Being Quiet, Listening, and Creativity – by Mickey Baxter-Spade

MIckey Crimson GraceWe take on so many roles and it gets complicated and crowded. Most of us keep our lives full. Mine has been that way. It seemed quite “normal” after all – mom raised eight kids and I seldom saw her take a break.

Over the years, it has become abundantly clear to me how important to my creativity it is to be quiet and listen. The more quiet time I allow myself, the calmer my life becomes. Little things have more importance. As strange as it may seem, I get more accomplished. When I work, I’m more focused. And when I play, well, I play.

I find that I paint because I must. It is an important part of making my life worthwhile. No doubt about it, painting is the best way I know to express what is important to me. Sharing the abundance I see in nature through my painting is a visual statement of my celebration of life.Mickey card

When I paint, it is not only the interpretation of a flower, a landscape, or a still life that brings joy. It is also the interaction of watercolors. Each pigment makes its own contribution to the whole – each color can change. Yellow with blue becomes green, red combined with blue creates purple, and yellow and red meld together as orange. By adding cool, clear water they are transformed into delicate translucent tints of those colors. A vibrant red can become a delicate pink. A glorious purple can be a soft lavender. So many combinations, so little time. When using acrylics, I prefer to work in multiple layers of translucent color layering until I have the depth of color that pleases me.

Mickey ornaments

When a painting emerges (like magic!) consider for a moment the difference between creating a painting, planting and nurturing a garden, writing from your heart, preparing a healthy meal to share with family and friends. Is there a difference, really? Doesn’t each nurture the soul? When creating, I believe we leave an essence of our love and passion for what we do.

Tomorrow morning, as you open your eyes, look at your day as if you were seeing for the first time. Notice the incredible colors around you. Note the gifts in your life. If there is work you need to do, do it. Enjoy every minute. Take breaks, breathe deeply, and exhale slowly.Mickey card 2

Make time for you, it could be taking a walk, reading a book, dancing, or meditating. In less than fifteen minutes you could do something for someone you love. Send a hand written note to say “Hi,” emails don’t count. Put a note on your spouse or child’s mirror telling them how you appreciate them. Bringing happiness to others through your creativity has a way of lifting your heart as well as bringing joy to the recipient.

Now turn on your favorite music and begin your creation, whatever that is for you. Here is a little mantra to help, “Thank you for another beautiful day to create.”

Wishing you beauty everywhere you look.


Mickey Baxter-SpadeMickey Baxter-Spade is a self-taught artist who began her career by opening her first teaching ceramist studio at age twenty-four. After fourteen years of teaching and a move to Colorado, she changed the direction of her art and began painting murals. Her clients are primarily residential but also include five-star resorts, hospitals, churches, and commercial settings.

Mickey’s art career now includes a line of greeting cards, fine art, and hand-painted heirloom Christmas ornaments. She has also found joy in writing her blog and a bi-monthly newsletter (sign-up on her mailing list!) in which she hopes to inspire others to take a chance and follow their dreams.

Connect with Mickey on her website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

12 responses to “Being Quiet, Listening, and Creativity – by Mickey Baxter-Spade

  1. Mickey, this is an absolutely wonderful piece, and it resonates so much with what I’ve experienced. I have never considered myself “artistic” in the usual way we use that word, but there’s no doubt creativity manifests itself in different ways. I have also found, since dabbling with a nature journal, that sketching has made me more observant of the beauty around me.

    Karen, thanks for shining a spotlight on such a talented artist!

  2. Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for commenting. Congratulations to you for beginning your nature journal. “Art” (in the usual way) can be a learned talent provided you have no physical disability and even then there are many types of fun art one could manage. Just keep sketching, take an art class with someone whose art you admire. You will be amazed at the magic that happens when you show up and try. I’d love to hear how you do with your art. Keep in touch.

    • karenrsanderson

      I do not keep a nature journal, per se, but I do notice things when I go out. Probably more than most people. I notice how lovely a drift of snow can be. How a speckly, fallen leaf is so beautiful. How cloud formations remind me of other things, like fish bones! So often we are in such a hurry, we don’t notice the beautiful world we live in. I love that much of your art is inspired by nature.

      • Thank you for commenting Karen, you sound as though you are taking a peek into my world. I often wonder if we paid more attention to the world we live in if there might be fewer depression symptoms. The age of twenty-four was a pivotal year in my life. That is when I realized that when I painted/sketched I was no longer depressed. That realization changed my life.

        Now . . . I have to tell you I haven’t noticed bones in my clouds. I’ll have to work on that.

        • karenrsanderson

          I realize that when I create something – a painting, a sketch, start a story or work on a story, I feel better. So, yes! Depression fighter! I didn’t realize my potential (artist speaking here) until I took a couple of art classes and started to create. I was in my late 40s.

  3. Linda Crume

    Mickey, what a lovely reminder that we are all creative in our many activities – painting, writing, cooking. You’ve made an interesting connection between indulging in creative endeavors and reducing depression. Yours is good advice to follow . We must allow ourselves to recognize and appreciate our own creativities, in the many ways we are creative, to help us appreciate ourselves and our world. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Mickey Baxter-Spade

      Hello Linda, so glad you felt inspired by the article. Your connection between one appreciating their own creativity and how it helps them to appreciate themselves and their world is indeed something everyone could benefit from knowing. Thank you for commenting.

      • karenrsanderson

        I agree that we must all find an outlet for our creativity – writing, art, cooking, crafts, knitting, whatever! It helps us to have an outlet for our feelings.

  4. Audrey Keith

    Mickey, I shared your essay with my art club and they loved it. Thank you for some excellent advice.

    • karenrsanderson

      How wonderful, Audrey! Isn’t it great to connect people that would not meet under “normal” social situations? That’s what I love about the Internet.

    • Audrey, thank you so much for sharing the article with your art club. It has taken many years for me to realize the information in this article. Hopefully you and others in your art club will learn faster than I. Again, thank you.

  5. Pingback: May Newsletter « Mickey Baxter-Spade

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