What will 2016 Bring You?

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Questions to Ask Yourself for a Better 2015

Things to ponder • Things to implement
Create the life of your dreams

Questions from Louise Hay: Her Incredible Gift to All of Us

What shall I now release from my life?
What or who no longer works for me?
What am I holding on to that holds me back?
What thoughts or beliefs belong to the old me?
How am I being unloving to myself?
What do I believe that really works for me?
Am I ready to let go?
What is going on in my life that is terrific and wonderful?
Where am I being very loving to myself?
Where am I most content?
What do I want to bring to my life?
How do I want the next year to be?
Who do I want to bring into my world?
How do I want to look?
What image do I want to project?
How healthy do I want to be?
What changes can I make to feel healthier?
How prosperous do I want to feel?
What kind of world do I want to live in?
How much love am I willing to experience?

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July Newsletter

Being Thankful for All That Was

This is the third post in the series of my experiences after reading and completing the exercises in Julia Cameron’s books, The Artist Way and The Vein of Gold. To reiterate this all took place in the mid to late 1990’s.

Continuing to do many of the exercises from The Artist Way and to meet with my VOG group each week, the transition was amazing. Two weeks after writing our song we were to write a prayer and embellish the paper. Somehow writing a prayer was much easier now because I was and will be forever grateful having moved through an intensely traumatic portion of my childhood.

At this time in my life I still find it mind-boggling how a relatively short period of time in one’s life can cling into adulthood. Many of us take our emotional aches and pains to the grave, such a heavy burden to carry. I won’t say it was easy to move through those emotional blocks that held me back but when you realize it isn’t necessary to carry that load, life is easier and more beautiful.


Another item I found in my copy of The Vein of Gold, non-dominant handwriting. I’m unsure if this was part of Julia’s book but nonetheless thought you might find it interesting.
If you are unfamiliar with non-dominant hand writing here is a quick synopsis.
1. Quiet your mind.
2. Write a question on a piece of paper with your dominant hand.
3. Be still and listen to whatever pops into your head.
4. With pen in your non-dominant hand write what you hear. Do not edit.
5. Wait to hear if there is more.


There is no need to be an artist to benefit from Julia Cameron’s work. The only requirement is a need to make a change for the better in your life. And when you’ve finished her exercises your mind will be more open and a warm heart will be just the beginning your gifts to come.

Now I need to grab another of Julia’s books. Not sure which, I’ll know it when I see it. You see I’ve had a dream for over a year and haven’t made the leap of faith needed to fulfill it. Wish me luck! It’s time for more growth.

Ooooooo, a Boo Boo

The email read, “help me fix my big boo boo” This is a short video of a simple little project gone wrong and the solution. You can read the full story here.

Dear Mickey,
I found you on Facebook and love your art. I am having a little problem with one of my paintings and thought I would like to have your opinion. I just finished an acrylic painting of scenery from a photo I took while I was on vacation. It was a bit cloudy that day so my pallet was mostly blues, greens and several shades of grey. It looks dull and cold. I don’t like the feeling of coldness. What would you suggest. –Liz D.

Hi Liz, thank you for a great question and the compliment. My personal opinion is, you don’t have to paint exactly what you see in your photograph but if choose to keep it as you saw it that day it sounds as though you captured your subject accurately.

If you choose to change the feeling you could warm your colors by painting some highlights with warmer tones of greens and greys. A slightly warmer environment can be created with the use of a honey-gold color. It warms your painting. Accenting with touches of rose/pink with your cool greens will give you a slightly warmer atmosphere.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you can add a warm focal point and continue those colors throughout your painting adding warmer greens and accents of lavender, orange or even reds will give you a very warm atmosphere.

Hope this helps,

Mickey

Bella’s Insights


Hi gang, I’m back with yet another adventure. How lucky can I get! You’ll never guess where I got to go, F I S H I N G! What a day, mom said it was in the 90’s whatever that means. All I know is it was hot. Mom and I caught a trout. Dan put it in some wire thingy and stuck it in the water. I might add, cold water. Mom took her shoes off and went in and excitedly said, “Come on Bella.” I put one paw in and headed for dry ground, geeesh, not funny.

