event in Easton, MD that had been very successful, though I’d never been to one. Lots of artists took part and lots of paintings were sold. The Saranac Lake area has an abundance of scenic views, though a much smaller regional population – we should host such an event. It must be easy – select dates, let a bunch of artists know, have an exhibit. Easy….
Saranac Lake ArtWorks announces a convergence of Adirondack “arts” on Friday August 13th: Literary, Fine Art, & Music. BluSeed Studios starts the night with a book reading by Christopher Shaw at 6 pm. (https://www.bluseedstudios.org/event/153626/the-power-line-reading-by-chris-shaw). The author will read from “The Powerline” – which the Schenectady Daily Gazette website described as “taking readers on a journey to Lake Aurora and Saranac Lake and through time, going back to the years following World War I. It weaves together fictionalized memories of longtime residents with well-known regional landmarks and highlights how much the area has changed.” The reading starts at 6 pm, the admission fee is $10/person, and there will be time for questions and answers.
In the BluSeed gallery space, “Three Perspectives” is on display. (https://www.bluseedstudios.org/collections/164032). It is a special exhibit by 3 veteran Saranac Lake area Adirondack artists: pastel painter Diane Leifheit, plein air oil painter Nancy Brossard, and oil painter Stephen Horne.
A year into this pandemic, and many small businesses are struggling with how to safely stay in business. Our area artists and galleries are no exception. Fortunately, we have the largest “canvas” in the world available to us – the internet!
Several of our galleries have opted to hold virtual exhibits in addition to in-gallery shows. NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery (https://northwindfineartsgallery.com) is now sharing a space in the back of the former Sears Store (62 Main St., Saranac Lake) with ADK ArtRise (https://www.adkartrise.com) – a school offering art classes.
The Adirondack Artists Guild, in partnership with the Adirondack Center for Writing, presents Responding II – 2020 as its featured exhibit in September, running from Sept. 4-29.
The title comes from the Gallery’s history – shortly after September 11, 2001, we invited artists, writers, and anyone else who wanted to respond to or share their feelings about that horrific event. We called the show “Responding”, and the gallery was full of deeply moving and expressive creations.
35 Artists Participating! Like many organizations, Saranac Lake ArtWorks had to consider cancelling our main event of the year, the 12th Adirondack Plein Air Festival, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Keeping the safety of our artists, our art collectors, and our community in mind, here’s what we are doing:
35 talented, accomplished artists, mainly from New York and nearby states, were invited to paint on their own, anywhere within the Adirondack Park, between July 30 and August 19. There is no gathering of artists or reception. They will submit digital images of their paintings to be posted on our website: https://saranaclakeartworks.org. You may go to the Events section of the website and visit the Plein Air Festival pages to see the list of participating artists.
This is the tale of a good Adirondack story, which is all true, but I had to make up a picture to illustrate it! I am an artist who loves to paint wild Adirondack landscapes, and sometimes a few of the Rocky Mountains too. A man was referred to me, who wanted someone to do a painting of a special Adirondack location for him.
Saranac Lake ArtWorks has announced their 4th Annual “Paint-Out” at the Paul Smith’s VIC has been set to run from September 1st to 8th, 2018. Like the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, which just concluded, the “Paint-Out” focuses on painting the Adirondack environment, which includes people and buildings and activities and wildlife as well as the landscape itself.
The Paul Smith’s College VIC (Visitor Interpretive Center) is located about a mile north of the college campus on Route 30. The building houses two gallery spaces, an interpretive display about the Adirondacks, classrooms, offices, and a small gift shop. » Continue Reading.
Who organizes a major event, without ever having taken part in a similar one? An artist would…. we create new things on a blank canvas all the time! I heard about something called Plein Air Festivals over 10 years ago and one day had a brainstorm. It seemed that if you had a scenic location, you could set the dates, invite a bunch of artists, give them a couple days to paint and then hold an exhibit. So without ever having participated in one, I organized the first Adirondack Plein Air Fesitval in Saranac Lake in August 2009.
Why hold a Plein Air Festival? To share the great beauty of the Adirondack environment with new people. Artists who may never have painted in this area, as well as local residents and visitors who may never have considered buying a work of art. A painting of a place you know, or have visited on vacation might be appealing. Or the fact that you could actually watch an artist as they worked, outdoors, on location, and then purchase that very painting! » Continue Reading.
