Monday, December 31, 2012

Review of 2012 and Declaration for 2013 in the life of Raphaella Vaisseau

Each year, late in December, I review the past 12 months and declare what I want to create for myself in the New Year. These reviews are a gift to myself and are all about me and my life. I believe we each have a part to play in the dance of life, and this review is about my part. As I see it, the world will take care of itself. My job is to play my part the best I can, so I can hold up my end. I love the life I've been given. I gratefully use it to learn, grow, express, share, and love even more.

2012, a year of Freedom, was a great one for me. I said yes to myself in many areas of my life, producing breakthroughs in family relationship, quest for adventure, financial stability, and manifesting greater success in business. Perseverance, focus, determination, and a vigilant adherence to keeping my thoughts (and thus my vibration) on what I want more of were keynotes of this win-win year. Practice, practice, practice. Breathe in, breathe out. Expand and simplify. Be happy.

Sound too simple to be true? Maybe. Nevertheless, it works for me. It's more proactive than accepting reality and going with the flow. And a good amount of faith and trust are involved. Which leads to ... more practice.

Since I first heard Abraham-Hicks discuss vibration in 2008, I lifted myself up, embraced life as a grand adventure, and set about to understand the law of attraction. I love the game of it all. Playing the game is a moment to moment choice of noticing my feelings, acknowledging, and self-correcting.

I use everything as an opportunity to uplift me, and make me stronger. I look at the beauty that appears all around me. If I'm feeling a negative emotion, I think of my kitten. The very thought of her perfect little furry face, and her tiny paws reaching out to touch mine never fail to bring me back to the center of what's important. This year I've taken giant steps in learning to refrain from telling old stories (of things I prefer not to attract, of grids I prefer not to activate) and instead, speak affirming, positive words, think happy thoughts, and focus on the good.

As I continue expanding and simplifying in 2013, I am expecting even greater accomplishment. 2013 is a six year in the 9-year cycle of numerology. It's all about creating balance, security and reliability. I've been working up to this one. After a year of freedom, travel and pushing out, I'm ready for a year of refining, organizing, and simplifying the home front. At the same time, I am preparing for even more expansion in the future by manifesting a new office environment and investing in new, amazing equipment for my business. It's the next logical step for me. As my business success continues, I'm moving in the direction of having employees again, and the first step for me might be to ease into it with an intern.

Etsy is amazing. Again a game. If you're an artist or a creative type, I hope you have an Etsy store. I'm breaking all kinds of records every month with sales and opportunity generated from Etsy. In 2013, I plan to expand and develop my Etsy store even further. Plus, I plan to update, master Pinterest and Tumblr, and then explore whatever new technology comes about with all our geniuses on the planet. "Etc." is a keynote for life, don't you think?

Another beautiful thing that happened in 2012 was a shift in my consciousness around food and the environment. Thanks to the Transition Movement and UU's Environmental Film Festival last March, I shifted to a greater awareness of the vast changes sweeping our globe and the myriad possibilities, solutions, people, countries, and corporations doing work to take care of what's next. I've been composting since April and made many dietary changes as well. My dream of creating an intentional community of artists, writers, gardeners, builders, and other creative types is gaining momentum. As I continue reducing my debt over the coming two years, by 2015 I expect to be making plans and bringing that project into reality. In the late 70s, I lived in a spiritual ashram in Minnesota with 18 like-minded people on the same path and I loved it. So, I know it will work for me. Community is one of my favorite things. Community with individual spaces. Fun to think about.

Life is good. Happy New Year. Where have you been, and where are you going in 2013? Let me know.      - Raphaella Vaisseau 12-31-12

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nature's Art (and Music) on Caspersen Beach in Venice Florida - by Raphaella Vaisseau

It's always beautiful at Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida. I've experienced the beauty there many times since moving to the Gulf Coast almost four years ago. I have often said it feels to me like I'm walking in a watercolor painting when I'm there. Yesterday I had the same visual feast as I usually do, but it was the sounds, and my hearing, that awakened more fully during my walk.

