Wednesday, January 5, 2011
working from memory
Last night's dusk has sat in my mind and this is my first try at evoking its feel.
I continue to read The History of American Tonalism and would like to share more, this time Whistler is my focus.
Whistler's development of memory as an artistic tool, influenced many of the artist's followers, and fundamentally differentiated his method from that of the Impressionists. Whistler would work from a balcony overlooking the Thames, or have a friend or follower row him out into the middle of the river, where he would remain for hours trying to memorize the scene:a few roof lines, window light, a few lamps here and there, the quality and variety of tone that became visible in subdued light. He found color notes were difficult to record on the spot in the dark and so became expert at memorizing. He would be very disciplined and exacting in trying to put to memory his observations, sometimes repeating observations out loud to companions and asking for verification of their accuracy. Later in the studio, quickly working with thinned paints, Whistler would try to get the memory, the impression that remained in his mind, down on the canvas. This constituted a crucial difference between the Impressionist plein air painting and the Tonalist painting. -taken from The History of American Tonalism 1880-1920
More tomorrow. In the meantime check out Deborah Paris' post about memory.