Hildreth opens ‘Wild, Wild West’ Friday at Guild

SARANAC LAKE – “The Wild, Wild West” will open from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake.

It will be an exhibit of paintings done while traveling in some of the National Parks in the west, by member artist Sandra Hildreth.

Some people fill photo albums up with pictures of places they travel to, but Sandra Hildreth paints them. “Photos are wonderful, they are records of the time you spent in a specific place,” Hildreth said. “But when I paint a place I feel like I have come to know it much more intimately.”

Hildreth says by spending three to five or more hours on location, that she gets to really experience the place, the smells and sounds, the weather conditions, the plants and animals. That is the essence of ?plein air? painting – a ?knowing? of the subject matter that only comes from close observation over time.

Hildreth lives and works in Saranac Lake. She is a member of the Adirondack Artists Guild, and will be the featured artist in May. A retired art teacher, Hildreth can often be found outdoors painting, hiking, paddling or skiing. As part of her involvement with the Adirondack Mountain Club, she started leading trips for ADK members. She has hiked with groups for 4 summers in a row in Glacier National Park,in Montana,but in 2012, a special opportunity arose. There seemed to be great demand tovisit the park, so Hildreth offered a trip from 7/14 to 7/21 and then a second trip from 7/28 to 8/5. Both trips filled with 12 participants and were successful outings, but the week in between gave the artist a chance to paint for the entire week. Painting was really not possible while she was a trip leader, but after four years of hiking in the park, Hildreth knew exactly where she wanted to spend her time. Her travels have also taken her to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

Bringing painting supplies on a trip like this proved to be a challenge. Portable easels have to be carefully packed so they won?t be damaged. Primed canvases were shipped out in advance so they would be there ready to use. Paints and brushes are acceptable in luggage, but the solvents needed for oil paints cannot be brought on a plane. Nor can individuals mail them – only manufacturers or distributors are allowed to ship turpentine, so special arrangements had to be made for that.

“?The Wild, Wild West” will be on exhibit through May 28. On Thursday May 16, at 7 p.m., Hildreth will give a gallery talk on how she creates her paintings while traveling.

The Guild is on the web at,and on Facebook at Adirondack Artists Guild.