A Not So Timid Garden

“This strangely still pause between summer and autumn, greenery bright and gold, and the heat and rising wind that is once again readying itself to rush it all away in a climactic symphony of color and scent, in my opinion, one of the best parts of living on earth.” —Victoria Erickson

 

Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?. . .  Part 2 continued

A Not So Timid Garden

It’s a few weeks before the 2011 US Women’s Open begins at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. I receive a call asking me to design a three-foot-tall floral garden for an eighteen-foot curved wall. The staff is making sure everything is perfect for their guests when I arrive with a sketch in hand. The architect looks at the sketch and says, ”make them six feet tall”. Although I had never painted flowers that tall I loved the idea of flowers six foot tall. Ahhh, the fearlessness of youth.

The wall is nearing completion when a guest stops to inquire about the mural. We talk about the flowers I chose and upon leaving she smiles and says, “Well, it certainly isn’t a timid garden.”

This wall is still one of my favorites of the over 35 areas I’ve had the honor of painting at the five-star, five-diamond resort. Photos of friends and their relatives sitting by the mural still arrive in my mailbox occasionally. They bring back many good memories. The photo below was taken as I was painting the “Not So Timid Garden.” My friend sitting in the chair in front of the finished mural took my photo. Years later I received a photo of her sitting in front of the finished wall.

The inspiration for the wall goes to Tag Galyean, architect and designer for the resort. I chose flowers indigenous to Colorado. Most were taken on my hikes.

Next project, Kings Mill Resort near Williamsburg, Virginia. This time I get to choose the flower for the aerobic room floor, a purple iris.



After returning home from painting the aerobic room floor, I receive a call from Tag asking for more flowers. This time the flowers will cover two fifty-foot corridors. 211 linear feet of flowers, birds, and bugs painted on commercial grade wall covering.

The paint I prefer to use for murals does not adhere long-term to vinyl. After several weeks of research, a manufacturer tells me he has a product that might work. They use water-based ink in the printing of this wallcovering. I have high hopes that I found the answer to my dilemma. A tear-sheet arrives in the mail, I paint the sample with flowers and send it to a chemist at a paint manufacturer in California. A few days later I
receive a call. The wall-covering is not vinyl. It is an acrylic polymer which is exactly what my paint is, perfect adhesion!

While researching at the Denver Botanical Gardens Library a particular flower caught my eye, the white agapanthus. Little did I know this flower would influence my flower garden and a mural years later.

In studying the blueprints I see several door openings and a hall off of each corridor. Changes to the placement or size of the doors or halls would affect my design. I decide to paint within fourteen inches of each door. I will paint the purple, white, and pink undulating vines of clematis around each door on site. To my surprise the 54″ wide commercial wall covering weighed 300 pounds when shipped.

I arrive at Kings Mill Resort, on the banks of the beautiful James River in Virginia. Upon inspection of the corridors, I notice the inset boxes for the firehoses and the fire extinguishes. A hall off of one of the corridors is narrower. None of which show on the blueprints. I will be using the unpainted panels of wall-covering I shipped.

The firehose boxes were 48” wide. I pull the painted panel and replaced it with an unpainted panel. Then I continued with the design from the adjacent panels.


 

As before, the inspiration for this project goes to the talented Tag Galyean and some of the facial technicians and massage therapists who inquired about the insects and birds I added to the mural. Some mention their favorites. As a surprise, I include those on the wall outside of their respective rooms. I find inspiration in the tiniest of detail.

 

Few leaves have begun to transition at this writing. Early morning is a sweater or soft blanket day this time of year. Ah, the contentment that comes from a cozy spot, a simple view of beautiful tall trees with the sun beaming through the branches creating dappled green leaves. Add a warm drink on this crisp early November day, and all is good.

Knowing the rest of my day will go by at a more rapid pace I relax and enjoy sipping my tea. Birds are chirping and leaves rustle as squirrels busy themselves gathering supplies for the winter. A few new bulbs seem to have appeared in my mailbox recently. I am going to have some pleasant surprises next Spring. For now, I await the remainder of glorious autumn.

