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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Color Your Memories: A Little Nostalgia...

The other day, I wrote about my "minimal" sketching kit; and today I just happened upon this (poor) photo of a page from my old sketchbook, from three years ago. It is incredible how intense a memory your sketches can retrieve, much more than a photograph, as the memory is infused in your making of the image...

I remember this one as if it were yesterday: My wife and I are now expecting our first baby for next month, but at the time of the sketch we were not even engaged yet. I had driven her to Denver for a dance rehearsal. While she practiced inside the club, I meant to go for a coffee shop and wait there, but once outside I became fascinated by the two towers of the Fillmore Theater and the fall colors... it was early fall, a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I pulled out my sketch kit from my glove compartment, sat on the curb, and painted this scene. I wasn't all that comfortable with sketching figures and automobiles in my scenes yet, so I omitted them... I remember the yellow trees and the leaves on the sidewalk around me, I remember the passer-by who stopped to peek at the sketch.

If you haven't yet made a habit of sketching, I strongly recommend it, not only as artistic practice, but as a time capsule for your future enjoyment. I often find old photos that I don't quite remember shooting, but I haven't found a sketch that doesn't claim ownership of my memories...


  1. It's amazing how sketching 'fixes' things in your mind. I find that if I make a sketch I can go home and almost paint the subject from memory. I'm often envious of artists from a time before cameras. They had no choice but to sketch and must have developed better visual memories. It's all too easy for us to be lazy and use a camera.

  2. Hi Keith. Thanks for your comment. It's very true. That's why I prefer to paint from poor photos... if you see the photos I've referenced in my blog, a lot of them were taken with my cell phone. I find that a good photo is inhibiting, or distracting, at times, whereas a poor photo forces you to exercise your imagination and memory, not quite as much as a sketch does, but still good...