Scattered throughout a book of letters (written to Richard Whitney from R. H. Ives Gammell) is perhaps the best advice ever given to an aspiring painter: “Do your memory work for 10 to 15 minutes daily.” In fact, Mr. Gammell instructs Richard to bring some memory drawings with him to their very first meeting.
Memory Drawing - An Essential Skill
All drawing from observation is drawing from memory - even if that memory is only a few seconds old. Therefore, it only makes sense to train it. This series of articles is only just the beginning. For a more in-depth look at the subject as well as numerous exercises, check out the Memory Drawing book.
Memory training must be integrated into a mature painter’s working method if his or her talent is to be truly fulfilled. I myself, when doing a portrait commission, will spend up to three times as much time on memory work as I do on direct observation. Much of the weakness of contemporary realism done from nature comes not only from poorly trained eyes, but also from poorly trained memory.
Did you know that every time you look from your subject to your drawing or painting you have to rely entirely on your visual memory? And, although this applies to all who work from visual sources, it is especially true for those who work in Sight-Size. This article takes a look at visual memory and what some artists have had to say about it.