Memory must be integrated into a mature painter’s working method if his or her talent is to be truly fulfilled.
-Richard F. Lack
All drawing and painting from life is at some point done from memory, even if that memory is only seconds old. An artist’s ability to recall something previously seen is all the more important when their subject is no longer in view. Da Vinci, Corot, Degas, Whistler, and Inness wrote about it. In fact, Inness claimed that many of his best landscape paintings were done from memory.
The book, Memory Drawing: Perceptual Training and Recall (available from Amazon US here and UK here.), teaches you how to visually perceive and accurately recall those perceptions. It will also help you to improve your abilities to remember fleeting effects, seize essentials, and even enhance your imagination.
In addition to following the curriculum which is presented in the book, artists and art students alike are encouraged to go through the weekly exercises which are presented on the Studio Rousar blog.
Memory-drawing ought to be done in addition to your regular art training, not instead of it. In a perfect world it would be integrated into traditional arts instruction, but the reality is that you will most likely be training your visual memory on your own. Memory Drawing: Perceptual Training and Recall exists to guide you in doing just that. It will also help you improve your abilities to remember fleeting effects, seize essentials, and even enhance your imagination.
Much of the training in contemporary academic ateliers focuses on understanding and interpreting what you see in front of you. At the moment, there's a growing interest in supplementing those skills with the training of memory and imagination . . . [Mr. Rousar's] book is thoughtfully and clearly written, and will benefit both teachers and students interested in improving their powers of memory.
-James Gurney, Artist and author