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.


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.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adirondack Art: OK Slip Falls Inspiration

OK Slip FallsI climbed steadily over rocks and boulders, some the size of large pieces of furniture, for half a mile as I worked my way up OK Slip Brook. Sometimes in the thick growth along the shoreline, sometimes rock-hopping right up the brook itself. After a good 30-40 minutes, I came around a bend, crossed several sections of the brook at a gravelly section, and the falls came into sight ahead.

OK Slip Falls – around a 250 foot drop – sun coming in from the side, dark rocks, a small drop visible at the top, then the water comes over a ledge and drops almost the entire way, cascading into a pile of jagged boulders at the bottom. The sound of the graceful curtain of water dropping down was mesmerizing. A gust of wind brought a flurry of golden leaves fluttering down into the steep walled ravine, glowing brightly as they passed in and out of bands of sunlight. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

With Fall Foliage Reaching Peak, It’s Artist Studio Tour Time

T.Fortune.2010SH2This weekend marks the 7th Annual Artist at Work Studio Tour (Sept 27-28-29) in the northern Adirondack region. Nearly 50 artists in the communities of Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Wilmington, Jay, Au Sable Forks, Bloomingdale, Onchiota, Rainbow Lake, Paul Smiths, Gabriels and Lake Clear are participating.

Some artists have taken part every year; there are 12 “new” artists; and 2 other artists are in new locations. There are painters, photographers, potters, mixed media artists, fabric, jewelry, glass, wood and metalworkers, printmakers, and more. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Art Around the Adirondacks in September

Jeri Wright photoWith September ushering in the relentless turn of colors that eventually becomes the black, white and grey of winter solitude, there is a healthy abundance of colorful art to treat the eyes. And some black and white too.

Of great significance is the fact that we once again have three new exhibits opening on Friday September 6 and more importantly, they represent, conservatively about 150 collective years of making art!

Jeri Wright, an accomplished photographer who lives in Wilmington, is having a retrospective exhibit of sixty-five years, yes, six and a half decades of photography. She must have started as a child with a Kodak “Brownie” camera! Has she made the transition to digital film – come find out! What an opportunity this will be, to see her life’s work. “Through the Years” opens Sept 6 at the Tahawus Windows Gallery, 2nd floor, 14234 Rt 9N, Main St, Au Sable Forks, NY. 646-734-7151. The opening reception will be from 5:30 – 8 pm, Sept 6, and the exhibit will continue through October 6. Jeri may also be contacted to make an appointment to see the show by calling 518-946-2658. You don’t want to miss this! » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sandy Hildreth: Children and Art

"Breezy Lake Flower" by Samantha PahuckiSeveral weeks ago, during the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Aug 15-18, several things occurred which were wonderful to witness. First of all the event was very successful: 75 artists from all over the northeast registered; over 200 plein air paintings were on display in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake on the final day of the event and half the artists sold at least 1 painting; 55 little donated 5×7 paintings were auctioned off; over $4000 in awards were given out, including a “People’s Choice” prize of $100.

A lot of people came out to watch the artists at work at the various venues over the course of the event, and I know some were children accompanying their parents. It was a nice opportunity for them to witness “real” artists out creating original works of art. When the silent auction of 55 5×7 “Paint the Town” paintings were on display, I saw some parents actually letting their children bid on their favorite pieces! What a wonderful way to instill in children the concept of “collecting art”. The idea that it is worthwhile to purchase unique, one-of-a-kind items for personal enjoyment. The auction was the perfect place to do this because the art was “kid-sized” and the minimum bid was only $40. The parents, of course, probably had to pay for them, but it was a nice experience to provide to their children. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Caution: Wet Paint! Adirondack Plein Air Festival

adirondack plein air festival, adirondack artThe 5th Annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival will be taking place Aug 15-18 in the Saranac Lake area. Be forewarned – there’s going to be a lot of “wet paint”! Here’s a quick rundown of the schedule:

Thursday Aug 15: 10-3 “Paint the Town” Day. Downtown Saranac Lake. Silent Auction starts at 4 pm. 3rd Thursday ArtWalk from 5-7:30.

