South Florida Museum

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano's artistic talent is of the highest caliber showing great technical skill as well as aesthetic sensibility.

The South Florida Museum has on permanent exhibition one of Olivia’s exquisite watercolor paintings and we are proud to support her in her efforts and artistic endeavors."

Matthew D. Woodside
Director of Exhibitions & Collections
The South Florida Museum
May 10, 2012

south florida

South Florida Museum

"Stunning…to sum up the recent commission work of botanical artist, OM Braida (Olivia Marie Braida Chiusano). Orchidaceae Paradiso, a series of watercolor paintings, illustrates exotic orchid plants in shimmering detail and balance.

Ms. Braida’s work marries science and art and presents a sound knowledge of botanical accuracy while incorporating fine art standards of color, form and classical design. Immersed in shadows and light that create an ethereal quality, her exquisite compositions are of the highest professional level and pay homage to the great masters.

Ms. Braida’s commitment to the client is evident in all her commission work where attention to location and environment are considered in the planning of the project. It is a rare opportunity for corporate and private clients to work with the artist in this process and a unique opportunity to understand the complexity and beauty of botanical art."

Suzanne White
South Florida Museum
September 4, 2007

bijou dore

"Bijou Dore"
Laeliocatteleya (Lc.) x
Sophrolaeliocattleya (Sic.)Intergeneric Hybrid

About the Academy: "Our daughter was a student of Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano, through her Academy of Botanical Art, starting at 15 years old. She completed Olivia’s program and became a certified botanical artist. She is 28 years old now and we can reflect back on just how beneficial her overall experience was. Olivia’s ability to transfer her knowledge and masterful style of botanical art to her students is very rare. Her personal talent speaks for itself, but her teaching style, materials, and ease of understanding make her a perfect fit for students of all ages. She instills confidence in her students as well as skills. Olivia stays connected with her students and is committed to their success. Her home school program is thoughtful, inspiring and of course educational! No pressure to compete with others, just to challenge oneself. Today, our daughter is living in Brooklyn, NY as a freelance artist and graphic designer. She refers to Olivia’s courses as life changing." Dr. Ross and Patti Rega Sarasota, FL - March 2017

About the Academy: "The depth of the Academy of Botanical Art’s program cannot be underestimated. I’ve been to an American art school and ABA’s is a much more precise course of study than is usually offered. If you’re interested in learning classically and you want to learn to really see, understand and communicate artistically, instruction at the Academy of Botanical Art is your best next step.” Sylvia Dixon, Artist & Academy Student Thonotosassa, FL 33592 - January 2017

About the Academy: "It is with great pleasure that I write this testimonial for the Academy of Botanical Art in Sarasota, Florida. My daughter, Camila Toscano de Brito, is a 19-year-old Brazilian, who arrived in this country 6 months ago. Since she was a little girl, she always liked drawing and illustration. She has been attending classes at the Academy during the time she has been living here. She is absolutely happy and enthusiastic, not only with the artistic and professional guidance she has been receiving from her tutor, Olivia Braida, but also with the academic and career counseling that Olivia provides. Although I was aware of my daughter’s talent, I did not know how I could help her improve and develop her skills. The Academy has shown my daughter that if she works hard, the sky is literally the limit! I am so grateful to the Academy, and especially to Olivia. I would say that both of us, my daughter and me, have a completely different perspective of what Art means and how much she can achieve. I am thrilled and grateful that my daughter had the opportunity to attend this Academy." Antonio Toscano de Brito, Ph.D.

Curator of the Orchid Research Center

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

811 South Palm Avenue

Sarasota, FL 34236

December 2016

About the Academy: "Studying with the Academy of Botanical Art has been wonderful. The lessons teach us techniques that develop skills and respect the style and time constraints of each student. In a few months, my work has become more professional and refined. At the end of each book, I can see how much I have grown as an artist. I am confident that I will improve my skills even more with each subsequent course in the program." Camila Leao Toscano, 18 years -

December 2016

"An amazing Botanical artist lives in our midst. Her name is Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano, and her elegant works hang in major collections and museums, to great critical acclaim. She is not only an exquisite artist; she is a greatly respected teacher."

