Studies in Memory and Repetition

I’m trying to dig deeper into my visual memory and to sharpen my perception of values. I’m experimenting with ways to make a more active use of my memory in my drawings, for example by coloring them from memory, or not drawing on location as much as just look at location, and then go home and draw from memory, or to make one drawing on location and another one back home, either with or without looking at the one made on location.

The ideas for this come from a few different sources – Loriann Signori’s blog, NicolaïdesThe Natural Way to Draw (which I still regard as the best book on drawing I ever laid my eyes on), and some remarks on Turner’s sketching technique (he is said to often have only made pencil sketches on location, and filled in the colors from memory or imagination when he was back in his room).

Also, I tend to go drawing early in the morning, and it can still be damn cold at that time, and doing the washes at home gives me warmth and more control. Funny enough, the increased control that comes from working on a table and having two free hands means I can let the washes move around more freely, use more water.

P.S. Last year I wrote this lengthy posting about finding that some of my favorite watercolors by artists like Turner, Wyeth, Hopper and Sargent were done, or at least could have been done, with very few different paints, achieving their splendor through the subtle gradations of those very few paints. I am still intrigued by this – you can see in the second Turner copy above that it only uses two colors, a yellow and a blue/violet. I guess I’ll be digging for a long time.

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