The power of focused attention

My intention was to draw Elliot Bay at dusk.  The park was empty and quiet.  And then five chatty women suddenly showed up and stood right in front of my view.  They talked in a hyper manner, their conversation seeming to go nowhere.

I was dedicated to sketching the scene, but I didn’t want to be rude and ask “Could you please move”, because in the past, I’ve found that, usually people move a few minutes later.

This time, the women’s group seemed planted for the forseeable future.  So, my intuition said, just focus on what’s in front of you, not the women, but the old iron pier tie directly in front of me.  It wasn’t part of my plan, but neither were the women.    So, I focused my attention on the bulbous relic.

The chatty group kept at it, and I kept drawing line after line, in a way, attempting to almost meld myself into that dark and large obnoxious structure.  I began to loose track of time and even hearing their conversation.

Just as I was finishing drawing the pier tie, they left, virtually oblivious to the artist two feet away from them.

As I went back to adding lines of the surrounding hills and trees, I had the insight, with all that focus, that like life, when things don’t go as planned, you can still make something out of the moment.

I look at the drawing and feel happy about it, and somehow it makes me smile to know that conversation the group was having that didn’t seem to go anywhere, ended up being solidified into a form that didn’t obstruct the view.


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