Upon graduating from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Bronx born artist Sue Barrasi traveled Europe devouring the works of the masters.
In Paris she spent countless days soaking up the Impressionists, especially Monet with whom she had been obsessed since childhood. Later, on a rainy summer afternoon in Spain she encountered the works of Joaquin Bastida Sorolla who would become one of the major influences on her work.
Upon returning to New York Sue dove headfirst into the competitive world of commercial illustration, immediately landing work with McCall’s Magazine. Shortly after, she met Bill Heapps, founder of Pig Pen Studios, who was incredibly generous in sharing his knowledge and experience, and she is forever grateful for the time spent working under his tutelage. Other illustration commissions followed, as well as contracting work with ad agencies, and other publications, forcing the young artist to develop the discipline and strong work ethic which informs her work to this day. It was during this period she was commissioned by the government of Grenada to create a series of postage stamps featuring the indigenous sea life of the island nation.
She eventually made her way to the Art Students League where she studied with David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw and Gregg Kreutz. The dedication to the serious study of traditional painting at the League caused her to refocus her energies. Over the next decade her work garnered numerous awards in juried shows, grants, and residencies and was featured in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. In the late nineties Sue temporarily lay down her brushes to help create her masterpieces, her daughters, Kiara and Dana, trading in still lifes and landscapes for finger painting, mud pies and murals.
Eventually the call of the canvas proved too much, Sue grabbed her oils and brushes and studied briefly with American Master John Osborne, discovering the prismatic palette which she continues to explore to this day. Osborne’s impact on her sensibilities cannot be put into words.
Today Sue’s approach involves several steps, beginning with small color studies on location. She then uses these sketches to record information for later use in larger studio works. For her Still life works she prefers North Light whenever possible and likes to work alla prima. "I am mesmerized by natural light. I love opening up fresh tubes of paint and brushing strokes of energy on the canvas. Painting is not just my passion but my addiction; I paint because it makes me a better person, but it is my hope that my artwork spreads joy to the viewer.”
Sue Barrasi teaches in New York and New Jersey, Serves as juror for National and local Art Shows and continues to compete in Juried Exhibitions. Barrasi is a Resident member of the Salmagundi Club, Oil Painters of America, Hudson Valley Plein Air Painters, Plein Air Liaison, Portrait Painters of America, lifetime member of the Art Students League and a Fellow member of the American Artist Professional League. She is currently represented by several galleries in the tri state area.