Charles Hawes International Watercolorist

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[1909 – 1999]

Charles Hawes was an internationally recognized artist and a member of the American Water Color Society and the Society of Illustrators.  He was born in Huntington, West Virginia in 1909 and graduated from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.  Bud, as he was known by his friends, worked for the Chicago Tribune Advertising Department before moving to New York in 1941, firmly establishing his career  as an illustrator. While in New York, he worked  as an illustrator for a variety of magazines such as; Colliers, Liberty, American Magazine, American Weekly, Redbook, Readers Digest, Look, the original Life, and the Saturday Evening Post.

During his first trip to the USVI in 1954, Charles Hawes painted his first two West Indian watercolors which were purchased by Laurence Rockefeller.  When he visited St Croix, it was instant love and he moved here permanently in 1964.  His first watercolor exhibition in 1964 began an annual tradition that spanned over the next 31 years.  All of his paintings demonstrate his deep love for these islands and their people. His colors are constantly in movement, and the highlights glow from the sculptured faces of the islanders.

Charles Hawes described his work as impressionistic, realistic and loose. He used a technique called ‘forcing color’ to capture the shimmering sea, bright light and vitality of life in the West Indies.

The Flute Player II

Please join us to enjoy moments of West Indian life captured and preserved in these beautiful watercolors and illustrations by browsing through our on-line Gallery. Charles Hawes was also a member of, dedicated to the promotion of all forms of watercolor and the artists who create works in the various media encompassed by this broad classification.