Monday, December 26, 2011

Review of 2011 and Declaration for 2012 in the life of Raphaella Vaisseau

Continuing the focus of the past few years, 2011 has been about reducing debt while developing new and more profitable streams of income and streamlining business practices. Intention and focus paid off for me in 2011. It was a good year. I succeeded at building a more solid foundation for my work in the world, enjoyed time with family and friends, and explored more of the beautiful Florida environment where I now live.

As my new foundation continues to support me going forward, I will create more space in my life for creativity, new artistic expression, and expanded opportunities for sharing my art with others to enhance their lives. Again this coming year, I will be expanding and simplifying at the same time.

2012 is a Year of Freedom. As I stand in knowingness and act on my inner guidance, I will step forward into greater expression and fulfillment of my life’s work. I am committed to manifesting my greatness in the form of my art, writing, my being, and my expression.

We are all great. We all have greatness. This year I have become more aware that it’s up to me to let my light shine more brightly than I’ve dared to before. In claiming my own authority, as stated in my ministerial blessing from 1978, I’m confident and more ready than ever to speak up, step out, and be visible. No more waiting until “whenever.” My focus this year will be on being courageous, taking action, listening to my inner guidance, and staying in alignment with my inner being on a day by day, moment to moment basis. My emotions will be my guide.

“Life is supposed to be fun,” says Abraham-Hicks. That’s where I’ll be living in 2012. Joy will be my song.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Can Do It! Tampa 2011 - Part Two: Louise Hay et al

November 11-13, 2011 I attended an I Can Do It! Hay House Conference in Tampa, Florida with two of my friends Joanie and Elaine. (Note: If you missed Part One of my experience of the Conference, read about it here: I Can Do It! Tampa 2011: Part One: Marianne Williamson.)

Wayne Dyer gave the keynote presentation on the first evening in which he encouraged us to treasure our magnificence, live from the end, and assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled. Live from the place as if it were already an accomplished fact.

Much of what was said served to remind me of what I already knew to be true. Yet it was exhilarating to be in the presence of many of my favorite authors – people who are my role models, people who to my way of thinking are walking their talk. Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson have a new book out, You Can Create An Exceptional Life. They were adorable as they talked about mirror work (positive self talk while looking at yourself in the mirror), and shared hints and tips of how they live their lives. One of my favorite take-away affirmations is one Louise has had in her bathroom (directly across from the toilet) for decades, "I bless and prosper everyone in my world and everyone in my world blesses and prospers me."

Doreen Virtue is always a pleasure to experience. Sweet vessel of light, she works with angels assisting people. You can participate in her weekly call-in show on every Wednesday or listen to rebroadcasts throughout the week.

Saturday evening's keynote presentation was from Gregg Braden, "bridging science and spirituality." He talked of history, assumptions of science, Heart Math and the Global Coherence Initiative and purported that "strong collective emotion has a measurable impact on the earth's geomagnetic field." The main point I came away with from this session is that cooperation is key. Choose love. Choose cooperation.

Carolyn Myss opened Day 3 of the Conference and spoke of prayer and grace. Her prayer is, "God, give me the courage to see You in everybody." And in difficult situations, she prays "Keep me in a field of grace." The graces include 1) a sense of Reverence (my life is holy), 2) Piety (see the divine in others), 3)Understanding (having empathy), 4) Fortitude (courage to do what I know in my heart is the truth), 5) Counsel (not to betray myself), 6) Knowledge (sacred truth, revelation), and 7) Wisdom (wise choices, holy force moving through me).

Debbie Ford was next, and is the author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, which I can personally vouch for as a life altering read. I first experienced her transformational work in a televised workshop on Wisdom TV around 2001, so I was very excited about being in the room with her in Tampa. First she shared the opening of her movie, The Shadow Effect. Then she walked us through a few exercises so the participants could have an experience of embracing the shadow, and thus having a breakthrough. Her belief is that "when we fall in love with our dark side, it becomes a part of our light." There is only love, she says.

Already filled with inspiration and insight from the motivating speakers I journeyed on. Joan Borysenko's latest book is about burnout and appropriately titled Fried. She listed stages of burnout and steps you can take to recover. If you're emotionally exhausted, working too hard, have diminished self care, and start isolating, you may be in burnout and this book could help. A take-away for me was to ask myself what revitalizes me and put what I love first. Figure out a way to fit it in. Doing this will increase the total amount of energy that I have. She suggested we be mindful of what the energy of aliveness feels like and do more of that. Ah, more food for the soul.

