Painter just plein thrilled about Art-Out prize


By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

Last month, Niskayuna hosted its seventh annual Art-Out. Nine artists set up easel and canvas in Aqueduct Park and set to painting and interpreting the landscape.

The Art-Out is a plein-air event, which means the artists create their works outside, not in a studio, and race the changing light to capture the scene.

This year, local artist Jennifer Politano took top honors, winning the grand prize for the first time. Her piece will be featured on the supervisor’s holiday cards, which will be mailed to around 500 people. All the entries are on display in the Town Board Room.

Politano is an elementary school teacher in Guilderland, where she teaches English as a New Language. She said art has always been a hobby, but she started painting more seriously about 10 years ago.

Q: How did it feel to win?

A: I was very excited to win this award. I have participated in the Art-Out two times in the past and won awards, but never the grand prize. It means a lot to me to have my painting  featured on the town holiday card with a little bit (of information) about me in the bio on the back.

There are so many people who have inspired me in this hobby and many who I have learned from. I have some relatives who were or are artists, so I think there is both nature and nurture to credit this award to.

After all that is said, however, I simply enjoy painting for all the places and people I meet while doing it.

Q: What is unique or challenging about plein-air painting?

A: Plein air is a unique type of painting where you are put in a position to finish the piece in a given time frame under the given lighting conditions.

The colors are fleeting, you can’t let yourself get too sidetracked while you work. I tend to lose track of time while I paint anyway, so this is just part of the fun. However, you do have to remember to eat before you get started.

Q: What was your strategy going into the event?

A: I had seen the park and knew where I wanted to position myself for this piece. My goal was to depict both (of) the bridges and the fact that there is a park there to enjoy the view.

There are quite a few nice spaces to visit in our area, which the Art-Out event aims to highlight through the visual arts each year.

The old and new bridges were an interesting contrast and a challenge for me to point. I wanted to document that they both existed this summer to remind people of our past and our future.