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  • Writer's pictureScott Francis

Clearer Vision

A couple decades ago I took a drawing class, and the instructor clued me in on what seemed upside-down. Drawing is seeing. The mechanical skill of holding the pencil, applying the marks to paper is a distant second. Most of what the artist does is notice things that you & I gloss over.

I have trouble drawing noses because my idea of a nose gets in the way. Better artists can break down the nose they see into color, contrast, shape, line, and shadow. By noticing the exact details that make up the nose in their field of vision, they can recreate it on paper.

Diving deeper, the instructor pointed out that even thinking in terms of shapes & lines allows our ideas to get in the way of really seeing. There are no real lines along the edges of people's noses - just a stark contrast in color, texture, or shading. It's the difference between the nose and the background that lets us see it.

When we don’t draw accurately, it’s often because we are trying to draw the idea we have of the object, instead of seeing what is actually in front of us.

As I build my life, I encounter the same disconnect. I often act on my interpretation of the situation, without really looking closely.

I miss opportunities because I gloss over aspects of a situation that don’t fit my preconceptions.

My pattern recognition is strong, and part of my mind leaps to conclusions before other parts have sorted through all the relevant data.

Unless I get curious.

When I look for the new, I find it.

When I dig deeper, asking “Why?” one more time, I see different connections.

When drawing - focus small. Hold the object upside-down. Break it loose from your idea.

Curiosity, investigation, examination, or a change in perspective accomplish the same thing in constructing a life.

What preconceptions are holding us back from making our lives into masterpieces?

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