Nature Art in the French Court Tradition
O.M. Braida (Olivia Marie Braida) is a nature painter whose art style is based on the style of the French Court Botanical Art Masters of the 17th to 19th Century.
OM Art Designs is so named to represent the creative force behind human expression, which invokes the presence of the divine and is the inspiration for the botanical artistry of Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano—founder and director.
OM Art Designs and the Academy of Botanical Art℠ are divisions of Sant Mat Management LLC.
“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.”
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.
Ms. Braida originally designed her teaching program for students in New York (1996-2001). Then, at the request of the Ringling College of Art and Design, CSSP, Ms. Braida designed a college-level certificate program with accompanying text books, entitled: “Ten Steps – A Course in Botanical Art & Illustration” that she taught from 1999 to 2011.
Today, these books have become the foundation of her teaching program in the school she founded in 2004, the Academy of Botanical Art℠, which offers botanical art certification through the prestigious Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Her series of text books and her series of “Academy Course Paks℠ ” are available to students (beginner to advanced). They are for the dabbler or one who seeks to fully develop their skills in this genre. The text books are perfect for “on-your-own home study.” In addition, the Academy of Botanical Art℠ offers local and distance learning with a tutor as well as class study. The Academy’s distance learning program has students throughout the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, South America, Australia and is continually growing.
Books, Academy Course Paks℠, and other supplies can be purchased from the Academy on this website, or call 941-953-9999.
Ms. Braida is the founder of the Florida Society of Botanical Artists (President Emeritus) (a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists). She lives in Florida with her husband. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Academy at Olivia@omartdesigns.com. You may want to review our frequently asked questions list first. Click here.