Friday, August 24, 2012

The Wisdom of Sunflowers: Part I--A Leaf

Artist Roman Czerwinski
Lahaina, Maui, HI
On a balmy Lahaina, Maui afternoon, 20 years ago, Esther and I stepped into a Front Street art gallery. In tow, with instructions to "touch nothing, or else" were our daughters Monica (6) and Cristina (5). A young artist sat, back to us, putting the finishing touches on an impressionistic rendition of a large tree. He turned and saw the girls watch in rapt attention as he placed dot after dot of paint on the canvas, each one becoming a single leaf within the whole. "Would you like to help me finish my painting?" he said. With saucer eyes, our girls nodded. The artist dipped the tip of his brush into a rainbow of oils and handed it to Monica. "Place your leaf right . . . there," he said, guiding her hand to the canvas. He did the same with Cristina. The artist's name was Roman Czerwinski, a Polish emigre, seeking to establish himself in the dynamic Lahaina art scene.We've returned to Lahaina a number of times through the intervening years, each time inquiring about Roman along the row of big-ticket galleries. The usual response was, "Oh, he's around, but I don't know where." In 2009, Esther and I were in Lahaina alone. Our now adult daughters were in their twenties and establishing themselves after graduating from college. Sitting upstairs in Front Street's Cheeseburger in Paradise, we reminisced about the artist who had given our little girls not only the thrill of adding to his painting, but imparted a brief lesson on impressionism. He'd pointed out that, when they stepped away from the painting, they could no longer distinguish their dot from all the others. All they saw was a lovely tree in full leaf. Soon our conversation turned to our Maui mantra, "What ever happened to Roman?" At that moment we glanced across the street and gasped when we saw a large banner over the entrance to Sargents Fine Art: ROMAN CZERWINSKI. Sadly, our fondly remembered artist was not in, but we got to see a number of his paintings.

Coming soon . . . "The Wisdom of Sunflowers: Part II--Reunion" 

See also:

Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story

(c) 2013 by Alfred J. Garrotto