Friday, December 31, 2010

Review of 2010 in the life of Raphaella Vaisseau

Rather than a Year of Expression that I declared twelve months ago, 2010 has been a year of inventiveness, perseverance, flexibility, and appreciating what’s good in my life and in the world. This year has been about reducing debt, eliminating ineffectiveness, increasing streams of income, enjoying the support of business alliances and establishing new ones, and valuing family and friends. All of what I’ve put in motion in 2010 will continue for the next few years as I build a more solid foundation for my work in the world. Artistically, I intended to explore and manifest new expressions, but did not accomplish more than a toe in the water of what I want to create in art and writing. As my new foundation supports me going forward, I hope to have more space in my life for creativity and new artistic expression. I look forward to expanding and simplifying at the same time.

A highlight of 2010 was continuing the conversation of Landmark Education seminars in Sarasota. Not only does this work provide opportunities for breakthrough in self-enlightenment, but the community itself is a group of interesting, intelligent, evolved human beings I thoroughly enjoy getting to know. I also continued my studies of Abraham-Hicks, NLP, and hypnosis, all of which I enjoy very much and will continue to study in the future.

On a lighter note, being a kitten foster mom for little rescued ones was a source of great comfort and joy to me this year. In a time when survival seemed to take so much time and effort, their little faces and furry bodies were an oasis of sweetness and beauty, reminding me to continually look for what’s good, pure, and life-giving.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winterhaven Festival of Lights - Tucson, AZ 2010

Anja, David, and I walked the streets of Tucson last night to experience Winterhaven's Festival of Lights. My pictures are mostly blurry light streaks, but I found Warren's slideshow on Flickr and it captures the magic of the evening. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting Ready for the New Year - Beginning New Fitness Focus in 2011

Here's me in Mexico on Rosarito Beach in 1990. It's one of my favorite pictures of me for more reasons than that I was slim, happy, living in Malibu and loving life during this time. Twenty years and many memories have passed since then.

It wasn't until I moved to Ashland, Oregon in the late 90s that I started putting on weight. It might have been for any number of reasons. Who knows why? I had a breakthrough in my thinking about cooking and buying fresh healthy food in 2005 when my friend, Anja, came up from LA to spend the summer with me in Marin County. I had another breakthrough in 2006 after an event at my gallery with a life coach. Another chunk of resistance released and I started craving exercise. I logged on to and loved the online camaraderie. I lost 33 lbs. over the next 6 months.

After the gallery closed on Oct 31, 2006, I entered a 3-year reinventing my business phase, and it became a challenge for me to keep up the enthusiastic fitness program. I moved to Venice, Florida two years later. Now I am ready to begin again. I've found a new online site to support my goals: Today is my kickoff DAY ONE. I'll keep you posted. I'm setting my sights on a much healthier, happier, physically fit 2011. Keep seeing me there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunrise in Arizona

My good friends, Anja and David recently retired and moved from Los Angeles, CA to Marana, Arizona. Today was the first morning of my Christmas visit with them. I woke up early in the morning, in time to witness the sunrise. It was spectacular. The slideshow of the whole dramatic event is here on Flickr. Today we visited the Tucson Museum of Art and artisan shops across the street. Tomorrow we journey to Tubac to visit the Tubac Center of the Arts. Anja and I have explored roads, towns and cities together for over thirty five years, from New York to LA, Denver to Sausalito, and many in between. It's always an artful, thought-provoking adventure of discovery the result of years and years of friendship, love, support, and acceptance.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shock the Monkey - Todd and Kiaralinda celebrate 50th years with a BIG Deal Whimsey Twins Party

Joanie and I traveled to Safety Harbor on Sunday to celebrate with new friends, Kiaralinda and Todd (of Whimsey fame). It was their double 50th birthday party celebration. And it was super fun. Meeting new people, seeing art everywhere (on people, as food, in the gardens, on stage, in the air) ... click HERE to view the slideshow of the grand event. I was inspired. I am inspired. I am grateful ... for friends, color, art, laughter, craziness, courage, eccentricity, beauty, great food, new experiences, and so much more. Happy Birthday Kiaralinda and Todd. Thank you SO MUCH for being who you are, continuing to raise the roof on life, and for including me in your life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thirty-Five Years of Devotion to Spiritual Inner Awareness: 11-15-1975 through 11-15-2010

I'm celebrating today. It was 35 years ago today, on November 15, 1975, that I experienced a dramatic spiritual awakening and consciously began my journey of walking the path of soul transcendence. It's taken many forms over the years, and my personal devotion to my continued inner spiritual awakening has not wavered since then.