Mom was turning a little pink so I took her to a shady spot and we talked with some nice people visiting from Oregon. When we got back there were four fish in that wire thingy. Pretty cool how they just swim into that thing. (Dan wouldn’t like that I said that.) Then the sky was getting dark so it was time to head home.

When we got home mom fixed some snacks and put them on the deck. A little later I heard her say, “Where’s Bella?” “Just guarding the cheese, mom. Heh, heh. Too bad they got out here so soon, I was about to do a little taste-testing. You know, just to make sure it was safe for her.”



That night it got really windy, oh my, I hate the wind. Mom put my Thunder Shirt on me. What a relief. The next day I was exhausted from the stress of all that wind. Mom said it was only 61 degrees so I got to keep my thunder shirt on and I dozed in front of my window all day.

The Exhausted Adventurer,
Bella

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Help Me Fix My Boo-Boo?

A Simple Little Project Escalated

Last month I received an email from someone I had met at a networking event several years ago. The subject line read, “help me fix my boo boo?” Renee explained that she had hung several antique bows that had belonged to her husband’s grandfather on a wall which had a faux finish. She had a party planned and thought a different look for the room was in order.

When she took the bows down and patched the nail holes she found she couldn’t match the faux finish. What began as a simple project escalated into an area about seven feet wide and five feet tall. My experience has been that it is next to impossible to touch up a faux finish. The tinted, translucent paint for faux finishes becomes darker with each coat. Unless you can stay within the confines of the damaged area the adjoining edges appear darker. Renee reapplied the base coat to the area in hopes that she could blend in the faux finish. That so seldom happens. As I saw it she had three choices:

1.  Repaint the entire wall a solid color

2.  Paint a solid color and apply a new faux finish

3.  Have a mural designed to hide the “boo boo”

This couple was so fun to work with. When asked if they knew what they wanted. The wife looked her husband questioningly. He grinned and said, “Yes, but you won’t like it.” Hesitantly, she smiled and asked what his idea was. He replied, “Well, there’s a bathroom on the other side. I’d like to see a window with a woman taking a showing.” With a smile on her face she replied, “You’re right, I don’t like your idea.” So he looks at me and asked, “What do you think?” Oh boy, had to think quickly. Said I, “That might be more appropriate in the bedroom.” What a mischievous grin on that guys face.

Given the rural setting of their home I suggested a Colorado scene with 8-12 foot aspen trees flanking the area in question. The husband was a rock climber so I put a couple of climbers on the rocks. And to show you what a cool wife this guy has; she called one morning and asked if I could hide a nude in the mural. Something that wouldn’t be noticed unless coaxed to look.

In one of the last conversations I had with Renee she mentioned that they like to name characters in paintings so I dropped her an email to find out what the names were. Here is her response: “RE names: with a nod to our childhood, Highlights magazine, the climbers names are Gufus and Gallant. The wood nymph is really an Indian maiden (who knew?) named Little Bare. The furry animal is Marvin the Marten, and the bumblebee’s name is Dumbledore.
Oh, to live in a normal household…
I love the painting every day!
Renee”

 

See if you can spot the characters in this short video. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo of the bee.)
Photo of Colorado Mural by Mickey Baxter-Spade

Got questions or comments? – I’d love to hear them!

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Something to Ponder

motivational quote

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June Newsletter

Discovering that Vein of Gold

Our Artist Way and The Vein of Gold (VOG) group met and studied Julia’s Cameron’s work years ago. Perhaps I should have reviewed The Vein of Gold before writing but I chose to write from memory. In retrospect the assignments in The VOG made me dig deeper than ever before but my experience in rereading a book is that you seldom have the same lessons. In fact, it often seems like a totally different book because you have grown and moved on.

