To celebrate its 30 years of cultural activity in Glyfada, the Society of Arts and Letters has organised an ‘Arty Party’, plus a group show entitled ‘Painting Without End’ with works by Louiza Delfis, Tove Margaritis, Dora Tombrou, Efi Pardou, and journalist/art blogger Stella Sevastopoulos. Read on to meet the painters, in an article where they talk to the latter about their unique artistic tales:
By Stella Sevastopoulos
MONET’S dedication to capturing different light effects and colour combinations was so intense, that even when his first wife passed away, he could not help but paint her on her death bed. Yet maybe this was also a way of saying farewell, because for the artist, art and life are inextricably linked. Dedicated artists live and breathe art, and there’s a way that those who are artistically inclined, will think and see the world. This shows from a very young age usually, but to choose the career of an artist, is no easy feat. It’s only the bravest (and most talented usually), that dare to become artists. And they are undoubtedly heroes, committed heart and soul, prepaired to make all the sacrifices. But there are also those ‘others’, who had artistic talent, but for some reason, didn’t choose this path. What happens to them? Does that artistic self just fade away? It’s not so easy to eradicate.
Maybe later in life, when other ‘social obligations’ have been sorted out, those ‘others’ get a chance to get in touch with that artistic self once more. And the results can be impressive and worthwhile to say the least (but in this case, I leave that up to the ‘beholder’ to judge). Because as an artist once told me when I confessed to her that I had returned to painting again: “You just pick up where you left it, nothing is lost”. So let me introduce to you four of those ‘others’ – four women I had the pleasure of meeting at the Art School Glyfada: Louiza Delfis (one of the school’s teachers, who together with Tasoula Sarakatsanou, co-founded the Society of Arts and Letters and the art school, and who recently got back into her own art practice), Tove Margaritis (who apart from art, creates amazing patchwork designs), Dora Tombrou (whose expressionist take on painting is bold and energetic) and Efi Pardou (who loves to explore colour and light). I joined this class for adults last year, and found that it is a wonderful haven for artistically-minded people, who get together to improve their skills, discuss art, exchange artistic views.
Together we are also organising an exhibition, entitled ‘Painting Without End’, accompanied by an ‘Arty Party’, (December 28), celebrating the Society of Arts and Letters’ art school’s 30 years of creative activity. Here is what these lovely ladies have to say about their ‘first encounters’ with art, and other arty tales:
Louiza Delfis: “Art lessons with children, are quite hard, because they are improbable – you never know what the outcome will be. You might have a plan, a theme in your mind, and can imagine how the children will work on it, but then suddenly, the kids give you something else, that you never expected. But you can gain so much from this experience. What you encounter in their work is so primordial, so honest, and that’s what makes it so special. For me, art was always my preferred means of expression as a child. The art and art history I learnt later as an art student, enabled me to understand the reality which surrounded me. I used art alot in this way, and I am grateful for this, because otherwise, I would have been a very different person. I have certainly gained something unique from studying and practicing art.”
Can art be taught? After many years of teaching it, Louiza believes that the answer is ‘yes and no’: “I can give you the tools, the technique, I can show you the tricks, or even push you in a certain direction, but the real art is created after this stage, because it is what you do with all that I have taught you that counts.”
Tove Margaritis: “When I was a young child in Denmark, two days before Christmas, minus ten outside, this artist came and knocked on our door. He had his works with him all rolled up, and told us he was in need of money, and whether we would be interested in buying something. My mother invited him in, and he filled our whole living room with paintings. This made a great impression on me. My mother bought a work, which I now have in my home in Athens. At the time, I thought to myself, imagine being able to make this with your own hands. So I started drawing and painting. At school it was suggested to my father that I go straight to Art School, but my father ignored this advice. I went on to study Architectural Design and here in Greece, I considered trying to study at the Athens School of Fine Arts, but because I hadn’t finished school here, it wasn’t possible. One day I passed by Art School Glyfada, I joined, and since then (25 years ago), they have embraced me. Some still ask me ‘why are you still going there? Haven’t you learnt how to paint yet?’, they just don’t get what art is all about. It’s a process that lasts a lifetime.”
Dora Tombrou: “As a child around 10 years old, I was living with my family in the (then) Belgian Congo (today the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The soil in our garden, was like grey clay, and I wanted to make sculptures out of it. When I came to Greece, I wanted to study sculpture and enrolled at the Vakalo College (now Vakalo School of Art and Design), where I created my first proper sculpture, which was the head of Nefertiti. There, I was also taught painting by the great artist Panayiotis Tetsis. Tetsis was a colourist, and he always emphased that we shouldn’t use ‘dirty’ colours. The colours had to be ‘clean’, according to him. Of course colours have to be mixed, but the question is how to do it properly. You can study colours for your whole life.”
Efi Pardou: “When I was at high school, I used to draw some of the teachers, while they were teaching, especially the Religious Studies teacher who I had rendered perfectly! I also liked drawing Marlon Brando, and together with my classmate who sat next to me, we would draw in the style of ‘cineromantzo’ (which was in fashion at the time). She was great at drawing too. One day a teacher caught us in the act, and my friend got expelled! Furthermore, my mother was advised by the school to watch my friends because they were a bad influence… I returned to painting much later in life, after my studies at the Athens University of Economics, after I had my family, my career, when I retired. I never liked my job, but always tried to have creative outlets to counteract it.”
And as for me, Stella Sevastopoulos? what’s my arty tale? Well, I was also one of those children that was always drawing. The art studio at school was my favourite place, where I could escape and get on with what really interested me. I did start out my studies at art school, but then opted to go in a more theoretical direction (Art History and English Literature) at university. Nevertheless I carried on painting and drawing on and off in my own time. Even when I was working as a journalist, covering art events, I felt that I was encountering the art from an artistic point of view, as well as from a journalist’s point of view, always asking questions about techniques etc. In the last decade or so, I was given the opportunity to explore art once more, this time from the other side – practicing it, rather than just writing about it. And I am trully grateful, because it feels like I have finally come home, albeit with a lot of cultural baggage!
- Join us for the ‘Arty Party’ and ‘Painting Without End’ exhibition inauguration on December 28, 7pm, at the Society of Arts and Letters’ ‘Art School Glyfada’ premises, on 133 Gounari St, Glyfada, tel 210-964-7834. The art show will continue for one more day (December 29, 12-7pm).