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 an award-winning watercolorist whose work has been exhibited in regional, statewide, and national juried competitions. She is president of the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists and a contributing writer for the Portrait Society of America. As an active member of the Virginia Watercolor Society, she facilitated the 2021 VWS Workshop and serves on the Creasy/Johnson Funding Committee. Rowena has been teaching watercolor, color theory, and classical drawing at the Governor’s School for the Arts since 2018, and independently since 2012. She is an adjunct instructor at Tidewater Community College and is regularly invited by the Chrysler Museum to teach workshops related to their major exhibitions including Watercolor: An American Medium, Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers, Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820-1920, 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 Beach Public Schools Equity Council, and is a founding member of the FilipinX Collective. Rowena resides in Virginia Beach with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three cool, clever, and silly kids. 


Artist Statement

It is the unspoken stories that interest me the most. There is something I revere in the silence of a painting. Trying to capture what I see around me, be it a face, a flower, a building, is what drives my work. What I happen to rest my gaze upon is no less beautiful than the paintings I admire in a gallery or museum. I choose various subjects because they call to me like unknown books on a shelf that I simply must read. Every single person, every single organism, and even every single inanimate object has a life - a secret world of adventures and heartbreaks. As we live our increasingly busy lives, and as technology fills up every moment and distracts us endlessly, we start to forget little things. But it is those little things and little moments that define what is most worthy of our time. I sometimes fear forgetting what it felt like as a child, when I could stare at what looked like an entire galaxy in a single toy glass marble. I never want to forget that feeling, and I want my viewers to remember that feeling, too, no matter what they're observing. By noticing the everyday people and objects we normally pass by, and elevating each of them onto a metaphorical pedestal or into an actual gilded frame, I invite viewers to stop and discover the stories hiding there. Behind that pair of eyes, or lost in wilting petals, there is a whole world lived that we might otherwise have never known or appreciated. 





Selected Exhibitions & Awards


Exhibitions & Competitions

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

2022     Splash 23: The Best of Watercolor, Artists Magazine

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


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" Juror Prize, Questions Exhibition, Martha's Vineyard Drawing 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

2021-Present       Adjunct Faculty, Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, VA

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

2021-Present       Virginia Watercolor Society Creasy/Johnson Grant & Scholarship Committee
2021-24            Contributing Writer, Cecilia Beaux Literature Committee, Portrait Society of America
2021                Chair, Virginia Watercolor Society Workshop, Portsmouth, VA
2020-21            Instructor, Roadstead Montessori High School, Norfolk, VA
2019-Present       Recurring Workshop Instructor, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
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

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


Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists (president), Virginia Watercolor Society (Creasy/Johnson Funding Committee), Portrait Society of America (Cecilia Beaux Forum Literary Committee), National Art Education Association, Virginia Art Education Association, Virginia Asian Advisory Board (Education Committee), Virginia Beach City Public Schools Equity Council, FilipinX Collective (founding member)