Hawai`i Watercolor Society


The Hawai`i Watercolor Society was founded in 1962 by Hawai`i Artist Hon Chew Hee. 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 week long workshops each year featuring nationally recognized teaching artists. On an intermittent basis we sponsor shorter duration workshops on a variety of art-related topics.


About the Workshops

The Hawai`i Watercolor Society sponsors one or two workshops each year, in the spring and fall. Workshops are open to the general public as well as HWS members, although members receive advance notice of registration as well as reduced tuition. Instructors are established mainland or overseas artists. Our guest artists bring the value of their experience to Hawai`i and allow participants to benefit from high-caliber teaching without leaving the Islands. Past instructors have included Katherine Love, Barbara Nechis, Don Andrews, Stephen Quiller, Ann Pember, Tony van Hasselt, Ong Kim Seng, Donna Zagotta, Robert Burridge, and Sandra Duran Wilson.

We also host smaller specific-topic workshops at various times throughout the year. Check our calendar of events for upcoming sessions.

The 2018 Spring Workshop with tom hoffman


Date: April 9 - 13, 2018
Workshop Chair: Anita Bruce

About Tom:

Watercolor has been my primary medium for forty years, and still, somehow,  the medium manages to stay just beyond my grasp. The learning process has mainly been a matter of letting go – giving up control – so that painting becomes more and more an act of watching the paint do what it wants. Content becomes less and less specific, until, sometimes, it is released entirely.

For as long as I have been painting, I have also been teaching. The two practices are now inextricably interwoven. Painting influences teaching, of course, but just as often what I’m teaching can have an effect on how I paint. The need to articulate the subtleties of seeing form rather than content, for example, has helped me gain detachment from my immediate agenda while I am painting.

Over the years, I have acquired a reputation as someone to work with when you want to loosen up your brushwork or simplify your approach. This is a lot to live up to. Trying to stay one step ahead of my students on the “free and easy” scale may have accelerated my own evolution. Who can say which came first?

Recently, a friend asked the tricky question, “What happens when the magic is gone?” That got me thinking back, forty years ago, when I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to see in my paintings. Light! That was the magic for me. If I could count on creating a convincing illusion of light in a picture, I would be a happy painter. Little by little, I learned how I could translate light into color and value. But, by the time I could pull off the illusion more often than not, the goal had shifted. It wasn’t about light anymore. Instead, I wanted to make paintings that had guts, whatever that was. And that was subsequently replaced by surprise. Now, I want to be surprised by my own brushstrokes.

Apparently, by the time we can grasp the carrot, something else is dangling from the end of the stick, just out of reach. In this way, I think, we keep evolving, and the magic takes care of itself.