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: www.susanbullriley.com

Products by Susan Bull Riley

The following products include artwork and/or writing by Susan Bull Riley. Most products are a collaboration of the wonderful artists and writers who have contributed to Acorn Designs over the years.

Showing 1–16 of 48 results

American Chestnut Notecard

American Chestnut Journal

$16.00$17.00

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) The American Chestnut was once an abundant native tree that grew in eastern forests reaching its greatest size in the southern Appalachians. Today, the American Chestnut is known only in memory because young chestnut trees rarely survive long enough to produce flowers and fruits.  The American Chestnut was a beautiful tree…

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Cover image - American Chestnut Mini Journal

American Chestnut Mini Journal

$6.50

The American Chestnut was once an abundant native tree that grew in eastern forests reaching its greates size in the southern Appalachians. Today, the American Chestnut is known only in memory because young chestnut trees rarely survive long enough to produce flowers and fruits. The American Chestnut was a beautiful tree but also very useful.…

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American Chestnut Notecard

American Chestnut Notecard

$3.00

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) The American Chestnut was once an abundant native tree that grew in eastern forests reaching its greatest size in the southern Appalachians. Today, the American Chestnut is known only in memory because young chestnut trees rarely survive long enough to produce flowers and fruits. The American Chestnut was a beautiful tree…

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American Robins

American Robins Notecard

$3.00

American Robins and Wake Robin (Trillium) The American Robin is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus. Considered a harbinger of Spring, robins begin their return to northern breeding grounds in February and March. They begin nesting soon afterward producing 2-3 broods per season. Female robins build their nests themselves. The outer foundation consists…

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Ancient Forest Journal

Ancient Forest Journal

$16.00$17.00

The majesty of the giant trees draws us into the forest trail dabbled in summer light. We are immediately humbled by the immense size and age of these living beings. Calmness enters our heart and fresh oxygen nourishes our lungs. Soft edges sharpen in deepening shades of green.The majesty of the giant trees draws We…

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Cover image - Ancient Forest Mini Journal

Ancient Forest Mini Journal

$6.50

Ancient Forest The majesty of the giant trees draw us into the forest trail dappled in summer light. We are immediately humbled by the immense size and age of these living beings. Calmness enters our heart and fresh oxygen nourishes our lungs. Soft edges sharpen in deepening shades of green. We feel an ancient network…

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Ancient Forest Notecard

Ancient Forest Notecard

$3.00

The majesty of the giant trees draws us into the forest trail dabbled in summer light. We are immediately humbled by the immense size and age of these living beings. Calmness enters our heart and fresh oxygen nourishes our lungs. Soft edges sharpen in deepening shades of green. We feel an ancient network of interconnections…

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Cover image - Baltimore Oriole Mini Journal

Baltimore Oriole Mini Journal

$6.50

Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Orioles are spring and summer residents of eastern U.S. open deciduous and riparian areas.  In the fall and winter they migrate to southern portions of the U.S. as well as Central and South America. Their rich, whistling song echoing from high treetops and breathtaking colors herald the return of spring.   These…

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Barred Owl Small Journal

$13.00$14.00

Barred Owl The Barred Owl is a chunky, round-headed owl whose large, liquid brown eyes and lack of ear tufts distinguish it from other large owls.  It ranges over much of North America east of the Rockies.  Its name derives from the crosswise barring patterns on the breast and lengthwise streaking on the belly.  Barred…

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Cover image - Bearded Iris Mini Journal

Bearded Iris Mini Journal

$6.50

The Bearded Iris is one of the oldest cultivated flowers with carvings of this hardy perennial found in Egyptian temples dating back to 1500 BC. Highly valued for its medicinal properties as well as its beauty, the flower can be found from Western Europe to Nepal. In the 1800’s, breeders in France increased the popularity…

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Bearded Iris Small Journal

$13.00$14.00

Bearded Iris   The bearded iris is one of the oldest cultivated flowers with carvings of this hardy perennial found in Egyptian temples dating back to 1500 BC. Highly valued for its medicinal properties as well as its beauty, the flower could be found from Western Europe to Nepal.   In the 1800’s, breeders in…

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Cover image - Black-capped Chickadee Mini Journal

Black-capped Chickadee Mini Journal

$6.50

Black-capped Chickadee The chickadee is an inquisitive, always-on-the-go little bird that inhabits deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. Chickadees flit from branch to branch as they search for their food, primarily insect eggs and larvae; sometimes they hang upside-down, clinging to tiny twigs. They also enjoy seeds of conifers and a variety of wild fruit. They…

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Blue Jays Journal

Blue Jays Journal

$16.00$17.00

Blue Jays  (Cyanocitta cristata) The blue jay is a rowdy character—dominating bird feeders, raiding the nests of songbirds, and mobbing predators like cats, hawks and owls.  But this noisy, bold medium-sized bird also adds a flash of bright blue color to a cold winter day.  Being in the Corvid family with crows, ravens and magpies,…

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Blue Jays Notecard

Blue Jays Notecard

$3.00

Blue Jays  (Cyanocitta cristata) The blue jay is a rowdy character—dominating bird feeders, raiding the nests of songbirds, and mobbing predators like cats, hawks and owls.  But this noisy, bold medium-sized bird also adds a flash of bright blue color to a cold winter day.  Being in the Corvid family with crows, ravens and magpies,…

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Chickadee Courtship Journal

Chickadee Courtship Journal

$16.00$17.00

Chickadee Courtship The chickadee is an inquisitive, always-on-the-go little bird that inhabits deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests.  Chickadees flit from branch to branch as they search for their food, primarily insect eggs and larvae; sometimes they hang upside-down, clinging to tiny twigs.  They also enjoy seeds of conifers and a variety of wild fruit.  They…

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Chickadee Courtship Notecard

Chickadee Courtship Notecard

$3.00

Chickadee Courtship   The chickadee is an inquisitive, always-on-the-go little bird that inhabits deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests.  Chickadees flit from branch to branch as they search for their food, primarily insect eggs and larvae; sometimes they hang upside-down, clinging to tiny twigs.  They also enjoy seeds of conifers and a variety of wild fruit.…

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