Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
Sister City Connection
P.O. Box 1747
Waterville, ME 04903-1747
Write to Us
Street in Kotlas

Home > News > Archives > Stas Borodin

Russian Artist Visits Waterville

Painting by Johnson Pond

Stas Borodin (left) pauses from his work to talk to Colby Russian Professor Sheila McCarthy. That evening, with the paint still wet, he displays the finished work at Russian table. Click on the painting in either photo to enlarge the painting; the resulting popup box will close when you click outside it. All three photos are by John Engle.

Stas Borodin at Russian Table

By Gregor Smith

As a coda to this summer's international art seminar in Kotlas, Stas Borodin, the Russian artist who organized the seminar, made a three-day visit to Maine to visit Milton Christianson, a Wellington artist selected by the Kotlas Connection to attend the seminar.

When asked his impressions of Maine, Borodin said, "[There are] beautiful landscapes in Maine, . . . [and] very nice people, especially Milton," Borodin said. Borodin was speaking through a translator to Colby Russian students and members of the Kotlas Connection's executive committee at Colby's weekly Russian Table.

Borodin especially likes to paint college and university campuses. "As soon as you enter the campuses, you understand that you have entered a whole new culture, in comparison to New York [City]," Borodin said, eliciting laughter from his listeners.

Indeed, Borodin had spent much of the day painting a view of the campus from across Johnson Pond, a picture that he donated to the college. After arriving in Waterville that morning, local host John Engle took him on driving tour of the town. They got no further than Colby's pond when Borodin asked him to stop and got out a canvas, brushes, and paints. Not counting lunch and breaks, he spent four hours on the painting, which he subsequently donated to the college.

Like Christianson, Borodin is a plein air painter. (From the French, "plein air" simply means "outdoors.") Generally impressionists, plein air artists prefer street scenes and rustic landscapes to indoor subjects. They often paint outdoors as well to capture the colors of nature and the changing effects of light. As Borodin likes to say, "If you're out in nature, nature inspires you."

Born in 1950 in the Kotlas area, Borodin now lives in St. Petersburg. He started showing his works publicly in 1989. Since then, he has had exhibits in Kotlas, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Archangel, Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm, and in numerous cities and towns throughout Germany. His three days in Maine was part of a two-month, self-funded visit to the U.S. to paint and to exhibit his works. During the two months, he also traveled to New York City, Ann Arbor (in Michigan), and Los Angeles. He previously came to the United States in 2002 for an exhibit of his paintings in Atlanta, Ga.

Before coming to Waterville on his current trip, Borodin had spent two days in Wellington with Christianson. During that time, he attended an artists' reception in his honor, executed a painting of nearby Kingsbury Pond, got his feet wet, and bought a new pair of socks in Moscow, Me.

Update: Borodin has since become a regular visitor to U.S., returning, on average, once a year for one to two months at a time. He invariably spends at least a few days in Maine. In 2007, he made two visits: in March, when he gave painting demonstrations at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, and in September, when he exhibited his works in the Bennett Katz Library at the University of Maine at Augusta.