5 ways to be a better creative observer

my eyes have seen dirty things
Everyday is something new, but it seems like a lot of times we fall into ruts and the days just creep by and we get incredibly drained. All we want to do is veg on the couch! I totally understand and can relate to this; however, sometimes I think part of the reason we feel this is way is because we don’t become active observers! Too many times we become passive and don’t take time out to really smell the roses (cliché I know!!)

It’s actually really fun to stop and observe your surroundings, even if it’s little moments at a time. Here’s a few cool ways for you to creatively observe everyday and live in the moment. I hope they inspire you!!

5 ways to be a better creative observer

1. Observe light Most of us get up, go to work, stay inside and arrive home just at dark. We don’t take a few minutes to observe or even think about the light outside (or the effects of lighting inside). Take a few minutes each day to notice light and the interesting characteristics of it. Notice how natural light creates strong shadows or how it gives skin a glow. Observe how it looks when viewed transparently or as a halo around someone. Even inside, notice how you feel in different kinds of light and how it affects your mood. Be present in the moment and take in light.

me and my shadow (while at Panera)

2. Observe color Remember the game from childhood called “Riddle Marie”? Well, play this game at an adult level and notice how many things of one color you can spot while sitting in one spot. Your eyes will open to new things in your environment that perhaps you didn’t notice before. If you have a digital camera or camera phone, take a walk and capture an object in the same color or make it a point to photograph something in every color of the rainbow. Print out your images and make a fun mosaic or mood board or create a blog post or Facebook photo album dedicated to your color studies. Here’s a orange study post I created where I found objects all over my house that were orange and I did a fun color study.

colorful hula hoops

3. Observe textures Scope out and feel various textures in your space. Really analyze and touch them. Take pictures or doodle in a journal how they look as well as use descriptive words to relate to them. Little moments walking barefoot in the grass or touching the texture of a brick wall may spark a memory or emotion that you can incorporate into your art or strike an emotional chord.

turning point

4. Observe sounds Be in the moment and close your eyes. What sounds do you hear that are totally unique to your enviroment. Many sounds are incredibly rich and like no other. I recently was in an airport and as I walked from the Starbucks to the terminal, I listened carefully as the music trailed off and the sounds of voices merged. It was quite fascinating to hear little snippets of conversations, different tones of voices, and random noises whiz past.


5. Observe relationships And by relationships, I don’t necessarily mean human relationships, but you can go that route if you want! It’s interesting to notice contrasts and similarities in life. What signage do you see that is a total contradiction of itself? Do you ever notice a tiny car sandwiched between two giant trucks? What little sequences or patterns do you observe that are unique? Try to find letters or faces in everyday objects or strange juxtapositions that make you chuckle. Remember to take photos of your find and share them with your friends or save them to use in your art!

Framed laborer

Hope you found this list helpful! What do you do to make daily observations?

Until next time Swellions!



  1. candyland says

    Really good reminders of just taking a moment and engaging our senses and observations. We coast through so much LIFE!

  2. says

    Very inspiring – I think I do the colors and textures pretty well, but the others I haven’t considered. Thanks for getting me thinking!

  3. says

    Fabulous post! You’re so right that we get caught up in our lives and don’t take the time for those little things. It’s those little things, like the way light falls across an object that sometimes stops me in my tracks! Thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    I have returned to this post over and over. I love what you have brought to light here. Thank you for sharing. It’s so inspiring.

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