The Vein of Gold Workshop


At one of our weekly gatherings our facilitator told us the exercise to be completed for the following week’s class was to write a song. Egads, I knew nothing about music. Correction, I did play a plastic flute in grade school. Does that count? Still grumbling, bellyaching and bitching to myself even after I got home I went to bed dreading the assignment.

As I lie in bed my head filled with chatter, “Oh brother, I’m not going to be able to sleep and I have an early morning appointment. Aargh!” More grumbling. But wait, some of the words coming to me were rhyming. Being the astute student that I was I had my trusty legal pad and pen on my nightstand. Listening carefully I wrote what I heard and then slept like a baby, a contented baby.

In the morning I awakened, the word sonnet would not go away. Knowing a sonnet was some kind of poetry but not knowing the structure I looked it up. After reading what I had written the night before I removed one line and had my sonnet.

With sonnet in hand I returned to the group the following week. The others sang their homework in turn as instructed. They all had lovely voices and the words were moving. It’s my turn, I couldn’t bring myself to torture the others with my voice, a vocalist I am not. After my reading three women were wiping tears from their cheeks. I felt surprised and perplexed. The ride home was spent in contemplation of the evening and how something that I had written could bring up such emotions. For the first time since I was ten years old I felt I wasn’t the only one still hurting from childhood memories.

After writing this I pulled the sonnet from my filing cabinet to read what I had written back in 1997. It still brought a tear to my eye but for different reasons. The sonnet was written by a sad, abandoned little girl. It is with a grateful heart that I thank Julia Cameron and my VOG Group for helping me to release my past . . . or at least a lot of it.

Here is my sonnet entitled “Quiet Sentinels of the Past.”

Quiet sentinels of the past
Why do you hinder me and stifle my laughs.

I rarely remember your cardinal rule,
It seems to appear when I’m rendered a fool.

I’ve been searching and searching to fix what is broken,
Now I realize many words need be spoken.

So cry, my sweet, those tears from your youth.
You’ll grow so much wiser by living your truth.

I know so little of these things I speak
But unless I try I’ll not find what I seek.

Those emotional ties to childhood beliefs
Once let go, we find such relief.

I would like to free this emotional tie
For in letting it go – I know I will fly.

So cry, my sweet, those tears from your youth.
You’ll grow so much wiser by living your truth.

Mickey Baxter, ’97

As I remember a couple of weeks had passed when our assignment was to write a prayer. I mention the timeline only because I think you will be as surprised as I at the difference in the writing in such a short time. It is as if it were written by someone else. In a way . . . it was.

Two Quick Little Projects

Recently, I had an order for table tents for an upcoming July wedding. The bridal bouquet included hydrangea, eucalyptus pods, ferns and gracefully twisted little branches among other wild flowers. It is a joy to have orders that are out of the ordinary for me. I’ll share others at a later date. Here is a shot of the final product.


In my hometown of Huntington, Indiana the annual JeffFest Celebration was held last weekend. Part of the celebrating is an art auction to benefit the Arts in Education program sponsored by the LaFontaine Arts Council. Each entry is 5″ x 7″ and is framed by Four Corners Custom Framing. The last few years I’ve donated to this worthy cause. Here are this year’s mixed media donations.



Dear Mickey,

Do you sketch your paintings and murals before you paint. Sketching isn’t my fave when it comes to my art. How important is it?

Jeff B.

Hi Jeff,

It depends on which you are referring to. I always provide a sketch for mural clients. For a painting, in my opinion sketching isn’t a necessity. I happen to enjoy it. Sketching helps me to select and edit resource material and to record personally meaningful references for possible use at another time. My sketches are a personal response to the subject. Back in my studio I begin to create the lights and darks. This is not based on the values at the location but on my personal sense of design. It’s also a good time to create personal sensitivity in the painting. If you would like further explanation I am happy to go into more depth. Thanks for the question, Jeff.
Happy painting,

Mickey

Bella’s Insight


Hello from Colorado, I had another adventure! Mom says that some of the most interesting things can be found right in your own backyard. Well, that big mountain you see when you look to the west from Colorado Springs has more than just a road to the top of the Peak with great views. It has lakes, fish, critters and fun people.


