The image above is from Henry Poore’s book:
Pictorial Composition and the Critical Judgment of Pictures
If how often artists wrote about a subject is any indication, landscape painting was one of the prime reasons for memory training. Corot, Inness and Whistler are just three of a multitude of artists who commented on the practice.
Your job this week is to get outside and look. Look for large patterns, simplified shapes and flat values. Look for the mosaic and the arabesque. On these initial attempts, squint and generalize. Reduce the scene to three or five values.
See the scene as a whole.
Use a pair of framing L’s to help you compose but don’t be too picky. These are exercises, not attempts at masterpieces.
After five to ten minutes staring at the scene, walk, bike or drive back to your studio space and rehearse what you saw. Describe it, out loud, and in as much simplified detail as you can recall.
When you begin the drawing, keep things simple and broad. Try not to focus in on any detail and be sure to get something down for the entire scene. Poore’s drawings above show what you are after.
Do this at least once a day, using different scenes. If you can, take a photo of the scene before trying to memorize it.