William A. Suys Jr.


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

Biography, notable awards and accomplishments
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) Suys 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. Bill 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 became a full-time painter but almost immediately found himself a single parent to his three children, giving him a priceless role but delaying his full time 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.

The last five years have been a period of accelerated growth: In addition to 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. Also in 2013, Suys won “Best in Show” at the Salon International 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, 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.

So far in 2017, Suys has won two awards at the OPA National Exhibition, added Cincinnati’s Eisele Gallery to his roster, and put together a busy plein air season including these highlights: In June, Bill traveled to Utah for the Maynard Dixon Campout plein air invitational, in July he participated in the Door County Plein Air invitational, and in October will paint in the En Plein Air Texas invitational. (Suys loves plein air – he feels it informs his studio work – but tries to accept only three plein air invitations each summer season in order to ensure he’s able to supply his galleries.) 2018’s calendar so far includes teaching a 5-day workshop in January at Scottsdale Artists’ School entitled ‘Bringing Animals to Life’; in May of 2018 Bill will be an instructor at Plein Air South.

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.

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, two 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

“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

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

Gallery information as well as press and other info is available at williamasuys.com. Find Bill Suys on Instagram and YouTube, and on Facebook at Bill Suys and William A. Suys, Jr. OPA