22 March 2013



The center of interest or activity.
(of a person or their eyes) Adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
noun.  center - centre
verb.  concentrate

Does anyone teach an online class on focus, asked Sandy. Which got me thinking ... about my own lack of focus. And how people do the end-of-the-year stocktaking of what they've accomplished, and start-of-the-year planning - that's one way of getting focus. 

Maybe it's that some people are better at "focus" than others, just like some people need to finish one thing before starting on something else. (That analogy makes me wonder if focus has a downside too - shutting you off from better things, from serendipity, from surprises that jolt you into a different way of looking, thinking, working...) 

Not that being focused is always a matter of being in your comfort zone. If it's a difficult goal you're focused on, you'll be on the alert for a variety of ways to achieve it, rather than doing the same thing over and over again and hoping it'll work this time or next time.

Getting back to that definition above - concentration - seeing clearly - how do we get those things to happen?

Is there a list of "little tricks" that will help us focus as we seek to make art work? I suggest these: 

  • Having a word to focus on, that pulls you back on track when you wander off
  • Having a deadline (and learning how to set and meet your own deadlines)
  • Not doing too many things at once
  • Dividing the work into manageable chunks
  • Having a mechanism to catch those brilliant ideas as they flit past (rather than having to run after them there & then) - eg, keep a notebook handy for writing them down
  • Making a list of what you want or need to do, and choosing just one thing to do first - the rest will still be waiting
  • Showing up in the studio regularly, and spending time there
That last is the one I'm working on at the moment. Or, just as soon as I download and process the latest photos ... and write a blog post or two ... and deal with a few emails ... and make an appointment for a haircut ... and clear away those dishes ... well, you know how that goes ...

So I'll add this one to the list:
  • Have a starting time - and a stopping time
And, on reflection, this -

  • A body of imagery to start from, preferably one's own drawings, as these already embody a certain kind of focus

1 comment:

Celia Stanley said...

I focus very well, after I've read your blog & then wandered around the web looking at different stuff - exactly what I'm doing now!