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Hosted by PleinAir and FineArtConnoisseur magazine publisher B. Eric Rhoads, Russian Master and Surikov Institute Professor Nikolai Dubovik, and Surikov-trained John Wurdeman V.

About the Surikov Institute
Known as the finest art school in the world, the Moscow-based Surikov of the Russian Academy was founded by Katherine the Great, and spawned the great Russian masters like Repin, Levitan and others. Today less than 25 students are accepted each year after exhaustive training at other schools just to pass the entry exam. Artists entering the school enter at a high level and then spend five years of intensive study in anatomy, drawing, figure and plein air painting. Professors at the school are considered the finest painters in all of Russia and are know as celebrities in Russia. You’ll study under one of these professors and one of the top graduates of the Surikov, John Wurdeman V, the first American ever accepted into the school and one of its top graduates. Wurdeman studied in the studio of the great artist  Zabellen.


Nikolai Dubovik

Nikolai Dubovik was born June 16, 1960 in the village of Urzuf, on the Don River in southern Russia. He spent his early childhood residing in a cottage in Tavria on the steeps of Preyazovsky. Nikolai’s father was a simple cobbler who played the fiddle on festive days. His father fought and lived through two great wars, the Finnish as well as World War II. As a young boy, Nikolai was in love with drawing. He drew on everything he could find; pieces of scrap paper, on the floor, and newspaper. Ten years after the death of his mother he entered the orphanage of Taganroge. The orphanage was in an old building, formerly the governor’s house. Here the Russian Tsar Alexander I died 1825. This place turned out to leave strong impressions on the young artist. When he was 14 years old he entered a special school for the arts. During this time of his life he experienced major problems with finances and he armed him self with a French easel made by pieces of panel from a broken bed he found in the attic of the orphanage. When he was 15, he was accepted to the Art College in Honour of Grekov, in the city of Rostov on the Don. Directly after completing his studies here, he began to teach in the Taganroge art school. In 1979 he was drafted into the Soviet Army. From 1982-1988 he was a student of the Surikov Institute under the direction of the Honored Artist of the USSR, T. Salakhov. For his excellent artistic achievement he was offered to do post-graduate work at the Surikov Institute by two departments (this was a very rare honor), Drawing, and Painting, in order to prepare him to be an instructor at the Institute. He finished his post-graduate degree under the direction of the legendary artist Vyacheslav Nikolaivic Zabelin. After finishing his studies he began teaching drawing in the studio of Professor Zabelin. He received tenure in 1997 and teaches there still today. He is also a member of the Mosocw River School of painters, founded by the famous Russian artist Yuri Kugach. Nikolai’s drawings and paintings are featured in numerous books on Russian artists.


John Wurdeman

Born into a family of artists in Santa-Fe, New Mexico, in 1975, John from his early childhood developed a keen interest in art. He attended St. Michael’s School and Trinity Episcopal High School in Virginia. He then attended the pre-college painting program at the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1991. He was accepted in 1992 at the oldest accredited art school in America, Maryland Institute, College of Art on a full scholarship. There he studied with professors Raol Middleman and James Hennessey. In 1995, he transferred to The Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow where he studied under Professor V. N. Zabelin. John is the only American to ever graduate from the the Surikov Institue. While attending the Surikov, John founded the Moscow based art group, “Vision” in 1996. In 1997 he traveled and gathered material for his diploma project in the Republic of Georgia. In 1998, he completed his Masters Degree of Fine Arts at the Surikov Institute in Moscow and co-founded The King Erekle International School of the Arts in Telavi, Georgia. John lives and paints today in a remote region of the Republic of Georgia.


B. Eric Rhoads (b 1954)  Biography


Eric Rhoads is a career entrepreneur with 30 years of launching companies and media brands, creating start-ups and building businesses including over 40 years experience in the radio broadcasting field and 25 years in the publishing business and 15 years in the art industry. Rhoads serves as Chairman of the Board of Streamline Publishing, Inc., which he founded in 1985. He also serves as a consultant and advisor to companies in media, technology, digital media and art.

Eric gained hands-on experience in all functions of business turnarounds as a serial entrepreneur, building companies in radio broadcasting, radio syndication and programming, promotional products, publishing of magazines, books, websites, media brands and conferences and launching of consumer products.

Rhoads was a pioneer in the online radio space with RadioCentral Networks, Inc. where he led a $18 million venture-funded start up. He was the founder of Equivox Broadcasting, Inc., which acquired radio stations in New Orleans, Salt Lake and Provo, Utah. He was a founder of New World Communications, a radio programming firm and a founding investor of SuperRadio Networks, Inc.

In 1985 he founded Streamline Publishing, Inc., which acquired a floundering radio industry trade publication, which was renamed RADIO INK. It is market leading publication serving the radio industry which has spawned bi-products including books, DVDs/videos, website and DAILY RADIO HEADLINES e-letter, and four important conferences in the radio broadcasting field: Radio Forecast, an annual event held at the Harvard Club in New York, which involves the owners of most radio companies; Convergence, which is a digital interactive conference for the radio broadcasting industry, Tech Summit, which is a conference for the radio tech sector, and The Radio Hispanic Conference, which serves the booming Hispanic radio sector.

Streamline broadened its interest in the area of digital media with the first publication devoted to that subject called STREAMING and another called DIGITAL MEDIA.

In 2006 Streamline launched its first art magazines and today publishes three titles, multiple websites, eletters and conferences. Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, PleinAir Magazine, and Artist Advocate. Additionally the company produces THE PLEIN AIR CONVENTION, which is a gathering of outdoor artists. It also publishers OUTDOOR PAINTER website and PLEIN AIR Today Newsletter. The company also has a video division, which creates “how to” artist videos.

Rhoads board positions have included the Bayliss Broadcast Foundation, the WAY-FM Media Group and the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Additionally Rhoads does private consulting for tech companies, online radio businesses, radio companies and art dealers. Rhoads has been honored as a Broadcast Pioneer, a coveted award in the radio industy. He has also been honored by Katz Media Group for his efforts to create awareness of women’s issues within the radio industry, and also by the MIW (Mentoring and Inspiring Women) group.

Rhoads is a columnist in Radio Ink, Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air, Artist Advocate, and is an active blogger for Media Biz Bloggers (media), as well as Ink Tank (radio broadcasting), Blue Chip Gallery Marketing (gallery marketing), and Artist Marketing. He is an active lecturer and speaker on the subjects on innovation, radio broadcasting, marketing and art. In 2012 Rhoads released “Marketing Bootcamp with Eric Rhoads” a DVD series on artist marketing.

In 1995 Rhoads published “Blast From the Past: A Pictorial History of Radio’s First 75 Years” which is a photo history of radio broadcasting. Rhoads has also authored “Radio The Forgotten Medium” for the Media Studies Journal.

Rhoads is a plein air and figurative painter whose work presently appears in two galleries. He is the father of triplets.

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