July 2008

Accidental Art

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 31, 2008

In response to Nancy Dault’s response to my “Photography and Drawing – Finding Your Creative Self-Exression” below on what she termed her “Accidental Creativity,” I was moved to share my article on my “Accidental Art” and “Accidental Businesses.”

Blurred photo of a flower in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

(a photo taken in Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Unintentionally blurred, I loved what I saw after I downloaded into my computer. Note the “family of faces” in the orange section in the upper left.)

“Creativity is an activity that invites abundance and flow into the world…It ripples out into energy that touches others with whom I will never interact. ” Julie Jordan Scott, Author/Actor/Director/Producer

In an article, “Your Creativity Treasure Chest”, Julie Jordan Scott gave numerous ideas for capturing our creative thoughts and ideas and spurring them on through using a treasure chest of art materials.

Okay. So where do these ideas come from? I say that some can come from the use of the materials themselves.

In her article, Julie states, “If you are unsure how to stir up your creative juices, try techniques and art forms to see which fits the best in your life.” Julie moves through painting, and sometimes movement, into writing.

For me, I am becoming very much aware of how the flow of my creative juices turn out “ACCIDENTAL” ART. Ideas can come from thoughts in our heads; TV; conversations we’re in; conversations we overhear; and visual stimuli.

Suggestion for Maximizing Visual Stimuli

Take a camera for a walk. If you don’t have a camera create a small viewfinder. Cut out a 1” x 1 1/2 “ opening in a piece of paper or 3” X 5” card.

Now hold the camera, or your “viewfinder”, and start slowly looking around. Note what patterns, colors, textures you see. If something catches your eye, PAY ATTENTION .

If you are using a camera, snap the picture. Digital cameras are fun in that you can keep snapping without regard to cost.

If you are using a *viewfinder* jot down quick notes. If there are other people close by start a conversation. Share what you see. It may lead to expanding ideas.

*Accidental* Businesses
My business, eTeletours.com, was started out of such a conversation. I was on a nature walk, talking with a friend on my cell phone, describing what I was seeing. One thing led to another, to another AND a new business resulted!

Naturesplayground.com came out of another happy accident. I had just purchased a color printer and a scanner and had brought a couple of prints to a meeting. I started doodling on one of the prints. Out of what I discovered from that, a whole new art form, and business, evolved.

Your Creations
Take a few minutes today to pause and look around you in new ways. What do you notice that you haven’t seen before? I invite you also to see what opens up in other areas of your life out of paying attention – noticing.

© 2004 Sheila Finkelstein


Picture to Ponder – Volume 4 – Issue 27

Morikami Tile

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photo

Wavy Tiles on a Wall in the Contemplation Pavilion at the Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach, FL

I was recently reviewing the journal in which I wrote during my twelve targeted visits to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens during the time I was participating in a pilot program of a Healing Gardens Walk. The photo above exudes such a sense of peacefulness, with the strong horizontal flow of the tiles and the gentle shadows, that I’m leaving it as a stand alone photo for this issue. I invite you to take a moment or two and simply “be” with the photo.

Once you are satisfied with that you might wish to spend another moment or two with the more expansive view:

Large rock and wall in Contemplation Pavilion at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Self-Reflecting Queries
In addition to experiencing the peacefulness in this photo, in rereading my journal I was interested to find an “aha” insight I had that explains some of my current involvement with photography. Photography, for me, provides INSTANT GRATIFICATION, something I love.

In the journal, two and half months after the passing of my beloved husband Sam, I wrote: “I need to practice really resting, quiet meditation.” Then I did a quick squiggly line, a “drawing” of the tiles, followed by,

“The shingles are restful; my drawing impatient. Camera satisfies impatience.”

Where in your life are you showing, or feeling, impatience? Do you have a practice for settling down, easing up, altering your state? And, if you do, do you remember to put it in place? It may be something as simple as taking some long, deep breaths.

Be sure to have fun and play with this.

Added Notes on Drawing
In reflecting on my comment in the journal on drawing, I went back to my college and teaching days and remembered how much I enjoyed drawing, how important I thought it was. When I taught Art in the elementary school, I would often have children, as young as those in first grade, posing for each other as they drew what we saw.

What is particularly interesting about all of this for me now is, that in addition to my journal observation, within the past week I came across the work of Deborah Putnoi, a participant in an online course in which I am enrolled. In checking out her web site – deborahputnoi.com – I was moved by her artist statement and then even more by some by various thoughts she puts forth in the five small pages of her JOURNAL on the site [no longer on the site]:

“DRAWING – It is a small but powerful act. One that everyone can do. Drawing. It is a pencil, ballpoint pen, charcoal on paper. It is a mark in the sand, chalk on the sidewalk. Drawing, is a visual language. Making marks on a surface is a truly democratic activity, something that everyone regardless of age, culture, socio-economic status can take part in.” 

