William “Bill” Suys

Representational oil painter Bill Suys especially loves bringing life to ‘people and other animals’ and is known for his sensitive treatment of both. Suys’s ready appreciation for the nuanced personalities of individuals – both human and otherwise – has brought him inspiration as well as recognition, and his passion for lifelong learning keeps him devoted to building a body of work that will, in his words, “Stand the test of time.”

Bill drew constantly as a kid, covering all paper surfaces and grade school test margins with airplanes and helicopters. He once escaped an expected scolding when the nun instead tapped his 'art'- covered notebook and whispered, "Keep that up!" He has.

Though painting nights and weekends as long as he can remember and taking his classical art education into his own hands after college (Suys wishes he'd known about the atelier system when he was attending the University of Minnesota; art majors in those days received scant classical training) Bill did temporarily veer away from formal art employment by leaving the S.C. Johnson Wax art department – his first job after college and a coup at the time he was hired – by transitioning to 'Corporate' and finishing a second degree in business management, with graduate work in Finance. Suys admits to wearing wingtips for a number of years and credits 'JWax' and its relentless quest for excellence with teaching him the importance of quality and the value of providing an outstanding product.

In 1995, Bill left corporate life to become a full-time painter but almost immediately found himself a single parent to his three children, giving him a priceless role but delaying his fulltime dedication to painting and art career-building until the kids had fledged. In 2008, after his youngest was safely tucked into her dorm room at college, Bill hit the road running and has treasured every second of what’s become a great adventure.

Bill Suys takes a ‘no excuses’ approach to both life and career, so he works hard at continual improvement in order to build a body of work that makes grateful use of the gift he was given. Bill and his wife Kristin live in Wisconsin’s picturesque Kettle Moraine and often visit their cabin on Door County’s Washington Island. The couple’s blended family includes four children, three sons-in-law, three grandchildren and 5 dogs.



“Artist William Suys is clearly able to capture a wide range of emotions. I’m drawn to the fantastic portraits he has done of various people -- he does not hold back when capturing sorrow or joy on a surface. Additionally, William’s work involving animals is some of the best that I’ve seen… he skillfully captures their personalities -- revealing that there is more to an animal than ‘just’ an animal. In my opinion, William is a master painter… he is also a master of conveying emotion.”

~ Brian Sherwin, art critic and editor of Fine Art Views

“I have had the privilege of running well over 100 art workshops. William A Suys, Jr is in the top echelon of Artist/Instructors. He unreservedly shares his extensive knowledge of technique, history and materials. He is completely professional and able to put his students at ease no matter what their skill level. Bill has a talent for identifying the individual students' needs and easily adjusts to each as he provides at-the-easel instruction. His demos are informative and fun. The students in Bill's workshops at Richesons have gone home happy with their progress and without exception provided excellent evaluations at workshop's end. I cannot provide a stronger recommendation for a workshop instructor. William A Suys, Jr. is talented at both painting and instructing. He willingly participates in marketing his workshops both through his extensive mailing list and on social media. He effortlessly accommodates students’ needs and those of the facility in which he is teaching. I am confident you could not hire a better instructor and will be very happy with your decision to host a Suys workshop.

“For students: As an art school director and as a professional artist, I have come to both know and study with William A. Suys, Jr. Bill has a tremendous knowledge base in painting techniques, materials and art history and is most generous in sharing that knowledge with his students. He has a talent for homing in on individual students' needs during his 'at the easel’ instruction, and his demos are fun and informative. His critiques are spot-on and he suggests solutions to any issues he sees. Bill puts students at ease with his personable, professional manner and many of his students return to study with him again and again. I highly recommend studying with Bill Suys and I am confident you will come away very happy with your experience.”

~Terry Stanley, Founding Director, Richeson School of Art & Gallery and Founding Director, Richeson75 International Art Competitions


Artist’s Statement

I believe a successful piece of art – representational or abstract, painting or sculpture – creates its own special environment. Viewers do more than simply look at the work, they become personally involved in it. The most successful work can be measured by its ability to compel the viewer into its environment and to touch emotions in a unique and timeless way. The best work will stay fresh and compelling forever.

The blank canvas gives me absolute freedom to create. I have the same opportunity afforded past artists from Leonardo to Sargent. I plan to take maximum advantage of this opportunity to deliver work that possesses its own artistic heart and soul.

I am committed to artistic excellence, lifelong improvement, and to creating a body of work that will stand the test of time.

~ Bill Suys

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When you or a family member is looking to take an art class, view an exhibition, or attend a cultural event, where do you turn? If you're like most in our community, you go to Sweetwater Center for the Arts.

$1,000 provides enough materials to fund a semester-long community outreach program.
$500 allows two senior citizens to take an oil painting class.
$250 provides enough clay for every student in an 8-week ceramics class.
$200 will send a child to summer camp for a week.
$100 provides the food for a culinary workshop.
$50 provides materials for two weeks of painting camps.

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