Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?

This is a question artists are often asked. In response, I wrote that ideas for paintings come from anything you see or dream of. My ideas often come in dreams. They are in my mind when I awaken or during meditation. Since I love painting from nature I seldom leave the house without my phone or camera.

The inspiration for this project was from my client. She requested sunflowers and butterflies for her She-Shed. This brought a smile to my face. The sunflowers are from my photos. A treasured mermaid plaque brought back from Maui, will hang across the top of the door.


My mural painting has many examples of where to find inspiration.

Part I: 

One of my first mural projects was for the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1994. The Golf Club House was still under construction when I received a call. The Broadmoor historian wanted to view my portfolio and give me a tour of the hotel.

The history of this five-star five-diamond resort is fascinating. Over 100 artists from New York and Italy created the artwork that still graces the resort today. Each room executed in different styles.

One of the many areas I admired was the elevator in the foyer of Broadmoor Main. Above the small elevator is an arch decorated to resemble the ceiling of the Villa Madama in Rome. The heavy circular pieces are in the style of Luca Della Robbia (a fifteenth-century Italian artist). It incorporates whimsical references to the hotel’s location. Above the elevator, a cupid is brandishing a tomahawk and wearing an Indian Headdress. (Paraphrased from the book, Broadmoor Memories.) The cherubs seemed like such a dichotomy from most of the art in the hotel but they always bring a smile to my face.

Tag Gallean, the architect, requested murals for three areas in the lobby of the Golf Club House. The first arch was above the tall elegant leaded-glass entry doors. The shape arched like the design over the elevator in Broadmoor Main. This was four times the size of the elevator in Main. My designs would need to be more elaborate but a take-off of the design in Main seemed fitting. Time to complete the project was short and I could work faster and longer hours in my studio. An installation would be a more efficient use of time than painting on-site.

I chose to paint a cherub wearing a vintage Gatsby hat and a golf club in his hand rather than a tomahawk. After all, it was the Golf Club House. When the architect ran the idea by the president of the hotel he balked at the suggestion. As I was measuring the area around the entry doors he stopped by. His concern was that cherubs might look a bit silly. I assured him it wouldn’t be more silly than the cherub with the Indian headdress and tomahawk in the lobby of Main.” He grinned and agreed.

The Inspiration for this area of the lobby began with the original art in Broadmoor Main. I felt what I painted needed to be in keeping with the character of the original murals painted in the early 1900s.

After completion of the Lobby, Tag suggested I paint a 10-foot long-stem rose on the aerobic room floor. He said, “Make it look as if someone tossed a rose onto the floor.” The pale yellow bloom tipped with a deep red was 32 inches wide. I painted a single petal off to the side as if it had fallen from the blossom as it floated through the air.

The Inspiration for the rose began with the architect’s suggestion. I chose one of my rose paintings.

Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia was researching ideas for their new Spa. The vice-president visited the Broadmoor Resort to check out the amenities. The two things that most impressed her were the outdoor lap pool and my ten-foot rose on the aerobic room floor. My journey continues to Kingsmill Resort and the Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Arizona

I hope you enjoyed reading about ideas for inspiration for your paintings. Part II of Where do you find Inspiration for Your Paintings will continue in the next newsletter.


16 comments to Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?

  • Mickey

    Cheryl L
    Sun, Sep 27, 5:45 PM (15 hours ago)

    to Mickey

    Hi Mickey!
    Always love hearing from you and seeing what is your latest project.
    I have so many memories with you that I was just telling my aunt about.. that
    I decided to share your newsletter with her as she loves flowers and animals as
    much as you. In fact you have painted her hummingbird notecards (in memory
    of my mother and her older sister) many times for me to give her as a gift.
    Wouldn’t surprise me if she doesn’t send you a little note…her name is Fern and she
    is now 85.
    Love you much and thank you for including me in your adventures.

