Peaceful art: Lahaina artist paints serenity
LAHAINA – Inspired by the beauty of paradise found in her island home, Lahaina resident and artist Nadine Ramelb draws daily from its “continuous beauty.” Canadian born, Ramelb has lived on Maui for over 30 years and has been an artist-in-residence at nine major resorts.
Her travels to over 15 countries, mainly in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, mixed with the inspiration of Hawaii, are evident in her distinctive composition of images and dynamic use of color.
Known as a multitasking, multi-talented artist with a colorful, traditional Hawaiian painting style, Ramelb depicts the subtle beauty throughout the islands. She moves seamlessly from one genre, venue and paint medium into another.
“My paintings have vivid images of flora and fauna, marine life, birds and people, all infused with a light and delicate sensibility,” said Ramelb.
Believing that the true nature of watercolor painting should be celebrated with free-form blends and bleeds of lush color applications, Ramelb creates brush-to-paper without pre-penciled drafts.
With an innate desire to paint, Ramelb began her career in the 1980s, inspired by the bright watercolors used in tie-dye and hand-painted clothing styles.
“I was known as a watercolorist for almost 20 years,” she noted.
“The trend now is for comfort colors, tropical bamboo images, acrylic on canvas,” she said. “The chocolate browns, soft banana leaves and bamboo are far earthier and in demand these days.”
As a member of the Hawaii Watercolor Society-Maui Chapter and the Lahaina Arts Society, Ramelb has conducted workshops at the Kapalua Art School and Arts Education for Children Group on Maui.
“My most intriguing project was organizing a year-long art program at the Kihei Youth Center back in 2008,” Ramelb said, adding that her program was used as a course of study in the College for Kids Program at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
“Art education is a great way for kids to connect with one another and generate a trusting environment of creativity and sharing,” Ramelb said. “Kids let go and really speak through art.”
Her curriculum for the children was titled “Kids for Kindness: Painting, Poetry and Virtues.” This program integrated a multi-faceted study of art appreciation using strong emphasis on the universal values of mankind, such as peace, love, unity, courtesy and kindness.
“Combining art instruction with positive themes results in exemplary behavior and a bright future,” she said. “Art presents the opportunity for innate natural creativity commonly stifled by electronic technology.”
Ramelb also believes that positive effects result from allowing young people, who are our future, to flourish with art activities that help build self-esteem.
“The elevation of an individual’s self-esteem contributes to positive life choices, creating productive adults in our society,” she said.
In addition to being an accomplished artist and enthusiast for children’s art education, Ramelb is a dedicated practitioner of the Baha’i faith on Maui. She was recently a delegate to the National Convention of Baha’is in the Hawaiian islands.
“I grew up as a Baha’i, whose teachings emphasize that all of us, as creations of one God, are part of one human family,” said Ramelb. “The Baha’i’s regard humankind as ‘fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch,’ ” she said.
Ramelb’s spiritual beliefs also include the act of sharing her art through donations to non-profits and community service facilities.
“Sharing my art and donating to non-profits is my pleasure,” said Ramelb. “I always had a passion for providing art for places where people are in need.”
There are at least 15 of Ramelb’s creations hanging on the walls of Maui Medical Group offices, homeless and women’s shelters, health clinics, Maui Memorial Medical Center and others. In the past, she donated art to Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Kokua Fund Ball, which provides assistance to those in need.
Ramelb’s vibrant spirit and artistic creativity provide impetus for her to affect the material and spiritual transformation of her clients, students and the community.
“There is a special satisfaction in producing art images that are as diversified as mankind itself,” she said. “Art can be a source of unity in our world of diversity and the appreciation of art universal.”
The major body of Ramelb’s art can be found at Lahaina Printsellers, an art outlet and gallery on Front Street, where she is an artist-in-residence. Wednesdays and Fridays are Art Night at Lahaina Printsellers. There the public can meet, greet and talk story with Ramelb and watch her demonstrate her bold style of acrylic painting. Hospitality beverages are served from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Ramelb’s work, which has been acquired by people on nearly every continent, is also available on the Internet. Included online is her contemporary and traditional art, posters and illustrated Haiku poetry gift booklets. Her work can also be viewed at Maui Hands in Paia, Gallery Rafael in Lahaina and Upcountry Legends in Makawao.
Commissions are welcomed. For more information, go to www.tropicaldaystar.com or call (808) 281-2763.