Last but not least was Marianne Williamson, who gave the final keynote talk. It was with Marianne that my I Can Do It! Conference began on Friday, and I was eager to hear more from her. She began with a prayer to be a vessel of love and then explained, "Just as the absence of light is darkness, the absence of love is fear." She urged us to be willing to see things differently and accept that everything people say to us is either love or a call for love. Interesting, she said, that the word communicate has the word commune within it. Her daily prayer each morning is "for the happiness of everyone I interact with today." Make everything spiritual. If you're going to make a call, make it to be a blessing for the person you're calling. Send love to them in advance. Ask self, "Where am I not as loving as I could be? Where am I not as much of a blessing as I could be?" Then have a change of heart. Say to God, "What can I do for you?" Marianne ended with asking the audience to turn to each other and repeat Namaste as "The love in me salutes the love in you." She encouraged us to do this throughout each day as we walk in the world. So that is my intention. That, and incorporating all of the wisdom and insight I gained in this fabulous 3-day experience with these great teachers into my daily life.

-Raphaella Vaisseau

Monday, November 28, 2011

Apache, My Calico Cat 04-24-1996 to 11-28-2011

Apache joined me and Muffy, my other cat, in 1996 and we became a family of three. We lived in West Hollywood, California then. A year later, we drove up to Ashland, Oregon to begin my life as a full-time artist. They were the Heartful Art cats, and today is the end of an era. Muffy passed into Spirit during the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, shortly before moving to the Gulf Coast of Florida later that month. Apache passed from my arms into the Heart of God this afternoon. During the past 17 years, my cats and I moved dozens of times and through it all they were by my side and adapted to whatever came next. From Ashland we went to the San Francisco Bay Area. What loyal creatures they are. Big hearts. Faithful companions. Soft fur. Love in a purr. I will miss Apache most in the nighttime when she came close to be with me. I send my love and light for the highest good to both of my beloved felines, but at this time, especially to Apache who is free now in Spirit. Namaste.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Can Do It! Tampa 2011 - Part One: Marianne Williamson

As promised, I Can Do It! Tampa energized my mind, body and spirit. I attended the 3-day conference with my friends, Joanie and Elaine. We stayed at the Marriott, across the street from the Tampa Convention Center where we enjoyed a 12th floor view from our balcony and comfy beds. Happy for our girlfriend time together and anticipating enlightenment, we attended keynote speakers, various conference workshops, and breakout sessions, and rejoiced in the inspiration available to us. After each event, we shared our insights and breakthroughs over salad, oatmeal, or rice curry and vegetables.

My three-day journey began on 11-11-11 with an all-day workshop with Marianne Williamson. Her newest book, A Course in Weight Loss, offered sound advice, practical exercises and plenty of revelations to me personally. I immediately saw the wisdom of embracing healthier eating, and intend to work through the book’s 21 chapters on my own, or with a small group of women in Venice starting in January 2012.

Marianne taught us that “every moment gives us an opportunity to rise to the occasion of our higher selves” and challenged us to consider “any thought that is not love is fear” and “any thought that does not support my perfection is an attack.” Throughout the three days of the conference this theme in different words was interwoven from various speakers as a deeper understanding of the importance of self love.

That first morning in Tampa, as I listened and participated in the Course in Weight Loss exercises, I felt a shift within me. My journey of self-love and conscious healing of my inner child began forty years ago in the seventies when I found a path to spiritual awakening. Yet, here in this workshop with Marianne Williamson, another layer of onion was being peeled; another petal of the perpetually opening lotus blossom opened, and I glimpsed further within.

Already the price of the conference admission was worth it, and I had just begun.
-Raphaella Vaisseau
P.S. Click here for slide show of my 3-day experience at I Can Do It! Tampa, November  11-13, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shop for Holiday Gifts from Artists Around the World

Here's a selection of art I've discovered on celebrating amber, gold, brown, metal, wood, glass, and all earthly treasures.
Click HERE to view it live on etsy or click on individual pictures within the Treasury to view selected items. Have fun!!! Of course, I also have my own Heartful Art on Etsy as well. -Raphaella Vaisseau

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Fe Bailey PSA from Tropical Healing: What can you do to reduce plastic consumption?

Fe Bailey's new Tropical Healing PSA video (below), "What Can You Do To Reduce Plastic Consumption?" states that "we all have the choice, power, and responsibility to reduce plastic consumption." This is something I have been more and more committed to in recent months since I learned that recycling simply isn't taking care of the problem. Conscious people have been carefully recycling for decades, believing we are making a positive difference in our world. Yet much of the plastic we think is being recycled is not. Some is down cycled or simply shipped to third world countries.

I discovered this while listening to an interview with Annie Leonard about her book, The Story of Stuff. Here's a link to one of  Ms. Leonard's videos: The Story of Bottled Water.

As this relates to the Tropical Healing PSA below, The Story of Bottled Water also answers the question, What can you do? In the notes below the video is this suggestion: "Before the bottled water craze hit, we took it for granted that public fountains were part of any public building: schools, offices, sports stadiums and parks. Let's bring them back! In the U.S., many state building codes mandate that there be one source of public water for every 1000 people the building has capacity for. Why not subsidize public water fountains as part of local efforts to build green?"

