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

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

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

"Ms. Braida's work is truly dazzling. [Her collection of paintings of the Gardens of Casa Guayacan 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, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints - The Pierpont Morgan Library, November, 2002

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ #2”
By O. M. Braida©2003

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.

"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 to have gotten to know her and be small part of her world."

Albert Massimi, Artist, Brooklyn, NY April 5, /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,, Englewood, FL February 26, 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

"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'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!"

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

"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"

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

"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

"A wonderful teacher.
I'd travel any distance to study with her."

-Sophie Cook, Hitchin, England.

"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

"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

"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.

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.

"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

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

- Artists Watch, May, 1998

"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

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.

"Delicate, fragile, and anatomically flawless.."

Women's News, Serena Graff. April, 1998

"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

"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