Tracey Nicholson, Living In Creative Spirit

It is our pleasure to welcome Tracey Nicholson as this week’s featured artist on “Living in Creative Spirit.”

Artist Bio: Born in Daytona Beach Florida in 1965 I’ve been hanging out sand and surf since before I could walk.

My mom says my distinctive style of lettering and doodling has been recognizable since early days of elementary school. But because I didn’t draw representationally very well I, like many others, figured I missed out on the art talent lottery.

Anyway, I didn’t have tons of time to devote to art because I have worked for 28 years (so far) as an Instructional Designer. I get to design training curricula for online learning and to create materials for face-to-face sessions… and I do this for all sorts of clients on a variety of subjects. Great fun for a life-long learner like me. Learning. Is. So. Much. Fun!

Plus I was raising a delightful girl who is now a grown up college grad. This is, of course, one the most creative endeavors of my life. My bright and beautiful Zoe is a gem. I’m a lucky mama.

Twelve years ago I reconnected with a college sweetheart who I’d not seen in twenty years. We were married in 2016 on the tenth anniversary of our first date. We are ridiculously happy together. An unexpected blessing is all the sweeter.

Enter Zenspirations, Zentangle, and The Artists Way which (when mixed together vigorously and sprinkled liberally with friendship, love, and laughter) inspired me to spend more time creating and to see myself as an artist. We all are. Just in different methods and mediums. I became certified to teach the Zentangle method in June 2014 which opened lots of new doors.

I’m often called a hippie. I think it’s because my favorite color is tie dye.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

As a life-long ‘quote collector’ and lover of words and letters in all forms, I will just punt by choosing a most basic one which is sort of a motto for my life:  Love is the answer to every question.







I love doing artwork with sayings and quotes and lots of color and little doodly bits like this:

What is one book that has inspired you?

Yikes, the word one is getting to me on these questions… I’m not a one kinda gal… Did I mention I love words and letters? Not coincidentally this includes books!

Okay, here’s one that inspires me very frequently. It takes up residence next to my copy of the Daily Word and I read it nearly every morning… The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo

It is a daybook full of delicious words organized into short passages for each day of the year, along with a yummy quote and a meditation suggestion. (Full disclosure, I don’t always follow the mediation instructions but I like that they are there for the days when I want to!)

Side note: Anything written by SARK and Anne Lamott are also favorites that have directly inspired my artwork over the years. See? “One” is not in my vocabulary!

Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream?

All of them, but to get specific… a single scoop of chunky monkey in a waffle cone with a ginormous dollop of whipped cream and a ridiculously red, juicy cherry on top. I’ll have to enjoy it quickly in the Florida summertime!

If you were a super hero what would your name and superpower be?

Let’s see. I picture myself as Mighty Mama Bear in a tie-dyed cape, with sparkly dangle earrings, and swishy peasant skirt whose huge, soft arms embrace people (all of them, but one at a time) in a warm and loving hug that reminds them of their divinity (and maybe a bit of their grandmother, too). I think I should smell like a mixture of Ivory soap and vanilla for this gig.

Ah, I love this idea even as I’m typing it. I think I’ll go try out this super power after I finish and see what happens!

Tell us your story and the role creativity & spirituality plays in your life.

I heard the nugget of this idea somewhere and have changed it a little to make it mine…  For me, the making of art is no different than prayer. There is little difference between setting my pen to paper and closing my eyes in prayer.

Every doodle is an expression of divine energy every funky letter is a form of prayer.

My intention in terms of being a creative in the world is to ‘create and circulate’. I create because I must. Then, I put it out into the universe as a form of service.

Here’s an example. I enjoy participating in the art abandonment movement now and again. The idea is that you make something and leave it in public for another person to find (while staying anonymous). One time I made a little drawing on a card (as I have done plenty of times) and left it in the women’s room at the grocery store. I tagged it with a Facebook link and an invitation to share the details of the finding. Sure enough, later that day a young woman who worked in the deli department of the store found it and posted a picture of it hanging on her refrigerator. She noted that she is a student as well as a worker and that finding the piece inspired her to keep going. All I can say about that is, God is good!

Here are a few other things I know for sure:

  • I hear God best when I get quiet, still, and have a pen in my hand. So… I keep a pen in my hand much of the time! (My other hand is often being held by my sweet hubby. He is so patient with my crazy creative spirit!)
  • Creative source energy and creative flow come from God. What comes out (often on to a piece of paper) is what I give back to the world.
  • Like steering my VW beetle through soft sand at the beach, if I hold the wheel straight and steady (to stay on my path) and give it gas (to keep moving forward) it will keep me from getting stuck. (Pun fully intended.)
  • Perfectionism is not a friend to my creativity. I embrace all things wabi sabi (google it if you aren’t familiar) and allow myself to trust in the concept of ‘good enough’.

What are you currently working on?

What am I currently working on? Well, I believe in actively practicing these things daily:

  • Loving kindness
  • Friendship
  • Gratitude
  • Simplicity
  • 12 Steps
  • Creativity

My go-to art form includes informal hand lettering and pattern drawing (called Zentangle). I weave in mind mapping and other visual thinking practices as well. Words and images to convey a message… that is my sweet spot.

I am a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It has been called “yoga for the brain” and I often call it “pen and paper meditation”. It is perfect for ages 6 to 96 and all levels of art experience (although I have found that having NO art experience is a plus!) Getting into this ‘zen zone’ is an important part of my everyday practice.

I teach Zentangle classes and convene a monthly meet up to gather art friends and allow us time to tangle together. AND a handful of CZTs from Central Florida gather several times a year to share ideas and play with art supplies.

Other creative outlets that I enjoy:

  • Intentional collage like vision boards, Soul Collage, and art journaling (I use this as the excuse for my inability to throw out magazines! They are so chock full of yummy images and typography!!)
  • Rock painting and other art abandonment projects (and if they are multigenerational, all the better)

What tip would you give readers to help them nurture their Creative Spirit?

There is a page in my sketchbook about this. Here it is! I made to remind myself… but it can remind you, too.

Also, make time to nourish your spirit regularly by doing things that make you happy… for me this includes ocean water and salt air, walks on the beach, long chats with friends over a cup of tea, a quiet afternoon at the library, field trips and artist dates to junk shops and museums and art galleries, bubble baths and interesting podcasts.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

The best spot is my dining room table with a cup of tea in your hand (iced or hot depending on the month), but in case you aren’t near Port Orange, Florida…

I have a Facebook page dedicated to art and I’d love for you to join me there by liking TraceyLyonInklingz (the z instead of an s at the end is purposeful.) And, my email address is

I also have a mostly-out-of-date website at that I would love to say is a place of inspiration, but I haven’t been inspired by the work of maintaining it so, there you go. A work in progress.

About this Interview Series

“Living In Creative Spirit,” is an online interview series featuring creative individuals who blend spirituality and creativity in their lives and work.  Interviews are published weekly on Monday at 12:00 CT. The Summer 2018 session features registered members of Unity Artists Coalition. Follow this link to learn more about membership: Unity Artists Coalition.

Feeling inspired? Help support Unity Arts Ministry & our programs.

Unity Arts Ministry is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring personal growth, healing and transformation through spiritual enrichment and creative expression.

Funding for our online programming and live events comes through the generosity of individuals like you.  Your contribution aids in our vision as we celebrate a world awakened to the Creative Spirit inherent in all.  Please follow this link to make a tax-deductible donation today: GIVE

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