A Fresh Look from A New Place

Greetings from luscious, flowering, humid Georgia. Bella and I made the trek from Colorado to Georgia and what an adventure it has been. There are many things to love about Georgia (besides my younger son and grandsons). There is an impressive display of flowers and flowering trees nearly year round. The architecture is like something out of Gone with the Wind and in February the tulip trees are magnificent. Actually, I’ve read that Gone with the Wind was inspired by the architecture in this area. Movies and TV series are currently filmed here.


Journey to a New Studio

Gratitude and joy consumed me as I reminisced of nearly thirty years of friendships, personal growth, and life changes in Colorado. The entire time I was packing I never doubted I was being guided in this direction.

From previous moves, I learned that a sense of lightness and clarity follow each downsizing. And so . . . a simpler life and a simpler look for my newsletter. Soon a simpler website and a simpler blog.

The final preparations were complete. The next day I would begin working in my Georgia studio but first, a couple things were needed from the “Toy Store,” you might call it the Art Store.

As I got in my car a smile crossed my face remembering how much time and loving energy I put into my little studio space. As I passed in front of a small white car waiting at the red light I saw another car that had been hidden from view. It wasn’t slowing, no time to get out of the way. I grabbed the steering wheel in hope that I would protect my back, no time for thought as to what might happen to other parts of my body during impact.

After surgery for a three-quarter tear in my rotator cuff and a severed bicep on my dominant shoulder there was six months of physical therapy. Now I sit in my studio, happy to be here. Countless times over the last several months I stopped in. Sometimes just sitting and staring, sometimes I made supply lists or splashed paint onto watercolor paper with my nondominant hand uncertain what I might do with them.

As difficult as it can be I believe it behooves us to find the gifts, you know, the good things that might not have happened otherwise or things that were put in place to help us through tough times ahead.

What if . . .

While surfing the internet a few months before the accident, I came across a fun little art technique called Zentangle. As I watched the testimonial videos one convinced me there was much more to it than drawing. Off I went to Rhode Island to become a certified teacher. Over 100 students from around the world were in attendance. And I thought it was going to be a little workshop where I would learn to help others work with issues around creativity.

After the accident, I awakened the following morning with the words “The Tangled Spade” in my head. Without hesitation I added a board with that name to my Pinterest account.

My recovery was helped in many ways by knowing this simple technique. It was a way of being creative with a much appreciated benefit – while focusing on drawing there was a reprieve from pain.

At physical therapy, I met a gal who had had back surgery. She was learning how to walk again and was still in pain so I told her about Zentangle and asked if you would be interested in trying it. She claimed she wasn’t an artist but agreed to try. Our first session ran way past the hour I had allotted, when we finished she was amazed at how well she did, when asked what her pain level was she said, “Oh, I haven’t even thought about it but I don’t have any right now.”

Today was our third session. While putting things away she said, “I had no pain the entire time we were drawing.” Perhaps this is the reason I took the Zentangle certification.

If you have no idea what Zentangle is, here’s a peek. The top left photo (below) is my “Tangled Spade.” The others are some of my first tangles. Let me know what you think — leave a comment below!

Not yet able to paint with the detail I once did, I’m trying a different-to-me style of watercolor. There are only a couple finished but several in my mind’s eye. If I come close to my vision I’ll be sharing soon.

Questions? Talk to me I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

Wishing you beauty everywhere you look,


7-Bella-contemplatingPS: Well, just look who seems to be contemplating another article. Watch out world, you know there is no holding her back and she’s been through a lot since our move. We’ll see you next month!


28 comments to A Fresh Look from A New Place

  • What a GREAT peek into your physical (in all terms applicable) world.
    I hung on every word.

    Can’t wait until your & Bella’s next newsletter…….


    Barbara Wirth

  • Great to hear from you Barbara and so glad you enjoyed the Newsletter.

    All the best to you, always!


  • Well, there you are! I’ve often wondered what happened to you. I sent a couple of e-mails with no response.

