One need only stand in the studio of Boris Karavanov to feel his love for Samaria. In a style reminiscent of the Impressionists, Karavonov paints his personality upon the rocky hills surrounding Ariel. His colorful boulders speak of the love and gratitude he feels for coming to Ariel from Minsk, Belarus over 20 years ago.
“There I had a dream to have a private studio and a place of work that was my own. All of that happened here.” He beams. “Now I have my own studio.”
Located on a second floor on a quiet street near the Milken Family Sports and Recreation Complex, his home studio smells of fresh paint and paint thinner. Several unfinished paintings rest on easels. Prints of Rembrant, Vermeer, among other masters, provide inspiration.
“I always strive for perfection, so it’s difficult to finish a work,” he says.
The general public recently had the opportunity to view dozens of his works at his solo exhibition “The Spring Show” held this past April at Ariel’s cultural center, Eshkol HaPayis.
But for a more intimate exhibition, one only need enter his home which is wallpapered with his landscapes and still lifes, along with a few artistic photographs done by his daughter, Tatyana, who served as a translator when Boris couldn’t find the right words in his second language, Hebrew.
Boris relates in his studio how he was born a painter but, “my parents told me to go into architecture, so I went to study architecture for five years. In the third year I realized I didn’t want to be an architect, but I still completed my studies.”
There he met his wife, an architect for the Samaria Regional Council. While he didn’t realize his parents’ ambition for him, his daughter, Olga, also became in architect. In fact
, it was Olga who led them to Israel in the mid-1990s. She fell ill with a sickness that doctors in Belarus couldn’t properly treat or diagnose without risk to her life.
“Here she healed with just a few medications,” Boris related. “I thought we’d be here temporarily, but look what happened.”
At the time he was teaching art in Minsk and was an instructor of art history and drawing at his alma mater. He was a member of the prestigious Association of Artists in Belarus, studying under the master Anatoly Baramovsky.
His wife’s parents live in Ariel, as do his children. Ariel is his home and has not looked back. But, he says, an artist doesn’t know borders. He finds beauty and interest in everything around him.
“Politics is not my profession. I love the Israeli landscape, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Coast, Samaria.” He pauses and adds, “I also love Venice.”