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Retired teacher’s work up at local gallery

By: Margaret Snider Telegraph Correspondent
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An artist who taught a generation of painters has landed an exhibit in Folsom. The Gallery at 48 Natoma held the opening night reception for the Gregory Kondos exhibit, The Landscape, on Friday. Included in the show is Vista del Lago High School students’ paintings from art teacher Gayle Martin’s advanced art class and plein air workshop led by Kondos. Mady Smith, 17, of Vista del Lago High School, participated in the workshop, which she enjoyed, and her painting was in the student exhibit. She plans to attend Folsom Lake College after high school. “Right now,” Smith said, “art is just a hobby.” The Gallery was packed with those who came to see the art. Kondos held court in the main room while people of all ages crowded around to get autographs and have their picture taken with the artist. Kondos attended art school in Sacramento and Los Angeles, and in 1956 began teaching at Sacramento City College, where he taught for almost 30 years. France is Kondos’ favorite country in which to paint; and he admires Paul Cézanne, among others. “I have a heritage from Greece, naturally I love Greece,” said Kondos. “But for a painter, I have to be with my heroes, the ones that I hope to be as good as.” Though he retired from Sacramento City College in 1982, and will be 88 on April 2 of this year, Kondos has not slowed down. “I’m in the middle of a 12-foot-by-9-foot painting for the airport,” Kondos said. “I just finished a 17-foot painting. That was for the Stockton Regional Foundation, their delta. I like that a lot, big paintings, 14-footers. I haven’t given up, I’m still working.” Music for the event was provided by Daniel Roest on guitar, and Francesca Anderson on the flute. “It’s really inspiring,” said Kayla Anderson, 14, daughter of the flautist, who sketches for fun. “I don’t think our styles are very similar at all, I don’t usually draw scenery, I usually draw people. But I do think it’s really cool to look at, to get ideas like for backgrounds in my work.” Anderson attends Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills. Kondos always encouraged his students to think well of their work. “I also taught a little bit of ego,” Kondos said. “If you think, ‘Nobody’s looking at my work,’ all of a sudden you’ve got a problem – you’ll go dig a ditch or do something else.” Some of his sketches were on the wall near where Kondos was seated. “I call them my babies because they’re drawings,” Kondos said. “That’s the first thing you need for a painting, that drawing underneath. Without that you haven’t got a painting.” He has a name for those who don’t understand drawing. “They are splash and hopers,” he said. “They splash paint and they hope. You have to have this behind it, to make it hold together.” Kondos said he was not afraid of anything, and he was not shy. “I wasn’t supposed to turn out, because I had nobody to really guide me,” he said. “But I had a beautiful family. With their love, I just learned that art is beautiful and I became a painter.” The exhibit continues at The Gallery at 48 Natoma through May 11. * * * KNOW AND GO Who: The works of artist Gregory Kondos When: Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday Where: The Gallery at 48 Natoma is located at 48 Natoma St., Folsom Info: (916) 355-7285