Celebrate with me in whatever way feels right to you - prayer, glass of wine, dance, sing, take a walk in nature, think of me, congratulate yourself on your own chosen spiritual path, do nothing, or ... whatever works for you.

Enjoy! With Love and Blessings, Raphaella

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Vines 2" watercolor on paper by Raphaella Vaisseau wins Merit Award at Venice Art Center Show juried by R. Andrew Maass

The Venice Art Center, located at 390 Nokomis Avenue S, Venice, FL 34293 is having a "Show Us Your Best" Members Only Show, opening this Friday, Nov. 12th and continuing through December 10th, 2010. My painting, Vines 2, won a Merit Award from juror (and musuem professional) R. Andrew Maass. Join me for the opening reception Friday from 5pm - 7pm. Call me at 941-993-7001 if you'd like directions.

The original watercolor painting (on paper) is 22" x 30" (not including a maple wood frame). Limited edition giclée prints, numbered and signed by Raphaella Vaisseau, are also available via special order (up to full size).

There was a Vines 1. It was much smaller, in hues of blue, and was painted with my signature layering of color on color. It was sold to a collector in Los Angeles before the age of digital photography and archival prints. It was for my love of that painting that I was moved to recreate the form and movement of vines reaching for the sun in this painting. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Sister: Conundrum, Gypsy, or Fairy Tale Princess

Thinking of my sister this morning while making breakfast, the word conundrum popped into my mind. Curious, I went to my laptop and called up the definition on It means either “a riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun,” or “a paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma.” Since she’s my sister and not a problem to be solved, I’m choosing the “fanciful question” option.

Many times I have thought about who she is and why she makes the choices she does. I think of her sometimes in a state of frustration (mine), and other times with acceptance, appreciation, and love. There were times growing up, especially in high school, when I was embarrassed by her words or actions. Other times, such as being a child with the best big sister in the world, I blessed the ground she walked on. At night she would make up stories to tell me as we drifted off to sleep. Not stories she’d read, but new stories she created then and there. She looked out for me and later, when my brother was born, looked out for him too. She seemed always intent on giving me and my brother the best moment to moment experience of life.

As I began my spiritual awakening in my 28th year (after my Saturn return), I re-evaluated my relationship with my sister. As I learned of devas, spiritual beings, fairies and the like, and experienced the light, love, and sound of my awakening heart, I realized I had misjudged my sister and called to tell her so. I wrote a song about her too, and titled it “Wildflower,” the name she used to sign her poems. She seemed a gift from another time and space, not unlike a “mistaken zygote” from Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s book of archetypes and myths, “Women Who Run With the Wolves.”

In my current studies with Abraham-Hicks and Landmark Education, I am learning that I have a choice to see only the good in people and situations. I’m striving to put aside any misguided attempts at fixing her (nothing’s broken), teaching her (it’s not my job), and instead, choose to simply love her. The way she is, right here, right now, doing whatever it is that’s going on at the moment. When I remember my job is not to judge, or get tangled in her life, and remember my only job in her regard is to see the good in her, I make lists of her positive aspects: What do I love about her? What is it about her that stirs my soul? When I think of her, I put aside thoughts of confusion or judgment that may arise, and focus my thoughts only on the good times, the magic we’ve shared, the joy she’s brought to my life by her presence in this time-space reality.

My sister is all of these things: a conundrum, a fanciful question, a fairy creature, a gypsy, a fabulous storyteller, a teacher of children, a writer, a free spirit, a poet, and simply magical. As long as I stay away from trying to figure her out, fixing her, or rescuing her, I can step back and simply love her for the beautiful person she is, wherever she came from.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Season begins in Venice, Florida with Dinner at Sharky's with Friends

John and Stan are back from Ohio for the Winter, Elaine (from Rhode Island) is visiting my new friend Joanie (recently moved here from Boston) and the five of us met at Sharky's for dinner last night. Although it was a super windy evening, and a bit cool too, being by the sand and surf with good food and friends was a nice way to kick off The Season in Venice. After dinner we walked out on the pier for the sunset, then met a parrot and a baby raccoon.
Click on the picture for slide show of the whole evening.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Three of My Favorite Things

Three of my favorite things: My art, foster kittens, and the people who love them. This adorable family has adopted four VCC rescued kittens and commissioned several original paintings of mine. Here's the latest one: Sea Turtles.

