“Memory must be integrated into a mature painter’s working method
if his or her talent is to be truly fulfilled.” -Richard F. Lack
If you think about it, all life drawing and painting is at some point being done from the artist’s memory, even if that memory is only a few seconds old. Every time the artist takes their eyes off of the model or scene and looks at their paper or canvas, their visual memory is involved. What if that artist’s visual memory was highly trained? That artist might need the model for a shorter period of time, or she might have a more productive time when the model is in pose. He might be better at painting all of the fleeting effects that nature throws at us when we are landscape painting en plein air.
Memory-drawing ought to be done in addition to your regular art training, not instead of it. In a perfect world it would be integrated into traditional arts instruction, but the reality is that you will most likely be training your visual memory on your own.
Memory Drawing: Perceptual Training and Recall exists to guide you in doing just that. It will also help you improve your abilities to remember fleeting effects, seize essentials, and even enhance your imagination.
Much of the training in contemporary academic ateliers focuses on understanding and interpreting what you see in front of you. At the moment, there’s a growing interest in supplementing those skills with the training of memory and imagination . . . [Mr. Rousar’s] book is thoughtfully and clearly written, and will benefit both teachers and students interested in improving their powers of memory.
-James Gurney, Artist and author