Monday, August 18, 2014

Memorizing/Recalling Details

I went to one of my favorite painting locations today on the east side of Boothbay Harbor.  Sometimes, when nothing strikes me immediately, I tell myself to be patient;  maybe something will happen.

Sure enough, suddenly right in front of me, the Friendship sloop The Bay Lady sailed right past me, and just as she passed, the first mate started taking down the sails.  That action and the warmth of the sail gave me the impetus to quickly jot down some details.

Of course, I've painted this little sloop many times, so I could rely on memory for some of the major ideas.  But the sails, which are actually pretty white, looked almost yellow to me this afternoon.  And I also tried to memorize some of the rigging lines.  I would estimate my time to memorize the details I wanted to include lasted all of about 30 seconds. 

Later when tourists come by, they, of course, look puzzled.  "Where do you see that boat?"  Sometimes I like to mess with their heads and say, "Wait.  You mean you can't see that boat?"  They slowly back away with worried looks on their faces.  (See entry about The Bore Who Came To Stay, "Onlookers"  July 26th.  This is another great technique to get rid of unwanted visitors, as some people are inclined to believe that all artists are ready to slash their ear off at a moment's provocation.)

But again, studying, sketching, looking intently for details you want to include are all a part of producing plein air works.  Train your eyes as much as your hands.

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