There are thousands of posts about focus, but how important is it in the everyday progress of your artistic practice?
The answer could depend upon your interpretation of focus, or your experiences with focus, or whether you’re like most of us and have an idea about what focus should be and that you should do it and so you come up with your own version which may or may not work so well for you.
Hypothetical case in point, based upon an actual artist and a name-changed-to-protect-future-endeavors gallery: each of the parties are practicing focus, and given the precarious state of the economy that focus is naturally aimed at what has the greatest potential to succeed. Artist has been focused in the same general direction, style wise, as the gallery, and begins to gather some creds in the broader arena. Feeling emboldened, said artist tightens the focus to produce a body of work that, in artist’s experience, reaches new levels of competence. Over the same four months the hypothetical gallery is also focused on the various bodies of excellent work hanging on their walls compared to the walls of their hypothetical excellent competitors and concludes some major direction changing is in order. Ah…you already see where this is going.
Given the importance of focus, we never talk about the situations that can change when we aren’t looking at them.
Focus has power. When you’re learning your craft you must focus in a general direction and not bounce aimlessly from pillar to post. Learning craft takes time and effort, not something generally achieved on the occasional weekend.
Focus allows you to identify your strengths. It’s not that we don’t already know what it is that makes us smile, but human curiosity as well as insecurity tends to lure us down those other paths, deep into the dark forest when we forgot to bring bread crumbs. Finding our way back an be a challenge.
So, generally, focus is good, even necessary.
But focus can get in the way when we aren’t paying attention to something that is changing, and then find ourselves shocked at the new environment.
Not for the reasons you might suspect. But because shock tends to make us temporarily lose our focus, our real focus, and we start thrashing around and thinking everything is changing and we have to change with it.
Which is probably not the case.
As Seth Godin said in a recent post, "If it’s important today, it will be important tomorrow."
So now it’s back to you. Think of this post as an open thread and leave your comments and experiences with focus.
And another OMG exciting moment:
Summer Storm Coming, 12" x 18", oil on linen
Accepted into the 2011 American Women Artists National Exhibition
October 14 - November 3, 2011
Huff Harrington Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Uh...yeah, I'm smiling.