Memory Test

Today I wanted to paint something in acrylics. I didn’t have much time available, but felt that I’d like to experiment a little. I usually (almost always) draw and paint from a reference or actual ‘thing’ in front of me. The downside is that this can mean that I follow that scene or image too slavishly, sometimes to the detriment of composition.Β  I thought it would be a good exercise to try to conjure a scene from my memory, using just my impressions of that scene for reference. The aim was to produce something that felt as ‘real’ as possible, testing my memory store of observation and learning from previous sketches.

Mountains Memory Acrylic

I found this exercise such a challenge – so much harder than painting something that’s actually ‘there’. The composition wasn’t very clear in my head, and I was eager to paint rather than to sketch my picture first. This has meant that the resulting painting doesn’t have a clear focus, other than the channel between two of the mountains. I’m happy that the eye is led in, but once in, it sadly has nowhere much to go. The grass in the foreground was an afterthought, and it doesn’t add any value; in fact cropping the picture to exclude it does helps the picture somewhat.

Mountains Memory Acrylic crop

What did I learn? Well, randomness in mountain shapes is harder to achieve convincingly than you might imagine. Ditto for clouds – time looking hard at them in future will be time well spent. Imagining how the light will fall, and what kind of light it should be, is key, and this should be established at the beginning, not halfway through. I should have spent more time on working out my composition, perhaps including the suggestion of a village or a few distant buildings for a bit more interest. In summary, I think this picture should be filed under ‘Learning Process.’ It’s becoming quite a big section!

23 thoughts on “Memory Test

  1. Drawing or painting anything without a reference is hard, because there’s so many details you forget about. I like the way the path in the uncropped version helps guide the viewer into the scene. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve put your finger on it regarding the details. More observation required, I guess. It’s funny, I liked the addition of the path too, but I’d like it a lot better if it went somewhere! πŸ˜‰


  2. I think it’s a magnificient attempt and good on you for setting yourself the challenge. I think there’s lots of interest in the mountains and you are right, something else is needed in the green, but don’t ask me what that is as i have no imagination!

    Liked by 1 person

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