Lincoln artist thanks governor with charcoal drawing

Lincoln artist thanks governor with charcoal drawing

Sue Brescia’s charcoal depiction of R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo.

LINCOLN – When Sue Brescia lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic, she found a rekindled appreciation for a hobby she once enjoyed.

Brescia spent the last two decades as a manager and creative director before she was laid off in March, joining nearly 250,000 Rhode Islanders out of work.

With more time on her hands and orders from officials to stay home, Brescia decided to put her artistic talent to use.

“I first started sketching in 8th grade,” she said. “I loved working with the shadows.”

Brescia is the daughter of two artists, whose love of oil painting spilled over into their child.

After majoring in commercial art and minoring in music in college, Brescia has been creating art and music both professionally and privately her entire life.

It had been years since she worked in charcoal when she recently worked on a charcoal sketch for a friend.

“My best friend’s father passed and I was heartbroken. I lost my father seven years ago, and there’s just no words for losing your parent. I decided to do a sketch for my friend of her father and her nephew, based on a beautiful photograph of the two of them smiling together,” she said. “I was so glad I was able to do that for her.”

Brescia said she found a new love for charcoal sketches after working in mostly acrylic paint and watercolor.

“My mom and I tag-teamed with acrylic over the last few years,” she said. After years without picking up a paintbrush, she rekindled her mother’s love of painting after surprising her with a canvas.

Her mother, now in her 80s, was hesitant, but, “once she started painting with me, she didn’t stop. When we were done she said, ‘what are we going to paint next?’” Brescia said.

When the stay-at-home orders were given for Rhode Islanders, Brescia decided to dust off her charcoals and began a color sketch of Gov. Gina Raimondo next to the state’s flag.

When signing the finished piece, she wrote, “Thank you for keeping us safe.”

“I think, for the most part, the governor has really done a great job during this pandemic. She’s working hard and trying her best to keep people safe while appeasing everyone, which isn’t easy,” Brescia said.

“This is my way of saying thank you to her for doing such a great job. I’m sure the task of keeping Rhode Islander’s safe has been more than daunting,” she said. “She’s really shining.”

Brescia said she hopes to someday present the piece to the governor, “of course, masked up and 6 feet apart.”

Asked what her next muse will be, Brescia said since being laid off she hasn’t been able to donate to organizations she’d normally support, such as United Way and local food banks. If someone was interested in commissioning a piece, she said she would commit to donating 20 percent to local nonprofits.

Despite the pain and uncertainty of this time in history, Brescia said art has been healing.

“Anything done from the heart … anything that moves people, I just love,” she said. “For me, art is healing. It takes your mind off things, allowing you to focus on the person, dog or whoever you’re sketching. You put a lot of love … a lot of feeling into it. I love it.”