In my post, “Don’t Forget,” I mentioned that my memory is not perfect. There are times when I struggle to remember basic details of my past. The entire first six months of my youngest son’s life is a good example. Maybe it was because Stacie and I had a “divide and conquer” strategy where she took the young one, and I managed the two-year old twins, but if it wasn’t for the photos we took, I’m sure the mental images of my youngest son would be permanently lost in the nether regions of my hippocampus (with the exception of the day he was born – that day will be hard to forget).
A side benefit of having a sketchbook, is that it helps preserve memories. I can remember almost everything about where I was when I look back at my sketches. Even when I look at some of the drawings I did in high school, I can remember what table I was sitting at when I drew them. Maybe drawing and writing trigger unique synaptic firings, but I am more aware of my surroundings and I have much clearer memories when I draw or write.
The other benefit of having a sketchbook, is that sketching gives me a closer connection to the subjects of my drawings. When you try to artistically capture an image, it gets embedded a little deeper under your skin. Photos also have this affect, but for me, drawing adds a personal bond beyond what I get when I take or look at a photograph.
Not all memories are good and some artists tackle painful or disturbing subjects. I sketched two images of the destruction in Joplin, not because I thought they were uplifting, but because I wanted to remember what I saw, and I thought it was important that others also saw those images. I had a great experience in Joplin, and those drawings created a meaningful connection for me.
But for the most part, I either draw things for practice, or I draw things that make me happy. In this post are a few more drawings from my pocket sketchbook that preserve good memories and make me happy.
The drawing above is of my youngest son helping unload the dishwasher. He needed a little help to get to the drawer and the cutlery on the counter, so he pulled over a chair and stood on it. It was the morning, so he was still wearing his Batman “footie” pajamas.
This sketch is of the oldest of the twins, when he was a baby. I didn’t capture his face exactly, but it was good practice.
Above is a sketch of the other twin’s baseball glove and cap. You can see the photo I used for this sketch at the top of my post, “Why We’re Fans.”
This sketch is of my youngest son jumping in the sand at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The setting sun projected his shadow against the sea wall. The cement in the wall is cracked and broken, so some of the rebar is exposed. I also included some of the sea wall’s graffiti.