August 6th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Watercolor by Sue Roach. Photos courtesy of

“Four Floats,”watercolor by Sue Roach. Photos courtesy of

…you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.

Sue Roach lived in Hawaii for 20 years, leaving for life on the  Mainland in 2011. But Hawaii is so deeply embedded in her heart that island subjects just keep flowing out of her watercolor brushes.

Now her lovely local-style paintings can be found on tote bags and throw pillows, sold on a website:

Pillow version of "Four Floats"

Pillow version of “Four Floats,” $26

“The Air Force brought me to Hawaii  in 1991, and I retired in 1997. Eventually we moved to Kaneohe, and stayed until 2011 (20 years!)” she wrote in an email from her camping site in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Like many of our artist friends, Sue didn’t start painting seriously until she retired. Her first art classes were with Mary Mench at Kalaheo High School in 2001. She fell in love with watercolor and went on to classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art School with such excellent teachers as Roger Whitlock.

"Floats and Bamboo" tote bag.

“Floats and Bamboo” tote bag, $38

Sue joined the Windward Wanderers, and “That was a turning point in my art, learning plein air painting, joining the Hawaii Watercolor Society and taking workshops with nationally known artists…. The more I painted, the more I wanted to paint MORE. Then I sold a painting, such a thrill for a beginning artist. Then I entered some shows and won some awards.” In a word, she was hooked.

"Water Lily" tote bag, $20

“Water Lily” tote bag, $20

You can see some of Sue’s most popular paintings on her website at

"Golfer"  thorw pillow, $25

“Golfer” throw pillow, $25

In 2011, Sue and her husband moved to Las Vegas to be closer to family. She joined the Nevada Watercolor Society and started her own plein air painting group. It was a Nevada artist friend who turned her on to the www.fineartamerica website where she learned they can put your art on throw pillows, tote bags, duvet covers and even phone cases.

“I looked through my more popular pieces and found some lent themselves very well to the tote bags and throw pillows,” Sue explained. “Since many of my pieces are tropical flowers, I thought they would be stunning decor accents for Hawaii residents or other tropical/coastal areas.”

"Grapes" tote bag, $23

“Grapes” tote bag, $23

Sue recently learned from one of her customers that there is a website called which allows artists to submit their art to be used on the site’s canvas shoes.

Wouldn’t that be a kick?

– Paula Rath

"Tranquility" throw pillow, $25

“Tranquility” throw pillow, $25



What are they saying?
Leave a comment below.
August 7th, 2015 at 12:44 am

Great story! Great stuff!

Leave a comment:
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.