My Story

Meet Suemae,

Suemae is an award winning artist and instructor with over 2000 students since 2002. She has worked with several national publishing companies, served on the art faculty of the Santa Barbara City College, School of Extended Learning, Carpinteria Art Center, and many other workshops in California. Suemae incorporates Meditation, Tai-Ji & Qi-Gong in her lessons to help quiet the spirits of her students.

Suemae’s love of birds & flowers began in her childhood in Taiwan. Suemae was born into a family of artists and scholars of Taiwan. She was surrounded by beautiful tropical birds and flowers. She frequently visited botanic gardens in Taiwan.

Suemae immigrated to USA in 1975. She received Bachelor of Arts from a California State University for Business Administration with a minor in Marketing.

“I had worked in marketing and national publishing firms since 1986.  One morning in 2001 during my morning walk, I heard in my spirit: I am going to redeem your heritage and reclaim your identity. It was my calling to focus on Chinese heritage which I had lost and reclaim my identity as an artist. Immediately after my awaking I quit my corporate job as Senior Account Executive of a national publishing company to pursue art and teaching full time. Ever since that day, I am filled with joy in creating art and sharing this beautiful ancient practice with my students.  I continually strive to create a feeling of spirit and vitality in my paintings.”

” I am so thankful to be living my dreams to be a full time artist. My desire is for you to discover the artist within yourself, experience the joy of creating art, and be filled with happiness thru the journey of dancing brush techniques. ”

Message to my students,

Learn to accept where you are and honor yourself, pursue your dreams, and never give up. It takes time to to develop a new art form, learn to be patient with yourself, have perseverance, and take delight in your brush strokes. Treat each dot, each stroke with respect and honor, then your artwork will be beautiful.



  • The Santa Barbara Art Association
  • Faculty member at  Carpinteria Art Center
  • “SCAPE ” S. Ca Artists Painting for the Environment.
  • Faculty member at Santa Barbara City College, School Of Extended Learning. Teaching Chinese Calligraphy & Brush Paintings.
  • Wildings Museum Gift Shop, Solvang.
  • Santa Barbara Museum Gift Shop
  • The Santa Barbara Orchid Society
  • Santa Barbara Chinese American Association
  • Suemae Willhite had the privilege of attending Chinese Brush Painting Teaching Technique workshops with Dr. Ning Yeh, Ph.D. in 2008. Several of Suemae’s Chinese brush paintings were inspired by Dr. Ning Yeh.
  • One month workshops in Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy with Master Lee in Tai chung Museum of Taiwan in May to June 2018.
  • The SB Courthouse and Mission paintings were inspired by Karen Mclean-Mcgaw.
    Art Accomplishments

Suemae’s unique style of East meets West has been published in Santa Barbara News Press front Cover page, Santa Barbara Independent magazine, Casa Voice Magazine, and given live demonstrations at the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. A member of Prestigious Santa Barbara Art Association, Scape, and Artist of the month in Gallery 113 in Santa Barbara, CA.

  • 2018 Suemae’s Graceful Orchid painting won 1st Place, Blue Ribbon at the SB International Orchid show.
  • 2017 Solo show in Faulkner Gallery, West Wing.
  • 2014 & 2017 SB International Orchid Show, Honorable mention for Hummingbird & orchid.
  • Artist of the month in Gallery 113, December 2012, 2014, & 2017.
  • Scape, July, 2012. Best Watercolor Award: Serenity Mountain.
  • Invitation to Exhibit & Demo with The Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store. Cold
  • Mountain painting was showcase in the April, May, Jun brochure.
  • Santa Barbara County Fair & Expo May 2009-1st place awards: Koi Rendezvous, Sea Cliffs, and Pure Lotus.
  • Santa Barbara County Fair & Expo May 2008- 1st place Awards: Sunset Bamboo and Vibrant Beach.
  • Goleta Art Association March 2008-Juror’s Award: Abstract Spirit.
  • Santa Barbara County Fair & Expo May 2007- 1st place Awards: Double Happiness Bamboo and Harbor Scenery.
  • Goleta Art Association April 2007-Juror’s Award:Collage Peaceful Sunset
  • 2011-2013 Invitation to give painting demonstrations at the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. Received 2nd Place award for Fragrant Beauty!
  • 2010 to 2012 SB County Fair & Expo- 1st place award: Fragrant Orchid & Dancing Bamboo and 1st place award: Glow Beach collage.