Perhaps it was because only a scattering of humans were there. It's off-season here, and it was dinner time. I had just rushed downtown to the post office to get the day's Heartful Art orders in the mail before closing. As I left the post office and got into the van I love so much, I felt especially free and happy from the day's work. As I asked myself, where should I go from here, I remembered I still needed to get my daily walk in, so I decided to go the extra couple of miles to Caspersen.

It must have been dragonfly dinnertime too. As I drove on the road to the beach, a million dragonflies swarmed all around my van. I happen to love dragonflies, so I slowed way down to 10 mph so I wouldn't harm them in their frenzied flight. It was an awesome sight.

After parking and leaving my shoes in the van, I found my way to the beach. The quietness was evident right away. The surf was calm; the waves gently lapped the shore. No wind or crashing water this time. As I walked, I enjoyed the shore birds feeding; witnessed pelicans diving for fish with power, beauty, and graceful accuracy; and noticed egrets intently focused on the water around the moss-covered rocks on which they were perched.

I listened as I walked, and as I did my senses awakened even further. I heard the sound water makes as it sifts thru shells and fine sand as the surf moves out from shore. Like a subtle tinkling of a percussive musical instrument of some kind that I couldn't identify. I walked through nature's artwork that is Caspersen Beach and was treated as well to nature's concerto.

Filled with appreciation for the ability to see and hear these beautiful things, I completed my time on the beach, which felt more like a meditation than exercise. Actually, it was both. I walked on the shell-strewn sand toward where my van was parked. After brushing the sand from my feet, and putting on my shoes, I drove again on the beach road. I watched for the dragonflies, but they had settled down and had pretty much finished their snacking. Nighttime. Time for home.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lady Gaga Defines Living Out Loud and Inspires Me to Express Even More of Who I Am

Up until now, I've never actually listened to Lady Gaga's music. When I've seen clips of her performances on the news or at awards shows, I've mostly been fascinated by the amazing costumes, dramatic staging, the LOOK of everything - thinking how brave she must be to express herself like she does. Thus being so preoccupied, I completely missed her music.

Intrigued, and looking for something to read on a New Years Eve flight to Arizona, I found Lisa Robinson's article in Vanity Fair (Jan 2012), "In Lady Gaga's Wake" which I enjoyed very much. I came away with even more respect for this woman, and even more of a curiosity about what it takes for a person to be so brave, so free, and so strong to express herself so fully.

To live my life fully and express who I am is the very thing I've been efforting to do in my own life for decades. One of my transcendentalist heroes, Henry David Thoreau says, "If I am not I, who will be?" Not, who will I be, but who will be ME if I am not. It's this that has continuously pushed me to take another step into myself and pull out a greater expression of me. Time and time again.

When another heroine of mine, Oprah Winfrey, interviewed Lady Gaga and her mother for the Oprah's Next Chapter show, which airs on OWN TV, I watched with eagerness to learn more. I was not disappointed.

The segment began with the launch of the Born This Way Foundation at Harvard. "Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world." Pillars of the Foundation appear to the right. Click on the image to see it on the foundation's website where they provide a link to download a printable copy for yourself and ways to get involved.

Throughout the two hours of Oprah's Next Chapter interview, I continued to be inspired with insight into the life and expression of the woman who is Lady Gaga. It is her desire to empower everyone she meets with the courage to be themselves and to know in their hearts they are not only OK, but phenomenal. Including me.

As much as I've grown, learned, and accomplished in my life, I sometimes feel it's too late for me to break through the barriers I still feel hold me back. I often wish that as a child I had had the tools to stand tall in who I am, the power to speak up for my beliefs, and the courage to plunge forward into the world to express the dreams of my heart. These are the very things Lady Gaga offers to us all. During the interview with Oprah, Lady Gaga's mother, Cynthia, read the beginning of a fan letter they'd received recently: "Dear Germanotta Family and Born This Way Foundation, I'm a 66 year old grandmother that dances around the kitchen to Stephanie's music ..." Maybe it's not too late for me, after all.

