Gestures From Memory

While drawing gestures from memory today I had to accustom myself with really bad drawings and a stretch outside my comfort zone.

“All good work is done from memory whether the mode is still present or not.”

Robert Henri

In his book The Art Spirit, Robert Henri constantly urges the student artist to work from memory in an attempt to not just copy what he or she sees but to capture the original feeling, the revelation, in the moment that sparked interest in the subject.

I start this post with Robert Henri because recently, thanks to Wikipedia, I discovered that Kimon Nicolaides learn from Robert Henri’s methods as they were passed down by John Sloan.

I find it absolutely wonderful that I have a whole book of exercises tailored around the philosophy of artist I deeply respect.

Memory Drawing Exercise

I’m working from The Natural Way to Draw and the 8th exercise is called “Memory Drawing”.

For this exercise I look at three different poses, images, for 30 seconds each and I do nothing but look at the model that is posing and try to FEEL the pose. Nicolaides stresses that this is not an intellectual exercise, I’m not trying to just store the look of the model in my memory I should be trying to establish a feeling for the pose. A sympathetic, physical reproduction in my own body while I’m looking.

After looking at the three poses, I drawing for one minute trying to express what I feel about each pose on the page. If I don’t remember anything about the pose I draw something anyway. With time and practice I expect to get better at this.

My First Memory Drawings

I also did a couple modeled drawings today.

Xena from Memory

Lastly I continued on to a new drawing of Xena. But this one I tried to use my memory as much as possible and not look at the photo so much.

I even tried to mix some charcoal with the graphite…

It didn’t work so well.

Working on some memory drawing.

Previous Xena posts

What went well?

Getting out of my comfort zone.

What didn’t go so well?

Still having some sleep challenges so I’m not at 100% today.

What did I learn and/or how can I do better?

Learning so much with these exercises. I’m anxious to continue to make some bad drawing and really learn a skill that I should have learned many years ago.


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