Additionally, on the more “practical” side, Deborah has a blog where she discusses “Doodles”, her drawing journal and the Drawing Labs she holds in Massachusetts. She states:

“I want to bring my passion for drawing to everyone. There are times like now when I am in my studio when there is a small voice inside me that is begging to paint but there is that need in me to create these DRAWING LABS so that others can experience their own ability to make a line on the page. To give people back their sense of their creative selves.” See the DRAWING MIND BLOG for more.

What occured to me after reading the above is that bringing you back to the sense of your creative self is part of my underlying mission with Picture to Ponder.

For now my, creative self is being most fully expressed in photography and writing. How about your creative self?

Keep in mind, as you answer this question, the creative expression does not necessarily have to be in the arts. It could be the way you are being in whatever life role(s) you are following, those where you are self-expressed and fulfilled.

Again, have fun and PLAY with these queries!


Clouds and Queries – Wakodahatchee Wetlands

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 28, 2008

Beautiful puffy clouds behind fence at Wakodahatchee Wetlands

puffy white clouds beyond the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Rainbow in puffy white clouds in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Driving to Wakodahatchee Wetlands (Delray Beach, FL) early evening I was enthralled with the beauty of the puffy clouds. They looked like huge cotton balls that I wanted be be able to pluck from the sky. That being an impossibility, all I could think of was, “Where could I get a full, unblocked view to photograph the wide expanse?”

The first stop in the parking lot at Wakodahatchee provided a somewhat “uncluttered” view, giving off the feeling of the clouds that I hoped to capture and I did not like the idea of the fence. Once I downloaded the photograph onto my computer, I liked the composition and decided that, in fact, the fence could be somewhat of a metaphor for the inability to actually be able to touch the clouds.

The middle photo of the three is to simply share the beauty of the expanse of the boardwalk and the clouds. And the bottom photo, provided the culmination of my experience of my walk the the clouds. A Rainbow, or at least the colors thereof, !! in the clouds themselves. (top of the lower left quadrant just left of center, for those who might not see it right away)


1. My usual inclination after seeing the rainbow would be to Google, “what is a rainbow? How could it be in a cloud?” Then I realized that I could simply appreciate and be happy with what is, what’s giving me pleasure, rather than attempting to “find answers.

Is there something in your life, where you’re caught up in finding answers that you are missing the beauty of present moments?

2 . Why is it that generally-speaking, we think of clouds as a negative, a “cloudy day” connoting “dingy,” “grey” – “trouble coming,” among any of the other phrases we hear when we get into a “bloom and doom” mode?

What is your experience of clouds? Of reacting to a situation, with the meanings you attach to thme?


Freedom Resulting from Taking Purposeful Actions

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 22, 2008

Picture to Ponder Volume 4 – Issue 26

clamshell orchid

cockleshell orchid at American Orchid Society

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photo
Prosthechea Cochleata, popularly known as Clamshell, or Cockleshell, Orchids, photographed in the American Orchid Center’s Greenhouse in Delray Beach.It’s only recently that I noticed this particular species of orchids and periodically have thought to share them with you.

They are so light and joyous, “footloose and fancy free”, that they seemed to be the perfect follow-up to the, seemingly dancing, Purple Gallinule featured in the last issue of Picture to Ponder.

Given, I had thought to photograph the signage identifying the flower, it was easy to do a web search to learn more about them. Subscriber Susan Taylor, who is the Editor for Bella Online’s weekly Orchid Newsletter featured an interesting descriptive article on them. I highly recommend Susan’s articles for orchid lovers who wish to learn more about the plants’ care and maintenance, as well as information on specific species. Click on CLAMSHELL ARTICLE for information on today’s featured flower.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Joyous, light and playful, attributes that these flowers visually represent. It’s also the state from which I aspire to live my life. Interestingly the experience of finding them in my files, to share today, was far from that state.

Ironically, I am in the middle of a four-week course on Organizing for Artists led by Alyson Stanfield, so I expect part of the challenging experience today was to point out to me that one step in my organizing process would be to put aside, in computer folders, any photos that I think I might want to feature in Picture to Ponder or on my new Photography and Transformation Blog.

How simple it would be/will become to take the extra minute or two to categorize something when I think of it and am in the middle of it, rather than go for the extended, painful searches later! Taking simple actions when we are in the process of a search can actually result in that light and joyous state cited in the beginning. It’s also reflective of the theme to which I so often refer, “being in the moment.”

