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The Art of Observing: Why Taking the Time to Notice Matters

Over the past few weeks I have been teaching the art of looking and focusing on what you can actually see in my adult art course. What have we been looking at? Plants and flowers.

Botanical art requires a detailed eye and in its simplest form, for the beginner artists that I teach, it means training the eye to see what we see, not what we think we know is there… It takes practice! In fact, it’s not just for botanical art. One of my students took my Still Life course and said that she struggled with the concept of drawing an apple how she could see it! The stalk wasn’t at the top, the apple wasn’t sitting upright…

Really looking takes time, patience, and skill. There is something mindful about it; something we need to try for ourselves and with our children too. Noticing.


Noticing means being aware.

When did you last take the time to notice something? Noticing can mean the difference between a walk and an experience, for example. You can take a walk in the woods, or you can experience the changes of the seasons - noticing the colour of the leaves; the birds flying by; the insects collecting food; the berries… the list goes on.

Recently, I was surprised by a flock of birds that swooped suddenly by a big window on the stairway at school. It was a moment in time that I caught by chance and by the time I had pointed to show someone, it was gone, and they caught only the last few birds. I felt sorry that I had been the only one to notice it happen as everyone else was busy rushing by.

Another time, I had to point out the lights dancing on the sea from our local pier. It was so pretty but completely un-noticed by my husband until I showed him. “Wow!” he said once he noticed them too.

I seem to have a knack for noticing and it has rubbed off on my daughter. Walks with the two of us take a while! 😂 Or maybe it’s not a knack, maybe it’s just a curiosity about the world around me.


Bringing up our children to take more notice will grow a different way of looking at their world. A different perspective with plenty of intricate detail. Being curious is one of the best skills they could have for building creative thinking. It’s how we solve problems – curiosity builds exploration and through exploration, we learn and grow.

Check out this post for more on curiosity and some activity ideas for kids >>>

In fact, we all need to bring back our inner child and take some time to look at things in more detail, or slow down and notice things. Hold your head up, put your phone in your pocket and give yourself 15 mins to practise. You never know what you might notice!

Let me know what you see - add to comments 👇

Debbie x

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