I have always tried to keep a diary when on my travels, as I find it very hard to recall the day to day happenings. In my last Sketchaday series I wrote a post nearly every day, but this time I seem to have less opportunity – I am doing a lot more hibernating in the evening, and two active grandchildren keep me busy for at least part of the daytime. So I am practising the art of visual recall. Instead of sketching on the spot, I try to remember as much as I can about the scene in front of me and then draw it afterwards.
After our first skiing lesson, on Boxing Day, we had an après ski session at the Rockford. Behind us sat a very happy small girl, dressed in a princess outfit with a tiara on her head. A little later her brother sat down beside her, looking a little bored. She seemed out of sorts after this, until both father and brother disappeared on a mission of their own. She then disappeared – almost – under the table, and started a new game of her own, undisturbed by prying adults.
I drew the characters and most of the layout from memory, then referred to a photo I’d taken to remind me of the colours and the architectural detail.
These two sketches at the Conversation Café are before and after I checked the photo I got most of the people more or less right. but I’d drawn the pictures on the right in portrait format, when they were actually landscape!
The sketch on the left is my memory of customers in the Modern Café, which I sketched from outside in 2016. I added some colour from memory, and then remembered the figure at the back, consulting his phone. The figures behind him were invented. The only thing I forgot was the zombie – the little fellow on the table identifier in the foreground!
I also enjoy trying to remember individual characters. The fellow on the left was sitting next to me in the Modern, absorbed in ‘the Life and Times of Voltaire’. I couldn’t photograph him without appearing rude, so I had no way of checking my accuracy. But the fellow on the right was quite a long way away from me at the ski lodge, so I sneaked a photo of him. The second pencil sketch was the one I did from memory, before I checked the photo. The first pencil sketch was drawn afterwards, directly from the photo. I had greatly underestimated the distinctive character of his nose in my first sketch – and I hadn’t added his beard until I checked the photo!
These are a few more examples of memory drawings: a veteran skier, two younger skiers enjoying an après ski in the Mackenzie Common Tavern, and three fire fighters assisting at the barbecue which was laid on at the fire station for people delivering their Christmas trees to be chipped.