Although the original is sold, prints are available. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Breathe in Breathe out" for Yoga practice destressing breathing meditation by Raphaella Vaisseau from Heartful Art as 2x3 magnet to 20x35 banner

Life can be as simple as breathing in and breathing out. Our breath can be the simplest of meditations in and of itself. A person can practice anywhere at any time by pausing to notice the rhythm of breathing in and breathing out. Inhale, exhale. In and out. One breath at a time. Slow it down. Breathe deeply. Relax. This focus on breathing can be an exercise in remembering to keep things in perspective. Keep it simple.

Meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress through relaxation. Yoga, a healing system practiced for more than 5,000 years, is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation. Whether you are a student of yoga, a person interested in health and fitness, or a person under stress wanting to take better care of yourself, paying attention to your breathing is beneficial.

Sometimes a person needs a reminder to relax, slow down, breathe deeply, and keep things in perspective. Loved by yoga students, yoga teachers and all who practice meditation, stress reduction, or are interested in health, fitness, and well-being, this "Breathe in Breathe out" poster is just that - a good reminder, and beautiful as well. Raphaella's opening flower painting, like a mandala, can further inspire your journey to relax, slow down and go within. It's shown here as an 11 x 14 LG POSTER. It is also available as an 8-1/2 x 11 MED POSTER, a 5 x 7 SM POSTER, a 2 x 3 MAGNET, frameable MATTED PRINTS (quotations with mat - ready to frame) in 5 x 5, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10, and a 20 x 35 vinyl indoor BANNER for the wall of your favorite yoga studio.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My three little Italian Artist Foster Kittens helping in the studio

It's finally cooling down in Florida so I can paint outside in the lanai again and have my windows open for the breeze morning and night. This little foster kitten is Mona Lisa so she likes to hang out with me while I'm creating art. Her brother Michelangelo likes to help out as well, and Leonardo sits quietly and watches us all.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Artist Trading Cards hit the Mainstream in Dick Blick's 2010-2011 Studio Catalog

Artist Trading Cards, or ATC for short, is the brainchild of Zurich artist M.Vänçi Stirnemann who originated the concept in 1996 and created the first trading party in 1997 in Switzerland. Originally intended to be traded by artist to artist in person, this mini art form has morphed into a world-wide phenomenon with beaucoup variations and ameliorations. On, the handmade marketplace online, they are often referred to as ACEOs ("Art Cards, Editions and Originals") because they are primarily for sale rather than traded artist to artist. Plus, they include prints rather than being all original, handmade works of art.
I have my own collection going on and prefer to buy only originals. However, I have mistakenly purchased prints from time to time. Click here for an interesting discussion of originals vs. copies by two creators of ATCs. I create and sell my own as well, but, sadly, I haven't yet found any artists willing to trade them with me. I love the idea of artists trading little miniature paintings with each other. Many of the artists on Etsy, including myself, who create ACEOs belong to a group called the "ACEO Etsy Street Team." Browse this wonderful blog for links to many miniature works of art.

I was pleased to find a two-page spread in the 2010-2011 Dick Blick Studio catalog featuring ATC supplies for artists. Log onto or call them at 800-828-4548 for your very own copy of this BIG catalog of art supplies. Happy Creating!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ABC NEWS NOW - New "Little" TV shows like "POD" "BELIEFS" and more

I've turned to ABCNEWSNOW on Fios channel 108 in Venice (click here to see if it's available where you are) by accident a couple of times this week while looking for hurricane updates and happily discovered a new concept in TV programing with short segments promoted as "good to know." So far I've seen short programs called "Beliefs" "Pod" (6 min, 10 min, 20 min) and many others, with interviews of Michael Beckwith, Pema Chödrön, hot new bands, advice on organizing computer disc space with external hard drives and offsite backups. Amazing.

It reminds me of Wisdom TV from the early 2000's which offered 24-hour programming of New Age Expos, full seminars by authors such as Shakti Gawain, Wayne Dyer, and in the place of commercials were little meditations, health tips, and new thought people sharing their definitions of wisdom and other words. One of my favorite Wisdom TV programs was "Conversations with Remarkable People" hosted by Chantal Westerman. Her guests included Robert Bly, Robert Muller, and other fabulous people. Wisdom TV was heavenly. I have several 9hr videos recorded which I view from time to time. I treasure them even though they are showing signs of wear from repeated viewings.

