Art & Creativity

I’ve always said that procrastination is part of my creative process. It’s an excuse to, well, procrastinate.

I want to write in a journal…daily. But I procrastinate. It’s January 3 and I’ve got a brand new beautiful journal. Beautiful blank pages..still…waiting…

Posting favorite photos from 2013 is another thing on my want to do list. I guess I better begin before we get further into 2014.

The other day David Whyte posted an essay called Procrastination from The Reader’s Circle essay series. Wow! My Dad always told me that I could find an article to support anything I believed. Here it was…there is an upside to procrastination!

Here are parts that especially resonate with me:

“Procrastination, when studied closely, can be a beautiful thing: a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already, we are surprised to find, caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first, in our minds; on the blank screen, on the empty page or staring at the bedroom ceiling.”

“Procrastination does not stop a project from coming to fruition, what stops us, is giving up on an original idea, because we have not got to the heart of the reason we are delaying, because we have not let the true form of our reluctance instruct us in the way ahead.”

And I love the way he signs it:
“Studying the nature of our own reluctance can be a strangely illuminating act. Procrastination was written on a flight from Seattle to San Diego, Jan 26th 2011, the lights of Los Angeles on one side, a dreamy sunset over the Pacific on the other, after finding myself practicing the subtle art of delay with regard to that enormously difficult task: the simple act of getting my laptop out of my bag and onto the tray in front of me.”

To read the article in its entirety, here is a link to a downloadable pdf:


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The blank journal…waiting

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m in love with my iPhone…really it’s the iPhone camera. I use my Canon 5D Mark II for jobs, but in between jobs, my go-to camera is the one that is built into my iPhone. I find it really versatile. Okay, it lacks the lens options for telephoto and macro and in low light, the image quality is terrible. But it shines in many ways. The biggest thing about the iPhone is that I always have it with me so I can capture those moments that catch my eye. The quality of the digital file is great and I’ve been able to make prints as large as 15×15 that I’ve been really happy with. The endless number of apps to play with make it fun and a person can try limitless numbers of versions on one image with them.

Because I always have the iPhone with me, I’ve been able to keep a sort of loose journal. The Photos app automatically sorts the photos into events by date which makes it easy to view my photo journal. I import my photos directly from the phone into a Lightroom catalog set and leave it there organized by date. Now I can view all the photos taken on my iPhone by date.

Kat Sloma of KatEye Studio hosts a monthly Photo-Heart Connection event where people post an image they took the previous month that speaks to their heart-eye. I thought I’d take off on that by sharing my favorite photos taken in September since I don’t have the discipline to narrow it down to one…what about the really cute one of Murphy or the cool app treatment on that one or that special spot that I want to share?

Sooooo…here they are…my September favorites.

This was taken in a courtyard at the Honolulu Museum of Art one day when I was there for lunch. I will always have a hard time calling it by its new name….it will always be the Academy of Arts to me.Image

We take Murphy and Maddy for a walk in the neighborhood every morning. Our home is in an old subdivision of track homes where I’ve lived most of my life.


I never, ever tire of waking up to the magnificent Koolaus every morning. Even the telephone wires and rooftops, don’t obscure it’s incredible beauty. We are always in its shadow.Image


Then there’s the ever cute Murphy, cocker spaniel. It’s my blog and I can be as sappy as I want.Image


To try to solve the problem of the lack of lens options, I ordered the PhotoJojo set of three lenses. There are two versions of iPhonelenses that I know of. One is the Photojojo set and the other is the Olloclip. I didn’t want a piece that mounted on the phone so I chose the Photojojo version. It comes with a wide angle,/macro, fish-eye, and telephoto lenses. It’s a lot of small parts – easy to lose (especially for me).

FisheyeMurph-8589.jpgI’ve always wanted an extreme fish-eye lens and this is fun to play with. Here’s a shot of the fountain at the Four Seasons Wailea.

FisheyeFSW-8775.jpgI went out of my comfort zone to cover a group on a horseback ride at Mendes Ranch in Maui. It’s kinda scary when the horse knows you haven’t got a clue. But I got this great shot of my horse, Capone and the view.


After Maui, I moved on to a job on the Kona coast at the Four Seasons Hualalai. I got this shot of the wiliwili tree in bloom and spoke to the landscape guy about their efforts to save the wiliwili trees on property. They are endangered…almost extinct because they are being attacked by a wasp from Africa.


I’ve had a ton of fun with an app called ImageBlender that allows you to blend two images in layers and adjust the opacity to your liking. Here are two images I played with.

InstaEffect-8649 ImageBlender-8655.jpgIf you have favorite apps on your iPhone, please share them. Our support really helps the developers of these apps.

