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Have you ever seen an art piece and been awed at the imagination that created it? The more I look at nature, the more I think imagination is fostered by great observation skills.

For example, think of totem poles, kachina dolls, and witches; what imagination created such things? But now look at the photo I took of a dying saguaro cactus on a gloomy desert day and see if that makes it easier to understand the creation of these things.

I remember my high school art teacher advising us to look around for inspiration. But all I saw were desks and students. It took years for me to see the different pictures in the grain of wood and the different characters in faces.

Some people may be born with great observation skills; others of us may need life experience to help us along the way. But however we get there, our imaginations can take flight if we hone our powers of observation.


Imaginations can take flight 
if we hone our powers of observation.


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Reader Comments (14)

My mom studied anthropology in college and became an expert on Kachina dolls. She came to my class in first grade to discuss it with us.

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Silver

I love Kachina dolls and what they represent. How wonderful that you and your class were able to benefit from your mom's expertise.

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Rhia --
Powerful piece! Ah, perception....and of course, taking the time to really "see".

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMillie Tiffany

You're absolutely correct...time is a tremendous influencer of much I write about. I'll write something about that this week...thanks for reading my blog and for the topic idea.

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Very nice Rhia! My uncle in Canada had a inuksuk (a stone landmark made by humans) which he made out of stones he gathered.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Haley

Oh how wonderful; was it one of those where you piled dry stones together? People used to do that in Wales too and it always fascinated me how the structures stood up to time.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

In many ways was my imagination better when I was younger.
I would take more time to find these things.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicko Gibson

The image of the cactus is compelling, especially since it is humanoid...we are hard wired to respond to other humans and to see human in organic shapes. Imagination fills in the blanks and enriches out experience as we observe it.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte Babb

Time is certainly an important factor, Nicko. Because another reader pointed out the importance of time, I wrote a blog post about it yesterday

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

I find the image very compelling too...and quite spooky. It's a good point about being hard wired to respond to humans so our brains try to fit as much as possible into that box.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

There are two parts to art, as you suggested; one part is technique and skill, the other, is learning to see.

The schema that we are born with and that we develop as we grow up (think of children's drawings) sometimes get in the way of our being able to see what is there, and more importantly to see what is significant in a small detail.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte Babb

So do you think we actually lose the ability to 'see' as we get older and try to fit everything into the little organizational boxes our brain creates for us? If so, perhaps great artists are those who won't conform to that.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Rhia - Yes to your question. I think many of us DO lose our abilities to 'see' things as we get older. I know I have some. I've over-organized my brain to the point almost everything I do has a "checklist" involved. Argh!

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGina Marie Long

I love your expression, 'I've over-organized my brain to the point almost everything has a checklist involved.' I bet you could turn that around in a you have the time to do so :)

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

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