Above are the objects I recalled after closing my eyes (in my classroom)
The above exercise was quite easy for me because I did this in my classroom, which I have spent hours and hours in, everyday since September. I keep my room very organized and clean, so I know what and where everything is. I was able to name these items right away without really pausing to think much. I am a very observant person by nature as well, so I tend to notice little details easily.
The artwork above is a pastel drawing done by one of my 6th grade students.
Above is the outcome of drawing the artwork after 20 minutes of observation.
I noticed a few things after sitting and observing the artwork for twenty minutes. First off, I realized that twenty minutes is actually quite a long time to be looking at something of this size (18x24). I found myself trying to determine numbers at first. For example, how many swords there were coming out of the ground on each side of the path and how many pillars the castle had. I had seen this work of art many times before but I had noticed many details about it for the first time, having been forced to stare at it for a prolonged period of time. I noticed spots that were missing pastel, lines that were unintentionally too thick, etc.
I was able to remember the details within the foreground and middle ground pretty well, but I noticed that I wasn't quite able to get the details of the background correct. Afterthought: If we were to use color as well, it would have been interesting to see if I were able to get the colors correct (or close enough to correct).
This is definitely a hard exercise. This is one that I have all my 6th grade students do within the first few days of class, in the beginning of the school year, to teach them about observation. The difference: I have them create a CONTINUOUS blind contour drawing of the person sitting across from them. Where they cannot look at their paper and they cannot lift their pencil from that paper. It acts as an icebreaker activity as well (they come in shy and intimidated and leave talking and laughing with one another).
Having done this exercise myself using an object, I noticed details, outlines, shapes, etc., that I would not have noticed otherwise. Instead of looking at the flower vase as a whole, I focused on it's contour and zoomed in on the tiny detail. I found myself struggling to keep my eyes on the object the entire time, having wanted to look down at the paper to make sure I was drawing it correctly. This exercise is all about being able to look at something from a different perspective.