“Morning Cloud Bank", oil, 6 x 4", © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

31 Clouds, Day 9,  “Morning Cloud Bank”, oil, 7 x 5″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Observation is a visual form of listening.

And not just for painters. For everyone.

What I mean by observation is the idea of standing in front of a subject and looking closely, really paying attention. Not just glancing, but seeing deeply.

When you see deeply you become present in the moment, letting distractions slip away.

Our minds are designed to quickly make sense of the world around us, not really to record our observations. So you have to trick your mind a bit in order to shut down the monkey mind that tries to quickly categorize what you’re looking at.

You have to take a bit of time.

If you want to see the world in memorable ways you have to give your perception time to work.

And boy, is that hard to do!

But the benefits of doing it are HUGE!

The more you exercise your perception “muscles”, the more you’ll actually see, and the way you experience the world will change and deepen.

The video goes a little deeper into the benefits of practicing observation.

It’s almost like magic. So if you are observing a figure, a still life or a landscape – it really doesn’t matter the subject – the more you look, the more connection you’ll build between yourself and that subject.


That’s an important thing for our culture.

What do you want to create a stronger connection with?

Observation is one of the best ways to get started.