William A. (Bill) Suys, Jr.

Master Artist Bill Suys will be leading a "Bringing Animals to Life" four day workshop at Sweetwater in September!

Dates: September 24, 2019 - September 27, 2019
Level: Adult, 18 +

Bringing an animal to life is both joyful and powerful. Through demonstrations, examples, and individual attention, this 4-day workshop will enhance each student’s ability to develop and execute paintings that will bring animals to ‘life’ while also building form, structure and surface. Regardless of current level of expertise, participants will leave with a better awareness and understanding of painting in general, along with a deeper appreciation of ways to breathe spirit and personality into the characters that populate their paintings. Bill will address keys to both artistic and technical growth that will apply to all facets of one’s work, improving the result while bringing greater joy and depth to the process.

Click the "visit website" link below to register today!


William A. (Bill) Suys, Jr. OPA, PSS (Born 1955)

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 a 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 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 ground 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 and 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.

Recent notable accomplishments, events, accolades

2018: The year kicked off with Bill teaching a 5-day workshop in January at Scottsdale Artists’ School in January 2019. In April, Bill was inducted as a Signature Member of the Portrait Society of America then headed to Atlanta to participate in the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational (see below), and then on to Florida to paint in the Forgotten Coast Plein Air Invitational and teach at Plein Air South. In August, Suys painted in the inaugural Paint Grand Traverse plein air invitational. Notable awards as of June 2018 include: Finalist and Honorable Mention in the ARC International Salon 2018; Finalist, January 2018 Boldbrush painting competition; Second Place, Richeson75 International Small Works Exhibition; two huge honors at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational in April: the Matisse Award (Second Place overall) and the award for Best Body of Work, given by esteemed judges Tim Newton of New York’s Salmagundi Club, Seth Hopkins – Director of the Booth Western Art Museum, and painter Kenn Backhaus. (Read about it here.) Also in June, at the Oil Painters of America National Salon Show, Bill was awarded the Silver Medal. Other notable awards in 2018 include: Second Place plus Triple Finalist, Richeson75 International Figure/Portrait Exhibition; Dual Finalist and Finalist as well as Ninth Place, Animals, Portrait Society of America Members Only competition; Dual Finalist plus Dual Meritorious, Richeson75 International Animals, Birds & Wildlife Exhibition; Finalist, Richeson75 International Still Life and Floral Exhibition; and an Award of Excellence, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Fall International Online Exhibition.

In 2017, Suys had two award wins at the OPA National Exhibition as well as wins from Richeson75 International’s Animals, Birds & Wildlife (First Place) and Still Life (Second Place) competitions, and the Portrait Society of America’s Members Only competition, and was again a finalist in the ARC Salon. Also in 2017, Cincinnati’s Eisele Gallery was added to Suys’s gallery roster. In 2017 Suys also put together a busy plein air season including these highlights: the Maynard Dixon Country Campout plein air invitational, the Door County Plein Air invitational, and the En Plein Air Texas Invitational. (Suys loves plein air – he feels it informs his studio work – but tries to accept only a few plein air event invitations each summer season in order to ensure he’s able to supply his galleries.)

2010 through 2016: In addition to a President’s appointment to New York’s venerable Salmagundi Club, numerous group and one-man gallery shows, event invitations and juried show acceptances, Suys’s work was chosen to hang in 7 OPA National Exhibitions between 2010 and 2017 and in 2013 he became an OPA Signature Member. In 2013, Suys won “Best in Show” at the Salon International by judge Max Ginsberg and was a dual finalist in the ARC Salon. In 2014 Suys added the prestigious Trailside Gallery to his roster of galleries. In 2015 Suys received the Judge’s Award from Plein Air magazine editor Steve Doherty at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational, again had two paintings chosen as finalists in the ARC Salon, and Suys’s Official State Portrait of former Wisconsin governor Scott McCallum was unveiled. 2016 began with a pair of great awards: The Award of Excellence – Best Sense of Mystery at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational and the Award of Excellence – Animals at the OPA National Exhibition. Suys was again a finalist in the ARC Salon in 2016, and in addition to judging the First Brush of Spring Plein Air event in New Harmony, Indiana, and the Cedarburg, WI Plein Air Festival, Suys participated in the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational, the Door County Plein Air Invitational, was chosen to participate in the Plein Air Texas Invitational, and had a one-man show.

Personal perspective: Suys continues to distill his vision toward primarily figurative work – human and animal – as well as conceptual realism and the occasional surprise. If Bill goes missing, he might have snuck off to a plein air event or could be out prowling the countryside for animals and architecture he’d like to paint, but most of the time, Bill can be found in his studio, music playing, at the easel.

Artist’s Statement
“Every day of my life, I’m striving to create work with its own heart and soul; work that compels those who see it to go beyond the surface and to become personally, intellectually and emotionally involved. I am committed to artistic excellence, lifelong improvement, and to creating a body of work that will stand the test of time.” ~ Bill Suys

“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 Richeson’s 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

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