ParisPlumVillage-6455I spent the first week in May on a photo shoot in Paris. It was a fabulous program ending with an event at the Musee D’Orsay. Being around those Renoirs in person meant a lot to me!

My friend, Hnoi and I planned to visit Plum Village, Thich Naht Hanh’s monastery in France. We talked about it when we were on a program together in New York and somehow made our plans happen. She’s a chef, originally from Thailand and manages a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta called Daiquiri Dick’s. We’ve worked together on the same program in many parts of the world for years. Our love for food and fun is shared so we knew we would make great traveling companions. I was afraid of leaving the dogs for so long, but Kris was going to be checking in at home and a good friend from high school was going to spend a month taking care of Murphy and Maddy.

Plum Village has a week long program for visitors – from Friday to Friday. You can stay longer, but if you don’t follow their arrive/depart on Friday schedule, you need to find your own transportation from the train station at Sainte Foy La Grande to Plum Village.

The program we were working on ended on Tuesday so we were able to spend three leisurely days walking around Paris. Hnoi stayed with friends in Paris and I stayed in a small hotel in Montparnasse. We met every morning for café and croissants before beginning our exploration. It was great…we had no plans and we just wandered following our noses. We visited shops, cafés, whatever…mostly on foot and sometimes on the subway. One of our discoveries was the Montparnasse Cemetery where there were beautiful flowering trees and a slew of famous people laid to rest there. Man Ray, great photographer in the 20’s, is buried there.

Montparnasses Cemetary

Georges Francois was one of our favorite places. Stepping into this wonderful florist was like a trip back in time. It looks like a setting from long ago, but the fresh flowers everywhere made it apparent that this was not so. Everything was placed with great care…vintage mirrors, vases and bottles among the roses and hydrangea. We spoke with the ower who told us that the previous owner is a famous floral designer who still teaches classes. I looked up the place on the internet to learn more about Georges Francois( Two days later, I saw him in the front of the shop. Like a rock star groupie, I ran up to him and told him how much I loved his shop. He seemed pleased and willingly let us photograph him.
Georges Francois
Another wonderful find was a restaurant called Qualité Restaurant near the Sorbonne. It looked like a deli, but it was a restaurant and wine bar – the food and wine were fabulous. I’m not even sure what made us go in to check the place out…Hnoi and I have good noses. The dishes were simple and inventive and delicious. I’m having a difficult time describing them and giving them the credit they deserve…like a filet of fish with skin on on a pea purée. See what I mean – hard to describe? But it was delish!

On Friday morning we headed for the train station near my hotel. We travelled lightly…each with just a small rolling bag. The scenery was beautiful…many farms, green pasture, yellow flowering mustard, and adorable farm homes.

The nuns met us in a van at the Sainte Foy La Grande train station. They were so welcoming and brought some pastries to share. Smooth paved roads took us through farmland. Beautiful green fields with splashes of red orange – poppy season was beginning. The ride was around 40 minutes to Plum Village New Hamlet through the countryside was lovely in muted shades.

The hamlet was a compound of old stone buildings. Our simple room on the second floor had a little window that overlooked a courtyard. The room was furnished with two twin beds that were thick mats on wooden frames and a small shelf.

We meditated each morning, had a work practice session, walking meditation and and evening meditation. I had a picture of Plum Village with Thay (Thich Naht Hanh) walking…holding hands with children…followed by nuns and lay practitioners. He was away this week, but his presence is strongly felt. Walking meditation is slow and silent. It is so beautiful to remember to notice all the things wonderful things you forget to notice in your busy life. This week was the perfect thing for me.

Food there was fabulous. It was white asparagus season and bamboo shoots were also in abundance. The neighbor gave the nuns asparagus and they harvested bamboo shoots from the property. I never knew that vegan food could be so delicious.


There were a few other visitors staying in New Hamlet – Peter and Corradina, Lukasz and Aneta, Noortje, Rachel, Beatrice, Jude and Teresa. We got to know each other – we dined together, walked together, meditated together, and talked. In the short week that we were there we bonded in a very deep way.

Living with the nuns and our new friends, practicing joy and gratitude made being here a profound experience. They showed us kindness, patience and love. In the short week, we learned to slow down and notice. I am so grateful for the friends I made and for all I learned.

Here’s a link to my Flickr gallery:
I took all the photos with my iPhone 5.

Today Mary Goodrich of Hawaii Photo Retreat on the Big Island took me to a wonderful spot where the ruins of a Sugar Mill stands. It was built at the mouth of a stream on a beautiful black sand beach. It was such a gorgeous sunny day that I had to use a filters to create a feeling of old and nostalgic.
Through Kat Sloma, I learned of an app called Distressed FX. It’s the best app of this type I’ve found. Here are my first experimentations with the app.