You know when you look at your child and they give you that "look"? It might be a sick look that we recognize, or the smarty pants face, we KNOW the gentle subtleties and nuances of these little faces we deal with all the time because we really, really see them.
Now transfer that way of looking at life, and sensitivity to the world around us.
Really how cool would it be to be able to pick up on the subtle changes in everything and everyone around us. Most of us go through life and don't notice what's going on. We get trapped into the same ol' thing everyday, life becomes stale. Do we need large red flashing arrows pointing directly at something to pick up on it? Yeah, probably so. I'm as guilty as the next, but I do make an effort to be aware by looking at things, really looking into them not just at them.
I have to tell you a funny story and how this relates to art...it does, I promise.
Years ago I went to an ART guru, he helped artists with their careers, my Mom took me, it was like $450.00 an hour or some crazy amount, but my Mom thought it would be good for me and my art. He was a roley poly sort of a guy, and sat in a big dark burgundy leather chair smoking a huge cigar. I'll never forget the meeting....he scared me. Plus my Mom was paying like some astronomical sum per hour for him to "coach" me with his expert guru knowledge, so I had to take this guy seriously.
Anyway.....what he did do is make me feel so inadequate as an artist. At the time I was painting photo realism, and he asked me to bring 2 pieces to our meeting. I think I was like 17 or 18, and completely intimidated by this gentle giant of a man. I was also kind of cocky in the believes and opinions about my art. So he proceeded to talk to me about what is important in an artists life. I was so bored, I actually yawned. I wasn't listening, I was off somewhere else, my eyes wandering around his office here and there until he engaged me. He was probably pissed off by my nonchalance.
He started to ask me about the one flower I had painted.......I couldn't answer his questions.
They were simple questions.....
My face was red....I stammered and stumbled.......oh jeez........
oh oh, I felt like a dummy......what was happening here? He was taking the poop right out of my young bravado.
He tipped back in his big leather chair and said humpfff, and took a long slo drag on his soggy cigar, it was so disgusting.
He then got up and went out to get my Mom who was waiting in the waiting room for the art guru session to be over. He said..."I want to talk to you both now, and plopped his gigantic body in the well worn leather chair. He tapped his huge fingers on the arm of the chair, you could tell he was searching his mind on where to begin. He said.....
"I want you to go home. Study everything you can about this flower. I want to know the scientific name, the separate parts and their names, the climate in which it grows. What colors it comes in, why and where it grows the best. How many hours of sunlight it needs to bloom, who are it's worst pests? Where did it originate? Then I want you to do that with your next 6 pieces of art. Then we will talk again"
He turned to my Mom and with a kind of a smirk said...."Mama, she needs to raise her consciousness about what she's painting, and how she is looking at things."
I never went back. BUT I never forgot that ART guru........he was right. Raise your consciousness in the way you look at things, people, situations. Look at things from all angles.....really see.....it was a valuable lesson.