    I, too, suffered a severe injury. April 2015. I fell off a 4 foot high deck and down 4 steps and landed on cement surface. I put my left arm under my back hoping that I would not break my back. As you did, this all happened in split seconds.

    My leg was twisted and foot was twisted and caught on the bottom step. I hit my back and head. Was unconscious until paramedics came to ask questions and put me on backboard with morphine.

    Had 5 hour surgery for broken shoulder, arm and elbow. Had rod implanted and metal brace with screws. the humerus snapped into and shards went into my neck and arm pit.

    Had 2 trips to ER and 6 months therapy. Had adverse reaction to opiods and went into withdrawal. and another trip to ER. I lost 24 lbs., was dehydrated plus the pain was intense. I had a reconstruction surgery a year later. My shoulder and arm still don’t work correctly.

    So that’s my story. Good to hear from you! Love, Susie

  • Susie, so sorry for all you’ve been going through. Bless your heart, I can only imagine the pain you have and are enduring. Hope you continue to heal.

    The things I’m learning about making changes is that something usually slips through the cracks. Like my email address! I seldom check this one. Which must be what happened to your emails. Please change my email address to mickey@mickeybaxterspade.com. I’ll always respond.

    Take care of yourself,


  • I love your newsletters, Mickey! Sad to hear about your accident, and delighted to hear about your recovery. I am very new to Zentangle, dabbling just a bit. I love your Tangled Spade!
    Be well and enjoy life.

    • Thanks Terza,

      Glad you hung in there during my absence. I keep tabs on you through your videos. You are doing fantastic things with your art. I would have gone a bit bonkers without being able to work on something quite small. Even the small things were a challenge the first few months. My arm still gets fatigued easily – a little better each week.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      Happy painting,


  • DeAnne Dingwall

    OK I’m so behind. So sorry about your injury. Wish I could kiss it and make it well.
    I’ve seen the word Zentangles but know nothing more. Can you teach it long distance? I don’t even know how to have a Pinterest account. Duh.

    I’ve moved to the westside, barely, but it counts being West of the freeway.
    In my own place for the first time since leaving Harrison St house in 2009 after Dreamer passed.

    So good to hear from you. Much love, De

  • Hi De,

    Congrats on your new place, you’ve come a long way, Baby! Cannot tell how happy I am for you. You would love Zentangle. It is a lovely spiritual practice when done properly. And yes, I can teach you long distance. We’ll talk.

    You of all people would love Pinterest. Oh my goodness, yes. It’s like a place to keep all of your vision boards. Every time you go there you only see things you love. I can help with that, no one should be without Pinterest. LOL

    Thank for commenting. Lots of love, Mickey

  • suzannemetzger@earthlink.net
    6:52 PM (30 minutes ago)

    to me
    Hi Mickey,
    Good to hear from you! Your new newsletter is beautiful.

    I’m sending healing blessings to you and, of course, to precious Bella.

    Your Zentangle work is a beautiful new expression for you—and so great that you’re doing it with your non-dominant hand!

    Love & blessings,
    Suzanne Metzger
    Feng Shui Consulting Services

  • Hi Suzanne,

    So glad you liked the Newsletter. I’ve missed doing them and poor little Bella has been chomping at the bit to add her two cents. 😉

    I’ll be explaining a bit more about the practice of Zentangle. Hope you are as busy as ever and thank you very much for the blessings.

    Love, MIckey

  • Cheryl Lansing

    So sorry to hear about your accident and surgery but glad you had your family and Bella by your side thru your recovery.
    Love your new artistic side that seems to be coming out. It seems when God Winks we reinvent and survive!
    Your friend

  • HI Cheryl,

    Great to hear from you. It was nice to be close to family during my recovery, I found out my son can cook, to include soups from scratch!

    Love your term, “when God Winks.” Sometimes we have little choice but to reinvent. I must say, there are gentler ways to get my attention. Next month I hope to be sharing a new look to my favorite subject, florals.

    Hope the kids are doing well and that you and Ron are having fun in retirement.

    Hugs, Mickey

  • Mike and Dianne

    So good to hear from you and Bella… Sounds like you have pretty much recovered from a frightful accident.

