Darla L. Pickett
— Artist Milton Christianson last week erected his easel
on a downtown traffic island, started stroking on paint and he
was in business — and in the movies.
Tuesday, Christianson was earning his keep both as an artist and
as part of the background scenery for the HBO movie "Empire Falls"
being filmed downtown.
around him, and on the easel, were paintings of the Empire Grill,
an eatery in the movie that has been fashioned from the former
Patrick's Pizza Joint.
with the likeness, Debbie and Richard Zazulia, owners of the pizzeria,
purchased a print of the painting Tuesday afternoon.
plan to put it up when we reopen, sometime near the end of November,"
Debbie Zazulia said.
sold at least two prints on Tuesday and has orders for several
of his original paintings.
sold everything," he said. "Even this one I'm working on is sold.
They've been purchased for gifts."
said movie actors and crews have been keeping track of his progress
and have expressed an interest in buying.
come to look, but then people want their autographs and we never
get a chance to talk, really," he said.
Wellington artist said he came to the location with few expectations.
He said he knew they were filming and in true entrepreneurial
spirit, with a nudge from a friend, decided it was a good time
and place to exhibit his work.
he packed up his paper and watercolors and set up business in
the traffic square at the east end of the downtown rotary.
came originally to find a place to exhibit pictures of Skowhegan,"
he said. "I began painting and they made everybody else go away,
but didn't make me go away. I ended up being in some of the shots.
They wanted me in some more on these particular scenes and I have
to look like I've been here all day."
said it is good they do not want him too often because he has
to get his wood in for the winter and he has a carpentry project
that needs his attention.
impressionist painter, the 56-year-old Christianson said he's
had a good time painting while he watches all the action.
fun to be here," he said. "I've made new friends and I've got
some more exposure."
paintings are fact with fiction mixed in — some cars and
some people were not there when a painting was started, according
to Christianson, who recently returned from a painting seminar
in Russia this summer.
the seminar, Christianson shared with Russian artists his techniques
in painting in watercolor that he has used for the past 20 years.
said he was influenced a lot by the California School of Watercolor,
which he said began in the 1920s and was open through the 1950s.
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 in college, and moved
here in 1970.
has painted in India, Nepal and Australia, as well as in Canada
and throughout the United States.
never hurts," Christianson said Tuesday. "I'll have postcards
of the (Empire Grill) painting in two weeks."
Sentinel, Wednesday, October 8, 2003, pp. A1 & A2.
Photo and text used by permission.