Something to Ponder

motivational quote


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,


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,



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


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 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 the painting I love.

Wow, your second question was cause for reflection. 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 compliment.”

In my mid-twenties, a woman by the name of Jean strolled into my studio. I asked how I might help her and she said she had heard about me and wanted to see what I did, so I let her browse. After waiting about ten minutes I asked if I could help her with anything, 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 one of my new samples . . .

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 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 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.


Bella’s Insights

Hi, Everybody! It’s 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 guy’s body was, he was pretty low to the ground so we could look into each other’s 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 in

colorado and I try all kinds of things to entertain myself. I love 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, nothin’ mom, why?”, I thought with my most innocent face.  Then she turned her back . . . 

Life is an adventure,
Ta ta for now, Bella


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


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



Life is a Gift

Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things

but in terms of ideals.  ~Charles M. Crowe


Wise Words from Martha Beck

Photo of Tulips in a glass vase.

Sunlit tulips

This morning I awakened to this in my email box. It is too beautiful not to share. Martha Beck writes books to make you think and that help you grow. It’s a treat to read “Martha’s Daily Inspirations” each morning. So poor yourself a cup of tea and hop on over to her website.

“Stop now, right now, and look around you. This is your place in
the labyrinth. There is no place else you need to be. See with
eyes that aren’t fixed on goals, or focused on flaws. You are part
of the endless, winding beauty. And as you learn to see the
dappled loveliness of your life, as your new eyes help you begin
loving the labyrinth, you’ll slowly come to realize that the
labyrinth was made solely for the purpose of loving you.”

The Labyrinth of Life… Insight from Martha


March Newsletter

Convincing a Child that Moving is a Good Thing

There was still snow on the ground when I received a call from a client I hadn’t heard from in several years. The family was having a new home built and their seven year old daughter didn’t want to leave her home. Her mother convinced her she would have a very special room if she decided to move with the family.

As I drove to their home it occurred to me that I should talk to Jenny, just the two of us. After saying hello I asked Jenny’s mom if she would mind if I spoke with Jenny and she thought that would be a good idea.

Jenny was bright and quite charming. As we were talking I asked her to help me make a list of her favorite things. The words rolled off her tongue effortlessly. She liked daisies, fairies, turtles, blue birds, green grass, mushrooms, butterflies and I’m thinking this is going to be fun when she added pears. Where did that come from. How was I going to get pears in there. I thanked Jenny for helping, had a cup of tea with her mom and home I went to do some sketching.

As often happens I awakened the next morning having dreamt of huge pears. I’m talking about 7-8 inch pears with fairies frolicking in the pear tree and then in my minds eye everything else fell into place. Adjustments had to be made to the sketches and the design was ready.

When painting a mural for a child I love to have a path undulating through the mural. It’s a path leading to where ever they want it to go. A place to let their little minds roam and stir their creativity. This path happens to lead to a portal. Where would your mind take you?

Here’s a short little video of Jenny’s special place.

Found this question in my “Blog” folder, I remember answering it on Facebook but don’t remember if I published it in a newsletter. If I did just bare with me it might help a new subscriber . . .

Hi, I have a ‘mural’ question as a ‘how to’. I saw some of your videos and am, obviously, quite impressed enough to see if you’ll share a trade secret or two. I’m wondering if when you do a wall mural, are you using a reference painting and free handing it? Or a grid system of some sort? I’ve tried a few–and think a grid may be simplest for me….if I could get straight lines. Do you have any suggestions? [:)] (Please?) -Kerra

Hi Kerra, happy to answer your questions. I don’t have a system written in stone. My preference is to let the mural evolve as I paint but my client must trust that I understand the look and feel they are wanting. A sketch is nearly always done before beginning a project. I have never used a grid because I try never to leave pencil lines on the walls I paint. However, if a client had something very specific they wanted, without variations, I might. If I need straight lines I use levels or you could run a chalk-line. Another option is to use a projector and trace the design onto the wall. Let me mention this; try never to use an eraser on the wall being painted as it leaves a burnished mark.

I work from my sketches which may or may not begin from several photos, picking and choosing what best fits with the clients decor and the feeling they are trying to create. Most often I freehand my designs but I sometime design patterns. One of my clients had a leak in a ceiling I had painted ten years ago and I was able to recreate it quickly because I still had the pattern. It saved them a lot of time and money.

Kerra, I tried to keep this simple and to the point but I am happy to give more detail if you like. Hope this was helpful. Good luck ~ your work is lovely!

If you have questions about painting on walls, canvas, papers, wood, metal, fabric, glass, ceramics or porcelain I would be happy to help you. Just email me or comment on my blog. Thank you for reading my newsletter!


Bella’s Insight

Hey everybody, the snow is almost melted again. Not sure why I get excited about that – I love bouncing in the snow. Well, for short periods of time anyway. I have to say that below zero stuff wasn’t much fun.

Boy, I’m sure missing my Saturday morning Buddy. My pal Jayda moved last fall so I don’t get to see her any more, drat. Jayda came to see me for a long time and while she was here mom would show her how to draw and paint and make fun stuff and my job was to make her laugh on her breaks.

Jayda painted watercolors that were made into pinwheels, mom made a calendar out of twelve of her paintings and collages one year and then she got to paint on canvas. When she got tired of painting mom let her draw in her journal. Jayda had lots of good ideas. Mom said she had a great imagination. I think I might have one of those too.

If anyone sees Jayda tell her I said, “Hi!”



Have you heard of Thumbtack?



Promoting your business can be challenging. Thumbtack is relatively new to me so I will let you know how it works out.

Within your Thumbtack dashboard you can set up information on how far you are willing to travel to a job, your qualifications, bio, photos/videos of your work and more.

Potential customers looking for your services fill out a questionnaire and request a quote. Vendors are allowed to ask questions of the potential client without cost to you. A feature that impressed me was that if you ask a question that has already been asked Thumbtack deletes the duplicate question before forwarding another question. You get an email stating that your question has already been asked so you can ask another if need be. How nice that the client doesn’t need to answer the same question over and over. could be a nice source of marketing for a myriad of businesses, we’ll see. Check them out on Facebook.



Phone 719.260.1440
e-mail mickey

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