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Unlock Your Creativity

Learn how to use all your senses to help unlock your creativity and create great paintings!

One way to unlock your true creativity is with this simple exercise which I stole from a primary school mindfulness class about using your senses in order to truly observe.  It’s a great way to stop and think about what you are seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling.  And at the same time unlock your creative potential through awakening and observing the senses.

This is not so much a painting exercise; more an observation exercise which will transpose itself into all your paintings from this day forth.  We hope.  Let’s see how we go :)  ALSO - THIS IS A SILENT EXERCISE!

So let’s get into it!

Unlock Your Creativity Exercise


  • Rope or string about 3m long (to make into a circle approximately 1m across); or a hula hoop or similar
  • Your backyard or neighbour’s paddock - a quiet spot in nature
  • About half an hour of your time
  • A sketchpad or notebook and pencil

What to do:

2 metres from the circle - what can you observe?

Take everything outside and find a patch of yard to park yourself - preferably in the shade - as you’ll be observing this spot for a little while.

Put your rope or hoop on the ground in a circle and stand about 2 metres away from it.  Leave everything else on the ground for now.

Take a deep breath in, hold it, then out, and look into the circle.  What can you see from this distance away?  Really look at what you are observing.  What can you hear?  What are you feeling?  Take the time to notice all these things.  Breathe deeply.  Sounds hippy but really take the time to allow this process to unlock your creativity.

When you feel you’ve observed all you can, take your notebook and write down your top 3 observations.

What can you observe in the circle from 1 metre away?

Now, move in to your circle so you are approximately 1 metre away.  Repeat this process.  What can you see now?  What has become clearer at this distance and perspective?  Are the colours clearer?  More unexpected?  Can you hear anything coming from your circle?  What are you feeling now?

Write your top 5 observations down from this exercise.

Now move into only 30cm away from your circle.  Kneel on the ground for this one.  Repeat the exercise, discovering what has now become clearer from this perspective.  

At this stage we’ve been pretty much only using our eyes and ears as our senses for this exercise.  

What can you see in the circle up close?

Now you can choose two items from the circle which capture your attention.  For example a green leaf and a brown (dying) leaf.  Hold the item in your fingertips next to your ear and listen to how it sounds when you move your fingertips over it.  Remember to breathe deeply and be silent.  Do the same thing with your other chosen item.  What differences can you notice between how the two things feel in your fingertips?  And how they sound next to your ear? 

Bring the items one by one around to your nose and breathe in their scents, separately.  Notice the differences in how they smell.  Do they have a smell?  (Ensure no dogs or chooks have frequented your circle before you do this).  Try and identify it.

What can you feel? What can you hear when you hold the objects up to your ear - one at a time?
So many interesting things to choose from here!

Leaves & Grass - Nature's wonders!

Take some time to record this fresh information in your notebook.  You have just seen the world in a new way!  There really is incredible magic in the tiniest of observations.

When you go to paint something next time, really take the time to think about the nuance of the thing(s) you are painting.  Think about how it feels, smells, looks and sounds from a long way away, and close up too.  

You’ll find this exercise will unlock your creativity in ways you may never have imagined!  Next stop?  Create your own unique paintings using your newfound unlocked creation station :)

Clover and leaves
Dead leaves make beautiful shapes.  Try to see them in a new way - for example look at the negative space between the shapes.  Record all your findings in your notebook.

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