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,



1 comment to June Newsletter

  • Mickey

    Some of the nicest people email me after my newsletters and I thought you might enjoy what they had to say . . . there were certainly some surprises and surprise visits for me.

    Life is indeed an adventure, Bella, and thank your human for me for such a sweet and poignant newsletter.


    Thank you Terza! Nice to hear from you. I’ll tell mom you liked our newsletter. I’m going to have to look up that one word though. It was pretty big for little ole me.


    Just beautiful Friend…loved all of it. Very sensitive. Loved Bella’s comments and picture. JT

    Dear Mickey.
    Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your childhood pain. Even though in high school when we would all gather on Friday nights to go skating or the football game, I know that some of us knew that you were sad [or some other words] but, being young we probably did not fully understand. I am sorry that you had bad experiences.
    That is why when we saw you at the Reunion and you looked amazing and then you shared your life and career with us, that we are very happy for you! Now, you see the beauty in the world. You make the world better for us. Thank you!


    Oh Suzie, here I thought I hid it so well. I had no idea anyone saw me as sad. It’s funny, I read once that science has found that we all have a happiness “level” (Happy for no Reason by Marci Schimoff) and whatever happens in our lives most of us come back to that level – eventually. I have been one of the lucky ones.

    Hope your life is full of happiness. The biggest joy of the internet is connecting with old and new friends. Thank you for being in touch.

    How beautiful You make me remember and you teach me that the artist way never really leAves us. I’m at a point of starting up my morning pages again. Very interesting that you talk about that time in our lives now. Namaste my friend. Mel

    Oh Mel, so wonderful to hear from you! So glad you were a part of my journey. Hope you are doing well.

    Your latest newsletter was fabulous. Your donations to the art auction are exquisite. I love the crackled effect.

    Wish I had my old AW and VoG material but…too many moves. You mention your prayer. Do we get that next month?

    Sure brought back the memories and the song (words and music played on a little Casio keyboard) I wrote in anticipation of finding a puppy, who turned out to be Dreamer only a few weeks later. Written to a babe in the womb:

    “Sleepin’ and dreamin’ the day away,
    Sleepin’ and dreamin’ the day away.
    Baby’s got nothing to worr-y.
    Life will come soon in a hurr-y.
    Sleepin’ and dreamin’ the day away.
    Sleepin’ and dreamin’ the day away.”

    Mic, you’re the best!
    Love you,

    PS Bella, the nature lover and fisher girl and gorgeous too!

    Oh DeAnne, you bring a tear to my eye. Dreamer was so beautiful and full of joy. Can you send me a pic of you and dreamer? Would love to put it on the blog with your song, if you don’t mind.

    Love you too!
    Mickey & Bella

    Hi friend,

    Your blog today touched off so many emotions – or rather the absence of
    those pesky hurtful ones that has plagued me for so long.
    The timing could not have been better, I was just talking to my neighbor
    about a painting a did a couple of weeks ago, “Adjo, mamma” – saying
    goodbye to my mother when I left for America 45 years ago. This is the
    FIRST time I have been able to tell someone about this event without
    choking up – in 45 years!!

    You wrote a sonnet, I painted a painting – how lucky we are to be able
    to do this, and have it HEAL! (this is not the first time I have
    “painted out bad feelings” by the way – )

    So thank you for reminding me and so many others about the power of our
    minds – to heal our hearts.
    Yours is as big as anyone I have ever met – I am honored to know you.

    Here comes the picture of the painting – she was sitting by our lake
    with the waterfall right behind her, as I was being ferried across the
    lake by my father.
    Being Norwegian, she is Edward Munch “inspired”.

    Your painting is daunting Telise. That had to be one of the saddest and yet happiest times of your life. If what I wrote helped in a small way I am so pleased but the honor for those changes go to Julia Cameron, such a gracious and giving woman with such talent.

    Happy painting Telise. I’m so glad you came to America to share your talent with us. Virtual hugs coming your way.


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