Currently we have which is similar to Wisdom TV but different in that it's primarily authors and guests who are published by Louise Hay's Hay House Publishing. Nothing wrong with that. I religiously listen to the weekly Abraham-Hicks shows aired on However wonderful this online radio programming is, it's not the same as the brief years of Wisdom TV broadcasting.

With Hay House Radio, combined with the new programming from ABC News Now, we might be getting closer to offering new options in media programming. Maybe it's a new trend and other networks will follow suit. I love that the programs are super short - probably because they can be viewed from mobile phones.

Here's their sound bite: "ABC News NOW is an entire network devoted to better living with smart, empowering info you can use everyday From high-tech to high fashion, going green to keeping lean, ABC News NOW is always GOOD TO KNOW." Check it out and enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Support the Thoreau Society: Buy Heartful Art Gifts of Magnets and Posters with Henry David Thoreau Quotations at The Thoreau Society Shop at Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1866) was an American author, philosopher, and naturalist who was part of the Transcendentalist movement. He is best known for his "Civil Disobedience" essay, which he wrote after spending a night in jail for not paying the poll tax; and for his two-year retreat to Walden Pond, detailed in his second book, Walden, or Life in the Woods. Established in 1941, The Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author. The Society has long contributed to the dissemination of knowledge about Thoreau by collecting books, manuscripts, and artifacts relating to Thoreau and his contemporaries, by encouraging the use of its collections, and by publishing articles in two Society periodicals. The Thoreau Society Shop at Walden Pond has been offering Raphaella's Heartful Art magnets, posters and prints for over ten years and now they are for sale in their online shop as well.When planning your holiday gift list, be sure to include the inspirational quotes of Henry David Thoreau and the colorful art of Raphaella Vaisseau on Heartful Art magnets and posters. Browse Heartful Art's online store as well, click the search box and enter "Thoreau" and dozens of products will appear. They are all available at the Shop at Walden Pond. Call them at 978-287-5477 to order or if you don't see what you're looking for.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Let Go and Let God inspirational art print by Raphaella Vaisseau in Femail Creations Catalog - Gifts to Celebrate & Inspire

I am so happy to have my art in the Femail Creations Gift Catalog. Raphaella's art print "Let Go and Let God" is a wonderful present for persons in recovery, people celebrating a birthday, or anyone wanting to feel the sweetness of spiritual surrender (including yourself).

Bravo Hisashi for Great Cat Pictures on Flickr

originally uploaded by hisashi_0822.
I love kitties. They are all adorable. Thanks to hisashi_0822 for this great photo.

SpiritMama Flickr pics of Monarch Butterfly Hatching

My friend Waxela owns SpiritMama and sells her creations on Etsy. Like Mambo the Clown, a handmade, 18" one-of-a-kind art doll. She also makes cake toppers and bamboo clothing. I met her years ago at an art and music festival in Ashland, Oregon.

She took some amazing pictures of a butterfly hatching and taking its first flight. Here's what she wrote about her experience on her blog:

"I spent my childhood summers catching insects, frogs, turtles, salamanders, toads, minnows, and the occasional snake. I still have some of that curious little explorer in me, so when I found a tiny monarch caterpillar a few weeks ago I was delighted at the idea of watching the amazing metamorphosis happen before my eyes. I was a diligent caretaker, bringing fresh milkweed leaves to my growing caterpillar every day. The payoff happened on the morning when I woke to find the chrysalis about to break open. I took it outside, and this is what I saw..." - Waxela, SpiritMama

Check out SpiritMama's Flickr slideshow of a monarch butterfly hatching here and her blog here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Home made pizza on the menu tonight :)

Here's a picture of my little mini home-made pizza from a few weeks ago. I'm having an encore tonight. It is as delicious as it is cute! Wish you were here to share it with. I'll be thinking of Venice, Italy while I eat my pizza in Venice, Florida. And, I'll give a toast to you wherever you are.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two Minutes of a Florida Sky - Blissful Sunset Bathes My World in Color

I almost missed it. Luckily I saw the hues in my yard out the window and went outside just in time to have two minutes of visual bliss.
Click images for more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lotus Blossoms and Yoga

My art is so popular with people who do yoga that I'm inspired to get in the groove. I did attend one sunrise session on Venice Beach last fall with my friend, Susanne. And, years ago, my friend Anja and I did the "Salutation to the Sun" in the mornings outside Peter M.'s motorhome on our cross-country folk-singing tour en route to a concert in LA. I didn't know it was yoga then, but I enjoyed the ritual.