The Botanical Mastery of O M Braida, Siesta Sand June 1, 2014 by Diana Colson

"Ms. Braida’s first place award is based on beauty, uniqueness and art historical relevance. Her style of natural history curiosities exhibits masterful skill and control of the medium."

Joseph Arnegger, Independent Arts and Crafts Professional. March 2013

"I have been fortunate to have seen a full show of Ms. Braida’s work. As an art dealer and consultant, I wish to express my admiration for this gifted artist. The sheer beauty and esthetic quality of her work is what struck me first. I came away with a feeling of awe for her techniques; Ms. Braida absolutely masters all the varied media she applies to her beautiful work. Her images of plants and flowers are not merely precise depictions; I see strong artistic and human touch and narration in all her work."

Christian Stakenborg, Art Dealer and Consultant. May 2012

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

"Olivia is a well-regarded and dynamic member of the botanical art community...She shares her devotion to art and encourages her readers and students to look and to be inspired by nature and the work and the philosophical considerations of artists past and present. Her knowledge of historical botanical art is imbued in her own work, but then she transforms this influence into a modern sensibility. Her paintings are masterfully filled with grace, fluidity and the absolute essence of her subject. Her exquisite watercolor on paper Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' #2 was acquired for the Institute's permanent collection."

Lugene Bruno, Curator of Art & Senior Research Scholar. Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. May 2012

This original watercolor, “Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ #2”, purchased by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation Research Division of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is now part of their permanent collection.

The painting has been included in the Hunt Institute’s 11th International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration and participates in a showcase of works by sixty-two artists from 12 countries during 2004 to 2006.

The Hunt Institute, founded in 1961 as the Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library, specializes in the history of botany and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation.


"There is genius in her work which is reminiscent of the great Dutch Floral Master Gerard van Spaëndonck."

Jack Kramer, Botanical Art Critic and Author of Women in Flowers, plus 130 other books on botanical art and flowers. December 2006

Olivia is unique! A true renaissance woman--her art, intellect, enthusiasm, dedication and perseverance are unmatchable. Olivia is not only a gifted artist, but also author, philosopher and educator nonpareil. All that having been said, Olivia is also warm and compassionate and a lover of all that's good in life. I feel truly blessed be small part of her world.

Albert Massimi, President Brooklyn Watercolor Society. January 2011

"Olivia Marie Braida Chiusano is a multi-talented individual with whom I've had the pleasure of working. Her courses and texts providing instruction in how to draw and paint plants have opened up the challenging and rewarding world of botanical illustration to dozens of students. As an award winning artist who has exhibited her work in a wide variety of venues, Olivia instructs from the perspective of a professional and practicing artist. I encourage anyone interested in natural history or its illustration to view her work and look in to her botanical and entomological certification programs."

Dr. James L. Castner, Book Publisher, Author, Photographer, Feline Press, Archer FL January 27, 2011

"Olivia's Ten Steps program to creating botanical art is vital to the beginning botanical artist! She addresses art from the basics (drawing and perspective) and getting to know your materials, to the sublime of creating a botanical masterwork. She offers the Ten Steps in a number of formats, face-to-face through her Academy in Sarasota and Kentucky, and on-line, with a supported tutorial. The best program I have ever encountered!"

Dr. Kathleen Konicek-Moran, Owner, Everything Green, Amherst, MA January 27, 2011

"Olivia is an extremely skilled botanical artist and instructor with great attention to detail in both her work and her teaching. She has gone to great lengths to create a world-class educational system through her Academy of Botanical Art. I highly recommend her as both an artist and teacher of botanical art."

Ron Sanders, Artist, Sanders-Studios.com, Englewood, FL February 26, 2011

"Olivia puts heart and soul into her teaching and expects the same of her students. Her criticism is always constructive, makes me want to do more, and gives me confidence that I can do better work. She is an exceptionally talented artist who merits more recognition from the Botanical Art world."

Jeanette Lee Atkinson, free-lance writer and botanical artist/illustrator, Naples, FL February 2, 2011

"I am a professional musician and fell in love with Olivia's art work many years ago because of her sense of color, the rhythm of her layout and the technical skill with which she executed her drawings. I keep 3 of her works near me so I can be inspired to always think of the beauty of her lines while working out my musical phrases."

