Top: Greg Kondos
Bottom: Barry Smith and Greg Kondos
Welcome to the home of the art of Greg Kondos, presented by Smith Gallery in Sacramento, CA. The limited edition artworks on this site can be purchased both over the phone and in person at the gallery. Gallery owner Barry Smith can be reached at any time at (916) 501-3455.
The Style and Technique of Greg Kondos
Sketching outdoors is the foundation of Kondos’ landscape paintings. Everywhere he goes, his sketchbook is his trusted companion. And the studio adjacent to his home is always jammed with small pastel, pencil, and pen-and-ink sketches done on his painting trips. "Drawing is the skeleton under the flesh of a painting," he says. "It is where art begins. Drawing helps me to understand the landscape better, and it doesn’t allow me the luxury of covering up problems in the composition with color." His palette is simple, without a complicated tonal scale, and the colors are high-pitched. Blue, especially cerulean blue-suggestive of air and water-often permeates his canvases.
Wayne Thiebaud suggests that Kondos is something of a classic painter: big cobalt-blue skies, large areas of evenly applied solid color, and a strong reference point are common elements in his work. And in the catalog for an exhibition of Kondos’ Yosemite work, an essayist wrote, "It is always high noon on a summer day in his landscape paintings." Without exception, Kondos’ paintings appear solid and manifest under the bright, sapphire light of day.
In the early paintings he would pick at the canvas with his brushes, but then he began to take what the abstract expressionists did and apply it to his landscape painting. Now Kondos skates across a canvas, his cultivated brush stroke all about flow, about completing the line and completing the thought in his mind. Always there is organization, a marching rhythm of design. Simplification-an economy of means-is a Kondos trademark. "Less is better," he says. "What is left out makes the picture more understandable.
Most importantly, the paintings mirror his own thoughts. Kondos paints not only what he sees in the landscape but how he sees it-his reflective vision made visible on canvas. "If you look at my work, you will discover I am a loner. My paintings possess quietness and cleanliness, but they also have a lonely quality," says Kondos. He likes to compare his approach to a canvas to that of a wolf closing in on its prey-unseen, watchful.
In a Kondos painting there is no symbolism or allegory and little in the way of narrative. By virtue of color, fluid brush stroke, and his delight in the physicality of paint, though, his graceful landscapes reflect an earthly paradise. There is always space and order, simplicity of theme that is reflected in his technique. The presence of human life may occasionally appear in a painting, but for the most part his work is about the profound loneliness of the land.