“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.”     -Émile Zola

Working with plants gives me the freedom to explore the ideas of beauty, flaws, and decay without dealing with the complexity of human beings - namely, the perceptions we tie to gender, race, facial features, and body types. I also paint the human figure, so I’m always thinking about what a model’s appearance may convey, and how that might help or hinder the narrative of my painting. When I take a broad, sweeping look at my garden, everything looks beautiful. But when I pull out my camera to collect reference photos, it’s rare to get a perfect shot. There’s always another flower crowding in, or a few petals already beginning to wilt, or something that prevents me from finding the composition I had hoped for. I have to work with what exists, which is both humbling and comforting - it reminds me that we as humans are the same: we can easily make broad, sweeping statements about groups of people, but when we take time to look intimately, to learn a single person’s story, that person has worth and beauty, regardless of visible imperfections. This is why I choose to paint a flower’s imperfections. Immersing myself in the details while I’m painting is meditative; it grounds me and reminds me that we are all a part of Nature, important and insignificant at the same time.

Rowena has been making art since she was old enough to hold a crayon. Early on she was obsessed with drawing Disney characters, but also dabbled in mixed media,  abstract and non-representational painting, trompe l'oeil murals, and jewelry-making over the years before finally finding her "home" in the art world with contemporary realism. She is currently an instructor at the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, and also offers workshops at the Virginia Beach Art Center, Jerry's Artarama in Virginia Beach, and the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk. Ro resides in Virginia Beach with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three cool, clever, and silly kids.


Exhibitions & Awards (Selection)
2020 Garden of Life Exhibition, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA, Best in Show

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

2019  Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Fall Members Show, Norfolk, VA, Honorable Mention

2019  FilFest USA, Virginia Beach, VA

2019  Virginia Artist's Exhibition, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA

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

2018  Virginia Artist’s Exhibition, Charles Taylor Center, Hampton, VA
2017  The Graceful Envelope, Washington, D.C., Honorable Mention
2014  A Taste of Art, Philippine Cultural Center, Virginia Beach, VA
2008  Free Spirit, Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk, VA, Award of Merit
2008  Dare to Dream, One Eleven Gallery & Studios, Norfolk, VA
2007  Tiny Treasures, The Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, VA
2007  Rock-n-Surf, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2007  Quotes & Adages, Pembroke 4 Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2007  Group Show, Phillips Art Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2007  One Foot Square, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2007  Fabulous Forgeries, The Artists Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA
2006  Solo Exhibition, The Delightful Dish, Virginia Beach, VA
2006  Best of Virginia Artists (online), Williamsburg, VA, Honorable Mention
2005  Color III International Exhibition, Period Gallery (online)
2004  The Philippine-American Festival, Virginia Beach, VA
2004  Solo Exhibition, The Jewelry Vault, Broadway, VA
2002  The Graceful Envelope, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition


2019  57th Annual Ocean View Art Show, Norfolk, VA

2019  Boys & Girls Club of Southeast VA, National Fine Arts Exhibit, TCC, Virginia Beach, VA

The Chrysler Magazine, Spring 2019
Halo Halo Na! Filipino-American Magazine, Vol. 1, October 2018
Best of Virginia Artists, 2005
Scriptsit Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3, December 2002

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


Chesapeake Bay Watercolorist, Portrait Society of America, Norfolk Society of Arts

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© 2019, Rowena F. Finn. All rights reserved.