Susan Sex is a self-taught artist, born in Dublin in 1947. An early interest in the identification of wild flowers brought her to focus intensively on botanical subjects for the past 20 years. She has established close links with the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin Dublin and has painted tropical orchids from their collection. A solo exhibition held at NBG in 1996 sold out. Susan, in company of Brendan Sayers, the specialist keeper of the orchid house at the time, developed a special interest in native Irish orchids. For her work in this area, she was awarded Gold Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, London in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
‘Sex and Sayers’ published the award winning “Ireland’s Wild Orchids” in 2004, now designated as a Rare Book with copies housed in the National Library, the Lindley Library in Kew and the Glucksman Special Library in Limerick. The original paintings have their home permanently in the archive at NBG and are periodically exhibited. Susan was commissioned to provide the paintings of wild flowers for 32 stamps for the An Post definitive series, the Wildflowers of Ireland. She also painted 4 native trees for the Flora and Fauna series in 2006.
In 2008, Sex and Sayers published a definitive field guide to Ireland’s Wild Orchids. This publication was awarded the annual literature award by the Council of Botanical and Horticultural Librarians in Washington 2010.
Following this collaboration, Susan was awarded the Jill Smythies medal at the Linnean Society, London in 2010 for her work in the area of botanical painting in support of scientific notation. Susan has been a member of the Watercolour Society of Ireland and has exhibited annually since 1998.