I saw lots of those peppy little chipmunks when we got out of the car. Then we took a pretty good walk along water that kept splashing at my paws. Not sure what that was all about but it smelled slightly familiar, hmmm.

Well, I led the way along Crystal Creek Reservoir, bet you’re surprised at that, Not. Lots and lots of things to sniff, my favorite thing besides eating.


When it was time to head back to the car we saw a couple in a boat. When they got out of their boat they asked if we would take their picture with their fish. Did they say, “FISH!” I love fish. Those fish didn’t exactly look like what I expected. They were big, they wiggled and they had eyes. I think they were staring at me – I watched them from the corner of my eye.

The nice couple invited me to be in the pic, how ’bout that!?! I just love making new friends. New friends with fish are especially nice. What a great day, I don’t remember much of the ride home.


Life is an adventure,
~Bella

 

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Art for Charity

Silent Auction of Over  125  Original Paintings

My home town of Huntington, IN has an annual event to raise funding for the Arts in Education program sponsored by the LaFontaine Arts Council. Well over 100 canvases have been donated for JeFFFest on June 22, 2014. The silent bidding is held at Four Corners Custom Framing June 19-22, a fun, eclectic shop full of gifts for anyone on your shopping list.

Join the festivities on June 22. There will be Music by Eric Clancy Jazz, taste-size portions of fun food from area restaurants and The Fine Arts auction. Below are my entries. They could be the perfect addition to your kitchen or dining area.

Photo of red pear painting.

“Red Pear” Mixed Media on Canvas

Photo of painting of a green pear.

“Green Pear” Mixed Media on Canvas

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May Newsletter

Nurture and Spark Your Artist Within


In 1992 Julia Cameron introduced many of us to The Artist’s Way. That year I joined a group of ten women facilitated by a dear friend. We met weekly until we completed the book and the exercises. Our group of eleven bonded so deeply that we continued to meet monthly for over ten years. We would share deliciously nourishing food and talk of the happenings in our lives. Here is a partial list of the many things we learned from Julia.

• Morning pages – Before your feet hit the floor in the morning write three pages, long hand. You can and should write anything that is in your head, anything – no one will see them. The first few weeks I found I wrote nothing but complaints. Within that time I could feel shifts happening and shortly there after I was writing about all the things in my life that I loved. It just happened.

• Artist Date – This one still isn’t easy but when I do it it is like going on a mini vacation.

• Creativity Contract – A contract with “you” committing to the work in the course.

• Tasks to do in each chapter – They are many and varied. They will stir your soul and occasionally anger you but you get through it and you grow.

• Choose carefully – Those whom you spend time with influence your work and your values. Can you afford to spend time with those who bring you down?

Without reservations I believe that when the student is ready the teacher will arrive. Julia Cameron arrived at a fortuitous time for each of us and made a significant impact on all our lives.

In a recent guest article for The Word Shark blog I wrote that I believed everyone is innately creative. My intent with this newsletter and my blog is to inspire you to create simply for the joy of creating and to nurture that artist that lives within you. Here is one of the comments from this article.

“Mickey, I shared your essay with my art club and they loved it. Thank you for some excellent advice.” Audrey

When I paint I feel a pure, gentle love and happiness for this gift that I share. Being an artist is not about how many paintings, recipes or pieces of pottery you turn out. It is all about the process. It doesn’t matter if your piece didn’t turn out and it won’t matter if you agreed to surrender it to someone else. You move on remembering the lessons you’ve learned and the enjoyment of creating. Wherever those strokes come from I know they are meant for someone else. It is as though each painting/mural is a gift I give with a joyful heart.

A few years later Julia Cameron wrote another book, The Vein of Gold. In my next post I will share some insights and lessons I learned from that workshop as well. As much as I learned from The Artist Way, in many ways, The Vein of Gold workshop sometimes felt as though I was being tortured. Yet it was life-changing and I am grateful to have persevered. Few people get through this life without struggles. For those who don’t give up you develop grit. Grit is the strength of character it takes to move on.



