I’ve done a certain still life motif many times and ought to know it by heart, and yet I find upon trying to draw it from memory that it becomes vague.  I keep wondering how I can train my visual memory, and the only way I can figure to do it is by simple exercise.  I make the drawings and see how much I can either remember or invent.

I suppose that’s the key:  when memory fails, begin inventing things that might be there.  Then if you cannot remember everything at least you have begun building another skill — imagination.

People who routinely draw from imagination may wonder why anyone would find it difficult.  But nearly all the drawing I’ve ever done has been done in front of something.  I am so habituated to looking at whatever I draw that it is difficult to pull things out of the empty air — or “from the space between my ears”  — but the more I do it, the more natural the task becomes.

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