Memory

Summer is a time when my wife and I—me, especially—make changes to our living quarters. This year has been new furniture for the living room and a new fridge and table for the kitchen/dining room. It’s also when we go through our storage and throw away/give away/sell items we no longer use. This always leads to us discovering old treasures we forgot about.

This week, I found an old exercise painting from 1986 that I painted one summer afternoon in my mom’s backyard. Exercise paintings were done from memory, which always began with a word—usually a noun—followed by a verb. On this day, while sipping homemade lemonade with family on the back porch, someone chose “beach,” followed by “lonely.” From there, I spent an hour painting images that popped into my head, all related to “lonely beach.”

I used acrylic paints (my medium of choice in those days), kept wet by a special palette made especially for acrylic paints. The sunny day dried the paints quickly on my “canvas” (an 11-inch x 14-inch cardboard panel) while I added in beach elements from memory. One of the children in attendance—niece, nephew, one of my own?—suggested I add a plastic pail. I did, which really added to the loneliness of the scene by the bucket’s hint of abandonment.

beach painting
Beach painting, 11″x14″, acrylic

Painting from memory is a great exercise to keep the mind sharp. This is true of drawing, too. I have sketchbooks of “memory drawings” that, if I find them while cleaning and clearing out our storage, I’ll share with you here.

I recommend this exercise to any artists reading this. It’s a refreshing break from painting/drawing what you see, to what you know and remember.

That’s all for now. Anyone who’s interested in my writing can catch up at my other WordPress site: vreeerickson.wordpress.com.

Until next time, peace and love!

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