Francesca Smith, Pianist, New York, NY February 2, 2011

"Excellent professor, knows her area of expertise very well, and is completely dedicated to helping one achieve ones goals. Is also available when called upon and gives complete, concise instructions. Has the facility to urge one on to do better."

Joanne Covo, Mexico, January 27, 2011

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano is an outstanding practitioner of an art form that must infuse scientific objectivity with visual poetry. Her restrained and elegant watercolor technique carefully frames and isolates the flowers by the plain white of the paper on which they are painted."

Kevin Costello, Art Critic, Herald Tribune: September 24, 2006

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano's watercolor botanicals, painted large and lavishly accurate, are widely known and collected for their ethereal beauty. For this show, she focuses a precise, skilled eye on the lush flowers and flowering trees of Florida."

Thyrza Jacocks, The Pelican Press: September 2006

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano has written 10 books on the art of botanical illustration [and] founded the Ringling School of Art and Design’s botanical illustration program. Her seven pieces [at the recent South Florida Museum Exhibit] do justice to their subjects. They’re all painted from live specimens and three canvasses are extra-large measuring 45" X 54".

Bill DeYoung, Herald Today: September 2006

"Olivia Braida-Chiusano knows a thing or two about the fine-art side of painting botanicals . . . . Her watercolor of a magnolia branch titled "Little Gem #2" is just as smooth and delicate as any painting by Basil Besler (1561-1629) or watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) – two giants in the history of the genre whose levels of accomplishment are still aspired to today."

Kurt Shaw, Art Critic, Pittsburgh Tribune Review: November 2004

"As the exclusive owner of "Spring Dance," the pre-20th century original botanical watercolor of a delicate dogwood branch by Olivia Marie Braida Chiusano, my husband and I have discovered an arresting beauty that encourages a serenity and sense of joyful life all its own. Ms. Braida Chiusano's inspiring work, beyond stunning, is also addicting, and we have proven it by adding three Giclee reproductions from her collection to our collection. The artist has brought a uniquely beautiful, antique category of artwork into our modern lives and married us to it."

- Sheila and George Drapeau, Armonk, NY 2004

"Olivia is not only a superb botanical artist, but a generous and talented teacher. She is honest and direct and tremendously encouraging with her students. I learned a great deal of technique in her drawing class as well as a different aesthetic perspective. Olivia's optimistic and spiritual view of the world infuses everything she does."

I am proud to say that my home in Punta Cana, the fastest growing destination in the Dominican Republic as well as the Caribbean, has been enriched with the magnificent paintings of flowers in our garden you created for us. Many, many thanks."

- Ted Kheel, New York, NY 2004

"Olivia Braida's work has an ethereal, exquisite and harmonious quality. I often look at her work since it graces the walls of our winter and summer residences. It brings us a great sense of pleasure and peace. It is both very exciting and meditative. The extraordinary technical expertise translates into magnifisense of nature in all of it's glory. Olivia's watercolors play in the light . They are vibrant and rich but yet so very delicate. The colors transform the subject into a magical life force. I can't imagine not being surrounded by such beauty and serenity as Olivia's art brings to our lives.

- Eda and Mark Easton, Great Neck, NY 2004"

"Why not just use a graphics tablet, digital photos, painting software, and a Mac? I’ve been asked this question more than once since beginning botanical art and illustration studies with Olivia. The answers lie in what Olivia teaches- not just drawing, or painting, but how to see intricacies of form and detail that make up every plant part, from root to leaf to bud to flower. She teaches how to translate what can be a one-page plant odyssey from eye to hand to paper, and how to compose a visual story that even time-lapsed photography can’t capture. She trains in the classical style of the Renaissance botanical art masters, using the best lightfast pigments, archival papers, the best brushes, the best yielding pencils. Even after getting a degree in Fine Arts years ago, with Olivia’s classes it’s as if I’m learning to really see, draw and paint for the first time. She can teach anyone, and always with a smile. Highly recommended!!"

- Susan Jackewicz, Sarasota, FL 2003

"Olivia Chiusano is not only a gifted and inspirational art teacher, but also is able to work with a variety of students who are at varying levels of competence, and to be comfortable and easy with them in the same class. She is very adept at bringing out the best work of each individual."

