Sue Barrasi: A Medley of Still Life Paintings, Landscapes, and Portraits

Published Oct. 19th 2011

Name it, and there’s a good chance that New York artist Sue Barrasi has done it—whether it’s painting, sculpting, traveling the world, teaching, or continuing her own formal artistic education, she is a woman of many surprising interests and abilities.

(Case in point, Sue was commissioned by the island nation of Grenada in 1987 to create a series of indigenous sea life paintings which were then turned into postage stamps! That’s not something you see on every artist’s resume. . . )

Sue earned my stamp of approval with just one painting, however—her Lemon Reflections Study, a simple, yet painterly piece which captures the essence of a solitary piece of fruit and emblazons it with texture.

Lemon Reflections Study

Deftly-placed shades of yellow are found both in the lemon’s table-top reflection and the background wall, tying the entire painting together. And let’s not overlook the stripe of red-orange across the horizon, which adds a flash of excitement to an otherwise subdued still life.

Sue’s next painting is a well-crafted portrait that gives a name and face to baseball, apple pie and democracy. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye and the pride of America gleaming from his freshly pressed duds, Uncle Sam personifies the bold, illustrious land of the brave and home of the free.

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam’s lifelike portrayal and knowing expression captures a side of him that’s not as stern as early historic representations. Instead, he seems on the verge of telling a wry joke, or maybe just letting loose with a few of America’s top secrets!

Last but not least, showcasing a snug corner locale (and a composition that feels like I’m just about to cross the street to have a pint) Pete’s Tavern has a homey, welcoming vibe. Every town has a pub in which the locals flock after 5pm, and this tavern seems to be the perfect place.

Pete's Tavern

The painting’s angularity and limited color scheme of tans and blacks are appealing in a true-to-its-environment, realistic kind of way, but it’s the unexpected rainbow of colors mirrored in the windows and artwork adorning the bar’s outer walls that offer a truly playful quality—a splash of color to signify perhaps the colorful patrons that visit Pete’s frequently.

Always a fan of lively color, Sue says, “I love painting landscapes, portraits and stills, and to study how the sun dances upon nature. An acute observation of sunlight paired with bold, painterly brushstrokes and a playful palette can really make a canvas sing!”

If you’re interested in hearing more of the catchy tunes that Sue’s fun paintings are belting out, be sure to stop by her website and take in the entire medley of still lifes, portraits and landscapes—it’s well worth the trip!

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