The new art exhibit at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, "Four by Four," shouldn't be considered a competition of any kind according to Scotia's Deborah Angilletta.
"No, the idea is to showcase everyone's individuality and creativity," said Angilletta, who along with Niskayuna's Maureen Sausa and Schenectady's Tim Prendergast and John Morrette, provided four landscape images for the exhibit, which opens Thursday at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction. "We all looked at four photos as a starting point, and then made changes and alterations and made the images our own. It's not about competition. It's about different perspectives."
What Angilletta and the other three artists did early last year was to go out and take one landscape photograph and then share them with each other. As a result, there are four similar images of each of the photographs, making up a total of 16 paintings for the exhibit. Angilletta's photo offering was of a small village during a snowy winter day in rural Montgomery County.
"There are so many wonderful places to paint in our area," said Angilletta, a Syracuse native who met her husband John Angilletta while in college at SUNY-Morrisville. "What we did was head up Route 5S around Canajoharie one morning. It's a winter scene showing a lot of snow but with some grass. It's been in the back of my mind that it would be a good painting so I decided to use it for this exhibit. It was fun to see what the other guys came up with. It was also good to have them because we kind of pushed each other to make sure we got the paintings all done."
Angilletta and Prendergast paint mostly with oils, while Morrette typically does water colors and Sausa acrylics. Prendergast's photo was of a Maine lighthouse, a landscape Angilletta usually wouldn't take on.
"I don't go to Maine very often so that's not a painting I would usually do," she said. "I enjoy doing historic buildings and nice landscapes. And I have to say there aren't a lot of people in my paintings. I don't feel my skills are that strong for painting people so I don't usually go there. I enjoy painting the landscape to capture some kind of mood. That's what I feel comfortable doing."
Angilletta started painting more seriously after retiring from her job at the telephone company 10 years ago.
"I always wanted to paint, but you go to school, get married, have kids and a job and you just don't have the time," she said. "You kind of put it on the back burner. But I've been pretty serious about it for 10 years now, and I think I'm getting better each year. You paint, you examine what you're doing, and you find out what works and what doesn't. You get better.
Angilletta did work out of her own studio on Mohawk Avenue in Glenville, but two years moved back to her home.
"It got expensive, and once my daughter got married and moved out two years ago I just took over her bedroom," she said. "So her bedroom is my studio right now, and I'm also trying to do more plein air paintings. I'll go to Saratoga or down to Collins Park and paint outside in the natural light. But you only have about two or three hours because the light is constantly changing."
Angilletta has sold several of her paintings at venues like Scotia's Flint House event last weekend and the Charlton Founders Day event earlier this year. There is one painting, her favorite, that she will probably never sell.
"It's home and John won't let me sell it," said Angilletta, laughing. "There's a figure in it, which is rare for me, a little girl kind of walking off into the distance right after a storm. It's his favorite, and I think it's mine, too. We will probably never sell it."
Like Angilletta, Prendergast, Morrette and Sausa are recent retirees. The four artists will be at a special opening reception of the exhibit Thursday at 7 p.m. The Mabee Farm Historic Site is owned and operated by the Schenectady County Historical Society.
'Four by Four'
WHAT: An art exhibit with works by four area artists
WHERE: Franchere Center, Mabee Farm Historic Site, 1100 Main St., Rotterdam Junction
WHEN: Opening reception, 7 p.m. Thursday; Mabee Farm general hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $5 for non-members, free for members
MORE INFO: 887-5073, www.schenectadyhistorical.org