Here is a sneak peek of the beginning of a mural for my little cottage. Believe it or not, I’ve never painted a full wall mural in any of my homes. I’ve painted designs around my windows in lieu of curtains or draperies but I have never taken the time to paint a full mural. Being semi-retired is allowing me to take time to indulge myself with a year-round gift of forever-flowers. Can you guess what variety?

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21 comments to A Not So Timid Garden

  • Mickey

    From: Barbara W
    Date: Fri, Dec 04, 2020 7:25 pm

    What fun to spend time this afternoon with you on your fun journey ….
    Thanks.

    Sending love, B

  • Mickey

    Thank you, Barbara,

    I love that you came along for the afternoon journey. Perhaps one day we may actually meet in person. What a journey that will be! I’m thinking this is a bit extreme for social distancing.

    Virtual hugs coming your way.

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From: SUSAN Y
    Date: Fri, Dec 04, 2020 12:46 pm

    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Hi Mickey,
    Beautiful as ever! Especially, of you sitting on the floor in front of the mural. You look like you did in high school.
    I am happy that you have an outlet for stress concerning this world wide pandemic.
    Were we in the same art class in school? Just kidding. I can say, ” I remember you, when.”

    Take care and be safe,
    Love,
    Susie

  • Mickey

    Oh, Susie, that pic was taken in 2011, that wall has been one of my favorite projects. Painting at the Broadmoor was certainly one of the brightest spots in my life. From the staff to the guests, I have been blessed. I cannot imagine life without painting. It helps to keep the simple things in life in perspective. Wishing you the best, always!

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From: Kathleen H
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 9:03 pm
    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    ​Beautiful as always, Mickey…
    I am truly in awe of how your love of nature comes to life through your art…
    Thank you for blessing me in so many ways ~~~Kate~~~

  • Mickey

    Dear Kate, you never cease to say the loveliest things. So happy you have blessed my life, albeit from a long distance. Thank you for keeping in touch.

    Big hugs coming your way!

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From:
    DeAnne D
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 7:08 pm
    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Hi, Mickey,

    Your Broadmoor history was nice to hear (possibly – again?). I didn’t realize you had ‘Mickeyfied’ 35 different spots there! What a legacy! All your descriptions are so full of your love of the work and your focus on personalizing it for the location. It shows in all you do.
    I never thought about you having to calculate and maneuver around a fire hose ‘painting’. Always the consummate professional-you.
    Life is not very different for me and the pandemic. Not grocery shopping in person has cut out my big social event but I do order online and let driving to pick them up to be my big event! It takes so little!!
    I love thinking of your smile. Keep keepin’ on!

    Love,
    De

  • Mickey

    Hi De,

    My, how I miss that sence of humor of yours. This sharing from where some of the ideas for my murals originate has brought back many incredible memories. I kept a small journal of some of the wonderful things total strangers said to me. I want my grandsons to know I lived an exceptionally beautiful life.

    About the calculating, I really enjoy the challenge of all that. You have to believe and trust in a higher power to pull it off. I have very powerful angels.

    Stay safe and healthy. Love you bunches, my friend.

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden
    From: Cheryl L
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 1:25 pm
    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Always enjoy hearing and viewing of the past murals you have worked on and the stories
    behind your projects. Also love to see what is coming up next! Please keep me on your
    list of good supportive friends of the past and future projects.
    Sincerely
    Cheryl

  • Mickey

    Hello Cheryl, you will always be on my very special friends list. Your homes that you asked me to paint and the many referrals helped when I was new to Colorado Springs. I will always be grateful to you.

    Wishing you and Ron a happy and safe Christmas!

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From: Paula
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 1:01 pm
    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Hi Mickey,

    I’m delighted to hear from you. Your paintings are lovely and make me stop and enjoy your harmony and peacefulness for a few minutes. I need to do that more often.

    Randy retired the end of January and the owners of the dental practice gave him a weekend at the Broadmoor as a gift. My goodness, that was decadent. A once in a lifetime experience that we will remember forever. While there we saw your mural along the long corridor. I knew immediately that it was your work because it’s so distinctive. We took pictures in front of it. Someday when I organize my photos I’ll send them to you. We have many special memories from that weekend and seeing your beautiful mural was a part of it.

    Merry Christmas,

    Paula

  • Mickey

    So nice to hear from you, Paula! Yes, it is a very special place. There are few in the world like it, hence the five-star and 5-diamond rating. It takes a lot of work to keep that rating and great staff.

    I am so happy you and Randy enjoyed your stay. Can’t believe he retired. I look forward to getting your pics. You two are such a cute couple. Thanks for the compliments and for taking the time to write.

    Virtual Hugs to you both, Mickey (At least we can still send hugs)

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From: “erol
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 12:43 pm

    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Beautiful Mickey. Merry Christmas. Hope you are staying Safe and healthy.

    Much love and blessings to you. Erol

  • Mickey

    HI Erol,

    I’m so happy you read my little newsletter and comment. That means a lot to me. I’m especially happy you like my painting. 😉

    I’m doing well but getting real tired of not hugging my grandsons. They all have jobs and are around a lot of people so social distancing is a must.

    Thank you for the Christmas wishes. I wish you a beautiful Christmas and lots of pickleball in 2020!

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From:
    Debbie E
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 12:42 pm

    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Hi Mickey!

    So good to hear from you! Thanks for thinking of me! Loved your story about the flowers and inspiration of your artwork!

    How have you been? Hope your family is all doing well & safe with this pandemic. Such crazy times. Doug & I are well, office was shut last March to April. We have been open since and very busy. Our girls are good & safe as well!

    Wishing you the happiest of holidays!

    Love,
    Debbie

  • Mickey

    Hi Debbie!

    Thanks for writing. I am so happy that you and Doug are well and back to business. It’s been very difficult for many small businesses. I’m glad the girls are well and safe!

    I love telling about my art adventures, hoping to inspire others to follow their dreams. Happy holidays to you, Doug and the girls. Stay safe.

    Mickey

  • Mickey

    Subject:
    Re: A Not So Timid Garden

    From: Wanda G
    Date: Wed, Dec 02, 2020 12:24 pm
    To: Mickey Baxter-Spade

    Dearest Mickey,
    It is always wonderful to receive your newsletter! I think of you each time I go to the Broadmoor and I enjoyed reading about your inspiration for the work at the Broadmoor and seeing you and Ellen in the photos.

    May many Blessings, peace, joy and love surround you and uplift you this Holiday Season.

    In gratitude for you in my life,
    Wanda

  • Mickey

    Oh, Wanda, I think of you so often and wonder how you are! Thank you so much for reading my newsletter and especially for writing. It has been so long. I hope you and Pete are doing well and keeping safe.

    The Broadmoor and the staff will always have a special place in my heart as will you. I so appreciated your friendship after Bob’s passing. You are one of those angels on earth and I so appreciate you.

    You have already uplifted my Holiday Season. I am wishing the same for you and Pete.

    Mickey

  • Subject: Merry Christmas!
    From: Linda S
    Date: Thu, Dec 24, 2020 9:29 am
    To: mickey

    Hi Mickey! Wishing you a blessed and very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy 2021
    Your writings and photographs and painting are genuine gifts. I love when an email arrives from you – you glow and warm my heart❣️

    “Have a holly jolly Christmas ”

    Linda

  • Hi Linda, it is always pure joy to see your name pop in to my mailbox! Thank you so much for reading my newsletter. Wishing you, Kristy and Mike and their families
    a wonderful holiday season.

    Hugs, Mickey

  • REIDER2533

    Thank you!!1

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