“With the exception of the contour study, there is no drawing that is not a memory drawing because, no matter how slight the interval is form the time you look at the model until you look at your drawing or painting, you are memorizing what you have just seen.” Nicolaides in The Natural Way to Draw.
Keeping a sketch book in the car
I keep a 4 x 6 in. open flat sketch book handy in my car. I draw in it whenever I am parked and have idle time. I sketch whatever I see around me. I call these practice exercises. Sometimes when I leave the vehicle I carry it with me in case I have time to draw. I particularly like the open flat format because I can draw elongated scenes across the binding. This “car book” is filled with memories of my travels, some more sketchy than others. Often I jot the location, date and time of my drawings.
Drawing highway scenes while in the passenger seat
I used to find highway driving really boring until I discovered that I could sketch while in the passenger seat whenever someone else volunteered to drive. Recently, when returning to Montreal from a long drive, I had the occasion to try new “road drawing” exercises.
1. Drawing the highway, cars and landscape
The term “add-on” probably best describes the first type of exercise. Once I have drawn the limits of the road in perspective I “add on” elements to the scene. For example, in ink or pencil outline I draw the truck that we are following before it disappears. Then, I just “add on” information from another vehicle. I repeat the procedure for the scenery. I might add a tree from the left; a bill board and a guard rail from the right. Tone is incorporated next using various media. More contour lines will complete the drawing.
2. Rest stop sketches
This second type of drawing done at a rest stop might be a view out the window of the restaurant or of people in the restaurant. I might complete the drawing from memory later in the car.
4 Mini scenes done with a fat or chisel tip felt pen
This fourth exercise is better done in winter when the snow contrasts against objects. Using a marker I sketch in black against white. I sometimes add a middle value by dragging the side of the marker lightly over the paper. Compared to the previous exercise I observe more intently the chosen scene as it passes by. Once the main shape is sketched I invent what I think might be there. I spend more time on these than in the previous exercise since I depend more on my memory of mentally stored visual forms.
What originally had been just a long drive has now become a learning adventure
These fun exercises which develop the visual memory are better done along a strait stretch of highway. I invite you to try them on your next trip. You might become positively addicted as I am now.
Raynald Murphy sca
Note : Opens Flat! S'ouvre à Plat! sketch books are a product of Heinz Jordan & Co Ltd. Find them here.http://www.avenuedesarts.ca/