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 17–32 of 64 results

Chickadee Courtship Journal

Chickadee Courtship Journal

$20.00$21.00

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 Acorn Designs NC311

Chickadee Courtship Notecard

$3.00$12.00

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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Cover image - Eastern Bluebird Mini Journal

Eastern Bluebird Mini Journal

$6.50

Easern Bluebird The bluebird’s bright beauty and cheerful song inspire the pure joy of nature. A species of open spaces, bluebirds benefited from both Native American and European settlers who cleared the land for farming. They found nesting cavities in orchards, fence posts, and abandoned woodpecker holes along forest edges. In turn, bluebirds helped farmers…

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Flying Great Blue Herons Journal

Flying Great Blue Herons Journal

$20.00$21.00

Great Blue Herons These majestic birds are at home in small streams, marshes, or the shores of ponds, lakes or ocean bays.  Great Blue Herons are large (4 feet tall, 6-foot wingspan), common birds that nest across North America from Alaska to Mexico.  Great Blues mate for life.  Nests are usually made in colonies called…

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Flying Great Blue Herons Notecard Acorn Designs NC316

Flying Great Blue Herons Notecard

$3.00$12.00

Great Blue Herons These majestic birds are at home in small streams, marshes, or the shores of ponds, lakes or ocean bays.  Great Blue Herons are large (4 feet tall, 6-foot wingspan), common birds that nest across North America from Alaska to Mexico.  Great Blues mate for life.  Nests are usually made in colonies called…

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Grey Squirrel Notecard

Grey Squirrel Journal

$20.00$21.00

Grey Squirrel The grey squirrel is a prolific and adaptable tree squirrel native to the eastern and Midwestern US and southern portions of Canada. They generally construct their dens upon large tree branches as well as the hollow trunks of trees. They prefer oak-hickory forests as they enjoy acorns and a wide variety of other…

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Cover image - Grey Squirrel Mini Journal

Grey Squirrel Mini Journal

$6.50

Grey Squirrel The grey squirrel is a prolific and adaptable tree squirrel native to the eastern and Midwestern US and southern portions of Canada. They generally construct their dens upon large tree branches as well as the hollow trunks of trees. They prefer oak-hickory forests as they enjoy acorns and a wide variety of other…

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Grey Squirrel Notecard Acorn Designs

Grey Squirrel Notecard

$3.00$12.00

Grey Squirrel The grey squirrel is a prolific and adaptable tree squirrel native to the eastern and Midwestern US and southern portions of Canada. They generally construct their dens upon large tree branches as well as the hollow trunks of trees. They prefer oak-hickory forests as they enjoy acorns and a wide variety of other…

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Juncos in Snow Notecard Acorn Designs Nc

Juncos in Snow Notecard

$3.00$12.00

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemelis) Inhabitants of open woodlands and forest edges, Dark-eyed Juncos are small birds with clean markings and distinctive white outer tail feathers. Juncos are members of the sparrow family, and this species includes several distinctive-looking populations differing mainly in the color and contrast of the head and body plumage. They are all…

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Juncos in Snow  Notecard

Juncos in Snow Journal

$20.00$21.00

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemelis) Inhabitants of open woodlands and forest edges, Dark-eyed Juncos are small birds with clean markings and distinctive white outer tail feathers. Juncos are members of the sparrow family, and this species includes several distinctive-looking populations differing mainly in the color and contrast of the head and body plumage. They are all…

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Cover image - Loon Mini Journal

Loon Mini Journal

$6.50

Common Loon   The common loon is best known for its haunting calls– loud yodels, mournful wails, and wild, maniacal chuckles– which fill the air over its breeding lake with a sense of wilderness.  Native Americans respected the loon as the “Spirit of the Northern Waters.”  Loons breed on forest lakes and slow-moving rivers across…

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Milky Cap Mushrooms Journal

Milky Cap Mushrooms Journal

$20.00$21.00

Within the family Russelaceae, the genus Lactarius is named for the milk-like substance that is exuded from the cap when injured. There are a couple hundred species included in this genus. They are a very diverse group; some species will gush copious amounts of “milk” when you slice them and some barely any, some are…

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Milky Cap Mushroom Notecard Acorn Designs

Milky Cap Mushrooms Notecard

$3.00$12.00

  Milky Cap Mushrooms (Lactarius spp.) Within the family Russelaceae, the genus Lactarius is named for the milk-like substance that is exuded from the cap when injured. There are a couple hundred species included in this genus. They are a very diverse group; some species will gush copious amounts of “milk” when you slice them…

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Queen Anne's Lace Notecard

Queen Anne’s Lace Journal

$20.00$21.00

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild stock from which our familiar carrot is derived. These white lacy umbels are a familiar sight throughout North America. This plant is a biennial which grows in its second year from a taproot to a height of 2-4 feet. The leaves are finely divided.…

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Queen Anne’s Lace Lokta Card

$5.00$8.00

Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild stock from which our familiar carrot is derived. These white lacy umbels are a familiar sight throughout North America. This plant is a biennial which grows in its second year from a taproot to a height of 2-4 feet. The leaves are finely divided. The attractive 2-4″ “flower” is…

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Queen Anne's Lace Notecard Acorn Designs NC248

Queen Anne’s Lace Notecard

$3.00$12.00

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild stock from which our familiar carrot is derived. Although native to the Old World, these white lacy umbels are a familiar sight throughout North America. This plant is a biennial which grows in its second year from a taproot to a height of 2-4…

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