My Story

Meet Suemae,

Suemae is an award winning artist and instructor. Growing up during the 1970’s in Taiwan she studied Chinese calligraphy & brush painting with two masters, then from 2008 to 2010 she studied how to teach the skills to others with Ning Yeh. Most recently in 2018 and 2019 Suemae studied new techniques with Master Lee based at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. She has served on the art faculty of the Santa Barbara City College, School of Extended Learning, and is available for private lessons. Suemae incorporates Meditation, Tai-Ji & Qi-Gong in her lessons to help quiet the spirits of her students.

Suemae draws inspiration from the beauty of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Figueroa Mountain in Santa Ynez, and Carrizo Plain to paint California native plants & animals. In the Spring of 2015 Suemae began researching California native plants at the suggestion of staff working at the SB Botanic Garden. After studying CA Wild Flower books and joining the CNP Society she began to grasp the link between the plants and animals that have thrived California habitats. Suemae employs delicate fine lines and dynamic brush strokes to depict subjects such as California Poppies, Hummingbird Sage, and other plants found here at the garden. California Native Plants have become some of her favorite subjects.

Suemae immigrated to USA in 1975. In 1986 She received Bachelor of Arts from a California State University for Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. She had worked in marketing and national publishing firms since 1986.  One morning in 2001 during her morning walk, she heard in her spirit: I am going to redeem your heritage and reclaim your identity. It was her calling to focus on Chinese heritage which she had lost and reclaim my identity as an artist. Immediately after her awaking she quits her corporate job as Senior Account Executive of a national publishing company to pursue art and teaching full time. Ever since that day, she is filled with joy in creating art and sharing this beautiful ancient practice with the Santa Barbara Community.

Suemae evokes feelings of peace and harmony in her paintings. Suemae believes that she was born to be an artist and that the magic happens if you let it, surrendering herself to the brush.

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.


  • Member of Santa Barbara Visual Artists
  • Member of The Santa Barbara Art Association
  • Faculty member at  Carpinteria Art Center
  • “SCAPE ” Southern Ca Artists Painting for the Environment.
  • Faculty member at Santa Barbara City College, School Of Extended Learning. Teaching Chinese Calligraphy & Brush Paintings.
  • Santa Barbara Museum Gift Shop
  • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Shop
  • The Santa Barbara Orchid Society
  • Wildings Museum Gift Shop, Solvang.
  • Santa Barbara Chinese American Association
  • Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy with Master Lee in National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts 2018 & 2019
  • Chinese Brush Painting Teaching Technique workshops with Dr. Ning Yeh, Ph.D. in 2008. 
  • The SB Courthouse and Mission paintings were inspired by Karen Mclean-Mcgaw.


  • 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.

Copyright Notice Protection Status

All content on this web site is © Suemaae Willhite. All rights reserved. 

The entire contents of this site are protected by copyright laws of the United States of America and by international copyright laws. The contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent from Suemae Willhite or her representatives.

Sharing Content from SuemaeArt

While I encourage sharing my work and articles with your friends and colleagues, please use the social sharing buttons provided.

Images and articles may not be reproduced, copied, downloaded or used without the express written permission of the copyright holder.

My designs, illustrations, images and articles may not be altered in any way. Links back to Suemae Willhite or are required.