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Looking and listening

By Diana Shaw

January 2, 2014

As a New Year’s resolution, I am promising myself to look at all the people around me more closely and to listen to them more intently. All to often we assume we know a person, yet if we are asked to describe them, we can only do it in very general terms. I plan on working hard to stop assuming and to start really looking. As a lifelong artist, you would think this would be easy. Not true. I get caught up in the world of assumptions like everyone else. It’s only when I am doing a portrait do I really look but I plan to change a lot of my assumptions.


Now, there is the listening part. Do we really listen to what people are saying. Do we listen to the point of understanding what is being said. Since I am personally losing my hearing, I will be reading lips along with what I do hear. This will help me to actively listen not just hearing but actually interpreting what is being said. If there is a conflict in what I thought I understood, I will have to ask them questions about it. I may even have to tell them that I don’t hear very well and would they please repeat what was said. Sometimes it’s really not in the hearing I am confused with, but in the interpreting of what I thought I heard.


I just want to be more aware of the world around me. For years I hid behind painting architecture and scenes but now I am focusing in on something really important to me…you.