Mental picture painting provides a means of refreshment that is accessible to us at any time. When we practice the art of mental picture painting, we store beautiful images in our minds that we can call up at a moment’s notice. It’s like having our own personal picture gallery or scrapbook.
Another benefit of cultivating the habit of creating mental pictures is improving your ability to navigate. Once you can create a mental picture of a city’s layout you will be able to navigate much easier.
How to Create a Mental Picture Painting Gallery
(Directions are adapted from The Original Homeschooling Series (Volume 1, pages 48-50) by Charlotte Mason.)
Begin mental picture painting by describing what a joy it is to see lovely pictures in your mind whenever you want. Then describe a picture you have in your personal picture gallery. When we first began playing the mental picture painting game, I told the following story to my children:
When I was in elementary school, I sometimes traveled with my grandparents in their motor home. We had a lot of fun, and I still enjoy thinking about those trips by visualizing the images I stored in my personal picture gallery. On one trip, we went to Colorado to help their friend build a cabin. I can still remember waking up one morning and seeing a majestic sight. We were staying at a campground at the base of a mountain, next to a crystal clear lake. As the sun rose over the mountain, it reflected off the lake. There was steam rising from the lake that created a magical atmosphere.
Next, instruct your children to look at a landscape and take a mental picture of it. Have them close their eyes and visualize what they saw. If any of it seems blurry to the children, have them look again until they can visualize the picture in detail.
When they are ready, direct them to turn away from the landscape and describe their mental picture to you in as much detail as possible.
Because this is a mentally taxing activity, play it no more than once a week.
Here is a video example of how we play the picture painting game.
You might also enjoy learning how to play the sight seeing game or learn more about the benefits of developing the habit of observation.