Useless Work

Grandfather Ash, outside the studio doorAn artist sister-friend of mine sent me this quote today from somewhere on the internet (not quite sure who wrote it… let me know if you know so I can give proper credit where it is due):

“What is the use of a tree? Well, it has many uses, but it isn’t TRYING to be useful. It’s just doing what it wants. And in that process, it does its job in the natural order of things. Despite all the rantings of moralists, you are in the same boat. The only way you are ever going to do an ounce of good in the world is to do what you want. Do what makes you happy, or at least what distracts you from your misery…. So revel in your perfect uselessness. It’s the useful thing to do…. You do not have to strive every minute to be better than it is possible to be…..”

In that spirit, I have spent today in a sort of wandering mood. I met an old friend I haven’t seen awhile for coffee, stopped into Salon Cherry Bomb for an impromtu hair trim (amazingly, she had a spare 5 minutes). I practiced some music, walked the dog and took a nap. There is a small part of me (getting smaller by the day) that feels a little guilty having a day like this. But the gentler part of me, the artist-self who gets stronger and wiser each day, knows better. In the midst of all of this “uselessness” I seemed to have found the key to slowing down the clock. Today seems to have lasted longer than most. Along with my wanderings, some drawing has gotten done, some of the boring studio house-keeping tasks managed to get done as well. I have some ideas brewing that weren’t there earlier in the day…. I feel productive. It’s been a good day in the studio. The action and practice so necessary to maintaining forward momentum as a self-employed artist must be tempered with balancing non-action and days of uselessness (or so it might appear to others) that allow for ideas to simmer.

So, that said, I think I’ll make like a tree…. and grow. Useless as that may be.

Baby Steps (a.k.a. Micromovements…)

It is a crisp, cool, October day here in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is not a special day, really. Not a new year, or even a new month or week. Just a normal work day. A Thursday. A perfect day to dip my rather wary toes into the pool of bloggers I have come to enjoy and respect in recent years. Often I read something on one of these posts that changes my perspective a little; that causes me to pause and reconsider something I may not have thought about before. I am better for it.

I know many people whom I admire who have made the decision to create change in their lives. Some have stopped smoking, or decided to lose weight or begin an exercise program. The ones who have found success in their endeavors are those who went about it without much pomp or circumstance. They just got started, one normal day. Simple as that. Then, step by step and over time, goals were accomplished, then new ones created. And lives were lived well.

I have come to realize the precious quality of each individual’s voice in this world. More recently and miraculously, my own included. And so, with this blog, I am putting my voice out there with the others. It will more than likely be largely ignored by anyone outside my network of family and friends. But in this blogging framework I have an official-feeling place to ponder new art ideas and collect the data the world throws to me. I have a place to structure my thinking; a place to take those baby steps that will lead to the larger work. I am proud to place myself in this blogging arena with all the other interesting voices out there and I look forward to what magic may come back around my way by taking this one… tiny… step…

part rabbit warren, part spin on art & life & etc. art, illustrations & workshops by amy bogard