This week’s Memory Drawing Prompt image is another still life by the nineteenth-century French painter, Henri Fantin-Latour. He was a friend of Whistler’s (another artist known for his memory drawing prowess), who helped promote his work to the English upper classes. The painting is titled, Still Life with Mustard Pot, from 1860.
To make use of the prompt you’ll at least need some paper, ideally cut or ruled into a 3″ x 4 3/4″ rectangle. You’ll also need charcoal or pencil, and an eraser. Given the apparent simplicity of this image, feel free to try reproducing it in color from memory. Pastels or a good selection of colored pencils would work, as would paint (oil or watercolor).
- Have your rectangle, drawing instrument, and eraser ready.
- Click the ‘Look’ button.
- While the image is on screen, stare at it.
- Initially think about the simple shapes that define the image.
- Squint, and try to see two to five main values.
- As you’re doing both, pay special attention to how the shapes, and values relate to each other.
- Once the timer’s duration ends, begin your memory drawing.
- Keep your drawing simple.
- Lightly draw the main shapes first.
- Then flatly mass-in the main values.
- After you think your memory drawing is complete, click the ‘Show’ button so that you can compare your attempt to the source image.
Whether you do the prompt only once in a given week or more often is up to you. Again, the intent is to exercise your visual memory rather than to memorize an image for the long term.
If you’re ready, let’s begin.