Almanack Contributor Sandra Hildreth

Sandra Hildreth

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.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sandy Hildreth: Art As Storytelling

Hildreth1_bear_grassypd2015(1)Some Almanack readers may remember a couple of wildlife adventures I’ve written about (“The Cruel Art of Nature” and “Survival of the Fittest on the Pinnacle Trail”). I can’t say that I am obsessed with the cruelty of raw nature, but I am attracted to it – the primeval laws of survival. Some wild creatures have to eat other wild creatures in order to live. We humans used to be like that. This is the subject matter of two of my paintings being shown in an upcoming exhibit.

But not all my paintings are about life and death in nature – some are just encounters that occurred because, as an artist, I’m pretty observant. Especially in the natural world, I notice things that a lot of other people might just walk right by. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Summer Full Of Art In Saranac Lake

summerart2015-artistsguild-b-lobdellThe days are long, the mountains green and the arts bloom and ripen like potatoes in the hardscrabble fields of Adirondack farms! While the Saranac Lake area has a flourishing, year round arts community, summer sun produces abundant exhibits and exciting special events.

Saranac Lake ArtWorks sponsors three “Last Saturday Studio Tours”, with the first one on July 25. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Photography Shoot-Out In Paul Smiths

hartung_VICNightLightThere is a remarkable experiment on display in the gallery space of the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC). Twelve area photographers were invited to come out to the VIC between April 17 and 21 to capture images of the property. Then they had a couple of days to review their efforts, print, mat and frame them for this exhibit, which was hung on April 25.

The experiment was actually my idea. I absolutely love the challenges of plein air painting – hauling my paints and easel out to a view I like and spending a day creating a painting. I find it’s a wonderful way to totally immerse myself in that specific environment and put the rest of my life out of my mind for those enjoyable hours, not to mention the fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine. It’s like the difference between an impromptu talk and a rehearsed speech; you have to produce – right there – on the spot. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Survival Of The Fittest On The Pinnacle Trail

Coyote Track in WinterThe story was in the tracks. Thursday was cold, but sunny – I’d had a hunch that it might be a good day to get off the groomed trails and do some exploring. There were a couple of inches of fresh powder on top of a hard crust that covered probably two feet of snow, and skies as blue as they could be.

I drove up to Santa Clara and parked on route 458 by the gated road and the Pinnacle trail sign. It looked like two people had skied the old logging road the day before. Possibly earlier in the day, someone post-holing, walked in with a large dog. That person eventually put on snowshoes and continued to trudge in on top of the ski track. I just skied up onto the crust however, and glided along – probably the smoothest, easiest skiing I’d done all year. The person with the dog didn’t make it very far and turned around. Good – now I could start watching for wild animal tracks in the fresh snow. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Adirondack Plein Air Fest Growing Fast

PAF2015-ADThis was going to be a post that announced some changes in the Adirondack Plein Air Festival and the fact that registration for the 2015 event opened on March 1. However, by noon on March 2, we had 50 artists registered and had reached our pre-determined limit. The 2015 Adirondack Plein Air Festival will be Aug 17 – 22 in Saranac Lake. Four days of outdoor painting and then a one day Show & Sale of the work produced over those four days.

I am amazed by this phenomenon. We all know the Adirondack Park is a scenic place. Artists in the past, like those of the Hudson River School in the mid 1800’s also recognized that. Six years ago I started the Adirondack Plein Air Festival in Saranac Lake for rather selfish reasons. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

TR, T-Rex, Art And More At Paul Smith’s VIC

bullard_barnumbrookStrikingly beautiful photographs, expressive but realistic paintings of dinosaurs in lush green landscapes, a “Touch Table”, live music Sunday afternoons from 1 – 3, and 25 miles of groomed ski trails….. this is the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

It’s really pretty cool to be able to come to a place that offers so much. The current New Moon Art Exhibit consists of photographs by Jim Bullard, of Potsdam, and paintings by Meg Bernstein of Saranac Lake, where she is a member of the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery. Both artists have a lifetime of experience behind them, but continue to explore, invent, and create new things. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Sandy Hidreth On Becoming An Art Collector

bernsteinsm2014A few years ago, during the annual Artist at Work Studio Tour, I had a family from Long Lake come to visit my studio. Mom, Dad, and if I remember correctly, “Lily”, who must have been around 8-9 years old. They looked, we chatted, and then the Mom offered Lily the opportunity to pick out a small piece of art that she would like! I was truly astounded – parents offering to let a child purchase art! What a wonderful way to cultivate a life-long love and respect for original, hand-made items. I was very honored to have been a part of that.

Well, it’s now that time of year when we (the artists) hope that you (the readers) get in the gift giving spirit and consider enriching lives by making presents of art. But as I sit on duty at the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake and watch people browse, I began to reflect on what it might mean to “collect art” and how that impacts daily lives of both the buyers and the sellers. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Adirondack Art: Three Exhibits In Saranac Lake

Oil, 16x20, plein airThree exhibits are coming up in the Saranac Lake area that will provide lots of visual enjoyment.

My own “What the Rocks Remember” and photographs by Karla Brieant, is the exhibit currently on display in the gallery space at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.  There will be a “Meet the Artists” reception on Sunday, Nov 2, from 2 – 5 and the exhibit will be up through Nov 21.

I first met Karla nearly twenty years ago. We both were volunteering at the Paul Smith’s College VIC, working with area art teachers and taking students out on the trails to do nature observation and sketching. I didn’t really know her very well, but when I saw her photographs, I could tell we felt the same reverence for the Adirondack landscape. Flash forward to 2014. I contacted Karla and asked if she would like to do a month long exhibit with me at the VIC and she agreed. When asked if we should have some kind of theme, I don’t remember which one of us suggested “rocks”, but the other eagerly agreed. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Ausable Forks To Coreys Studio Tour This Weekend

StudioTourAd-web2New canoe route or Bike Race? No! It’s the Studio Tour!