  • Mickey

    Hi Cheryl, I always look forward to hearing from you. Yes, lots of wonderful memories. You were one of my first clients in Colorado Springs. I painted three of your homes in the Springs as well as your home in Scottsdale not to mention your numerous referrals. All fun and diverse projects. I do remember sending cards to Fern and the fondness you have for your aunt. And then I remember when you got little Elway! And how nice it was of you and Elway to stop by for a visit after Bob passed. We certainly go way back. The dearest blessings of my painting career have been the friendships I’ve made. Thank you for keeping in touch.

  • Mickey

    Elizabeth H. C.
    Sun, Sep 27, 8:51 PM (12 hours ago)

    to Mickey

    Oh, Mickey, as if you needed any more drama in your life than what you’ve had in recent years AND the pandemic! Thank goodness you’re okay and you were able to salvage some of these beauties. And thank goodness you’ve got the gorgeous pictures.

    I so enjoyed reading about some of your Broadmoor activities — what an amazing experience that must have been and how fortunate they were to have someone with your vision and your talent.

    I hope all is well — or as well as possible.



  • Mickey

    Hello Elizabeth! I always appreciate your writing. This kind of drama is so insignificant in the scheme of things, thank goodness for insurance. 😉 I do tend to get excited in the moment but I can usually find humor which helps calm me. It’s cooler now so the outdoor repairs and cuttings are far less stressful for the workers than working in the hot and humid summer of Georgia. A handyman comes tomorrow to do a few of the repairs indoors. I’m good as long as things are moving in a forward direction.
    When I moved to Georgia six years ago I had just finished my final project for the Broadmoor, an incredible twenty-year working relationship at one of my favorite places. They have the most helpful, generous, and friendly staff anyone could ever imagine. One’s career doesn’t get much better than that. The Broadmoor was such a small portion of all the wonderful clients I created for but certainly some of the most interesting memories. I have been blessed. Thank you for staying in touch and thank you for using my cards.  Big hugs!

  • Mickey

    DeAnne D.
    Sun, Sep 27, 9:02 PM (13 hours ago)

    to Mickey

    Hi Mickey,

    Wow, this letter was jam-packed with fascinating news! That hail was huge. Glad you didn’t get a concussion!

    We had a cold spell a few weeks back.No hail but temps cold enough to need to cover plants.
    Now the light is getting shorter, yellow leaves falling…it’s here. My friend, Judith in Denver says she doesn’t like the word Fall, so always says Autumn….a prettier word.

    Your Broadmoor stories brought back many nice memories and expanded my knowledge of your work there.
    I didn’t recall the cupid stories. Leave it to you to make it light-hearted!

    Love hearing/seeing from you.
    Much love, sweet friend,

  • Mickey

    Hi De, it does seem my life is seldom boring. I am in agreement with Judih in Denver, I much prefer Autumn to Fall. Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year with cooler temps, abundant color, and luscious harvests. It deserves a more elegant name.

    I cherish the time I painted at the Broadmoor. So many stories, interesting conversations, and the charming guests who struck up conversations. All this and a great band to dance to at the Tavern. It was an amazing part of my journey.

    Love and hugs dear friend.

  • Mickey

    Kathleen H.
    Sun, Sep 27, 11:31 PM (11 hours ago)

    to me

    ​Hey Girl Friend…
    Thank you for sending your “Artful Whispers” today…
    You are truly a living legacy, Mickey…
    Think of all the lives you have touched through your artwork…
    Yes, people you know, and so many others you will never know, and yet,
    with whom you have embedded lifelong memories…
    You, my dear friend, are a treasure!
    Be well – Be safe – Be happy!
    Love and Blessings and SO Thankful for Your Friendship ~~~Kate

  • Mickey

    Hi Kate, it is always so delightful to read your comments after you get my newsletter. And, it was so thoughtful of you to send the pic you took while having dinner in your lovely home. You are such a dear friend.

