Vignoli, Tito - On an artist's perception recall ability
Type of Spiritual Experience
The painter is not using memory at all, he is observing very closely so that his thoughts are accurate and are a long enough continuous clip to enable him to recall it without constant repetition of the same clip. At some point it is more than likely that those thoughts will be consigned to his memory. But he is recalling from his thoughts/perceptions, not the memory he lays down from the thoughts, in order to paint.
Perfect recall may be a function of the composer rather than of the remembering function, but I have been careful here to leave the options open. Certainly many instances of perfect recall are obtained during hypnosis or dreaming when the composer function is fully active, leading one to suspect that perfect recall is only possible via the composer.
A description of the experience
Tito Vignoli - On Dreams, Illusions, Hallucinations, Delirium and Madness [article in Myth and Science]
Wigan relates that a celebrated portrait painter worked with such quickness and facility that he painted more than 300 portraits in a year. When he was asked the secret of his rapid execution and of the faithfulness of the likeness, he replied..
'When anyone proposes to have his portrait taken, I look at him attentively for half an hour, while sketching his features on the canvas; I then lay the canvas aside and pursue the same method with another portrait and so on. When I wish to return to the first, I take his person into my mind and place it before me as distinctly as if he were actually present. I set to work, looking at the 'sitter' from time to time, since I am able to see him whenever I look that way'