Present day. I've been searching the web and the library for books to enlighten me. Like, what does it all mean? Today I met the owner of Yoga SRQ on Pineapple in Sarasota and she gave me a coupon for a free week of yoga which I'm going to use next week. More on that magical occurrence later (meeting her and stumbling upon her yoga studio). Know that it was a fortuitous meeting which led from one thing to another. Like I said, more on that later.

In my search for information about all things yoga, I felt an overwhelming urge to paint a lotus blossom. I did a google search and voila! I discovered something wonderful: the water lilies in the lily pond by the library at lotus (click here to see my Aug 4 post) !!! They have the little seed pods. I was so curious when I was photographing them because I hadn't ever seen the little pods before. They are so beautiful. I'm excited. I can't wait to begin my artistic journey into the world of lotus.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peace Heart and Other New Posters by Raphaella Vaisseau

I've recently created new larger versions of 5x7 posters already online, such as these favorite sayings: Speak your mind even if your voice shakes - Maggie Kuhn; Think big, pay cash - Ralph Waldo Emerson; Listen to Girls; Think Happy Thoughts; and Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful - Mae West.
     And here is the "Peace Heart" poster which created itself it seems to me. I had been doing something else and didn't realize the word "peace" was still grouped with the background of another painting. Once I saw the word on top of this beautiful heart, I loved it immediately. I hope you enjoy it as well.

     I'm continuing to focus on completion, happiness, and clarity. To that list, I'm adding the essence of Fresh Starts and New Beginnings. (I should mail myself a copy of "A Life Wish" to celebrate.)

I'm organizing paperwork and digital files (I have a little Seagate FreeAgent external hard drive to facilitate this process). I'm finding projects to complete and discovering infor mation I thought was long lost. Each action helps to build on the next. Through it all, the Florida sun is shining and my foster kittens (and my two cats) share love and beauty with me. The little foster kittens are recovering from spay and neuter surgery and await the arrival of their new adoptive families. I love them and take a dozens of pictures a day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clarity and Lavender Fields in Provence

Clarity. My new favorite word. I see clearly. Life is free from obscurity and easy to understand. I have clarity in my vision. Ahh. I like it.

I was thinking today of the Lavender Fields of Provence and envisioning them pulsing with an aura of golden light. And me standing on the road with my bicycle and a person of mystery. We are enjoying the day, enjoying the view, enjoying each other in this far away place. It's fun to see myself there in my visions. Here ... at the 12th century Senanque Abbey north of Gordes (photo by Jordi Brió).

Lavender fields are often bordered by golden bands of grain. That fits with my vision of the pulsing golden aura. But wait. Maybe that's inside of me.

Standing tall now. Happy. Alive and well. On an adventure with my mystery person. Traveling the world. Enjoying life. In Joy. Seeing clearly. Loving life.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Contemplating Happiness

In my organizing and dusting bookcases I came across a book by Richard Carlson "You Can Be Happy No Matter What." I've never read it but there is was on my bookshelf. I've been contemplating happiness for weeks in preparation for the upcoming Landmark Education Seminar by the same title, starting in September. This might be a good time to read a chapter or two.

His opening paragraph goes like this: "Happiness! It's something that all of us want but that few of us ever achieve. It is characterized by feelings of gratitude, inner peace, satisfaction, and affection for ourselves and for others. Our most natural state of mind is one of contentment and joy." 
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Watching, Reading and Writing

I've been making a conscious effort to select lighter fare for my viewing and reading material. The other day I watched a 1999 movie with Diane Lane set in 1969: A Walk on the Moon. The sets alone were worth the ride, taking me back to the days of my youth when my family took summer vacations to cabins in Northern Minnesota. The cabin in this movie, however, was near Woodstock, NY. Nostalgia was rampant for me in the inner turmoil of the characters, the dynamics of the relationships and the visual reminders of my childhood and my own hippie days gone by. I loved, loved, loved it. The movie and my memories.

