Emily Brown usually draws from the visible world in her work, primarily the outdoors. 

Between 1978 and 1995 the artist worked primarily in traditional plein air mode, with folding easel and oil paints, articulating the character of specific places.  With the eventual acquisition of a studio she could employ larger surfaces and different media, and explore the expressive capacities of texture and tone.  While her large ink wash drawings on rolls of watercolor paper have been her  central focus for some time, she also draws, paints and makes collage. 

Awards include a Purchase Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fellowship in the Arts from the Pew Foundation, several grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, an Independence Foundation grant, a fellowship with the Leeway Foundation, and a grant from Philagrafika.  Residencies include MacDowell, The Ballenglen Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the LaNapoule Foundation, Wheaton Arts Glass Foundation, Wave Hill, and Artists for Environment Foundation near the Delaware Water Gap. 

Her work is included in the collections of Alliance Capital, Tokyo, Japan; Bowdoin College Art Museum; The Bryn Mawr College Library; the Farnsworth Art Museum; The Free Library of Philadelphia; MacDowell; The James A. Michener Art Museum;  Museum of American Glass; Johns Hopkins University Hospital;  MacDowell;  The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Portland (Maine) Museum of Art; Princeton University Art Museum; Rutgers Center for Innovative Prints and Paper; The Shipley School; and the United States Embassy in Estana, Kajakhstan. 

Emily Brown was raised in rural Pennsylvania. Through friendships with their teachers Rudy Burckhardt and Neil Welliver, she and her husband, photographer Will Brown, became attached to Waldo County, Maine in 1966. They spent summers there for over 50 years, while living in Philadelphia in winters. In 2019 they moved to Garrison, NY to live near their daughter and her family. They sold their Maine property in 2023.