DEAR OLEG! BY NIKOLAI ROZENTAL
Even though you are younger than me by couple of years, born on the same day at that, I always look up to you as my older pal. You are my wiser and pensive friend who knew more and could do more in life than I ever pondered about in my head. You always tried to be if not the first, but at least notable and significant at everything you did. And you were, because of your habit of doing everything thoroughly well, scrupulously and in its entirety. It led you to be far ahead of everyone on the garden patch during potato-turnip harvest, push most carts filled with rocks at the excavation site at Mt. Barsuchiha, or get soaking wet in the rain, shielding the sketches with your body while fishing. The widely accepted principle of “best is the enemy of good” was not for you. You always strived for the best. The best from your personal and family life, which did, in fact, turn out so well and which can’t be attributed to just plain luck. The best from an unstoppable flow of architectural ideas, often started from sketches and drafts as big as a matchbox. You strived for the best in your striking artistry, provoking your viewers to ponder silently: “How could a man create this?”
Your unity with nature, which overflowed in you and made you want to generously share this pure beauty with close friends and unfamiliar people alike. All of a sudden, frowning Varangian would smile, laugh, make a clever joke, or give professional and useful advice on the fly.
This and much more I could have said at some momentous occasion, his 80th birthday for example, if I can let my imagination run wild. Sadly, I will never have a chance for that. I look at Oleg’s paintings not only with reverence but an with an admiring envy that takes me back to my own pencils, colors and an untouched piece of paper.
Thank you for that, Oleg!