Monday, November 26, 2012

Have you ever wondered: who does the remembering?

Marsh Labyrinth 2, Great Marsh, Cape Cod, drawing
Cape Cod Great Marsh Sketch/Marsh Labyrinth 2 Katherine Kean
graphite on paper 6 x 6 inches

Our physical bodies are entirely replaced by every seven to ten years - some parts sooner. Surface skin is replaced every two weeks or so, the stomach lining in 5 days, the liver 300 - 500 days and the skeleton in seven 
to ten years.

So, who remembers? What part of a person stores the memories of people, places, and things from youth? 

Marsh Labyrinth 3, Great Marsh, Cape Cod, drawing
Cape Cod Great Marsh Sketch/Marsh Labyrinth 3 Katherine Kean
graphite on paper 6 x 6 inches
It has been suggested that when drawing and painting from memory that it may be better to observe intensely and then do the 'transcribing' back in the studio. A famous art teacher, Lecoq de Boisbaudran,  instructed his drawing students to visit the Louvre to carefully study a painting in order to reproduce it from memory later. This would develop observation and memory skills, as well as help the student to discover their own visual language.

10 comments:

Kathryn Hansen said...

that's very interesting!! i didn't know that...i wonder if the same goes for my memory...it's replaced every few hours!!

i love that idea of just observing and creating later..i want to experiment with that! have you tried it?

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Kathryn, I know - how memory works is fascinating and something that's still a mystery.

I have tried drawing and painting from memory. How well it works for me depends on how familiar I am with what I'm remembering and how quiet my mind is that day. There are times that my imagination wants to take over.

Beth Rommel said...

Hi Katherine. I didn't know those facts about the body, very interesting, there are some good late night conversations to be had on that. I have found if I take photos of an event my focus is on the mechanics of recording the event rather than taking it in. Have a good day, very thought provoking post, thank you.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Beth! Isn't that info about the body strange to think about? I know how that happens with photography and videography. For some things I remember to put the camera away - for at least part of the time.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Oh, I love your ponderings about memory and cell renewal. I have just been researching the brain, a magical, mystical place. How the physical brain part and the mind part work together is amazing to me!

Your sketch is just lovely, and evocative of such a particular place and mood.

Thank you for visiting my blog and making a comment. I really appreciate it!

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Elizabeth, thank you. I agree, the brain is magical and the mind even more so. How they work together is such a mystery, I can't help wondering about it.

R.L. Delight said...

Your sketch has such a compelling design! I am finding that I have to rely on memory more and more when painting waves. I figure it is good training for my middle age brain. The body is a wonderous thing indeed!

Katherine Kean said...

Thank you R.L.

Yes, waves require memory, and freeze frame memory at that. Or at least a memory of their patterns. Even more so when painting them en plein aire in the winter as you so bravely do!

Very good for the brain.

Margaret said...

Sort of like the river, isn't it? Always changing, but it may be difficult to see.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Margaret - Yes, exactly!