Photography and Drawing – Finding Your Creative Self-Expression

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 30, 2008

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 – – 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!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Dault July 30, 2008 at 11:50 am

I enjoyed seeing the stand-alone photo as opposed to the one with foreground. What a different feel they each have! The stand-alone is very stable; still. The photo showing the whole picture seems to have more life and movement to it. This makes me think of how I judge people sometimes. I’ll decide I know someone based on one particular aspect; I’ll think that person is a certain way. If I were to see all that makes up the individual–the person’s thoughts, feelings, past, dreams, I’d have a much different idea about the person’s identity.

Do I get impatient? Oh boy! I want answers to my questions immediately. I want problems solved yesterday. What do I do about it? Complain to my boyfriend, and he says, “Everything will be all right, Sweetie.” And then I feel better.

Am I creative? I just describe what I see, and people say, “Wow, what an imagination!” And I reply, “What do you mean? I just described what’s there.” And they say, “We don’t see that. You see something we don’t see.” So I guess I’m accidentally creative.


Ann Schwartz July 31, 2008 at 8:09 am

It was an absolute pleasure to read through every word and view your photography. It put me in a very relaxed and contempletive mood, which isn’t easy with my busy schedule.
I will check in again to enjoy your work.
Thanks, Ann


Sheila Finkelstein July 31, 2008 at 10:20 am

Thank you so much for your comments.

I had similar reactions to the differences between the two photos, though I did not take it further into the people and situation analogy that you did. Powerful insights. I appreciate your sharing them. Isn’t it amazing, how far we can go when we are open to viewing scenes in front of us with new eyes?

Insofar as your seeing things others do not, I don’t consider that as being “Accidentally Creative.” To me it is your ongoing natural creativity expressing itself. For me, it’s when something unexpected comes out of it that it is then “accidental.”

I actually did a piece did an article a couple of years ago on what I called my “Accidental Art” and my “Accidental Businesses.” You can find that on Perhaps I’ll post a portion of it here. It seems a fitting follow-up.

I think there may be an “official” definition of “Accidental Art”. I’m not sure. There is a blog, the Accidental Creative,, which this conversation is reminding me to start following.

Thanks again, Nancy, for the ideas you’ve stimulated in me by your response.


Sheila Finkelstein July 31, 2008 at 11:07 am


Thank you so much for popping in, spending time here and sharing your experience. Empowering feedback such as yours makes a huge difference to me.

Also, your visiting here gave me the opportunity to visit your gallery – a real treat! I especially enjoyed your links to GOALIE GATOR, DIVING 4 MULLIGANS, CHEF TORTA-LINI, and EAGLE WANNABE on your EXHIBITIONS page. What fun!


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