The first time I went up Azure Mountain, it was because I’d read about it in a trail guide – it was only a mile hike so I thought it would be pretty easy. The trail started out very gradually, passing a small clearing with an old stone fire place and a picnic table. (I would later learn that’s where the fire observer’s cabin was located.) But after that, the trail became steep. Only a few switchbacks, then practically straight up the mountain – a 900+ foot elevation gain in a pretty short distance. On one stretch there were even a couple of bare poles, leaning at rakish angles, with insulators on the top. (They once held the telephone wire that went up to the fire tower). » Continue Reading.
I painted the eclipse of August 21, 2017. No, not a solid black background with an orange disk with a bite taken out of it. I went out to a favorite painting location and I painted the effects of the eclipse on the Adirondack landscape!
It was kind of a crazy idea, but I figured a 60% reduction of the amount of light coming from the sun should have some kind of an optical impact on the world around us. I considered several options and then went to the Harrietstown Cemetery hill, on Route 86, where there is an unobstructed view looking east towards Whiteface, Moose and McKenzie Mountains. They are always bathed in light during the afternoon, so I figured the reduction of light would effect the colors and values. » Continue Reading.
You’ve probably been to fund-raising events where artwork has been donated. This is a tradition that many artists feel is an important way to show their support for an organization or cause. Sometimes art is also used as a publicity tool, with pieces created specifically for a purpose or cause. Many historians have credited Frederick Church, and other 19th century artists, with helping promote the creation of the National Park system, through their paintings of places like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Hudson River School painters shared with the world the beauty of the Adirondack and Catskill regions.
AdkAction just hosted the first Keeseville Plein Air Festival, to draw attention to the historic community, the beautiful Ausable River, and flourishing area farms, and to raise funds for a downtown revitalization project. It was very successful.
This August, during the 2017 Adirondack Plein Air Festival (August 14-19), there is a new cause that we will be drawing attention to through art. The Friends of Eagle Island, who now own the beautiful and historic camp on Eagle Island, in Upper Saranac Lake, have big dreams and a huge renovation/restoration task ahead of them. » Continue Reading.
There is an exhibit in the Heron Gallery at the Paul Smith’s College VIC that everyone should go see. It is a collection of oil and watercolor paintings, poetry and written narrative that has great merit. This show would command respect no matter where it is exhibited, but it is especially relevant here in the Adirondacks, as it was in Vermont, it’s state of origin.
I’m primarily a landscape painter and one could say I choose to paint wilderness landscapes that are “pretty”. That’s not aways why I actually chose something as my subject matter, but it probably comes across that way. I don’t often paint anything that’s man-made or unattractive. » Continue Reading.
Remember playing with chalk on the sidewalk? Well, if you want to see the very opposite of that, head over to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for a wonderful show of pastel paintings. “A Convergence of Pastel”, featuring the works of a dozen nationally recognized artists, will only be on display until September 18. Local artists featured are Diane Leifheit, Linda Sweeney, Joyce Hanson and Ingrid Van Slyke.
It is everything but soft, fuzzy chalk drawings. There are impeccably detailed still life arrangements, exquisite portraits, landscapes of soft subtle colors as well as brilliant flashes of color, abstracts, florals, more figurative paintings, and plein air work. Having never used pastels myself, that is “real” pastels – pure pigment shaped into chalk-like sticks, I really don’t know how they work. I don’t know how the artists keep from smudging them, or how they blow off the accumulated dust. How they keep straight which color is which when they don’t have any labels or wrappers like our old-fashioned Crayola crayons did. I’d like to know how they get crisp, straight edges and even how they might erase or fix a mistake. I will likely stick to my paint brushes, as I do know how to use them. But this is a show that is well worth going to see – it will change forever your impressions of what can be done with pastels when you see the work of master artists. » Continue Reading.
The 8th annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival begins on Aug 15 and not only is it a bunch of artists painting outdoors, but it has “nocturnes” and “quick draws” too! Almost 70 artists from all over the US, Quebec and Ontario, will converge on the village of Saranac Lake in order to paint the beauty of the Adirondack region, much like the Hudson River School painters of the mid 1800’s.
In the 8 years of the Festival, those artists have probably equaled, if not surpassed, the number of paintings created during the 50 years the Hudson River School was popular. » Continue Reading.
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