Friday Aug 16: 9-5 “Paint the VIC” Day. All the artists will be out on the trails at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. From 5-7 there is the opening reception for the “Plein Air Invitational” – a show of plein air paintings previously done at the VIC.

Saturday Aug 17: 9-9 “Paint the Adirondacks” Day. Artists will be free to paint wherever they choose. Watch for them! » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Art Around the Adirondacks in August

donna foley, adirondack artists guild, weaving, adirondack artThe month of August brings a lot of great art to view in our region, but especially in the Saranac Lake area where there are six new exhibits opening plus the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Aug 15-18.

Bluseed Studios, 24 Cedar St., starts off the month with “Paper Migration”. This is an international collaborative exchange between Bluseed and a cooperative of artists in Mazatlan, Mexico. Saranac Lake residents have had the pleasure of seeing one of the Mexican artists working outdoors on a large painting in Berkely Green. Bluseed always has exciting, cutting edge shows and this collaboration, between Adirondack artists and Mazatlan artists should prove to be another one. Learn more about it on the Bluseed website. The exhibit opens Thursday August 1 from 5 – 7 and will continue through September 15. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Wilmington Flume Trails: Fledging Herons

great blue herons, adirondacksI tried to document life in a Great Blue Heron nest last year and it ended abruptly when all three babies vanished in early July, most likely as dinner for a bald eagle or great horned owl family. I had somewhat better luck this year.

April 29, 2013 – I checked the heron nest I’d been watching in 2012 – the pond, still with some ice, appeared empty, no herons around. There was snow in sheltered places along the trail. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab web site “Heron FAQ’s” page, their herons laid eggs between March 28 and April 6 in 2012. I tend to think that the northern Adirondacks are about 3 weeks ahead of the Ithaca area for fall colors – so perhaps three weeks or more behind for laying eggs – probably dependent upon weather conditions as well.

May 8 – Sneaking in to view the nest from my hiding spot, there was a single adult heron standing on it. Was this the male hoping to attract a female?

May 13 – This time there was a heron down on the nest – all I could see was the head and beak. This is a pretty good sign that there are eggs. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

An Amazing Adirondack Music Opportunity

songstokeepIn a recent Mountain Lake PBS e-newsletter, something caught my eye. Like many, I suppose, I get too many emails and often give many nothing more than a quick scan, if that, before hitting the delete button. But there was a little, green, Adirondack summer image with the words “Songs to Keep” superimposed. What’s this?

The teaser text read “The story of a woman who traveled the Adirondacks collecting rare folk songs that are being rediscovered and rerecorded 60 years later. Help make this project happen by investing in it!”. It hooked me and I clicked. Not only am I very glad that I did, but I wanted to share it with Almanack readers because it is definitely worth your attention. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Sandy Hildreth: The Adirondacks Inspire Art

plein air at the VIC

Living in the Adirondacks is all I need – I’m inspired by the landscape I see and often by the kind and friendly people I interact with as well. This past week I experienced a different kind of inspiration – more like an immense gratitude for this special place on the planet.

One hundred artists attended the Publisher’s Invitational Paint Out hosted at Paul Smith’s College. I wrote about my experiences at the 2012 event, because I was inspired then too, but this year’s event merits additional attention.

Eric Rhoads, who publishes Plein Air Magazine, has done this for 3 years now – extending an open invitation to plein air painters, throughout the world, to come paint the Adirondacks. Eric understands the magic of this place too. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Watching Wildlife: Herons Out, Lady’s Slippers In

Heron in a white pine tree.The story of my heron nest may have come to a premature ending for 2013. I think the nest has been abandoned.

I don’t know if it was the days and days of cold, hard rain or some other natural cause, but the nest in the dead tree appears to be empty. When I hiked in the first day the rain let up and the sun started to come out, I spotted a lone heron sitting in a tall white pine along the shore of the pond – but none in the nest. Prior to all this rain, I’d quietly watched the nest from several different vantage points and had been able to see just the head of a heron on the nest. Sometimes I sat and watched for an hour and the bird never moved – ever alert. Then I hiked in the day after Memorial Day and no herons were around at all. From what I’ve read, it is possible that a mated pair will lay a second batch of eggs if something happens to the first batch, so I guess there is still something to hope for – if they haven’t totally given up on this little pond. » Continue Reading.