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Slow down, focus your attention, and notice more the longer you look with this close looking activity. 


Les grands plongeurs (The Divers), made by French artist Fernand Léger in 1941 from charcoal and ink wash, is brimming with alternating areas of light and shadow. The Divers demonstrates Léger’s interest in abstraction, representing figures through voluminous geometric forms and thick lines. Léger made this painting and other paintings of divers after observing swimming dockworkers in the harbor of Marseille, France, while awaiting passage to New York, where he lived from 1940 to 1945. Take a few minutes to visually untangle this dense composition and practice prolonged close looking by recording your observations with one long, unbroken line. Your drawing will become a visual record of your sustained engagement. 

Watch this activity as a video here:



  • Pencil 
  • Paper 


  • Find a comfortable position and let your eyes settle on the artwork. Place your pencil on your paper.  
  • As your eyes follow a path through the artwork, let your hand follow along to record what you see with one long, unbroken line. Try not to look down at your paper or lift your pencil from the page. 
  • Challenge yourself to keep your focus on the artwork and draw what you see with one continuous line for 3–5 minutes.  


What did you notice about the artwork while you were drawing?  

What thoughts and feelings came up for you while drawing?