If you are a representative artist, observation is the key to everything. If you take pictures, look at your subject from all possible angles. See things others might miss. If you draw or paint, pay attention to where the light falls, where the shadows lie, how the colors change in your subject depending on when you look at it.
Try different ways of looking at an object, too. Blur your vision and look at the masses, the major areas of color or form. Look at a tiny area of it. Try tracing just the outline of an object, to help you look at the negative space around it. Maybe even pull out a magnifying glass.
For example, take a look at this photo. Can you tell what it is? You could make it into water, or fabric, or a landscape, or take it as it really is – sun shining off cat fur.
How you see is as important as what you see!