Self-Portrait in Attention

It was pretty challenging trying to sketch my face in 25 minutes. I kept thinking I was done and then compared what I saw in my camera to what I saw on my paper. There was always one more detail to be added or corrected. And of course when I look at this sketch, I realize I haven’t really captured much accurate information about what I look like. I tried to capture the unruliness of my hair, but I could only gesture at the concept of unruliness rather than capture the precise way my hair looks this morning. Likewise with my eyebrows, eyes and glasses. One of the things that surprised me was that to be more accurate, I often had to subtract something from my sketch – to erase a stray mark or lighten a line, which makes me wonder why I put them in in the first place. Miller & Jurecic write about how language and expectation can interfere with our ability to pay attention. I think there’s certainly some of that going on here, but I also think that there are conventional ways to draw a nose for example that get in the way of perceiving what my nose actually looks like.

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