There is no being an artist. There is doing art.

There is no being an artist. There is doing art.

What you want to be considered resides in the perception of others.

What you do is who you actually are.

You make art to find out about yourself, not to impress anonymous, imaginary people. You can always impress them in your fantasy, but they will never give you what you actually seek, your own approval. The best art is stamped authentic and good by its maker. Without that, it is imitation. The gift is to not die before witnessing your own creation, by meeting yourself in the mirror of art.

You know you have done it when it grows. The doing of more is the sign of approval. If it’s not currently growing, stop the part that stops you. Every path to good art begins in a tangled jungle of bad art. Bad art is not a sign you are a bad artist. The art we reject is just the metal shavings falling off the knife as it is sharpened.

Sidewalk Face 799

The More Things Change, the More Faces I Make

The More Things Change, the More Faces I Make

This stump used to be attached to the dead bush formerly known as Sidewalk Face 1004. I took his picture last year because it’s not that often a bush looks like a skull. The effect is aided by the random yellow rake handle which helps define the nose. Seeing him this way was mostly good luck. When I passed by at a different time of day, he didn’t seem so skull like. So many things are ephemeral and there is only one right moment.

Though the bush resides only a few streets away, for whatever reason it’s not a block I’ve been going by frequently, so I was startled to come upon him utterly decimated a few days ago. Considering that he was dead, I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked at his removal a full year later, but it still made me sad. I hate loss. Even if I come to embrace it later, NO! is what I hear when change first penetrates my consciousness.

I quickly made a new face to commemorate the tragedy. His expression mirrors my own and sort of helped me get over it. Feather is still trying to decide. She’s known to take her time. Maybe after a few dogs have peed on him she’ll warm up.

Sidewalk Face 1004 and 1122.

A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

This is my 100th blog post. It took one-month shy of seven years to get here.

Nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. I didn’t know when I started but I know more now. What might I know in ten years? I hope I find out.

The title quote is from James Clear. It helped me a lot. I was not doing things I “wanted” to do because I didn’t really want to do them. Or I “wanted” to do them at a high level, a level so high it was only possible to imagine doing it, not actually do it. I “wanted” to do yoga for an hour like I did at my yoga studio before the pandemic. But I never wanted to be in my living room with my yoga mat for an hour. Never. Never once did I want that in the past year. That’s why I went to a yoga studio in the first place. Because once you’re there, there is no escape. The social pressure is really important for me to overcome lethargy.

But in dwelling on the quote, I thought maybe I could start with something very very short. I could just do it for the length of one song. Just a few stretches. That’s it! One song Caren. You got this.

It worked! That was not too bad. I did not hate that.

Over time, I found that I was totally willing to do yoga for the length of a few songs. Sometimes I would do more than I intended. Isn’t that fun? That’s like a habit starting to form. Woah! I now exercise several mornings a week for ten minutes. Ten minutes is something I can manage. Ten minutes doesn’t freak me out. Ten minutes is happening. I don’t have to pressure myself into it. It’s something I actually like to do. I’ve built a habit.

Rather than make your hopes and goals bigger make them smaller. Make them so small you are doing them.

Are you by chance curious what little book I wrote this quote in? It’s last year’s pandemic little book. Here is a picture of the cover. I can’t get my fill of Danny Trejo in pink. His vegan donuts are off the hook. Try them if you are in Los Angeles.