    And those lives you mentioned that I’ve touched. That certainly was a two-way-street because those same people were what kept me motivated and honored to be there. They lifted me every day

    Miss you bunches!

  • Mickey

    Elaine G.
    10:32 AM (21 minutes ago)

    to Spade

    Mickey, enjoyed your ” history” of murals! Good Work! Happy to hear your art continues to thrive!. Yes, I too would have rescued my gorgeous dbl petunia from a hailstorm. I just don’t like to see destruction when I can intervene. We had no significant storms in Omaha – thank goodness! Tornados are the scariest nature events around. WE are good here so far. I am looking to have knee replacement sometime soon. Seeing a robotic knee surgeon in Lincoln NE in about 2 wks.Hope all is good w you and may you stay healthy thru these times!

    Not sure if I mentioned, I have a new pooch, Brody, all 9.5# of Min Pin 11 yo but very frisky! Keeps my partner, Hal, busy – otherwise his nose is in Philosophy & I couldn’t take it anymore! I believe I have heard more than enough about” consciouness” Thank You Very Much. Continue to enjoy Life, Nature and embrace all the Goodness around you.

    My Best Elaine

  • Mickey

    Dear Elaine,

    Thanks for the update! You are such a hoot. I cracked up at your comment about Hal and “consciousness.” Brody looks totally adorable!

    So glad you enjoyed my little newsletter. There seldom seems to be many dull moments in life. I have to say, after growing up in Indiana, I don’t miss the threat of tornados. Good luck with your surgery, let me know how it goes. I love that you keep in touch. Take care!

    Mickey (still chuckling)

  • Mickey

    Charlotte B.
    Sep 28, 2020, 4:19 PM (6 days ago)

    to Mickey

    Hi Mickey,

    I enjoyed your newsletter and the paintings you posted on facebook. You are so talented and I enjoy your work.
    Look forward to the next one.


  • Mickey

    Hi Charlotte,

    Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and commenting on facebook. You are so kind. Enjoy the coller weather.


  • Mickey

    SUSAN Y.
    Sep 29, 2020, 10:46 AM (5 days ago)

    to Mickey

    Good morning, Mickey

    Once again, you have expressed your thoughts and visions in your murals.
    I truly believe that God and his Angels are sitting on your shoulders and guiding your eyes and hands.

    I was thinking of you on Sunday. I wanted to take pictures of my summer flowers as they are in full bloom and we are expecting cold temps and rain this week. I tried different angles and distances from the flowers.
    I had purchased some purple petunia’s from a discounted area at the garden center not sure if they would flourish. Well, they each have over 100 blooms and for some strange reason there are sunflowers in the same container that are over 3 feet tall!

    Thank you for the update!!
    Love, Susie

    Peace be with You!

  • Mickey

    Hi Susie,

    It’s always nice to hear from you, I appreciate you taking time to write and you always say the nicest things. It sounds like it has been a great summer for your plants. How interesting you were gifted with a beautiful sunflower!

    I hope you have been well and safe. Take care of you, Mickey

  • Mickey

    Re: Mickey’s Artistic Voyage

    From: Barbara W
    Date: Tue, Sep 29, 2020 10:55 am
    To: Blog_–_Mickey_Baxter-Spade

    I LOVED the Broadmoor story!
    I’ll be sending it on to my dear friend in KS who has deep, favorite memories of the Broadmoor vacations with her wonderful husband. Know she’ll revel in your tale & be ‘back at the Broadmoor’ with smiles as she & her husband reminisce.

    You teased me with the last sentence about continuing your journey to Arizona. I’m now curious…..

    Hugs, B

  • Mickey

    Hi Barb!

    It’s so interesting, the synchronicity in life. You, a dear friend to me for several years now and you live in California. You have a client in Kansas City who loves to vacation at the Broadmoor and I have a wonderful history working for the Broadmoor. No one but God could have planned that. I find life amazing.

    Thanks for writing and for sharing my newsletter. Fondly, Mickey

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