Artist Training – Liudmila Kondakova

A Continuing-Education Series from Chalk & Vemilion Fine Arts, Inc.

VOLUME II , ISSUE II

With the premise that one of the best tools you can have to help you sell art is an understanding of the artist him/herself, as part of this ongoing series we will be offering information about our Chalk & Vermilion published artists. The ability to convey interesting, pertinent information and to create a feeling about the artist adds an element to the level of interest that goes beyond a customer’s initial reaction of “Gee, that’s a pretty picture.”

Liudmila Kondakova is a quiet and introspective person, with a calmness about her that is reflected in her work. In contrast to Impressionist artist Kerry Hallam (whom we profiled two issues ago), whose ebullient manner and colorful character translate into joyous splashes of color and motion in his artwork, Kondakova is more precise, meticulous, and spiritual. The time it takes her to create a painting, often painting with paintbrushes that contain just a few bristles, translates into works of astonishing clarity, depth, and detail.

As we have often written, her attention to detail comes in part from the training she received while studying icon painting at St. Alexis Cathedral in Moscow, the city of her birth. Her concentration on composition and color stems from this education, and while she feels that her work now is far removed from the work she did then, it is still similar to icon painting because it embodies the spiritual. She made a point once that while her training certainly shaped her, it does not define her.

Any fan of Kondakova’s work knows – and loves – that it often depicts beautiful and romantic Parisian street scenes. Liudmila lived in Paris while making the transition from Russia to a new life in the United States. Life there was a revelation to her; in her own words, “France was so beautiful, so different. I cannot even describe how I felt when I was there. People actually smile at you, they enjoy life – there is no expression in the Russian language for ‘enjoy life’ or ‘have a nice day.’” She has painted the City of Light at every time of day, from every angle, in every season, and each painting conveys her love of this historic place, and the beauty to be found in even the everyday scenes and events. She says

“Paris has always been a legendary place for me – the place where a lot of talented artists developed their creative concepts which were a product of the intellectual life of Paris. Just like all of them I fell in love with Paris at first sight; with its creative vitality, its architectural beauty, the magnificent river Seine and colorful Montmartre. I love the colors of Paris; zinc on the rooftops which are dotted with chimneys, the marvelous honey-beige of the cobblestones, the beautiful blues, red, and greens of the store fronts. Paris by night is superb. There is no other city in the world where the buildings are so beautifully illuminated. I have always felt that this city has the most romantic heart. In my work, I try to establish intimate contact between the viewer and the place I am painting. I want to show that Paris belongs to everyone who loves it, to the people who live there as well as those who only see it in their dreams. My Paris is an ideal world, an ideal reality. Though my paintings look like realism, it is not just realism taken from the real world, it is realism taken from my imagination. I have been dreaming of Paris since my childhood in Russia, and I will never be able to separate the real city from that of my dreams. Paris is the city where reality and fiction have always met as if in the suspended universe of fantasy. I agree with Hemingway, who said that ‘Paris is a holiday that is always with you.’”

A few other quotes:

  • “Very seldom do I make the paintings of an actual place. I put a lot of things together and put all my impressions in a painting. Fist, I think about the color, then decide if it is a night or day scene, and then the composition, the actual architecture. But my true motivation when I paint is to capture the heart of Paris.”

  • (the artistic process) “is always mystical. You are sitting in front of the white canvas, and it makes you nervous, and you have to think about what will happen next. You want the painting to be a success, to be better than the previous one. I can never tell how the painting comes from the blank canvas to the finished work.

  • “The artist’s life is exciting when I’m working. It allows me to be totally with myself, to look inside myself…I know that I have developed a style that keeps me different. I have come to understand that what you are painting is not important, but how you are painting – as an artist, I learned a lot of things and I want to use them everyday on canvas.”

  • “There is a romantic feeling in my paintings. I generally deal in love, not just love for Paris, but love for what I am doing and I think people pick up on the fact that I put a lot of love there.”

Liudmila Kondakova currently lives in Northern California with her teenage daughter.

As with all of our published art, we have slicks that were printed for Liudmila’s print releases, most of which were printed “blank” (that is, without our Chalk & Vermilion logo), which are suitable for you to distribute to your customers. Many of these slicks also contain wonderful snippets of information that add to the aura of the images. We are pleased to make available other sales tools, including:

  • Liudmila Kondakova – A World of Enchantment, the latest book to feature Liudmila’s works. Available with five different dust jackets, in both signed and unsigned versions, this beautiful, four color volume is indispensable as a reference tool and a catalogue to peruse with your customers.

  • Reprints of many articles that have been written about Liudmila, her art, and her life story.
    anything that’s in your store!


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