Fully appreciating Lady Gaga's beautiful spirit and gifts, I'll watch the interview again. Then I'll listen to her music, listening for more clues, and I'll bravely take one more step to express myself more fully in the world, to share my gifts in a bigger way, and to simply BE who I am.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forever Looking Forward - Original Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

Having an affinity for transcendentalism as expressed by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, I was impacted in my coming of age years by three things: (1) learning in my college psychology classes the difference between goal-oriented and process-oriented people, and choosing to be the latter; (2) Ram Dass's landmark book, Be Here Now, published in 1971; and, (3) my own Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness and my ministerial ordination blessing of January, 1978, in which it was stated that "as I give in to the moment I'm in, my ministry will unfold of itself."

These things have assisted me greatly over the years. I suspect that living in either the past or the future held pitfalls for me (perhaps regret or worry). Countless times during my life I have thanked Spirit for this insight, the gifts of focus, surrender, and reminders to live in the present moment.

Acceptance is keynote of course. Whatever happens, and wherever I am, is an opportunity for acceptance. Then, with new knowledge and experience gained, I go forward from there with new choices.

All of this focus on living in the present does not mean, however, that there is no place for goals, intentions, and desires. Thus, my newest creation in art, a 10"x10" acrylic painting on canvas entitled, "Forever Looking Forward." Enjoy. - Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, June 22, 2012

Desiderata - The Ageless Wisdom of Max Ehrmann with Art by Raphaella Vaisseau - Heartful Art

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence," so starts the beautiful words of Max Ehrmann's Desiderata.

The piece is jam-packed with wisdom. Another of my favorite parts is this: "You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here."

The art shown on the left is an 8-1/2" x 11" poster.
This poster comes in four choices of border in both this size and the larger 11x14 size, shown on the right.
I'm happy to note this poster in either size is a bestseller in my Etsy store.

A treasured gift for all ages, put it in a poster frame, mat it for wall art, or mail it to a friend in the envelope provided at purchase. Above all, enjoy it and read it often. "Keep peace in your soul ... Strive to be happy." -Raphaella Vaisseau

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Live and Learn for Mother Earth

All of the environmental learning I've been doing is birthing yet another new consciousness within me. I'm learning how to cook. I'm learning how to eat healthier food. And importantly, I'm making time for meal planning, meal prep, cooking and even (drum-roll please) ... cleaning up the kitchen. This, from someone who works in her business from sunup to sundown.

Ah, but a new day is dawning, and filling me with eager enthusiasm for the changes ahead. This morning I woke up early. I packed up my cooler, grabbed my cloth grocery bags, and at 7am drove up to Siesta Beach to walk on the crystal sands. Walking is a part of my new healthy lifestyle. I'm pretending I have a dog, so I have to get out of the house and walk the dog at least twice a day. This morning, as I walked on the beach, I feasted my senses on the surf rolling into shore, gazed at the pelicans and shore birds who make their home there, and happily dreamed I lived in one of the villas near by.

Next, I headed up to Morton's Deli for homemade rice, beans, and tofu salads. Satisfied with my finds, I went on to C'est La Vie on Main Street in downtown Sarasota for my favorite bread, an old-fashioned French Baguette. Finally, I walked the aisles at Whole Foods and selected nutritious vegetables and beautiful soups  that will support my new way of being. Three hours later, I was home. I went directly to the kitchen to clean out my freezer, my fridge, and my pantry to make room for the new wholesome, organic natural food I'd purchased.

I put any raw fruits or vegetables that had spoiled in my new compost bin. I'm learning how to buy just the right amount of food as well as the right kind of food, so I can get better and better at eliminating waste. I love that I am a part of the composting consciousness. It makes me feel that I'm doing my part to help the Earth, if even in a very small way.

With joyful determination, next I found and cleaned out all the glass jars from sauces that were years past their expiration date. Throughout this process, I discovered a dozen plastic bags that had various leftover meals or breads or pizza dough in them in the back of my freezer. Here comes the lesson: Did you know that if the plastic bags we all dutifully put into the recycle bin at the grocery store are wet or dirty they will be thrown in the trash instead of recycled? Horrors. I thought the recycle people had some massive washing machine that cleaned it all before breaking it down into some other form to make bags or bottles with.

Since I learned this, I've taken care to rinse out any plastic bag that's outlived it's usefulness and hang it out to dry. Today, however, I had a dozen, and after I'd washed them all I realized my little kitchen could not handle them all. Eureka! I made a clothesline as you see in the photo above. It cracked me up, seeing all those plastic bags hanging out to dry. So I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy! - Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Inspiration, Food for the Soul, and Allowing the Birthing of New Art

I love being an artist. I enjoy working in my business every day. I create new products, manage my websites, fill orders, and find new retail outlets for my work. The possibilities for creativity are endless, even in how I enter data in my spreadsheets and make charts and graphs to track my sales and growth. I could happily work from sunrise to sunset every day. Yet over the years I've tried to include time for other things that might give me balance in new and healthy ways. Like learning to cook, nurturing friendships, and taking walks on the beach. So, from time to time I pull myself away from work and plan an adventure. Usually it's a grocery shopping trip to Sarasota, 30 miles away.

It takes three hours. But every time I take this time for myself to buy bread at C'est La Vie on Main Street, then shop for organic and wholesomely natural food at Whole Foods Market, I am filled with goodness and inspiration. Just walking in the front doors into the wealth of produce there makes me happy. Last week I was trilled to discover hydroponic basil, which is now alive and thriving on my kitchen counter.

Organically speaking, living on the Gulf Coast of Florida is not like living in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I planned these adventures in my decade living there as well. Every time I drove into the City to buy art supplies, I felt like I was on vacation. Going across the bridge into the fog often moved my spirit to tears of gratitude and appreciation. Coming back home again a few hours later, and passing through the rainbow decorated tunnel into the hills of Marin, also brought me joy.

I began treating myself every Saturday morning before opening my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito, with a trip to the San Francisco Farmers Market at the Ferry Plaza. Being there at sunrise, surrounded by rows and rows of fresh fruits and vegetables gave me the feeling of pure health. Besides the organic goodness, I browsed the Ferry Plaza shops, sipped a hot latte, bought delicious baked goods, and explored the start-up food companies on Market Street which offered exciting and original packaged food to try.

Don't get me wrong. I love our Venice Farmers Market too, and I look forward every week to setting up my Heartful Art booth and sharing my art with the people. But that's more about my life as an artist and loving my work. These little trips to the market, these gifts of adventure to myself, feed my soul in a different way. Last week as I made the journey, I listened to an Abraham-Hicks seminar in my car, and I felt an unfolding of a lotus flower within my heart (again).

When I returned home, after I put away my beautiful bread and wonderful organic food, I got out my paints and created a new work of art to capture the blessings of the day. Here it is as a magnet, and my wish to you: Allow the Unfolding. Of your magnificence, of the day, of your journey, and mine.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Earth, Our World - Believing in Our Future

     It's important to believe - in ourselves, in human nature, in our evolution of understanding. Like the French proverb on my little poster says, "It is by believing in roses that one brings them to bloom." Abraham-Hicks says it another way: "Our attention to something keeps it growing, our thoughts keep it active." As long as I can remember, I've been a positive thinker. I prefer to think positively about everything, and to find the beauty wherever I can.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice recently sponsored an Environmental Film Festival, showing a documentary film every Monday evening in March. The first was "Ingredients" - exploring the movement to eat locally to "create a healthier, more sustainable model for living and eating well."  I missed the second week, but the film shown was "Tapped" - about "bottled water and the industry that thinks we should buy it." Next came "Trashed" - about recycling and where our trash goes. And finally, "Deep Green" - about "solutions to stop Global Warming now."

I learned things, of course. I've been going to Transitions meetings here in our area. And, I've been exploring shared housing and intentional communities. I know change is coming. For me and for us all. It's exciting, actually. I believe it's a wonderful time to be alive. Keeping our thoughts positive and within the realms of possibility, happiness, and positive resolution for all while learning about climate change and global challenges takes some focus, but it's worth it.

As I viewed these films during the month of March, I felt a subtle shift of new awareness open up within me like a lotus blossom. Each film presented another look at new movements taking hold across our planet. I felt pride for the people who are on the leading edge, people who are already changing entire companies and countries for the good of future generations. The interconnectedness of life, and of things, became even more apparent to me than before. Take composting, for instance, which I learned reduces methane gas in our landfills, thus protecting the atmosphere even in a small, individual way. I didn't know that. I thought composting was just for people who liked to garden.

