100 Drawings

by Susan Stillman October 29, 2015

click on image to see slideshow

 

The landscape was not my first love.

I began my artistic journey as a teenager with a passion for drawing the figure. I spent my early years studying anatomy with some of the great masters of my time; Stephen Rogers Peck gave classes at the Westchester County Center when I was in high school, Robert Beverly Hale was still teaching at the Art Students League when I first moved to New York.

Drawing from the figure has been a constant throughout my life, and I’ve been drawing from the model with my students at Parsons the New School for Design for over 30 years.

This summer I started attending sketch classes after a long hiatus, and it has reignited my earliest memories of why I became an artist and how strongly I feel about the importance of drawing. Drawing is a completely different animal than painting. When painting, I am aware of shape relationships, blocks of color and value. In blocking in a painting, I cover the surface as quickly as possible, and continue to add layers of color until I feel I’ve reached the natural conclusion of the endeavor. The painting is a finished piece.

Drawing is about capturing the moment. It is an exercise in economy, seeing intensely and eliminating the conscious noise in your head in order to create a direct link to your arm and the tool it holds. When you are really “plugged in” you lose yourself in the moment, and the self-judgment and other bothersome chatter disappear from your mind. Meditation is a comparable skill.

I began posting daily drawings in July on Instagram, Facebook and here on my blog. I am mining drawings from old sketchbooks as well as posting new ones. There is a mix of subject, style, and media.

The freedom to share these personal studies has never existed before social media. These drawings are the things I am most proud to show, but since they have nothing to do with my other work that is published, purchased, or generally on view, they have always been hidden away in drawers and sketchbooks on my studio shelves. They are not finished pieces, but hold the purity of my intention and evidence of a life-long practice of looking.