- Joan Sherman, White Plains, NY 2003

"Ms. Braida's work is truly dazzling. [Her collection of paintings of the Gardens of Casa Guayacán in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic] are as large as the Audubon drawings, but apart from him I don’t know of any pre-20th century artists who worked in as large a format. Impressive!"

Kathleen Stuart, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints The Morgan Library & Museum, 2002

"A New Generation…Modern and magnificent… [Ms. Braida's] vibrant colors and fine details [bring] botanicals to life – with delicate strokes of the paintbrush."

Women’s Day Gardening & Outdoor Living, Jennifer Morgan Gray, 2002

Botanical Art…owes its current renaissance to painters like Ms. Braida."

Arts & Entertainment, Attitudes Magazine. Tom McLaughlin, 2002

"A New Generation - Modern and magnificent - [Ms. Braida's] vibrant colors and fine details [bring] botanicals to life with delicate strokes of the paintbrush."

- Women's Day Gardening and Outdoor Living. Jennifer Morgan Gray, August 2002

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano's precisely painted botanical watercolors are Realism amplified."

The New York Times, D. Dominick Lombardi. February 2000

Nancee Clark, Director of Continuing Education, Ringling School of Art & Design, Sarasota, Florida says:

"Olivia Marie Braida Chiusano's classical approach gives a solid foundation and a deeper, richer experience of aesthetics and the art-making process."

-Nancee Clark. April, 2000

We feel that Ms. Braida's illustrates our mission to help people of all ages better understand, appreciate and care for the world of nature. Her emphasis on "Realism," or three-dimensional perspective, is taken from the teachings of the masters. Whether using technique of layering, glazing, "dropping in," or pointillism, Ms. Braida uses pure color -- rarely mixing her paints together in the palette -- and achieves a luminosity to her botanical paintings, whose subject so necessitates accuracy and definition.

- The New Canaan Nature Center, New Canaan, CT. 2000

"Strict attention to infinitesimal detail is the hallmark of a good botanical artist. From a distance [Ms. Braida's] works are "pretty," but as you get closer, more and more detail are revealed."

Artnews Feature, Jim Ormond. July,1999

"This past year has been one of challenges and discovery. After 23 years in suburban Boston, I returned to the New York metropolitan area as a newcomer to Westchester County. A serendipitous meeting led me to Olivia. Though I had taken some watercolor classes over the past several years, I hadn't been exposed to botanical watercolor and wasn't really sure I wanted to try. What a mistake it would have been had I passed up this opportunity. I have discovered a previously unknown aptitude, an interesting community of talented artists, some new friends, and Olivia – a wonderful teacher and friend. Plus there's an artichoke painting hanging in my kitchen! I thank Susan Ho, Karen Dunn, Karen Guarriello, and Olivia for their important part in helping me establish my new life here."

- Susan Lorch, Hastings, NY. 1999

I am pleased to have studied botanical watercolor with Olivia for the past two years. The expert quality of her work has been broadly recognized, and I have been deeply affected by her extraordinary artistic sensibility.

Olivia brings a sense of balance between art and meditation to the artistic learning experience that I have found calming and centering. Olivia can teach students at any level of proficiency, encouraging even advanced students to enhance their level of skills. She has studied the "old masters" and effectively uses their works to illustrate her teaching.

I would encourage anyone interested in a disciplined, sensitive approach to watercolor and botanical composition to study with Olivia and experience her insightful teaching methods.

-Karen Guarriello, Stamford, CT. 1999

"Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano creates beautiful botanical watercolors and drawings."

The Art & Antiques’ Weekly, 1998

"Traditional Botanical Watercolors in Pre-20th Century genre..."

- Artists Watch, May, 1998

"Delicate, fragile, and anatomically flawless.."

Women's News, Serena Graff. April, 1998

"All my drawing, perspective and watercolor skills have improved markedly with each class I have taken with Olivia. Her teaching style is supportive and enthusiastic. She truly enjoys teaching people to create botanical artworks they will be proud to display."

- Caroline Silverstone, Larchmont, New York. 1997

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