Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano, is a nature artist, a freelance, certified botanical artist/illustrator and author. Ms. Braida is the founder and director of the Academy of Botanical Art - an art school that provides complete texts for on-your-own home and tutored study to students around the world, as well as classroom study, art reviews, college art portfolio preparation. “My watercolor techniques are inspired by Gerard van Spaëndonck and the French Court tradition. They include layering of glazes and washes of mostly transparent watercolors. All of the detail is created with the paint brush. All images are hand-drawn from actual subjects. Images are not taken from and are not traced from photographs. I believe that botanical art represents the ascent of man and custom, of knowledge and thirst for knowledge. Its evolution parallels the human spirit and its quest for self-knowledge. In nature, plants by their proximity to various cultures have acquired their own meanings. As I strive for realism to achieve actualization, each one of my works takes on both appearance and message. The inspiration for the quest is by grace, the outcome a gift, and the process is gratitude. The finished work reverberates with a multitude of strokes — each in memory of my beloved. I hope you will enjoy my conversations with God.” Visit www.omartdesigns.com gallery to see more art. Ms. Braida (pen name: O.M. Braida) is an award-winning certified botanical artist whose “precise botanicals,” the New York Times praised as “realism amplified” and whose work Suzanne White, curator of the South Florida Museum, declares as “classical design immersed in shadows and light…compositions of the highest professional level pay homage to the great masters.” Olivia Marie Braida’s work has been recognized as “genius” by noted author, historian, and botanical art connoisseur Jack Kramer. He says, “Her work is reminiscent of the French Court botanical art period of the 16th to19th centuries especially that of Gerard van Spaëndonck.” In 2001, she completed twelve large-scale watercolor paintings (“The Paintings of Casa Guayacan”) for the now-public collection of Theodore Kheel Punta Cana Ecological Foundation in the Dominican Republic. Her original watercolor “Magnolia grandiflora, ‘Little Gem’ #2” was accepted by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation’s 2004 Int’l Exhibit and was subsequently purchased by the Hunt for their permanent collection. In 2007, the South Florida Museum acquired “Nelumbo ‘Baby Doll’ Dwarf White Lotus” for their permanent collection. In 2016, “Brazilian Bromeliad Dwellers” was commissioned and purchased by the Museum of Botany and The Arts in Sarasota, Florida for their permanent collection. The painting is an example of the life cycle and symbiotic relationships between Brazilian rainforest bromeliads of the Neoregelia genus and its inhabitants. It is viewed as a continuous circle to represent Circle of Necessity: birth, growth, decline, death. A small example of perfect harmony among species dependent upon each other. All life relying on each other. No man is an island. Ms. Braida’s work has been commercially published in “Kirpal Singh – His Grace Lives On” by Kirpal Singh; “Today’s Botanical Artist” by Cora B. Marcus and Libby Kyer; in 22 monthly issues of Sarasota Magazine’s “Illustrator’s Notebook” 2006-08; the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Plant Care Series; the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens “Dispatch” magazine; L. A. Burdick Chocolate Annual Magazine; in several other corporate publishings; and in her textbooks on botanical art and illustration. Her original watercolors, ink illustrations, and graphite drawings, as well as Fine Giclée reproductions, are held in private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. She exhibits in museums, gardens, galleries, universities, and with horticultural societies.