The village of Ausable Forks to Stony Creek Road just off the Coreys Road, near Tupper Lake represents the widest distance between artists opening their studios to the public for the 8th Annual Artist at Work Studio Tour.

Artists are also in Gabriels, Onchiota and Rainbow Lake, Black Brook and Lake Placid, and Wilmington, Jay and Upper Jay. With Saranac Lake, the “arts destination of the Adirondacks” as the hub, nearly 50 artists are participating in the Studio Tour on Sept 27-28 with 16 right in the village. Peak fall colors are the bonus as artists welcome visitors to come see works in progress, ask questions, and find out how various works of art are created. And of course purchase unique items to take home! » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sandra Hildreth: The Plein Air Phenomenon

N. Brossard in Saranac Lake. M. Kurtz photoAugust 21st through the 24th nearly 80 artists from Washington, DC to Maine, Quebec and Ontario, will be converging on Saranac Lake for the 6th Annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival.

Beautiful August weather (fingers crossed) and all the aspects of our region: mountains, lakes, bogs, waterfalls, woodland trails, panoramic views, rivers, farm land, “Great Camps”, historic sites and our small communities are all part of the attraction.

The other, if you haven’t noticed, is the growing popularity of plein air painting. The Festival concludes with a fantastic Show & Sale on Sunday,  Aug 24th, in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake from 12 – 3 pm. Over 200 wet paintings will be on display and available for purchase. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Sandra Hildreth: Our History In Art And Music

redTo understand how America was made, one need only go back and look at what people created, their responses to the events and environments they lived in. There are currently two unique opportunities available that will take you back to other times in very different ways. Both are based on things that occurred around 60 years ago – one building on centuries of songs and the other forging a path into the world of contemporary art, ironically, going on at almost the same time.

A one time opportunity to learn about our past through the arts is a performance tonight, (July 14) of “RED”, a Pendragon Theatre production that is making a one day tour to VIEW, in Old Forge. “RED”, a Tony award winning play by John Logan, is a two-person performance that brings you into the 1950’s world of Abstract Expressionism in New York City. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Short List of Adirondack Signs of Spring

"Bartlett Carry, Spring" On the first full day of spring I was cross-country skiing, breaking trail through about 6-8 inches of powder – on top of an 18-24” inch base of snow that’s been here most of the winter. It was warm and sunny, the snow a bit sticky, and as I enjoyed the late winter experience I thought of the ways we Adirondackers know it’s really spring.

So in no particular order, here are some tell-tale signs that it is actually spring in the Adirondacks. They don’t all have to happen – if you notice a few, spring is on the way.

Unlike today, when every little finger of every branch of every evergreen is carrying a couple of inches of fluffy snow, there will be the bright green of new needles on the tip of every branch.

The faded orange beech leaves, which provide welcome color in the black and white winter woods and tinkle and rustle with every little breeze, will finally fall off, leaving the way for new leaves to burst out.

The sweet smell of maple syrup production in the air and you might notice clouds of smoke from cute little sugar shacks with huge piles of firewood. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cross-Country Skiing:
An Adirondack Nocturne at the Paul Smith’s VIC

Twilight at the VIC, S. Hildreth

Nocturne: a work of art dealing with evening or night especially; a dreamy pensive composition for the piano that has a soft and somewhat sad melody.  – 2014 Merriam Webster Dictionary

It was Valentine’s Day, about 8 pm, and I walked out the back door, stepped into my x-country ski bindings, put on my gloves and slipped my hands through the straps on my ski poles, flipped on my headlight and silently glided into the stillness of the night. As I looked up the trail, snowflakes filtered down glittering into the beam of my light.

It was the Full Moon Friends of the VIC Ski Party and this was the evening after the big Nor’easter dropped about 10 inches of fresh snow on what was already a good solid base. There was a nice crowd at the Paul Smith’s College VIC, live music by Split Rock lighting up the great room, but I might as well have been a solitary skier. I met two other skiers coming back to the building right as I started out, and then just two more as I skied across the floating bridge on Heron Marsh. The rest of the evening was mine alone, and it was magical. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Adirondack Art: What is the Color of Snow?

Up Near the Black Pond CutAs an artist, I know snow isn’t white. Perhaps some of the more scientific oriented folks who read or contribute to the Almanack can offer scientific explanations. I’m going to tell you how an artist perceives snow.

This little painting, “Up Near the Black Pond Cut”, practically went viral when I posted it on my Facebook page in early December. It had nearly 300 “shares” and over 50,000 views!

It’s a winter scene – but there’s almost no white snow in it! I think the color and the light is what made it such an appealing painting. It was based on photos I’d taken last winter at the Paul Smith’s College VIC on the Esker Trail.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Local Arts: Heads or Tales? Either Way You Win…

Ronald

Ronald

The current exhibit at the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake will intrigue you! As featured artist of the month, Burdette Parks, a very accomplished Adirondack photographer, has chosen to show viewers a different side of the coin. Heads and tails – I mean tales….

When you walk towards the back of the gallery space to the featured artists section, you are met with a stunning array of beautiful, distinguished faces looking back at you (and one goofy one), plus a few looking elsewhere. All square and all black and white and luscious shades of gray (probably more than 50!) with black backgrounds. Burdette is active at Pendragon Theatre and during the course of the last few months, he set up a temporary photography studio on the stage. He had his subjects come one at a time, sit in a comfortable chair with the black curtain behind them, and he set up the lighting to bathe their faces in soft light. No props. » Continue Reading.