As for me, personally, what I've done (am doing) is using cloth bags for groceries, and I fill glass water bottles to have in my fridge and to bring with me instead of buying the little disposable plastic bottles. It takes an extra effort and planning ahead, but it's working for me and I feel good about it. Next step for me: I will discontinue using plastic merchandise bags even if they claim to be made with recycled bottles, and switch instead to paper bags.

Please share your thoughts and comments about this and your actions and ideas about reducing plastic consumption in your life. Bravo to Fe Bailey and her crew for making this film, and to Annie Leonard for her work on reducing consumption in many areas of our lives. Thank you to both of these women for their proactive contributions to making a better planet for us all.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Monday, October 31, 2011

Margaret Mead Never Doubt Quote as Reminder of People Power

One of my favorite Heartful Art creations, always a beautiful gift for teachers, service volunteers, and retirees, and people making a positive difference, this famous quote speaks a timely message.

Contemplate the words of famous anthropologist, Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Now, as so many people from so many places rise up to speak their minds, this affirmational and motivational quote is apropos for our time. Margaret Mead's words can act as a catalyst for conversation.

I encourage myself and all of us to listen to each other. Share what we believe. Speak our truth. Kindly. In the way of Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." We are the world. We can make a positive difference in our own lives, in the lives of others, and in our world.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Recovery Prayer Magnets by Raphaella Vaisseau 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.26.11 (RV Day 8)

I spent my art creation time today (for my 30 Days of Get Your Art On commitment), creating new art for three great prayers of recovery. The most well know is The Serenity Prayer (right), which is celebrated around the world. Although I already have many versions of this beautiful prayer, I was inspired this morning to paint new art for a little 2x3 magnet.

The other two are less well known outside of the AA 12-Step Program. Both are shown here as 3x3 magnets. I painted all three prayers with wreathes of simple flowers and vines, to give the words plenty of room. Most of my Heartful Art is available for wholesale. You might also be interested to know that sometimes organizations arrange to bring my products to retreats and special events on a short-term consignment basis. Let me know if you have an upcoming event you'd like to discuss.
I make these recovery prayers as posters and matted prints as well as these magnets. Browse my main online store for many recovery slogans and inspirations. Words are powerful tools to assist us in getting through challenging situations and to support in reaching our goals. If you are in a 12-step program, these magnets make great gifts for sponsors, family, and friends.

With Summer behind us, we go forward into Fall. I understand that the autumn leaves are brilliantly colored up in the Northern US and along the Canadian border. I do miss Autumn. I long to get a whiff of fresh cool air of a northern fall day and hear the crunch of dry leaves underfoot as I walk. Perhaps next year. Although I do take one day at a time, I'm tentatively planning a visit to Minnesota a year from now, a trip which is long overdue. 2011 has been a fairly good year for me and Heartful Art, with steady improvement toward my goals. If things continue along this path of recovery (on many levels), I believe 2012 will be even better. I hope so. For me, and for you as well.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Mixed Media Art Cards by Raphaella Vaisseau for 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.25.11 (RV Days 6 and 7)

What a week I've just finished! Big wholesale orders, new gallery possibilities, keeping up with inventory from dozens of consignment vendors, plus keeping my word to myself by doing 30 min of new art per day for the "30 Days of Get Your Art On" project.

I'm learning to do the creating new art thing in the morning, so I'm not blogging in my sleep. Leaving it to the end of the day has been challenging. Yesterday I couldn't do it first because Saturdays I am up at 5am to get to the Venice Farmers Market early and have my booth set up before daybreak.

So yesterday I fudged a little. I did my 30 minutes before the end of the day, but I did not stay up an extra hour to scan, post to Etsy, blog, and post links to facebook and twitter. I'm doing that now instead. My day of rest will have to wait a week, or at least until I ship the orders I'm still working on today (and tomorrow, and the next day). Nevertheless, I must say, even though this commitment has added a new pressure to my already pressured life as an artist, I'm loving the creative aspect of making new art every day.

I am gearing up to spending my 30 minutes a day on bigger paintings that have been sitting in various stages of creation in my studio for weeks. Some, I must confess, have been on my studio walls (and floor) for months.

Presenting two new ACEOs from Day 6 "Sticks" and Day 7 "Respect Women" of the 30 Days project. Click here to see all my original artist trading cards in my Etsy store. They are OOAK (one-of-a-kind) and when they're gone, they're gone. Maybe some day I'll start selling ACEO prints but for now, they are all original creations of art. They are the same size as a baseball card, 2.5" x 3.5" and they're affordable and adorable. Of course, they can be framed as wall art, but they're also collectable since artists from all over the world are creating them and selling them on Etsy. Browse the ACEtsy Street Team blog to discover more artists making art cards. Have fun. Buy art. Share it with others.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Brother's Birthday and 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.23.11 (Raphaella Vaisseau Day 5)

September 23, 1953 is the day my little brother was born. His name was Rick. Although remembering him is not exclusive to this day, every year on September 23rd, I celebrate his life.

