Member Biography



"Painting is a constant challenge to show others what we see through our eyes and brushes. By using watercolors, or acrylics, or oriental paper collages with vivid colors and sharp images in relaxed and cheerful composition, I try to capture the beauty of nature in a world full with light. Using molten wax on board has been a new creative challenge for me this past year."

Why I Paint
“Ask not, why? Just keep on painting,” said the young instructor at The Art Students League I was attending in Manhattan. He was young enough to be my son. I had an empty nest by then. My two sons with families of their own, my husband perpetually changing airplanes somewhere in far away places. This was before the days of the Internet and email; our hearts per-force content with occasional phone calls and United States Postal Service mail. Painting, an instinctual desire long deferred by motherhood, could now fill my days. It was matter of learning to master the medium first, like a baby who babbles syllables on and on until with a human’s stubbornness comes to speak in complete sentences. And, gradually, I came up with landscapes of parks, sea bays, sunsets, winter snow, and still-life…so many still-life. New York City is a place where one who is exposed to visual art can hardly keep his imagination and tastes unchanged for long. Museums and art galleries cram newspapers and magazines with exhibition announcements. If you follow just some of their invitations, there is no way to escape being affected. And so, slowly I changed inside, unbeknown to me, and surprised myself painting things that were not as they appeared, but my impressions of them, incomplete, intersecting. My work was reflection of a restlessness that had grabbed mind and brush. The change brought much self-doubt. I thought, who am I to dare think of myself as a Cubist? Then one day I happened upon a few very meaningful words by Jacques Martin Barzum, a leading American historian of ideas and culture: “A true artist is a conscious pragmatist. What counts in a work of art is its effect, however obtained; obedience to previous canons of form or limits of any kind will only yield academic exercises.” The young instructor was right. Ask not,“Why?”

Pia Messina was born in Turin, Italy with a talent for colors. She was introduced to brush work by her grandmother who taught her china hand-painting in the Limoges style. Pia moved to the United States with her husband and two sons in 1969. While living in the New York City area, she attended the National Academy of Design and the Art Student League for several years. Pia is a life member in the League and Signature Member in the New Jersey Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Northwest Watercolor Society and the Montana Watercolor Society. She has resided in Bellevue, WA, since 1989.



  • 2015 MIVAL Holiday show, First Prize
  • 2013 MIVAL Community Center Show, Honorable Mention
  • 2012 NWS Open Show
  • 2011 MIVAL Holiday Show, Honorable Mention
  • 2010 Mival Alyoa Show, Second Place
  • 2009 Bothel Live Art, Honorable Mention, MIVAL Holiday Show, Honorable Mention
  • 2008 Arizona W/C Society, Award of Merit, MIVAL Holiday Show, Honorable Mention
  • 2007 EAFA Northwest Watercolor Society Award
  • 2005 - Edmonds Arts Festival, Best in Show
  • 2001 - City of Kent, 2 Purchase Awards; WPW, People Choice; WPW Membership, MIVAL Award; City of Renton, Purch Awd
  • 2000 - Arizona WA Traveling Exhibition; MT WS, 2nd Prize; WPW ECLR Awd; Kenmore, Honorable Mention; EAFA, Honorable Mention; City of Renton, Merchandise Award
  • 1999 - EAFA, Hon Mention; City of Renton, Merch Award; Kenmore, Lakepointe Award
  • 1998 - City of Kent, Purch Award; Mountlake Terrace, Best of Show Award; WPW, Kulberg Award
  • 1997 NWS Signature; MT WS, Purchase Award; EWWS, Hon Mention; EAFA, Award of Excellence; Ocean Shores, Award of Excellence
  • 1996 - MT WS, Grumbacher Gold Medallion
  • 1995 - EWWS, Battelle Purch Award; Monroe Spring Show, 1st Prize & Hon Men; Puget Sound Sumi Artists, 2nd Prize
  • 1993 - Monroe Spring Show, 1st Prize; Bothell Art Show, 2nd Prize
  • 1991 - EAFA Award at NCCS; Bothell Art Show, 1st Prize
  • 1988 - NJWCS, Henry Gasser Award; NJ Interstate Show, 1st Prize


• Interior Art Gallery, Kirkland, WA, 1996,98
• Farfalla Gallery, Seattle, WA, 1997
• Tolles Gallery, Mercer Island, WA, 1996,97
• Retrospective of 30 years work at Kaewyn Gallery, Bothell, WA, 2004


• Watercolor Magic Magazine, May 2003
• North Light Books, 2004: "Reflections, Textures & Backgrounds"
• Palette Magazine, Dec-Jan 2007
• American Artist, Spring 2007


•National Academy of Design, Art Students League, Parson School of Design, NY
• Workshops with Mario Cooper, Carl Molno, Frank Webb, Barbara Nechis, Carla O'Connor, Carol Barnes, Maxine Masterfield, Catherine Chang Liu, Edward Betts, Jackie Brooks, Arne Westerman, Pat Sans Soucie


Signature Member: NWS, 1997; WPW, 1994; NWWS, 1992; NTWS, 1999. Life Elected Member NJWCS, 1988.
Associate Member: AWS
Life Member: ASL


• Kaewyn Gallery, Bothell, WA
• New Dimensions Gallery, Bellevue, WA
• Seattle Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery


Pia Messina
Bellevue, WA


New Moon
Elsie in Garden


High Country
Fire on the Mountain



cascading numbers


You can see more of Pia's artwork
at www.piapaintings.com



All Artwork Copyright
of the Artist.

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