About the Hawaii Watercolor Society
Our aim as an organization is to nurture and stimulate interest in water media through education, exhibits, and collaboration with other organizations, associations and individuals.
The Hawai`i Watercolor Society sponsors two juried exhibits every year as well as a biennial curated show highlighting the work of our signature members. In addition, we host periodic sales, themed shows and community events.
In conjunction with our exhibits we offer two workshops each year featuring nationally recognized teaching artists. On an intermittent basis we sponsor shorter duration workshops on a variety of art-related topics.
The Hawai`i Watercolor Society was founded in 1962 by noted Hawai`i artist Hon Chew Hee. Hee was born in Kahului on Maui in 1906 but was raised in China. He learned Chinese brush painting there then returned to the U.S. to study at the San Francisco Art Institute where he won top academic honors. He later gained additional training in New York at the Art Students League and Columbia University, and in Paris in the 1940s with Fernand Leger and Andre L'Hote.
After teaching in China, Hee returned to Hawai`i in 1935 where he worked as an artist and teacher. Over the course of his career, he exhibited his paintings nationally and internationally including at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and the National Academy of Design in New York, and the Galerie Ariel in Paris. The Honolulu Academy of Arts holds works by Hee in its permanent collection. A versatile painter and printmaker, in 1962 Hee founded the Hawai`i Watercolor and Serigraphy Society. He was honored as Artist of the Year by the Hawai`i State Legislature in 1986. In 1987, the Society dedicated its 25th Silver Jubilee Exhibition to him. Hee died in 1993.
Today Hee's legacy is carried on by the Hon Chew Hee Estate Foundation which continues to fund our biannual Best in Show awards. We are grateful to them for their continuing support.
In 1991, in recognition of their dedication to our organization, HWS gave Honorary Life Membership status to Karin Latham and Jeanne Robertson. In 2004, in recognition of their long service as Workshop Chairs, HWS gave Honorary Life Membership status to Helen Iaea and Rita Gustie.
The Hawai`i Watercolor Society Board is composed of unpaid volunteers. As a whole they direct and organize activities throughout the year, collect member dues, and communicate with members through a monthly newsletter.
Board officers include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Members at Large (2), and Trustees (3).
Standing Committees include Awards, Membership, Publicity, Web Master, Workshops, Newsletter, and Historian.
All Board members serve one-year terms.
Serving on the Board is a great way to meet other watercolorists, learn the ins and outs of a non-profit arts organization, and shape that organization into an entity that serves you. We always welcome fresh ideas and energy – volunteer and help make HWS the organization you want it to be!