For my 30 minutes of creating art today I continued working on the new grid I started a few days ago. I'll post it again when it's complete.

Meanwhile, here's a print of a flower I painted a decade ago. "Tiger Lily" seems like a nice remembrance flower for my sweet angel brother.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sun and Moon by Raphaella Vaisseau for 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.22.11 (RV - Day 4)

"Sun and Moon" is my latest ACEO (artist trading card). It represents my love for our earth, and our benevolent celestial bodies, the sun and moon. A continual source of wonder and amazement, I honor their place in our sky.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

THREE ACEO - 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.21.11 (Raphaella Vaisseau - Day 3)

On my third day of "30 Days of Get Your Art On" I am celebrating the number 3. Here's a little original art card that I painted today and named "THREE". It's watercolor on Fabriano watercolor paper and measures 2.5" x 3.5" in the ACEO tradition.

To me, the number three stands for expression. It represents a quest for discovery, an exploration, a constant learning, growing, and a commitment to experiencing the fullness of life. It teaches us to use what works for us, and let go of what doesn't. The quest it encourages is to keep true to one's path with the intention of knowing ("to know that you know that you know"). Knowing from that true place inside what is right and true for you - for each one of us.

I am more certain every day of something I wrote years ago: "It is in being true to myself that I am of most use to others. It is in expressing the joy of my own heart that I am open to hold and behold the hearts of others. It is in seeing my own beauty that I am able to experience the magnificence of others." - Raphaella Vaisseau

We each have our part to play in the dance of life. As we learn to be true to our own self-expression we gain strength to discover, develop, and express our spiritual gifts.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.20.11 (Raphaella Vaisseau Day 2)

Today is Day 2 of creating art for 30 minutes a day for 30 days (Get Your Art On). I'm using the same rules Traci Bunkers listed when she originated this project:
  • I’ll make art every day for 30 days and post what I have done.
  • I don’t have to finish what ever I’m working on that day, I just have to work on something.
  • I have to work for 30 minutes, but can work longer if time permits. 
  • It doesn’t matter what I do for the art making, as long as I work on art.
  • I won’t feel guilty for taking the time to work on art and I won’t have to justify why I’m doing it.
  • I don’t have to go into detail in my post about how I did anything or what tools, materials I used (unless I want to).
Years ago I made a similar commitment to myself when I agreed to write for publication for 60 minutes a day for 30 days. I wrote up a contract with myself, signed it, and did it. The distinction "for publication" was intentional so that in this hour I would work only on projects I planned to submit to publishers. Stream of consciousness writing or journaling did not count toward my 60 minutes. It was powerful. By the end of those 30 days I had redefined myself as a writer. I enjoyed doing it, I felt transformed in the process, and I loved keeping my word to myself.

In these 30 Days of Get Your Art On I have an inner distinction as well. I plan to use these 30 minutes a day for creating art outside of my normal activities as an artist in my company, Heartful Art. Integrity will be my guide.

As you can see in the picture, today's project is unfinished. It's a work in progress. I believe it is the beginning of a grid abstract, of which I've done many. (See some of them here.) I never know what direction my art will take me as I layer the paint, since I like to paint from my heart rather than from my head. I've never before photographed (or shared!) a project at this early stage of creation. It will be interesting to see how this painting births itself and how I feel about the transparency of the process. For now, it is good.
-Raphaella Vaisseau 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Raphaella Vaisseau joined the Creative Challenge of Traci Bunkers 30 Days of Get Your Art On - 9.19.11 (RV Day 1)

One thing leads to another. Never has that been more true than now with the internet. From the ACEO Etsy Street Team blog's latest post, I clicked on Ayala Art's link to see her little painting in her Etsy shop and explore her creations, thinking I might add an ACEO to my growing collection of originals.

From there I clicked over to Ayala's blog where I noticed the title of today's post as "my 17th day of 30" - which totally got me curious. I looked around the blog and saw a button for "30 Days of Get Your Art On -" - which I clicked on right away.

Voila! Enter the magical world of Traci Bunkers. So intrigued was I that 30 minutes later I was still roaming around in her site, amazed by her artistic expression and technical savvy. I wanted to play along with her and the other artists who are in the game. I signed up, put her button on my blog, and committed to 30 min/day for 30 days of creating art and posting it here. Then I got to work creating.

Here's the result of my Day 1: "Flower Magic" a 4x6 original watercolor painting matted in an 8x10 double mat (porcelain blue core over magenta). I felt the presence of faeries as I painted, and enjoyed the swirls, ease, and flow of the petals and leaves.

It feels so good to just create. To paint. To be a part of an artistic challenge. To give myself the gift of art.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ETSY - Buying and Selling in an Artists' Marketplace Online

Have you discovered Etsy yet? I enjoy buying handmade creations of art directly from the artist so I often browse the hundred thousand shops on for friend and family gifts or to add to my collection of ACEO miniatures (Art Cards, Editions, or Originals). Also referred to as art cards or artist trading cards, ACEOs are 2.5 x 3.5 creations of art that are traded among artists or purchased by collectors. I do both.

My etsy shop is and has only a fraction of art found at my website I'm building my etsy store day by day and while I do, I'm enjoying the game that being a part of an online marketplace offers. The more I explore Etsy, the more I discover what it has to offer the handmade entrepreneur (like me). Their online labs provide educational videos, the etsy blog highlights sellers, techniques, products and more, and a new feature "shop stats" provide the sellers with marketing data to assist in getting found among the thousands of shops on Etsy. 

And then there's my personal shopping. It's entertaining to browse international shops or discover what artists are creating in towns and cities around the USA. My most recent Etsy purchase is an original ACEO from artist, Micki Wilde of The Secret Hermit based in the UK. The little treasure arrived yesterday, packaged with care. Etsy artists often package their art as creatively as the art itself. It makes it even more fun to know when I send a friend a gift I purchased on Etsy, it will likely be opened with delight. It's not a requirement to make the packaging extraordinary but it is more common than not.

This little ACEO from Micki completes the first page in my ACEO Collection Album (I use acrylic sleeves sold to protect baseball cards in a standard 3-ring binder).

Although some ACEOs are prints, I prefer to collect original art as these nine ACEOs are. The eight artists are from all over the USA and the world.

Start your own collection by entering "ACEO" or "ACEO original art" or "ATC" "ACETSY" or "art cards" in the handmade search field at Or start by taking a look at the ACEOs I have for sale in my Etsy store.

I encourage you to explore Etsy and see where your imagination takes you. It's almost September and the holidays will be here before you know it. Etsy artists await to provide you with the most creative gifts ever! - Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sudden Inspiration to Build a Kitty Shelf

I've been dreaming of building cat environments since I first read Bob Walker's book, The Cats' House years ago. I've been successful at getting various cat trees by the windows in my home, but yearned to build climbing things for my kitties. A few weeks ago I had a moment of inspiration and made a make-shift shelf for Diana who sits for hours and hours in the front lanai watching for lizards. I had two acrylic display cubes leftover from my gallery in Sausalito, and I bought the board and pole for $10 at Home Depot. I had the sisal in my garage. Voila! A kitty shelf.
If you like such things too, you'll probably love this blog, Modern Cat. Two of my favorite discoveries a la Modern Cat are Catpods and Power Towers. Enjoy! - Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, June 12, 2011

God's Living Church Tops an Extraordinary Week with Surf, Waterbirds, and Garden Flowers

What a artful week this has been, filled with new stores, art sales, and gallery possibilities, most of which stem from having Heartful Art at the Venice Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings from 8am to noon. The downtown market in Centennial Park in Venice has been exploding with energy and enthusiasm since Linda Wilson took over as our Market Manager at the end of last year.

Twice this week my customers at the market took the initiative to bring their Heartful Art purchases into their favorite stores, resulting in two new locations in Florida that now carry our motivational, life-affirming Heartful Art in their shops: Mrs. Candlewicke's Shoppe at 307 West Venice Avenue, downtown Venice (across from Bank of America), and Angel's Garden, at 1208 North 12th Avenue in Pensacola.

Another customer who visited my booth at the Venice Farmer's Market fell in love with my art. She came to my home studio this week to purchase two originals: Angelica Garden of Light, which she bought for a friend, and Tulips in the Sun, which will enjoy a spot on the wall of her young daughter's nursery. There was talk of more art and commissions in the future as she and her husband begin decorating their new home here in Venice. I am at work on a 30" x 40" watercolor masterpiece with a garden theme to include tulips, anemones, lilies of the valley, and peonys.

This morning I woke early at 5am (that's when I have to get up on market days and my inner clock now thinks it's wake-up time every other day of the week as well), made a cup of coffee and settled in to ready my current favorite light mystery novel by dog-lover author, David Rosenfelt. "Asbury Park has long been a key city on the shore," he writes, "which is how those of us from New Jersey refer to the beach." This got me thinking about the beach. And walking on the sand. And feeling the spray of the gulf on my skin, and hearing the sound of the surf.

As the sun came up and birds began chirping outside, I put down my book and I thought about going to church this morning. I've been meditating daily all week (with Abraham-Hicks "Getting Into The Vortex" cds) and I decided today it would be fun to be quiet, focus on my breathing, and go to Nature's Church.

I gathered up my binoculars, sunhat, and keys and I hopped in my beautiful van (that I love so much) and headed to Casperson Beach. Arriving at 7:30am I was surprised to see only two other humans on this whole stretch of magnificent beach. I'd never been there when the shore wasn't covered with shark-tooth-seeking people with their little wire scoops, bent over, heads down, searching for the little teeth amongst the shells at the waters edge. Having people there doesn't bother me. I enjoy witnessing families enjoying nature together in this beautiful place. However, the silence and emptiness of the beach this morning, sans humans, was lovely.

I walked alone for almost an hour, enjoying the sound of the surf and the feel of the cool wet sand sinking beneath my feet as I walked. I spotted a fairly large crab scurrying around watching me. It took refuge within the roped off area of a sea turtle's nest, knowing I couldn't go near. By the time my walk had ended, a dozen more humans had arrived. And yes, they had their wire scoops and were busy looking for sharks teeth.

On the way home from Casperson Beach, I stopped at the Venice Rookery, the reason for bringing my binoculars with me to "church." It's a small island in a pond behind the DMV where nesting water birds are protected by the Audubon Society. I don't have a good enough camera to capture the beauty of the nesting birds, but other bird lovers do. Here's a link to Steven Scott's photonaturalist blog and his pictures of birds at the Venice Rookery. My favorite image this morning, through my binoculars, was an adult great blue heron watching over a new hatchling. Adorable.

Filled with the beauty of spirit, nature, birds, sun, sand, and life in general, I returned home to continue my morning meditation by watering the gardens surrounding my home. I enjoyed the Anole lizards watching me and running from the water spray as I moved from plant to plant. I cleaned out the bird baths, and I and drank in the color of the blossoms on the garden flowers with my eyes. I enjoyed knowing the water I was showering on the plants, trees, and bushes would sink down into the ground where their roots would be nourished. All the while being mindful of my breathing in and breathing out. Just me surrounded by the beauty of our natural world.

Choosing to go to God's Green Church was a wonderful way to start the day, and a perfect way to end a magical week of art success, meditation, and opening possibilities.

May your blessings abound.
-Raphaella Vaisseau,

NOTE: If you're so inclined, you can vote for the Venice Farmers Market in the American Farmland Trust's "America's Favorite Farmers Market" contest. Here's a link to vote. If you're voting for our market, simply enter 34293 in the Market Map at the bottom of the page, click GO, and then click on the icon that pops up on the map of Venice, Florida. (There's a place to make a comment about why you're voting but you can vote without writing anything if you prefer.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paint a Picket to Help Create the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMc)

Here's another opportunity for amazing creative fun in Safety Harbor on Sunday, June 26th from 9am to noon. Todd Ramquist, Kiaralinda, and friends are creating a Safety Harbor Art and Music Center. Their latest fundraising event is to paint pickets for a fence. Read more on the flyer and at THE WEBSITE.

You can pick up your SHAMc T-shirt that day, and a hand-made wire heart as well.

Follow the progress on Facebook and/or the BLOG

Mail donations to 706 2nd St. N., Safety Harbor, FL 34695. Please make checks payable to Safety Harbor Art and Music Center or SHAMc.

Join the fun. Go do this. Bring your friends.

Laughter awaits.

Much love,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Raphaella visits Sarasota's Marie Selby Gardens at last!

A few blocks from downtown Sarasota lies the beautiful property that is Marie Selby Gardens. The history of Marie Selby and her beautiful gardens can be found on their website by clicking here.

The garden fence that borders the property looked so small from Mound Street, for years I would speed on by to go to Whole Foods on 1st, or head for Main Street to buy French bread and croissants, or go to the Burns Court area for lunch, to see a film, or an art opening. Plus, knowing the entrance fee is $17, I let almost three years go by without a visit to this beautiful place.

Now that I've been there I must emphatically tell you the $17 entrance fee is worth every penny. I, for one, can't wait to return for another day of writing, photography, poetry, art, and inspiration. It's that kind of a place. When I lived in Los Angeles, I often visited Huntington Gardens in Pasadena for the same reasons. In Minneapolis, it was the conservatory at Como Park or the beautiful Minnehaha Falls. In San Francisco, it was the redwoods of Muir Woods in Marin. In Miami, my parents and I often visit Fairchild Gardens. We plan to go again in June. Flowers and green living things, in sunlight or in the rain, always inspire me to create more beauty with art and words of my own.

My friend Patty, an artist and musician who moved to the Gulf coast of Florida around the same time as I did in 2008, bought a season's pass to another museum in town and had a guest pass for Selby Gardens for the month of May. Luckily she invited me to join her. The weather this week has been glorious, so when she called yesterday to remind me it was the day we planned to go, I put aside my work, grabbed my camera and off we went.

Approaching noon, I was hungry when we arrived so we found the garden cafe and treated ourselves to an amazing wholesome lunch. We stopped briefly at the poi pond to enjoy the ducklings, and then we walked for hours, thrilled with every turn at the beauty unfolding before our eyes. Click here to see photos from our day in paradise. Let the images be inspiration for your life and your art, whatever that may be. And walk with me in spirit as you sense the beauty in this place.
 -Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers Day 2011 in Miami - Three Magical days with Mom (and Dad)

It's so great that I live in Florida, close enough to my parents to drive over to spend time with them. It's a 3-1/2 hr. easy drive across the Everglades where I am always delighted to see the natural habitat of alligators, egrets, and Florida panthers.

I had so many Heartful Art orders to fill and get in the mail before the trip, I got a late start getting on the road after the Venice Farmers Market on Saturday. Alas, through a rainstorm with nary a car on the road through the Everglades, I made it to their house by 8pm.

By then we were all very hungry for dinner at PF Chang's. Even though the parking lot was mobbed, the handicap parking place right outside the front door was empty and waiting for us. We were blessed with kindness by the maitre d', had lovely conversations with the other families waiting in line, and eventually were shown to a booth in Ceasar's section. We enjoyed our fabulous meal and talking with our waiter Ceasar (who is in pre-deployment training on his way to future dreams of being a Navy Seal). My Dad, a veteran Marine, and our family always enjoy the chance to applaud our service personnel and wish them well.

On Mothers Day morning I went outside to greet the day and was blessed to be welcomed by a mother duck with her five ducklings. They were sweetness personified! It's a simple life when we get together these days: Breakfast on the patio, read the paper, talk about life and old times, have lunch, take a nap, share some more, give presents to Mom, cook dinner (meatballs with scalloped potatoes), play cards (Dad won), watch a movie (King's Speech - we all loved it), sleep, and do it all over again. Click here to see a few photos on Flickr.

I've been bringing my webcam on my visits so we shared a Skype call with my daughter Cate and her family in Minneapolis, and also with my sister Kathy and her daughter's family in Jordan. The video calls and the entire three day vacation was lovely. I cherish my Mom (& Dad), and I'm so appreciative of every moment we are together. Next month I will journey again to visit them for Father's Day.

I wish you and your families treasured times such as these. Bless you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Find Raphaella Vaisseau's Heartful Art at Five Sisters, A Spiritual Journey - South Dade, Miami, Florida

Elizabeth Zosman first found my Heartful Art in 2007 online at At the time I was still living and creating art in California at my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito. I was thrilled to discover her beautiful store was minutes away from where my parents live in Miami, so on my next trip home, my parents and I all packed in the car to go see this magical place for ourselves.

I learned there really are five sisters - they are her five daughters. The recent article (included here) by Bella Kelly of the Miami Herald, shares some of what they're up to. During my visit, I witnessed a buzz of shoppers, milling around with stacks of items in their hands. I had brought more of my Heartful Art to show her, and waited respectfully until there was a pause in the line at the register.

The shopping trend continued over the years where others have failed (fourteen stores on my list of vendors have closed their doors during the past two years), I believe, in part because of Elizabeth's knowledge of spiritual and metaphysical things, and in part simply because of her presence, and the ambiance she and her daughters have created there.

On my last visit before the new year I arrived at an unspecified time on a Sunday afternoon. Elizabeth was not there so I happily browsed and shopped while waiting for her return. After some time, it occurred to me I might ask the sales assistant at what time she expected Elizabeth to return. I never did get the opportunity to ask, however, because the lines at the register were ten deep and continued that way for over an hour.

Having been in retail for many years, having had my own gallery in Sausalito during what we now refer to as the prosperous times before the economic downturn, seeing these long lines at the register in 2010 was a feast for my eyes to say the least. I watched in amazement as I wished to myself that I carried my camera in my purse to document things such as this.

Every time I visit Five Sisters I am touched by Elizabeth's generosity, kindness, and wisdom. When you are nearby the art and warehouse district of South Dade near The Falls in Miami, do yourself a favor and visit Five Sisters. You can find my Heartful Art magnets, posters, matted quotes, and art there along with crystals, jewelry, clothing, books and many other uplifting things. Elizabeth also offers classes and events to support and nourish you on your spiritual journey.

Five Sisters is at 8805 SW 132nd St., Miami, FL 33176. Their hours are 11am - 6pm M-Th, 11am-9pm F-Sat, and noon - 5pm on Sun. The phone is 786.250.4170.
-Raphaella Vaisseau, Heartful Art

Friday, April 15, 2011

Raphaella's 64th Birthday - April 14, 2011

I had a nice birthday celebration all week long, with friends and family sending me cards and gifts and singing birthday songs on the telephone.

I also appreciated the gifts I received from nature, especially the birds (pelicans fishing on the shores of Siesta Key, an osprey in the cypress tree eating a fish high up on a branch, an egret in the lotus pond) as well as gaining new personal insights on living in appreciation.

On my actual birthday, my friend Joanie and I lunched at Sharky's. While snacking on bean and cheese nachos, we shared appreciations with each other and enjoyed a tropical afternoon in Venice. My cat, Diana, especially appreciated the flowers Joanie gave me.

I'm 64 and loving life still as a grand adventure. I look forward to whatever creations life will unfold as I walk through the year ahead.

Here's a creation of my own that I completed this week - a commissioned abstract painting called "Mirror Lake" (a companion piece for "Redwood Forest" which the collectors purchased a few years back). Whereas Redwood Forest, also an abstract, is an up-close look at the trees themselves, Mirror Lake is seeing the forest from a distance through the mist of a morning fog.

Thanks for being a part of my life. I appreciate you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Henry David Thoreau quotation on an inspirational magnet by Raphaella Vaisseau

One of my favorite Thoreau quotes is this: "Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present." When I was ordained as a minister in the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness in 1978, a portion of my ministerial blessing was about "giving in to the moment I'm in,” thus allowing my spiritual gifts to awaken (one of which is creativity). I took the blessing seriously and worked at understanding what it is to live in the present. Meditating helped. Practice is key.

Later, when I became a full-time working artist in 1997, I began to create little reminders on magnets (and posters) of words and quotes that inspire me and others. I decorated the words with my art and still look at them every day as I do my work and live my life. I practice continuously to live in the moment I’m in.

I’ve noticed that even while walking on the beach, I sometimes become aware that my head is down and I’m absentmindedly looking for shells on the sand beneath my feet while I’m walking. Then I remember, and lift my head. I take a deep breath, and take note of where I am. I look up and see the clouds in the sky. I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I notice the other people around me. I listen to the sound of the waves crashing on shore, and the birds calling out to each other as they glide overhead.

I feel a kinship with Thoreau when I walk. His words remind me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me and to live in the present, in the here and now. In every moment. Again and again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Surprise - a Snake at my Front Door

Diana (my cat) loved it, we were both scared of it, and luckily it slithered out the screen door on its own.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Walking for Life

While in Arizona over Christmas, I got in the habit of walking an hour a day with my friends, Anja and David. It felt so great I continued the practice when I returned home to Florida. It's a healthful addition to my daily life. Some days I walk around the neighborhood if I feel I don't have time to drive to some spectacular destination (there are many of them here where I live). One day I walked from my house to Staples and returned a cable I didn't need. Another day, when it was cold and raining, I walked up and down every aisle in Home Depot. Both journeys filled me with a sense of accomplishment. I didn't get stopped by weather or some made up rule that had me want to walk someplace beautiful or not at all.

As I'm continuing with my daily walks, I'm discovering much about my environment and my surroundings. Now I'm always on the lookout for where I might find an adventure nearby where I might be going that day. This morning I had a breakfast meeting near Stickney Point, so afterward I walked on the hard white sands of Siesta Key. The picture (of Venice Beach from the South Jetty) is from another day when I had an errand to run in downtown Venice. You can see my whole walking path in the picture: from where I'm standing on the jetty and around the curve of the beach to the end of the high rise condos on the shoreline. The water was such a beautiful emerald green the other day I had wished I had brought my camera.

One day a week or so ago when it was particularly windy, the pelicans were all close to the jetty with their huge beaks open like scoops on the water, gobbling up fishes who were swept into their waiting mouths by the current. There was so much excitement, it felt like the pelicans were having a party. I did manage to get a picture of that with my phone.

On Monday nights I have a Landmark Seminar (Invented Life) in North Sarasota, so the past two weeks I've headed up early. First I stop to buy French bread and croissants at C'est La Vie on Main Street, and then head over to Saint Armands Circle to walk around and enjoy the shopping possibilities there, including a new shop (The Artful Giraffe) that sells my very own Heartful Art creations.

The adventure continues. Sometimes I walk with friends, most of the time alone. Either way, every step I take is a gift to myself. Not only in the positive impact this new practice is having on my health, but in the beauty I've seen and the exhilaration I've felt in all my senses just by looking up and out and exploring more of the world I live in.
-Raphaella Vaisseau,

Monday, January 31, 2011

Give Joy with "Heart of a Party" for Valentine's Day

I believe a painting of a heart can remind us to tune in and listen to our own inner beings, and remind us to trust our own hearts above all else. Valentine's Day is soon approaching and this small original painting is a sweet reminder of how joyful love is. It's called "Heart of a Party" and it's a 4" x 4" original acrylic on canvas. The sides are painted as well, so no need to frame. It sits on a dresser or bookshelf, or may be displayed on the wall in a kitchen, bathroom, or hallway - wherever you and your sweetheart would want to see it every day.

I love Valentine's Day. It's a day to celebrate love in so many ways. Love between couples, love for friends, children, the earth, God, ourselves. It's hearts and flowers and chocolate, and dinners out with candlelight, wine and sweet conversation. It's a day of romance, poetry and coming together.

Wherever you are this Valentine's Day, and whomever you are with, I wish you love.