A 5-Senses Portrait of My Canine, Barnaby

A 5-Senses Portrait of My Canine, Barnaby


In doing the analysis for my ebook Life in 5 Senses, I attempted a bunch of various workout routines.

I went to Taste College. I attempted making a non-Newtonian fluid out of cornstarch. I went to “Dinners within the Darkish” to eat a meal blindfolded.

Certainly one of my most pleasant and thought-provoking workout routines, nonetheless, was to jot down a “5-Senses Portrait.”

I made a decision to make a five-senses portrait of my husband Jamie. Crafting that portrait helped me to give attention to the concrete actuality of Jamie’s presence and in addition on my favourite recollections of him; it helped me to understand each the current and the previous.

After studying my five-senses portrait of Jamie in my ebook draft, my editor mentioned, “Gretchen, I believe you must write a five-senses portrait of your self, as a part of your writer bio for Life in 5 Senses.” So I did! It seems on the finish of the ebook.

Since that point, I’ve made a number of five-senses portraits.

Make a 5-Senses Portrait

With a five-senses portrait, we faucet into every of our 5 senses to create an in depth portrait of an individual, pet, place, or expertise we love. It’s easy. For seeing, listening to, smelling, tasting, and touching, checklist 5 favourite or notable associations. I’ve written my portraits on my own, however I’ve heard from many individuals who’ve created a five-senses portrait as a gaggle exercise.

Elizabeth and I talked about this concept in episode 387 of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, and readers reported on many extra methods they’ve used this concept:

  • to protect concrete particulars of an individual who has died
  • to provide somebody a present that exhibits how fastidiously they’ve been noticed
  • to protect recollections of a beloved place or time—one household did a five-senses portrait of a tenting journey; one other household, of a cottage in Maine they go to every summer season

My 5-Senses Portrait of Barnaby

In honor of my canine Barnaby’s eighth birthday, I made a decision to make a five-senses portrait of him. It’s a snapshot of my expertise of him, proper now.


  • His beloved Abominable Snowman toy that’s falling to items
  • His second-favorite Jumpy toy
  • His pet tooth marks on the Fisher Value Tumble Tower that I’ve stored from my very own childhood

  • His black fur that’s slowly turning grey
  • The pink metallic bucket that claims “Good Canine” stuffed together with his chew toys 

Listening to 

  • The well mannered, temporary “Rrrrrf” sound he makes to level out that his water or meals bowl is empty
  • His excited barking when he spots somebody he is aware of on the road
  • The deep sigh of consolation he offers after he settles down on his favourite blanket
  • The sound of his nails clicking on a wooden ground 
  • The thump his physique makes when he jumps onto the chair in my workplace


  • The stunning scent of corn chips that typically hangs round him (from a innocent micro organism on his paws)
  • The plasticy scent of poop baggage
  • The scent of moist fur when he comes inside after being out within the rain
  • The dusty odor of his dry pet food 
  • The scent that comes from a brand new Barkbox field


  • Bacon
  • Parmesan
  • Greenies
  • Whipped cream
  • His capability to detect a tablet in a tablet pocket


  • The nice and cozy really feel of his fur
  • The strain of his weight when he lies over my toes after we’re each taking a nap
  • His tiny pet physique squirming on my lap once I held him for the primary time 
  • The texture of his leash in my hand as we go for our early-morning stroll
  • The tough, chewed-up textures of the rawhides he leaves across the residence

One benefit of the five-senses portrait is that whereas it’s artistic and highly effective, it’s straightforward to execute.

One function of the brand new 5-Senses Journal is that it offers area for a number of five-senses portraits, in addition to locations to document every day impressions. (I’m actually thrilled with this new journal! I’ve by no means seen something prefer it.)

Let me know the way you’ve tailored the thought of the five-senses portrait. It’s a surprisingly versatile and satisfying artistic endeavor.


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