I found a book by Jennifer Weiner, "In Her Shoes" that was a far cry from the mysteries and suspense I have always preferred. It took a bit of getting used to because, instead of the fast escape into a world of an action thriller, the conversation of the book was familial, emotional and pushed some buttons inside me. Although not always easy to read, it was real. Through the pages I felt a sweet kinship with my sister and how our lives have weaved in and out through the years.

Both the movie and the book inspired me to stay the course to explore new books, movies, experiences, and see what opens up for me in the process. For one, reading and watching "slice of life" books and movies inspires me to write more.

My homework for this half of August is completion. I've taken on little things to finish (since the big things seem too big to complete at the moment). Easy things. Then perhaps, one day soon, I'll once again set the course to finishing the many books I have in process. For now, it's one step at a time. Breathe in, breathe out. Clean the linen closet, make a sales call, fill an order, make the bed. One thing at a time. My gift to myself each day is to write a short piece to share with you here in this blog. We all have stories to tell. Each one valuable to the whole.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Sun is Back - I'm so Happy

How did I ever live in Oregon where the rainy/cloudy season lasted three months? (No offense to all the lovely people who live in the Pacific Northwest.) This past week in Florida we had only FOUR days with cloudy, overcast skies and I was sure I was under the influence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - wait a minute ... SAD is depression in the WINTER! It's August! Oh oh. Must have been something else.

The rain I didn't mind so much. Thunderstorms are energizing. However, the incessant gray was a challenge for me this week. But, hooray! Today I was again in Florida bliss, loving the colors of the grass and flowers outside, and loving the light shining through my window on my art while I worked.

It's Friday night and I'm getting up early for the Farmer's Market tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Beauty of Nature's Artwork

I've been watching this plant grow over the past year, busting out of it's little pot and spilling seeds all over the ground making baby plants and creating a whole little garden on a tiny plot of earth by my front door. More photos are on my Flickr page.

-Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dance as if no one's watching - An Irish Proverb and more

I've been wanting to redesign this magnet for years. Likewise, the longer version (which is more of a popularized modern-day version).

It rained in Venice again today. Making art that looks like sunshine and happy days was a lift to my spirits as the overcast skies continued through the afternoon.

I also painted a new abstract version of Namaste for a client in Hong Kong. Perhaps these new paintings will brighten your day as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

All Nature's wildness - a quote by John Muir

Thunderstorms in Florida seem louder than anywhere else I’ve lived. It’s like the sky is closer here – twenty feet up instead of twenty miles. I have no idea if that’s real or an illusion of sound. I’ll probably get used to all the racket the longer I live here. For now, I’m enjoying it and marveling, once again, at the power of Mother Nature.

I haven't experienced a Florida hurricane yet. I hear we have a few days warning for that, unlike an earthquake.

I've been in a major earthquake (Northridge, Jan. 17, 1994). A frightening experience, to say the least. The sound of glass breaking all around me, and the gushing water from the toilet that had been dislodged from the pipes - all the furniture on the floor, doors blocked. Oh my.

My house was not nearly as damaged as my daughter's. She was closer to the epicenter. Days and months of aftershocks continued that experience. Earthquakes (the little tremors that made the lights shake) had been kind of "fun" up until then. After that day, I gained a new respect for power of nature and forevermore, I take preparedness seriously.
One summer day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a waterspout (mini-tornado) hit our beach blanket at Lake Calhoun and lifted my daughter and her friend up and deposited them down on the sand again about 30 feet away. That was the most direct hit I've had at the hands of Mother Nature. I watched it form across the lake and travel on the surface of the water on a path that looked like it was aiming right for us. It picked up a sailboat on the shore before touching down on our blanket. Sand was drilled into my scalp. The entire beach population fled like wild banshees running for our lives.

Ah, memories. John Muir's quote (above) captures Nature's majesty for me. Having lived in the SF Bay area for over eight years, I walked in the redwood forests of Muir Woods many times. It is a cathedral of a place where I always felt a communion with this man's spirit. John Muir founded The Sierra Club and was responsible for preserving large nature areas and western forests. He petitioned Congress for the National Parks Bill (which passed in 1899), establishing both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Read more about John Muir here (including a visit with Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1871). I remain eternally grateful for his gift of preservation of our earthly wilderness lands as well as his expression of beauty, passion, and love in his writing.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Old New Age

My friend Anja is organized. It’s one of the things she does well. It comes natural to her. It’s deliberate and doesn’t seem to be an effort. She’s a writer and has kept journals for decades. Newly retired, she’s continuing a process started a few years back to transcribe and organize her journals. Inspired by her, I took out a few of my own journals and leafed through the pages. Interesting. I found a journal this morning that I started two days after my spiritual awakening (which occurred on November 15, 1975).

