Susan Neilson is a Canadian artist in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. She paints mainly in oils on wood, canvas or linen, and in watercolours on archival clay boards; but she also does mixed-media work, printmaking, life drawings, sculptural work and illustrations. Neilson is interested in contemporary approaches to media, methods and concepts; while also trusting the importance of a firm foundation in classical drawing and historical processes.


Neilson originally studied Fine Arts at McMaster University, and then secondary school education with specializations in art and industrial arts at the University of Toronto. She continued in lithography at McMaster as well as with further professional training as an art education specialist at the University of Toronto. Elementary education, English literature, library and technology studies were completed at York University, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

Education in the arts continues as a lifelong process.

Susan Neilson has experience in arts education for students of all ages and at all levels.  In the summer of 2016, Neilson retired from her position at Okanagan Mission Secondary School as Art Teacher. Then she filled in for a semester at the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia, teaching two sections of the Visual Arts Education methods course for the Faculty of Education.

Now, Susan Neilson is working as a self-employed artist. She also teaches semi-private lessons in Forest House Studio, and occasional workshops in the community.


Forest House Studio was built in 2014. It backs onto the unique protected Central Okanagan Regional District parkland of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy, in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.


Neilson’s designs are personal, reflective and intuitive. They begin with observational studies and concept sketches, then develop through creative processes, responding to materials as she works. Inspirations come from from noticing connections: seeing patterns, beauty and power in natural surroundings and in human interactions with nature. She is particularly interested in the interface between wild and urban spaces.





Support for Conservation: 

Neilson has always been active in community arts, art education and nature advocacy; interested in learning and teaching about art/science/nature connections. She is also very interested in simple personal and local choices that contribute to sustainability.

When making the transition from educator focus with a personal art practice, to a creator focus, Susan was interested in reaching out to a wider audience beyond classrooms.  This is what attracted her to the AFC, with its worthy mission supported by artists around the world.

Locally, in Kelowna,  Susan Neilson is also a founding board member of a new “Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Society” that was just incorporated in 2019. The goals of this new group, are to contribute to community awareness and preservation projects.  

Special Achievements: 

For the month of June 2019, Susan Neilson was invited to participate in the Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts in St. Andrews New Brunswick, Canada. Learn more about the experience on her personal website at

The Kingsbrae Arts Centre also posted her article directly on their own website here: