"It is not enough to drink in and remember the emotional side of the matter, although this must be done fully, but if a memory of the subject is to be carried away that will be of service technically, the scene must be committed to memory in terms of whatever medium you intend to employ for reproducing it - in the case of a drawing, lines and tones. And the impression will have to be analyzed into these terms as if you were actually drawing the scene on some imagined piece of paper in your mind. The faculty of doing this is not to be acquired all at once, but it is amazing of how much development it is capable. Just as the faculty of committing to memory long poems or plays can be developed, so can the faculty of remembering visual things."
This is a quote I read not too long ago and decided to see just how much of a small outside patio table I would be able to sketch from memory.
I chose a simple object for my experiment and took a few moments to try to memorize the table. It was a bright sunny day and I tried to remember where the light was hitting it ... and where the shade was on the table. Then two days later I sketched it from memory.
I thought this was a great experiment, I remembered where the light hit the table but not where or how the shadow looked as it hit the ground or the shape of the ellipse of the base. I had started to sketch one of the chairs but realized early on I had not given enough thought to the chairs to even remember what they really looked like.
I'm going make an effort to try sketching more often from memory. This will require me to pay more attention to what is before me.
I took this picture today,when it is gray and cloudy, but it will give you an idea of the size and shape of the table I attempted to sketch from memory.
Do you think this is perhaps what is meant when they say "learning to see like an artist"?
Give it a try and let me know how you do sketching from memory.