— When Milton Christianson travels to Russia July 1, he
likely will share with Russian artists his techniques for painting
was influenced a lot by the California School of Watercolor which
started in the '20s and went mostly through the 50s," Christianson,
an artist from Wellington, said.
was a big group of people out there, painting outdoors —
ordinary painting, ordinary things — using strong color
and bold brush strokes."
impressionist painter, Christianson, 56, is going to Russia for
three weeks at the invitation of the Waterville Committee based
in Kotlas, Russia.
a city in Northern Russia, was established as Waterville's sister
city in June, 1990.
Kotlas Connection, a committee in Waterville, contacted Christianson
after being asked by the Russians to find an appropriate artist
to attend the painting seminar.
seminar is being held in Kotlas to commemorate Russian artist
A.A. Borisov, who painted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Artists from Israel, Germany and England also are expected to
will paint outdoors and produce 300 works at areas along the Northern
Dvina River. An exhibition of the pieces will be held at several
cities following the seminar, and the Russians hope to make it
an annual event to promote tourism and make historical and cultural
said he looks forward to meeting artists and learning techniques
to influence his own art. He also is enthusiastic about bringing
what he learns back to Maine.
a cultural emisary, going both ways," he said. "I'm going to take
a lot of photographs and slides."
met Thursday afternoon with Philip Gonyar, Herb Foster and Jack
Mayhew — all members of the Kotlas Connection — to
discuss the trip.
and Mayhew are co-chairmen of the group; Foster is a member of
the executive board as well. Gonyar has traveled to Kotlas four
times; Mayhew, three; and Foster, once.
gave Christianson tips and advice to use on his Russian visit.
going to give him a dictionary and crash lesson in the alphabet,
and a phrase book written phonetically," said Foster, a retired
Spanish and French teacher who also studied Russian.
also a retired teacher, said Russians will feed him at every stop.
Mayhew, a retired service manager for Xerox Corp., said they are
be treated like royalty," he said.
will stay with Pavel and Valentina Sukhanovsky, an engineer and
museum worker, respectively. Both 50, the couple has three sons.
As part of his trip, Christianson also will travel to Moscow and
the Russians will fund his visit to Kotlas, he is funding 90 percent
of the trip. Anyone wanting to donate for expenses may send contributions
to the Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City Connection, P.O. Box
1747, Waterville, Me. 04901.
said two Russian artists came to Waterville several years ago,
and Christianson's trip is an opportunity for the Russians to
native of Minneapolis, Christianson received a bachelor's degree
in anthropology from Wesleyan University. He grew to love Maine
while visiting Waterville with a friend who lived on his floor
in college, he said. He moved to Maine in 1970.
has painted in India, Nepal, and Australia, as well as in Canada
and throughout the United States. He regularly shows his works
at the Waterville Intown Arts Festival, in which he has twice
won Best in Show. His works will be on display at The Last Unicorn
during the month of July; at Railroad Square in December; at a
garden tour June 28 sponsored by the Friends of the Library at
the Tewksbury building on Island Avenue in Skowhegan; and July
26 at the Intown Arts Festival.
Sentinel, Friday, June 13, 2003, pp. B1 & B3.
Text used by permission.