Sketching From Memory


It occurred to me yesterday, that a sketch challenge might be fun, so I’m challenging you to do something you may not have done before!

When sketching, do you sketch outside,  from a picture, or are you able to sketch from memory?  Each one of those techniques has its own challenges for sure, and many of us have a preference.  Today I want to talk about sketching from memory!  Take out your paper and pencil, pick a subject, it doesn’t have to be complicated – pick something simple to start with.  Once you have looked at your subject, sit down somewhere away from what you are going to sketch, remembering to close your eyes and visualize your subject,  open your eyes and try sketching it.  It may not turn out exactly as you had envisioned, but don’t give up. The more you work on this technique, the better you will get!  Some artists feel they fail if it isn’t perfect, some feel that if it’s rather wonky, they like it better!  Personally, I really like it wonky!  Several of my artsie fartsie girls always say, “Don’t worry about it!”  They all feel that it has more character if it isn’t perfect.  I’ve always felt that if you want it perfect, use a camera!  Other wise, it’s the artists job to make it unusual, and more interesting!  There isn’t any right or wrong answer to this, it’s all very personal.

Several years ago two of my art friends and myself planned a two-week workshop in Patzcuaro, Mexico with Don Andrews.  We all love Don’s work, and thought it a wonderful opportunity to travel to this faraway town in Mexico.  After flying out of  Tijuana Airport, we landed at Leon Airport in the middle of mainland Mexico.   There were about twenty-eight of us in this workshop, we were staying in a fifteenth century monastery converted into a hotel.  The walls were three feet thick, our trip was in February, and the town was 7500′  in the mountains of Mexico.  No wonder it was so cold!  Never once did we feel we were in danger, and we all had a fabulous adventure!  Every other day we would travel on a bus to a designated place to set up our easels, and paint.

We visited a Monastery where young Monks were being trained, and while we were there,  sitting in the inner garden of the monastery, we were privileged to be able listen to the monks chant.  It was a moving experience, and one  that we will never forget!  We visited small towns where copper was mined, and magically made into beautiful pans, bowls, and vases.  We spoke with the local school children as they returned from school one afternoon, and visited a Fourteenth Century Church where a funeral was taking place.  I could go on and on, but this experience was so much fun, and so unforgettable that for a few years after we returned, the three of us met for lunch each year at a Mexican restaurant in celebration of  our adventure.

While we were exploring the local vegetable market, I noticed a little stand with some local farmers sitting around eating tacos.  For some reason I was fascinated by this, and stood off to the side to watch.  I’m sure the smell of freshly cooked tacos, called to me since this is my favorite feel good food!  Regardless of the reason, the scene embedded into my memory, only to return later that evening!  Pulling all my sketching supplies out, and sitting in the dimly lit, very cold room, I was able to sketch this scene from memory.  I love how the sketch came out, and it’s exactly as remembered!

Many of us are really busy this time of year, and don’t know where we will find the time to get shopping, and wrapping finished before Christmas.  It isn’t any different in our house!  I’ve managed to do almost all my shopping on-line, but at some point forging through the crowds is difficult to avoid.  I’ve been sitting at the computer, ordering gifts,  thinking about how damp, and chilly it is, and what still has to be ordered, being careful not to duplicate any of my purchases.  No, I haven’t been writing them down!  I do have receipts, and they are all saved.    This is how the Mexico trip came up, and the sketch that was done from memory.

One thing I must mention is that because of the pressure I’m feeling with all the responsibilities, I’m going to post once a week through December.  This will help me catch up on all the changes that have been made to WordPress, and learn how to use them.  Sometime next week will be the first of five posts for December, then I’ll return all brushed up on the new workings of WordPress, with renewed inspiration, and hopefully much more!

A Penny for Your Thoughts...

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