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Susanna Blunt is a Canadian portrait artist who designed the most recent portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the current Canadian coinage, which began in 2003. She was born in Harbin, China, the daughter of an English banker. Blunt started her studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts as a young teenager. After finishing high school Queen Margaret's School she had a year of private lessons in Victoria, British Columbia. She moved to London, England and did four years of art school, then won a scholarship to the Royal Academy for another four years, during which she won several awards and a silver medal.
The following year she worked with Yoko Ono, assisting her with various art projects and was invited with David Hockney to jury a national art competition. She then moved to California and started a teaching career, living in the San Francisco Bay area for three years before returning to Vancouver, where she continued teaching in both private and public institutions, including three years on the faculty of the Fine Arts Department at the University of British Columbia.
She became known for her trompe l'oeil paintings and designed the optical illusion room for the Science World museum in Vancouver in 1988. Between 1991 and 1992, while living in France she took part in five shows, group and solo, winning an award in an international competition.
She is widely acclaimed by a large international clientele whose members have commissioned her to paint their portraits and collected her other works in the United States of America, England, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Africa and Australia. Among the well-known people she has painted are Toni Onley, painter, Vancouver; George Woodcock, author, Vancouver; Stanley Donen, film producer, Los Angeles; and Steven Isserlis, Cellist, London.
She was chosen in a nationwide competition by Gerda Hnatyshyn, wife of Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn, to paint her portrait for Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1997, she painted and personally delivered to Buckingham Palace a portrait of Prince Edward.
Blunt was invited by the Canadian Mint to join eight other artists in a nationwide competition for a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to be used on Canadian coins. The Mint knew of her work, particularly the Hnatyshyn portrait mentioned above. Blunt created the image from a photograph of the Queen. She won the competition and her portrait of the Queen has been used on coins and currency in Canada from 2003.