Yesterday I stumbled upon the “Chrystalized Ahava528 Water” video (see 8-7-10 post). Throughout the day, I thought about my journey as an awakened being. In the beginning, in 1975, I thought the New Age was bursting through into reality instantly. Every day was like a lotus flower blooming in my heart, revealing greater spiritual understanding, and revealing the mysteries of the ages to me.

Gradually, as ten years passed, I came to think the New Age would manifest within individual people and not en masse. I lived my life with consciousness and continued my inner unfoldment, but I gradually dropped out of the New Age scene. I moved away from active outward communion with awakening beings, believing all beings awakening, conscious or not. I focused instead on my emerging art business. In 1999, while living the artist’s life in Ashland, Oregon, I attended a weekend festival and camped out with the other artists and festival goers and was amazed to experience the New Age was alive and well in the hearts and minds of the young people. A year later I moved to the SF Bay Area and opened my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito which felt, for the six years of its existence, that it was the perfect blend of the outward manifestation of my inner spiritual awakening.

Now, another decade has passed, and the mysteries continue to unfold, both within myself and in the outer world. I am pleasantly surprised to notice the attention to frequency and sound in the mainstream society. I think about how it was for me to live as the essence of the blooming lotus flower in those early days in the late 70s when I lived at Aurora Ashram with 18 like-minded souls on a spiritual journey. I’d like to recreate the freshness of thought and enthusiasm for possibility I had then. Sometimes it is easy for me to slip into the cliché of “been there, done that” when I hear about people discovering things we were doing thirty years ago as if it were new today. However, rather than stand in separation, I’d like to join in the celebration and participate again – on more than an inner plane. I’d like to, once again, embrace wonder and joy as a constant state of being. As I approach the coming days, I open my heart and mind to a fresh, new experience of the New Age now manifesting.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kelly Light's Ripple Project - Artists and Donors Help the Animal Victims of the Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil Spill

So far Kelly Light has facilitated over $9,000 in donations to help animal victims of the Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil Spill. "We don't have to feel helpless. We can help. Our small actions together will ripple outward," Kelly says.

Artists (me included) donate sketches which Kelly posts on the Ripples blog. People buy the art by making a donation to one of the four nonprofits listed below the instructions for making the donation. Read the whole blog to see how it works. Some of the art requires a $50 donation and some a $10 donation.

Two of my ACEO paintings sold yesterday and two more are still available .Click HERE to see the post and buy one for the cause. I plan to donate more ACEO originals in September if the project still continues. Every penny goes to the animals.

To read more about how it all began, read the School Library Journal's July 20, 2010 article by Debra Lau Whelan, "Children's Illustrators Help Save Gulf Oil Spill Wildlife Victims."

I'm honored to play a small part in this important rescue project. I appreciate Kelly Light's vision (and her time) to make a difference in our world. Bless the art, the artists and the donors who are in turn blessing the animals of the Gulf. Thanks, Kelly!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lily Pond at the Jacaranda Library in Venice, Florida

I've been driving by this beautiful lily pond for months and finally had my camera in the car and took a few moments to contemplate the splendor of the place.
Lilies, beautiful lilies. I was in Giverny and walked around the pond where Claude Monet painted his beautiful art: Water Lilies in 1906, and Bridge Over a Pond of Lilies in 1899. A much quieter place than this. Yet, I can touch calmness here.
It's something I love about living in Florida: that anywhere, at any moment, even in my back yard, I am touched by awesome beauty. The storm clouds last night looked like the sky in my painting, Lavender Clouds garden.
Today, I was updating my website with all my magnets in FRENCH!!! While files were uploading, I gazed out my studio window and feasted on the lush, green scene in front of my eyes. Even the weathered privacy fence behind the shrubbery looked like a piece of art to me. The banana tree has recovered from the freezing cold of last winter, and the landscape crew keeps the grass and bushes nicely trimmed. Ahhh! I am blessed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Prayer for Us by Raphaella included in a New Book by Susanne M. Alexander: All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips & Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now

Susanne M. Alexander is a Relationship and Marriage Coach, and President of Marriage Transformation, LLC, based in Cleveland, Ohio ( Her newest book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now, is 430 pages of thought-provoking discourse offered by experts "passionate about creating excellent marriages."

