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Susan Bull Riley

Whether I am using oils or watercolor, fidelity to the natural world is a constant in all my work. My affection for representing birds and flowers in particular has led to collaborations with institutions where accuracy is valued as highly as beauty; I have paintings in the permanent collections of the New York State Museum and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology as well as private collections across the country and beyond. I have contributed nine paintings to the 2008 Breeding Birds of New York Atlas, which is being promoted in fine art circles as well as scientific ones, and several of my botanical watercolors can be found in a newly published anthology of the American Chestnut entitled "Mighty Giants."

My training in art has been on my own, seeking out the wisdom of the painters I admire, whether or not they are still living. My academic training was in music, with an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a masters in Baroque Flute performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. It's hardly surprising that the music I am most inclined to play draws from both traditional and classical sources, much like the art I most admire.

A note about how these paintings were made: My paintings of flowers and other plants are done strictly from life. Their transience means that I am pressed to work with as few interruptions as possible until the painting is finished--depending on the complexity of the composition, between one day and weeks. All of the flower paintings are executed with close attention to accuracy, and in the case of the watercolors, are done in the tradition of botanical art that goes back hundreds of years and recalls a a time before photography when careful observation and artful representation of plants merged to create an art form that is enjoying a renaissance today.

The landscapes you see here are always begun outside, where I experience my happiest moments as an artist, but completed at leisure in the quiet of my studio.

To see more of Susan's work, please check her website: