Susan Bull Riley

Susan Bull Riley

Hello, Visitor!

Even the quickest glance at my website reveals that I draw my inspiration from the plants, birds, and landscapes around me in our central Vermont home. 

Although my paintings and drawings are based on careful observation that is faithful to the natural world, they spring from an internal vision of what is luminously beautiful.  

Below is the publicity for my current exhibit of 36 paintings in the beautiful Compass Music and Art Center: 

Susan Bull Riley’s primary muse is Vermont’s natural world, which was hers to explore as she grew up in a family that spent as much time outdoors as in. Riley’s new exhibit at the Compass Music and Arts Center – “Natural Affection” - opens on August 25, with a reception from 5:00-7:00 pm. It reflects three facets of her work: a love of botanical watercolor, a bottomless affection for birds, and a need to release, via art, the intensity of her affection for the landscapes of her native state. This is Riley’s second exhibit at the Compass Center.

Patrons and admirers are captivated by the beauty and precision she brings to her work, responding strongly to the affection she has for the natural world and how it speaks to the soul.

“A thread in all my paintings is close observation of my subjects,” she says. She reveals just enough detail to focus the eye and illustrate the exquisite play of light is in the natural world, be it on petals or feathers, or in a larger landscape.

Riley’s ability to give creatures life in an elegant and stunning way are reflected in her oil painting of hummingbirds feeding in a spray of Solomon’s Seal; her watercolor technique depicting a summer afternoon in Waitsfield; and a bluebird perched on the praying hands of a graveyard Madonna. 

Although she was formally trained in music rather than art, Riley’s paintings have received honors in regional, national and international galleries and institutions. They have been sought by organizations such as The New York State Museum, The National Science Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation, the American Chestnut Foundation, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and from many local land trusts. Her work can be found in public and private collections in this country and beyond.
The exhibit runs through October 28.



A few things for those who find it meaningful:


  • First Place, Westmore Association Plein Air Paint-out July 2016
  • Watercolor 2nd prize, NVAA, Bryan Gallery, 2016
  • People's Choice Award, NVAA summer exhbit, 2016
  • Honorable Mention, "Land and Light" exhibit at the Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville, VT, 2015
  • Hunter Award of Excellence, Vermont Watercolor Society Annual Juried Awards Exhibition 2015
  • Board of Directors Award, Green Mountain Watercolor Exhbition, 2015
  • selected to exhibit in Vermont's Governor's Gallery, 2014
  • Second Prize in Watercolor Painting: "Shades of Fall: Small Picture Exhibition" Bryan Memorial Gallery November 2013
  • Holbein Award in the 2013 Vermont Watercolor Society Annual Juried Awards Exhibit
  • Holbein Award in the 2012 Vermont Watercolor Society Annual Juried Awards Exhibit
  • honorable mention; Bryan Memorial Gallery "Land and Light" exhibit Summer 2012
  • Purchase Award, Poster Artist, and four-time participant in the biennial Focus on Nature exhibit at New York State Museum featuring natural history artists from around the world 
  • Resident in Natural History Illustration at the Huyck Preserve, Rensallaerville, NY 2012
  • Garnet Award, Adirondack Exhibition of American Watercolors, Old Forge, NY 
  • First Prize in Oil Painting, State of the Art Gallery in Ithaca, NY
  • Cover Artist: Focus on Nature catalogue (back cover) 2006; American Chestnut Foundation Journal 2012; Southern Vermont Arts and Living, winter 2013; 2010 Vermont Community Foundation Report
  • one of ten artists to illustrate the 2008 Breeding Birds of New York State Atlas
  • The highest honor I can receive, however, is to hear that my paintings bring pleasure to the many people who own them. 





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