Island Artist Barbara Roman

By: Kelly Wilden
Oahu Island News

Barbara Roman is a true island girl. In 1997, she moved from the island of Manhattan to the island of Oahu. Her work as an artist began at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and since 1983 she had been working with leading book publishers, advertising agencies, and design firms – receiving many honors for her work.

Now in Hawaii, Ms. Roman is focusing on her true passion – fine art.  Working in varied and often combined mediums – pastel, acrylic, watercolor, graphite and colored pencil. Her works engage the eye, the mind, and the soul, drawing the viewer into deep and lively images of Hawaii, where vivid oceanscapes touch intricately rendered skies.

Her schooling trained her in the technical skills of drawing and painting, while her environment taught her to be innovative and resourceful.  Recently her artistic search took her to an unusual medium - painting on black industrial sandpaper (intended for sanding belts) that she gets directly from the manufacturer.  When these paintings catch the light, the particles subtly sparkle, looking like stars and shimmering water.

Although there is a sense of drama, there is also a sense of calm in her panorama of Lanikai beach, an 8x39-inch painting, wherein her soft, yet vivid colors, along with strong contrasts, create an almost mysterious glow. Working in a narrow format such as this, she manages to capture so much in a small space, evoking awe for the vastness of ocean and sky.

"To me Hawaii is breathtaking beauty and in Manhattan every 10 blocks is another kind of neighborhood – offering different takes on every aspect of life.  I love New York as much as I love Hawaii, and now that I've entered the fine art world, I'd like to bridge my two loves," says Ms. Roman who now blends her New York eye with her adopted Hawaiian soul.

Barbara Roman personally exhibits her work at Tropical Farms every Thursday. She also exhibits with The Artists at the Zoo Fence in Waikiki, and every other Wednesday she can be found at Tradewinds Gallery, an artist’s co-op in the Windward Mall.

Ms. Roman teaches locally, guest lectures across the country, and was formerly the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has been distinguished as the first Children’s Book Illustrator to exhibit at Border’s Books, Ward Center. Her works are in many collections in the US and internationally.

Award-winning, mixed media artist Barbara Roman will be debuting her unique new medium as the featured artist at Tradewinds Gallery, in the Windward Mall during the month of May. If you would like to share in her Hawaii/New York state of mind please join her for pupus, chocolate, and wine tasting, at her opening reception on Friday evening May 9th from 5pm to 9:30pm.