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Meet the Artist

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
Emile Zola

Rowena Federico Finn is a Filipino-American award-winning watercolorist in Virginia whose works have been shown in regional, statewide, and national juried exhibitions. She is an active member of the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists, the Virginia Watercolor Society, and the Portrait Society of America. As a fine art instructor at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, she has the honor and pleasure of teaching young aspiring artists. Since 2019, she has worked closely with the Chrysler Museum of Art, giving hands-on workshops related to several major exhibitions including Watercolor: An American Medium and M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations. A passionate and outspoken activist for the rights and needs of underrepresented communities, Rowena serves on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, The Virginia Art Education Association’s DEIA Committee, the Virginia Beach City Public School’s Equity Council, and the WHRO Community Advisory Board. Rowena resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three infinitely interesting and inspiring kids. And when she has down time from all of these other obligations, she paints.

 
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Artist Statement

Each botanical watercolor I paint is akin to an essay; it is a portrait of human journeys and connections heavily influenced by my social activism and work with a number of community organizations. These I know to be true: every single organism on earth takes up space and has a life; everything organic experiences a cycle from birth through death; and everything is perfect in its imperfection. Life is fleeting; our memories are flawed and short. I see it every day watching my husband and myself age, watching my children grow, watching the lives of loved ones and even strangers shift and change. There is a sacredness in each phase of life that I revere. By grounding my paintings in stark yet poetic realism, I invite viewers to pause, breathe, and contemplate. I want them to lose themselves in the beautiful, intricate, and often imperfect details of nature that are so easily overlooked, and to find those in themselves and the world around them. Gold and silver leaf elevate my subjects, bringing intense focus to things we normally ignore. I hope viewers take time to discover the fascinating stories hidden in wilting leaves and petals. For every living thing, there is a whole world - a full life - lived that we might otherwise have never known or appreciated. 

 

Press

 

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Ajency Arts | Rowena Finn | Translating Experience into Art, Craftsmanship vs Expressionism

Ajency Arts
Ajency Arts | Rowena Finn | Translating Experience into Art, Craftsmanship vs Expressionism
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Ajency Arts | Rowena Finn | Translating Experience into Art, Craftsmanship vs Expressionism

Ajency Arts | Rowena Finn | Translating Experience into Art, Craftsmanship vs Expressionism

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Coast Live: Painting Demo for Chrysler Museum Part 1

Coast Live: Painting Demo for Chrysler Museum Part 1

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Rowena Finn VB Art Center Instructor

Rowena Finn VB Art Center Instructor

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Publications

  • "Reclaiming the Feminine: An Interview with Reisha Perlmutter," pg. 4-5, Vol. 24, Issue No. 94

  • Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted," Finalist, pg. 35; Artists Magazine & American Artist, Summer 2022 

  • "Virginia Watercolor Society exhibition returns to Portsmouth, running June to September," by Alison Johnson, The Virginian-Pilot, June 22, 2021

  • "Virtual Figure Drawing Offers Artists Growth and Camaraderie During Pandemic," Portrait Society of America Blog, June 15, 2021. The Art of the Portrait Quarterly Journal, Volume XXII, Issue No. 90.

  • “A Perfect Third Place,” The Chrysler Quarterly, Spring 2019

  • “Making Visual Arts Visual,” Halo Halo Na! Filipino-American Magazine, Vol. 1, October 2018

  • Best of Virginia Artists, 2005

  • Scripsit, The Washington Calligrapher's Guild Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3, December 2002

Exhibitions & Awards

 

Selected Exhibitions & Competitions

2022     Artists Who Teach, Charles H. Taylor, Hampton VA

2022     Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Artists Magazine

2022     Spring Colors, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Spring Members Show, Virginia Beach, VA

2022     Flourish: National Juried Exhibition Featuring Botanical and Floral Artworks, D'Art Center, Norfolk, VA

2021     Best of the East Coast, Gallery 311, Raleigh, NC

2021     Leaves & Petals, Fusion Art International Online Juried Exhibition

2021     Questions, Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize 2021, Online Exhibition, Juror Prize
2021     Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

2021     Practice What You Teach, Virginia Art Education Association Conference, Virginia Beach, VA

2021     Awash in Color, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Fall Members Show, Norfolk, VA

2021     Virginia Watercolor Society Members Show, Art & Cultural Center, Portsmouth, VA

2020     Garden of Life, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA

2020     Artists Who Teach, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

2019     Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Fall Members Show, Norfolk, VA

2019     Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

2019     Governor's School for the Arts Faculty Show, Origins Gallery, Norfolk, VA

2018     Virginia Artists, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

Selected Awards

2022      "Sisters" - Artists Who Teach Exhibition, Second Place

2022      "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Finalist

2022      "Sisters" - Spring Colors Exhibition, Best in Show

2022      "Sisters" - Spring Colors Exhibition, Members' Choice

2022      NAEA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) Scholarship

2021      "Lifeline" - Questions Exhibition, Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize, Juror Prize

2021      "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - CBW Fall Members Show, Second Place

2021      "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - VWS Members Show, Honorable Mention

2020      "On the Brink of Becoming Acquainted" - Garden of Life Exhibition, Best in Show

2020      Southern Atelier Portrait Drawing Workshop Scholarship

2019      "Apple Blossoms" - CBW Fall Members Show, Honorable Mention

2017      "The Graceful Envelope" Honorable Mention

2008      "Pattern Pieces" - Free Spirit Exhibition, Award of Merit

2006      "Poppin' Poppies" - Best of Virginia Artists Publication, Honorable Mention

Professional Experience

2022                Guest Artist, Peninsula Watermedia Society of Virginia

2022                Guest Instructor, Norfolk Public Schools Visual Arts Faculty, Norfolk, VA

2021-Present       President, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists

2021-Present       Virginia Watercolor Society Creasy/Johnson Grant & Scholarship Committee

2021-Present       Contributing Writer, Cecilia Beaux Literature Committee, Portrait Society of America

2021                Panelist, Beneath the Surface: Conversations About Race in Hampton Roads

2021                Chair, Virginia Watercolor Society Workshop, Portsmouth, VA

2019-Present      Workshop Instructor, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
2018                
Guest Artist, Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists

2019                 Juror, 57th Annual Ocean View Art Show, Norfolk, VA
2019                 Juror, Boys & Girls Club SEVA, National Fine Arts Exhibit, TCC, Virginia Beach, VA
2018-Present       Instructor, Governor's School for the Arts, Norfolk, VA
2018                Curator, The Artist’s Muse Exhibition, Art Studio on the Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA
2018                Guest Instructor, Norfolk Public Schools Visual Arts Faculty, Norfolk, VA
2012-Present       Instructor, Private Classes & Workshops

Education
James Madison University, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Minor in Art History, 1999

Memberships

Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists, Virginia Watercolor Society, Portrait Society of America, National Art Education Association, Virginia Art Education Association (DEIA Committee), Virginia Asian Advisory Board (Education Committee), VBCPS Equity Council, WHRO Community Advisory Board

 

Contact

757.797.4768