In the chapter, Becoming Parents and Rearing Children, and in the essay, "Find and Discuss Your Hidden Parenting Beliefs" by Sandra Dye, couples are encouraged to uncover hidden parenting beliefs as a preparatory step to marriage. She offers a survey of parental thinking and beliefs for couples to use as self-discovery and then as a catalyst for determining the parenting style both are most comfortable with.Of course, couples are encouraged to continue examining and discussing parenting beliefs over time as "new life experiences and new stressors tend to open up your belief systems, making room for meaningful changes."

In the chapter, Growing in Love, and in the essay, "The Journey of Love and Marriage: Know the Stages and Set Your Priorities," Rita DeMaria, Ph.D. offers a wealth of information about the journey of relationship, not just the initial love stage. In her writing, she identifies seven stages she uses in her work with couples as a senior staff member and Director of Relationship Education at Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. She offers tips, recommendations, topics for consideration, and helpful practices such as encouraging couples to nurture romance between them through every stage of their building relationship.

In the chapter, Creating a Partnership, and in the essay, "Gender Equality in Marriage" Susanne M. Alexander coaches couples to consider new perspectives and choices when discussing what roles and responsibilities each will have in their future home. "It may take time for a man to accept that sharing housework does not diminish his masculinity," she writes, "and doing housework is not a 'favor' he is doing for his wife. A woman may also take time to understand that repairing an appliance does not make her less feminine, nor is it a 'favor' she is doing for her husband.You are both simply doing the acts of service that move your family forward."

In the chapter, Preparing As Individuals, and in the essay, "Creating an Intimate, Loving Relationship," Margaret Paul, Ph.D. writes about, "When we are loving to ourselves, we are loving to others" and "When we are loving to others, we are loving to ourselves." So true. One of my little magnetic creations, Loving you is blessing me, can help us all remember that.

I'm honored to have my song blessing, "A Prayer For Us," included in the final chapter of this important book. Written years ago as a relationship blessing, the song has been included in many marriage ceremonies. In the third-person form, "A Wedding Prayer," it was read by the father-of-the-bride at the wedding of Jimmy Carter's grandson in 2001. They found it as a framed artwork on the walls of my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito, California. For permission to include it in your ceremony, contact Raphaella at 941-993-7001 or by e-mail at In Heartful Art's online store, it's available for purchase in either form, A Prayer For Us, and A Wedding Prayer. As a mailable poster in three sizes (5x7, 8-1/2x11, and 11x14) or as framed art for the wall (8x8 and 8x10), it's a nice engagement or wedding gift to accompany Susanne M. Alexander's book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now.

Another of my blessings (again, in two versions) that makes for a treasured wedding gift for your family or each other is, "It's who you are that I love" and "It's who you are that we love." Originally written as a baby blessing, people started buying it for their older children and then for each other, thus the many versions. I dubbed it the "Parent's Blessing for Grown-Up Kids" because I believe it's what we all want to hear from our parents no matter how old we are. And, as a spouse-to-spouse and partner-to-partner blessing, it affirms unconditional support and loving for each other.

I hope you'll buy and give this important book to couples considering marriage. Although, as Susanne herself states in the chapter, Appreciating Diversity, "The selections do not even come close to covering the full range of diversity and religious or cultural complexity in the world," the book is packed with valuable tips and advice for individuals and couples to apply to their own situation. When I was privileged to be in the room with the Dali Lama one afternoon in Minneapolis, the question was asked of him, "Why are there so many religions?" His answer, as I recall, was simply, "Because there are so many people. One religion could not possibly fit every person." So too, the prospect of creating a lasting and fulfilling relationship that produces a marriage worth having must be tailor fit to each situation. Each couple can use the wisdom of the experts in this book to contemplate, discuss, and build on, and create the marriage of their dreams.

Susanne M. Alexander is the author or co-author of All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom To Help You Get Ready Now; Can We Dance? Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship; Marriage Can Be Forever—Preparation Counts!; Pure Gold: Encouraging Character Qualities in Marriage; Happy at Home, Happy at Work; and A Perfectly Funny Marriage cartoon book. She has conducted workshops for individuals and couples in the United States, Canada, and China. You may contact her at 800-501-6682 or