Are there places in your life where you are noticing things that are important to you, where you’d like to take action, and you’ve putting it/them aside for “later?” If so, I invite you to become aware of them and consider taking the actions in the moment.

I must put forth one cautionary note, from my own experience. Before moving on the little actions, you might want to check in with yourself, “Will what I am about to do forward what’s important to me right now, or in the immediate future? Am I/will I be staying on purpose?” And then, bottom line, do you wish to stay on track, or it’s not important to you. Either way is neither right nor wrong.

I find that when I’ve paid attention, I’ve become aware that many of my actions are actually reactions to what comes across my desk, or my mind. I’d make an instant shift in what I was doing to follow through on that. For me, I am looking more keenly at focus and what that means for me.

What about you?

In conclusion, to get back to the lighter note, I had finally set myself a deadline in the search for today’s photos. I told myself that if they did not show up by …:30, I would move on and feature another photo. I kept looking at my computer clock to stay on track. And, miracle of miracles, EXACTLY, at the time I specified, the photos showed up on my monitor.

Intention/declaration/fulfillment. Is there something you would like to declare now?

As always, have fun and play with this.

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Being in the Moment – Green Cay Sunset 7/21/08

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 21, 2008

Beautiful sunset, orange clouds, at Green Cay

This photograph is one of those which requires no words. To me the beauty of the sky, balanced by the small section of water, calls simply to be with and appreciate. No story. Enjoy.


Gallinule Play and Letting Go of Stuckness

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 17, 2008

Allow the Purple Gallinule to Inspire you to break through
any blocks you might have or simply enjoy him.

Purple Gallinune Wings spread - back view - at Wakodahatchee Wetlands

This purple gallinule on a fireflag stem in Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Boynton Beach, Florida was featured in the last issue of Picture to Ponder photo ezine. As part of the Self-Reflecting Queries

I wrote: “We could get heavy and significant about the bird, make a determination that he is struggling and “holding on tight,” or we could say he’s simply relaxing with his wings spread out, enjoying his scenery.

Then the Gallinule went further out on the stem.

Purple Galline dancing on Stem of fireflag plant in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

We could state that he is warily taking his next step, or we could say he’s dancing (my initial response when I first viewed the photo.)

Bottom line, we can make all kinds of interpretations as to what’s happening with the gallinule. Who is to determine which is the “correct” one? On the other hand, we can simply be with the beauty of his colors, the lines of his legs and amazing feet, or however you see it.

And, I’m aware that I’ve brought my interpretations into the picture. I invite you to check in with yourself. Are there places in your life where you are so busy making interpretations, “figuring” something out, that you are missing the opportunity of having fun?

If so what thoughts and/or emotions would you need to release right now to have that pleasure. Might it be perfectionism? judgment? the need to be right? anger? something else? If you see it, please take the action of letting go so you can have pleasure in this moment.


Completion and Transformation

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 15, 2008

It’s obvious that it’s been a long time since I set up this Photography and Transformation blog and made my first and only post, thus far. A comment on my Picture to Ponder blog – Picture to Ponder blog – and a desire for further conversation. This one is the ideal place to have the conversation, quite relevant also to the fact that getting the right format and template here has been like a wall for me.

Picture to Ponder, as you will learn when you follow along here and in future posts, is a photo ezine delivered by email. In a recent issue I featured the following two photographs

Purple fireflag flower in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Leaning and reflecting plants in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

and continued with my “Self-Reflecting Queries”. In describing my response to the photos, I discussed completion and in queries I talked about unfinished business and also about hiding out, being afraid of sharing passions.

Jenn Givler, Create a Thriving Business made the following comment on the Picture to Ponder blog
“In the first photo – the purple and white flower reminded me of a dancer… I don’t quite know why it struck me that way, but it did. I’m a dancer – so I’m sure that had something to do with it LOL!

But the emotion that was inspired in me was that sometimes we need to flow.

Sometimes if something is unfinished, it’s because the energy isn’t quite right – and what is called for is a little flow. Flow through it for a bit instead of pushing against it and see what develops – no photography pun intended ;)”

I responded with, “Your statement – ‘…a little flow. Flow through it for a bit instead of pushing against it and see what develops – no photography pun intended 😉 has been taking me a while to absorb.

It may be that in the imagery of “being up against it”, I can’t visualize “flowing through”. It’s like “How can you flow through a wall?” One certainly can shift, flow around. “Flowing through” conjures up the image of a ghost for me.

Simply some thoughts. If you’d like I’ll put it up on the blog to further conversation.”

In a responding email, Jenn said she’d love to open this up for conversation. Would you care to join in? Jenn, the ball is back in your court and thanks for being the stimulus that finally had me get off the procrastination pedestal!