Staring at the same painting for 2 hours

I saw a tiktok where a guy was describing his experience staring at a painting for 3 hours and thought I ought to try it. I can’t believe this scab starts with ‘I saw a tiktok’.

Unfortunately I could not manage a full three hours, but we all have to start somewhere.

Apparently it was going to help me with my focus and attention which I feel I’ve been lacking lately so I was all for it. I think going into it you definitely don’t expect to get bored as quickly as you do. For me the novelty wore off after about a minute and a half. For the remaining 1hour 58ish minutes my mind was stuck in a revolving door of excruciating, painful boredom and waves of mellowness.

Here’s a photo of my victim.

If you feel like a challenge you could probably choose a more boring painting but I was just a measly beginner so I found the busiest looking painting I could. 

During your ‘viewing window’ you’ll find yourself unexplainably excited when you find something new in your painting that you didn’t realise before. When I spotted this dog in a bush it was euphoric.

Overall I think this was a good experience, one you should try. On reflection I think this was actually a form of meditation. Meditation made tangible maybe? I did feel that good feeling you get when you’ve been productive for a few hours which is odd given I’d done nothing but keep my eyes open. The good thing about this ‘job’ is that staring at a painting counts as work. Everything counts as work in advertising!

I definitely feel, even a few days after the exercise, that I have slightly more control over the speed of my thoughts and where I allocate my focus which is a plus. You also get a fun story to tell people so they think you’re some introspective mysterious smartypants, ‘I don’t veiw art… I consume it’ type loser/hipster.

Anyway, has it solved my focus problems? No. But you’d be daft to think staring at a painting for 2 hours would solve any problem you had.

All my best wishes,



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