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Water and oil: A perfect mix

"Adriatic" oil painting by Dan Petrov.1 / 2
"Cruising Down the Zumbro" watercolor painting by Richard Dison.2 / 2

Dan Petrov works in the medium abandoned by fellow artist Richard Dison, but their oil and watercolor paintings are the perfect complement to each other on the walls at Zumbrota's Crossings during June. A reception is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday June 16.

The reception is concurrent with Art in East Park, just down the street from Crossings. Art in East Park is in conjunction with Zumbrota's annual three-day Covered Bridge Festival.

Conscious of the heritage of art passed down through the ages, Petrov works in oils, creating still lifes he says are references to all the paintings in art history.

"That is the reason why I like tradition and the legacy of art history. I paint with a great deal of respect for the proven principles of art language, methods and techniques of those who painted before me. That body of academic knowledge is never an obstacle for the personal expression of the contemporary painter, but rather a prerequisite for it," Petrov said.

Formerly from Yugoslavia, Petrov now lives in Lakeville, Minn. He received the College of Visual Arts Painting Award and the Ron Merchant Award for Oil Painting at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair for the painting "Vincent."

Dison, an 81-year-old retired Rochester businessman, began painting as a child while confined to his bed, but as an adult he was busy and became frustrated waiting for oil paintings to dry. When he tried watercolors, he discovered his preferred medium. He said he enjoys using a few brushstrokes and dabs of color to suggest forms, letting viewers 'finish' a painting.

He notes he has a particular attachment to Zumbrota's covered bridge, because his mother lived on a farm just up the hill from the bridge in its original location.

"The Zumbro was deeper then and a center of activity. Many artists have painted the bridge. I have chosen to use it as a backdrop for all the stories my mother told and what I have seen in early 1900 photos," Dison said.

He captained a live-aboard boat up and down the Mississippi for 30 years, finding scenes to paint along the way.

Those attending the free reception also have an opportunity to stroll a few blocks down to East Park, where "a cornucopia of art, music and food vendors" awaits, according to Zumbrota Area Arts Council, sponsors of Art in East Park.

The exhibit is open through June 30 and may be viewed free of charge Monday to Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crossings, 320 East Ave., Zumbrota. More at