The Importance of Memory

Solar Charm, 9 X 12", oil/canvas panel. Awarded Juror's Choice, SDAI Regional Show, September 2012 SOLD

Robert Henri's The Art Spirit (which is a must-read and re-read) talks about the importance of relying on memory even when you're still on site, and for very good reason:

"The most vital things in the look of a face or of a landscape endure only for a moment.  Work should be done from memory; the memory is of that vital moment.  ...  It is very difficult to go away from a subject after having received an impression and set that impression down from memory.  It is yet more difficult to work from memory with the 'subject' in its changing moods still before you. All good work is done from memory whether the model is still present or not."

The memory is not of details, it's of the momentary impression that struck us as we looked at a scene and decided to paint it.  So yes, some of this scene is invented.  Convincing invention has never been my strong suit, but that's something I will focus on.  More Henri for you:

"He who has contemplated has met with himself, is in a state to see into the realities beyond the surfaces of his subject." 

"Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them."

"Don't try to paint 'good landscapes.'  Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you--your pleasure in the thing."