Trip Details

A True Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

“Paint Russia” is a trip hosted by PleinAir magazine publisher B. Eric Rhoads. After a painting demonstration during the 2012 Plein Air Convention, Russian master Nikolai Dubovik asked if anyone in the room would be interested in visiting Russia to study painting with him. (Nikolai is a Surikov Institute/Russian Academy Master.) More than 100 people raised their hands. This trip was prompted by the interest of painters who wish to see Russia, upgrade their skills with a Russian master, and paint Russia!

Not a Workshop, But a Transformative Event
You’ll learn from two Surikov-trained artists: Nikolai Dubovik, professor at the Surikov Institute and master painter,  and John Wurdeman V, a Surikov graduate, in the studio of the great V.N. Zabelin. Translation will be provided by a trained painter familiar with terms and processes. Unlike a workshop, where you see a demo and then work on your painting for a couple of days, this event offers sightseeing in the capital cities of Russia and the opportunity to paint in those cities. Then you’ll travel into deep Russia for 10 days of intense painting and study under the direction of these two masters. This is not for the faint at heart: You’ll paint from sunrise to sunset, be offered in-depth critiques and over-the-shoulder instruction, and leave having experienced significant growth. Even top- tier painters will experience new levels of growth.

We’re putting together a trip of a lifetime. We’ll visit and paint Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the Great Ustyug, a medieval town full of gorgeous northern nature, churches with frescoes, old wooden village homes, and log cabins with hard carved details. This area is like visiting Russia 500 years ago. Not on the typical tourist radar, it is one of the most beautiful painting spots in Russia. Our primary trip is to the Great Ustyug, where Nikolai Dubovik will be working with painters and most of the painting will be done. Our optional Moscow pre-trip will include museum visits with Dubovik to see the great works of the Russian masters, private visits to the studios of several of today’s top Russian masters, a visit to the Surikov Institute — known to be the finest and oldest art school in the world — and we’ll be sightseeing in Moscow at the Kremlin and other key sites. At the tail end of the trip, you can choose to join an optional visit to St. Petersburg, home of the Hermitage museum.

Trip Overview: (All details subject to change)

Moscow – August 22, 23, 24 and 25: (Optional)

3 Nights in Moscow (breakfast and lunch and some alcohol provided) includes painting in Moscow, studio visits, visit to view Russian Paintings at Tretyakov State Museum, New Tretyakov museum (Soviet Era paintings), Surikov Institute to view great Russian masterpieces by former students, Visit to art studios of Y.P. Kugach, M.Y. Kugach, O.G. Svetlichnaua, N.A. Dubavik, O.V. Belakavskaya, attend a performance of the renowned Moscow Conservatory, Tour the Kremlin Complex, Red Square and  St. Basils, church., Visit the museum of Andre Rublev (the Great Icon painter).

Great Ustyug – August 25- September 4:

10 Nights in Great Ustyug (all meals and some alcohol provided)
Eight hours a day of painting, demonstrations, critiques designed to dramatically increase the skills of those in attendance, including the highest level painters. Evening critiques of paintings and discussion of art.

St. Petersburg – September 4-7: (Optional)

3 Nights in St. Petersburg (breakfast and lunch and some alcohol provided)

Includes painting in St. Petersburg, visits to the Hermitage, the Russian Museum home of the great Russian masters, Petragof summer palace (home of Catherine the Great, The Museum at the Repin Academy of Art, and a visit to the Mirinsky Ballet (season permitting), artist studios, a shopping and walking tour of famous Nevsky Prospect, and a Boat tour of the canals of the city.

All ground and air transportation transfers inside Russia will be provided. You’ll need to provide your own travel to Russia (book early and you can find reasonable offers). We will provide required official invitations, which allow you to receive a full visitors visa. We will provide a Visa acquisition firm who can do the Visa work on your behalf. Visa fee is estimated at $150.

The Experience:
Russia is best seen for the first time with “locals” who know the lay of the land. This is an excellent opportunity to see Russia, but also to experience Russia in a way, which can never be repeated. You’ll have a rare opportunity to not only study with two top Russian painters, but a rare chance to visit the studios of top Russian artists and go deep into parts of Russia, which have barely changed in 200 years to places tourists rarely have an opportunity to visit. You’ll experience Russian churches, icons, the art of top Russian masters like Repin and Levitan, and visit the studios or homes of today’s top living Russian masters.

A Rare Opportunity to Study In-Depth with a Russian Master
Russia is considered the home of the world’s best Plein Air painters, who have learned to capture subtle nuances in painting with a bold style. Our goal is to transform your painting and take you to the next level whether you are a top tier experienced professional or one requiring more attention. Ten full days together painting intensively will recreate the Russia academy plein air study experience where you become immersed in painting, direction, and critique. Entry into the renowned Surikov Institute is rare because of the strict entry requirements, testing and the fact that only 23 students from around the world are admitted annually. You’ll study under a highly regarded professor from the academy and one who is considered one of Russia’s finest plein air instructors.

Hotels and accommodations in Russia are clean, safe, though typically not elegant or at the standards we may be accustomed to in the USA. We’ve selected good quality hotels but have not selected the highest grade, which are typically very expensive in the Capital cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg)

Event Prices

Option 1: Moscow, Great Ustyug, and St. Petersburg – $5,250

Option 2: Great Ustyug Only – $3,057

Option 3: Moscow and Great Ustyug – $4,057

Optional payment plans are available.  Please click on the button below for details.

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    Is lodging included in the price? What dates should one book for departure and will there be transportation to destination. I’m looking at the #2 option 


  2. Ann Gores says:

    I am very interested in painting and touring Russia with you.  Would a non-painter husband be able to accompany me?  Or is this strictly for painters?   I have been trained in the Russian Impressionist style of painting by instructors who studied with  Sergei Bongart, such as Ron Lukas, Bill Reese, Ovanes Berberian, and others.  This trip would be a fabulous experience for me, and an excellent way to trace this style of painting back to its roots. 

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