Hi Mickey, from reading your website it sounds and looks like you have been painting a while. Your work is eclectic and beautiful, I love it. Do you teach? What do you consider your most significant compliment?

Jill H.

Hi Jill,

Thank you for stopping by my website. When I was twenty-four I opened my first studio and taught freehand design on ceramics and porcelain. Now I do private lessons/semi private on occasion. My first love is painting and I find when I teach I don’t have as much time or energy for painting and right now painting is my first love.

Wow, your second question got me to reflecting. Although being hired to paint in resorts and beautiful homes is a very high compliment there is another that stands out as my “most significant.”

When I was teaching in my mid-twenties a woman strolled into my studio. I asked how I might help her and she said she had heard about me but she just wanted to look, so I let her browse. After waiting about ten minutes I asked if I could help her with anything but she said “no, thank you” and continued to look. After twenty minutes I asked if I could answer any questions and she said, “I know I could never paint like you but I would like to learn from you.” I asked a few questions and we scheduled her weekly sessions.

Jean lived about 15 miles from my studio and came promptly at 7 PM every Thursday. I can’t tell you how many times we had this conversation while she was looking at a new piece I had painted as a sample . . .

Jean said with a sad tone: “I would love to paint that.”
Mickey: “Do you really want to paint it, Jean?”
Jean said meekly: “Yes”
Mickey: “There is only one sacrifice.”
Jean: “What do mean, one sacrifice?”
Mickey: “I mean, all you have to do is practice.”

Jean Morrison said she would practice and practice she did. Her pieces didn’t look exactly like mine – nor should they have – but they were great. After two years Jean moved forty miles from my studio. For another two years she and now her sister continued to come to class on Thursday evenings.

Freddie was a bit more secure with her painting abilities and made some very nice pieces. Then one Thursday evening they came to class and after getting settled in Jean said, “I have something to tell you.” I asked what and she proceeded to tell me that she and her sister would no longer be coming to class.

With a smile I said, “Well, what in the world will you be doing on Thursday nights?”

Jean said, “I’m going to open my own studio and teach.” That brought tears to my eyes. After all this is the woman who didn’t think she could paint and put herself down on a regular basis when she began painting. I gave her a big hug and answered many questions about business that evening and many phone calls after that.

It is interesting how life works. Shortly after that night my husband took a job in Colorado and we moved. Jean still crosses my mind but we have lost contact over the years. So Jill, that story about Jean I consider my highest compliment. Thanks for asking.

Mickey

Bella’s Insights


Hi Everybody! It me, Bella. I have a new friend. His name is Boo Galloway , heh, is that not a cool name?!?


Met him on my walk last week. He was real friendly and for as long as that guys body was, he was pretty low to the ground so we could look into each others eyes. He was a cool dude.

Oh yeh, I met someone else, too. This little critter with the fluffy tail came up to peek into mom’s office window and I sure surprised him!


What the heck was Mr. Nosey doing climbing up to the second level. He didn’t stick around after he found out I was on guard duty.

You know it has been a pretty long winter here and I try all kinds of things to entertain myself, especially when something is out of place on the home front. Mom saw me eyeing her shoes and she asked what I thought I was doing. “Uh, nuthin’ mom, why?”, I said with my most innocent face.  Then she turned her back . . . 


Life is an adventure,
Ta ta for now, Bella

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On this Mother’s Day

Photo of Mom on Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

We never know the love of the parent until we become parents ourselves.

Author: Unknown

Here is a real treat on Mother’s Day. Who doesn’t know the words to this song?

So beautifully done.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Tommy Emmanuel

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Life, Love and Peace

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.”  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

Have a Blessed Easter Everyone

Photo of photo by Anne Geddes of baby dredded as bunny

No one does it quite like Anne Geddes

 

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Phone 719.260.1440
e-mail mickey
@ artisticvoyage.com

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