I look at the baby hawks in the cypress tree in my back yard, and the new bud on an orchid that survived the seasons, and marvel at our beautiful world. We can do this. We can educate ourselves about energy efficiency. We can support local organic food growers. We can think about what we buy and what we throw away. We can bring consciousness to more of our environment and what we can do in our individual daily lives that will be good for each other. We can take responsibility for choices we make that impact our world and future generations. We can believe in the goodness of people. We can trust each other to cooperate and keep making changes that will help us all. One awareness at a time. One choice at a time. I have confidence in the human race. I believe in our global future.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Day of Art with Friends at the Mount Dora Arts Festival Feb 5, 2012

In looking at the numerology of 2012, a 5 year of freedom and discovery, I've made it a goal to travel more, whether it be short trips to discover more of Florida, or longer vacations to visit family and friends. Spending time investing in and enjoying my friends is important to me. So, yesterday, February 5, 2012, Theresa, Shirl and I ventured forth to spend the day at the 37th Annual Mount Dora Arts Festival. It was a 3-hr drive but we packed our car with water, fruit, chips and artichoke salad, and enjoyed the trip, not knowing what we would find when we got there.

We arrived in Mount Dora, which is about 30 miles NW of Orlando, just after noon on the 2nd day of the show and were surprised to discover the size and scope of the festival. It was huge and wonderful.

Artists from all over the country were there. I met Cindy McDougall, a jeweler from Fergus Falls, Minnesota where my mom and dad went to high school. Her husband, Jay (a wood sculptor) was there too. Small world. Another artist, Kirsten Walstead of SoMi Tileworks in Minneapolis makes beautiful artistic tiles.
One of my favorite art sculptors was Victoria Sexton who was selling her unusual sculptures (left) so fast I believe she sold out by the end of the day. She shares her current techniques here.

Greg and Mindy Rhoads, from Kansas, create intricate Mosaics (right) with words, quotes, and images, which I adore.

After hours of walking from booth to booth, and being inspired time and again with creative manifestations, the three of us took a break and walked down to the lake for a change of pace. We discovered the Lakeside Inn and talked about coming back to this festival again next year when we might stay overnight at the Inn and see more of the art in the 2-day festival. As it was, I believe I visited only about twenty-five percent of the booths. There was a lot more to see and experience that we didn't have time or energy for. I did take dozens of photographs throughout the afternoon which you can see on Flickr here.

Satisfied yet knowing there would be more adventure another time, we piled back into the car and began the journey home. All night my heart and head were filled with beautiful images of color and creativity, my dreams were vivid blessings, and I awakened this morning with joy. Such are the gifts of art and friendship.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grids and Dots: The Abstract Art of Raphaella Vaisseau at Studio V Gallery's Artists of Venice Exhibition Jan-Feb 2012

Studio V Gallery is a hip, edgy gallery in the Arts District of Venice, Florida at 206 West Miami Ave, on the island at the corner of Nokomis. Owner Victoria Miller is a talented local artist herself. Read more about her and view her paintings on

Her current "Artists of Venice" exhibition opens January 14, 2012 from 6-9pm. My original abstract paintings will be among the art from twenty artists showing work at the gallery through the end of February. I'm pleased to say that in addition to the abstracts, I will be showing two of my signature layered creations of color on color: Ruby (shown on right), and Seaweed. These layered watercolor paintings often take years to complete, with as many as seven layers of watercolor paint applied over another.

Included in the collection of abstracts on display will be a series of grids and earthly shapes, including Grid 6 and Swiss Grid (shown to left).

For more information about my art, or for a private viewing at the gallery during the months of this exhibition, please contact me directly at 941.993.7001.

Come to the January 14th opening (6-9pm) if you can. I'd love to see you there and personally share my art with you. For more information about the gallery itself, contact Victoria Miller at 941.412.6051. Except for special events, the Studio V Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm and Saturday, 10am-3pm.