Remembering Betty Hay Freeland

Betty Hay Freeland’s (1939-2023) perception of Hawaii was unlike that of any other artist. She began her painting career on location and continued to paint in plein air until her passing in March of 2023. Betty Hay spent considerable time exploring all of the Hawaiian Islands. She was Hawaiian/Caucasian with a notable Hawaiian ancestry. Many collectors feel that special insights and emotions experienced in viewing her art are due to this Hawaiian heritage and her passion for Hawaii. Her paintings bear a sensitivity that comes from her uninhibited familiarity with the land.  Many of her works provide an archetypal view of the “untouched Hawaii.”  Her gift was not so much with realistic portrayal, as with feeling and intrinsic qualities. It is said that her value as a chronicler of passing eras will be inestimable.

Born in Kohala, on the Big Island of Hawaii, she graduated from Punahou School, attended the University of Colorado, and continued studies in New York City. She made Maui her home for many decades. 

Betty Hay began exhibiting her work on Oahu and Maui in 1969. Her first solo exhibit was in 1975. Over the years Betty Hay gained many accomplishments in her painting career and is dearly missed. 

Her original works are no longer available, though you can view more at

Tiffany's Art Agency - Contemporary Art Talk Story with Betty Hay Freeland from Tiffany DeEtte Shafto on Vimeo.