Tapestry of Faith: Miracles: A Multigenerational Program on Living in Awe and Wonder

Activity 4: Observational Drawing

Part of Miracles

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Items and tools for observation, from Activity 3, To Look with Absolute Attention
  • Drawing paper and pencils, color pencils, pastels, and crayons
  • Optional: Slow- or non-hardening modeling clay
  • Optional: Clipboards if table space is limited

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain drawing paper. Artist’s quality, textured paper may be a worthwhile investment to encourage participants to honor their observations in this exercise.
  • Prepare open containers of pencils, colored pencils, crayons, or pastels for sharing.

Description of Activity

Explain that participants now have an opportunity to create their own works of art by making an observational drawing of one or more of the natural objects they have been investigating.

Invite participants to choose an object or grouping of objects to draw (or sculpt). Point out the art materials. Explain that while this activity’s goal is to look with care at the object and draw what one sees, the drawings may look very different from the objects themselves. Affirm that this is absolutely fine! Creating an exact representation of an object does not matter. This is particularly important because children, and many adults, sometimes perceive more “accurate” artwork as better. Such a perception may interfere with participants’ engagement in this activity.

Optional: If you have modeling clay, offer participants the option of sculpting.

After participants have had sufficient time to draw, gather the group together and invite volunteers to share their drawings. Elicit responses to the exercise using questions that suit the age make-up and other attributes of the group:

  • How did creating a drawing (or sculpture) help you notice the object more fully?
  • Was there any moment when you felt you were truly “looking with absolute attention?”
  • What revelations did you have about the object you were drawing? What did you notice about the object you drew, that you had never noticed before?
  • Has this experience changed your awareness of everyday miracles?

Including All Participants

Non-sighted people can participate meaningfully by using tactile observation and a textured drawing medium, such as pastel. They (and others in the group) can create three-dimensionally with modeling clay.