Something I learned early on, is that you have to develop a deep concentration for your work. You really have to focus on what you are doing. This graphite, Black On White, took a great deal of focus, not only on the black Friesian, but on the background. It's hard to see in this photo, but the sky is filled with tiny snowflakes, each one painstakingly shaded around. (Black On White is available).
This topic of focus reminds me of an incident in the studio when I was at art school. After the lesson, we students would all troop off to get our equipment: a stool to sit on, a large wooden drawing board, and a funny bench sort of thing that had a flat bottom that sat on the floor, a tall upright, and a narrow, slanted board that held our drawing board and materials. This unsteady arrangement went by the quaint name of a "Mule". One evening, we were all busy concentrating on our assignment, and the only sound in the studio was the quiet classical music that was always played. We were all totally focused on our work. Suddenly, there was an ominous scuffle, then a terrific crash, as one poor student, deeply concentrating on his work, forgot that the treacherous Mule had to be kept in balance while we worked. We heard the gasp of horror, the sound of the stool, then the student hitting the floor, the bang of the drawing board, followed by the crash of the mule as they hit the floor miliseconds apart, and finally, the echoing clang of the pencil box as it bounced and rattled on that hard, unforgiving floor. Total silence followed, then the sound of throats being cleared, light coughs, and snuffles as we all did our heroic best to not scream with laughter. To our credit, we managed this, then helped the hapless student pick up his things, made sure he was all right, and then, to spare his feelings, went back to work as if nothing had happened.
I feel this is a cautionary tale, letting us know that focus is a neccessary thing when drawing/painting, but like everything, we mustn't carry it too far.
By the way, notice anything different?