    It appears that you have found a new element of your artistic endeavors and so happy that you have settled into being a true Georgia Bell, it really seems to fit you, I can see you in a true old fashioned flowing southern gown in full regalia on the steps of one of these fine mansions wistfully looking at a bee buzzing about the armload of flowers you have gathered.

    Take care and be safe.

    Kindest Regards,


  • Mickey

    Oh my, how I wish I could write like that! Perhaps another occupation awaits you in retirement. I still have this lovely little video spinning through my head, if I may add . . . Ahh, the beauty and sweetness of each flower picked as it begged my attention while strolling the garden pathway. I gather flowers for an evening of Waltzing and a bit of West Coast Swing (of course) with friends and family. You and Di are quite welcome to join us.

    See what you started.

    All the best to you two! Thanks for the fun!

  • Julie Thorton

    SO VERY happy to hear from you. Loved your new website and also the replies. Yes, I can also see you as a southern belle !!!
    So, where is your new studio? The house with the beautiful tree…is that where you are now?
    The “tangles” is very interesting and so “outside” your flowers and bees. You, my friend, can be magnificently creative in any art form.
    Keep on healing and take good care.
    MISS YOU !!!

  • Mickey

    Hellooooo Julie,

    My studio is about 10 minutes from my son’s place and I have two spaces. One space for painting and drawing and the other for storage and messier projects.

    The house with the beautiful tree is one of my favorite places to drive by. Never tire of looking.

    Just so you know, I haven’t given up on flowers, doubt I ever could. The “tangles” are only 3.5″ x 3.5″ so I could do them after my sling was off but still had little use of my arm. The newer ones are leaning toward floral designs, again.

    Thanks for writing. Miss you and the tennis matches!

  • Love your new studio and Zentangle is absolutely perfect for you. Can’t wait to see what you create….and of course Bella’s creations as well. Miss you girl!

  • Mickey

    Ohhh, how nice to see your lovely face here, Gwen. Thanks for commenting. It’s been a long wait but I’m looking forward to what’s next! Your lovely photos on Facebook are almost as beautiful as your paintings.

    Miss you bunches!

  • Tracey Dinius

    Beautiful inspiration from a lovely talented lady!! Your work is stunning!! Looking forward to seeing more!! Hugs!!

  • Mickey

    Thank you, Tracey, thanks for stopping by and thank you for the lovely comments. And it is so nice to see you painting again. I’m loving the directions you are going, they would make great cards.

    Take care,


  • Deborah Tinsley

    Hi Mickey:

    Georgia looks like a beautiful place & I know the architechture must be amazing there! I’m so happy life is turning around for you in new & wonderful ways! I know you will do well with the gift you have in art. The Zentangles are very interesting and captivating. Keep up the good work & hugs to you & Bella!

    Debbie Tinsley

  • Mickey

    Hi Debbie,

    How nice you popped in. One thing about life, it is filled with surprises, some much better than others. But as mentioned in the Newsletter something good always comes of it. The downside is it often takes longer than we expect.

    I love following your adventures on Facebook.

    All the best,


  • I love seeing the creative space of other artists. Then your story just took it to another level. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us just how powerful creativity is and why we need it in our lives.

  • Sandra Hines

    How did I possibly come to find your newsletter (but, so glad I did). So sorry to find out about your accident & lengthy recovery. Yes, life leads us in many different directions, we can’t always control our destiny. So many years later & I am so blessed to have you in my home at all times (with the artwork that you so graciously adorned my house with). I have great memories of all of the good times we had together & am glad I found you today. Sandy

    • Oh Sandy, how great to hear from you! My goodness, you are right – so many good memories. From tennis tournaments, hikes, lunches, Christmas parties, to painting murals in your rooms and hanging art. I’m hoping you still have your beautiful dogs. Now I’m wondering if Vic ever decided to retire?!? 😉 You and Vic definitely blessed me. Thanks for the memories!

      I, too, am so glad you found me. What a delightful surprise.

      Lots of hugs, Mickey

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