notebook koi

Simonides of Cleos is reputed to be the first to discover that a seating pattern helps you remember things.  I was using his method to remember where my koi were in the latest koi picture.  I was making an idle drawing while sitting through a slightly tedious lecture and used the time to review the painting I had been working on the night prior.

Strangely enough I had quite a difficult time accounting for all the fish graphically, by remembering their shapes.  And so it was the “seating pattern” at last the filled in some of the blanks.  I didn’t get them all, but I got most.



10 thoughts on “Simonides’ fishes

  1. I need to look up what you are referring to, my mind went “what?!” I am sure if I look up Simonides of Cleos, I would understand. I need to work more on my visual memory.

  2. My fault! He’s not a household name, but he is very searchable on the internet. I learned about him in some book on memory that I read long ago. In essence he observed that we can often remember the location (and names) of people when we recall where they were seated (as at a dinner or event). I was using a similar principle to remember how many fish were in the painting, making a game of it. I was just struck by how odd it was that I was having so much trouble remembering the layout of the painting when I had been busy working on it only the night before.

    I am very interested in visual memory and am often trying out different strategies. One remembers different visual features, I find, in different ways.

  3. ah…..I thought that you meant literally sitting, that makes sense in a way. When we work on a painting we are engaging the right brain, I would think that remembering details and such works our left brain. I am interested in what you come up with, I hope that you post more about this because I am interested.

  4. Well, now that you encourage me ….! Yes, indeed, I am very interested in drawing from memory and also from imagination. I’ve almost always worked from life and it’s good to shake up all the habits and learn new things, to add the new things to the familiar things — because of course drawing from life is awesome so definitely the very thing needed to nourish visual memory …

  5. Have you ever heard of Thomas Sgouros and his remembered landscape paintings? I really love that idea, it helps to pull from all that you have seen or experienced to do paintings in that way. I will be researching this as well 😉

  6. I’m not familiar with him, but I’ll look him up. I know there’s a long tradition of memory painting involved in Chinese painting. And Degas’s landscapes are also made from memory.

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