Tuesday, January 4, 2011
More About Memory
This small painting was done from memory. Working from memory is a skill that can be acquired with practice. It requires careful observation over extended periods of time. Why is this important? Memory is a powerful aid in helping us separate the things which are visually compelling as opposed to merely present in a scene which interests us.
To illustrate this point, in my workshops, I ask students to close their eyes and remember a very significant event (this can be visual but doesn't have to be). So, go ahead-close your eyes and think of something in your life like that and try to see it in your mind's eye. When you do that, you will remember and "see" details about that event even though it may be far removed in time. But, if you try to remember things that are extraneous to the event- the weather, what you had for lunch that day- those memories will be gone. That is because your memory has distilled and intensified the most important aspects of the event. This can be an incredibly powerful tool in making art. We just need to learn how to use it.