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Landscapes of my mind

Date: November 22nd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Recently a gorgeous couple came to visit me in my happy gallery, Art@Rangitane and asked me to “create a landscape from my mind” to grace the walls of their new home. It was thrilling, but also perplexing. What did this mean? What were the landscapes from my mind?

I thought it would be fun to assemble a montage of some of my fav paintings inspired by the earth, sea, moon and stars.

In this video, I share a collage of love-infused landscapes.

To view or purchase inspiring landscapes by an award-winning contemporary artist: https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product-category/art/landscapes/

Commissions Welcome!

Coming soon…

LANDSCAPES OF MY MIND: COLOUR, LIGHT & BEAUTY

I’m looking forward to sharing insights into my creative process and my love of all things nature-inspired in my upcoming 2023 release. Meanwhile, I have a suite of books providing insights and inspiration to spark and sustain the joy of creativity here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/category/books/creativity-books/

Posted in: Blog

Value your happiness

Date: November 21st, 2022, Posted by cassandra


Today’s card from the Art of Life Inspiration Deck. The painting is
DANCE WITH LIFE

250 mm x 600mm Encaustic, oil crayon, pastel, mixed media on board.

People often ask me, ‘Where do you get your inspiration?” In this case, it was the lyrics below and the quest to bring more joy during the early days of the pandemic.

“There’s no brilliance like beauty out there

No knowledge as wise as the heart

We all need reason to care

I need to dance with life

Sweep you away into the night

When there is no one else around

I will make every day count

We need to dance with life

Swim in the soul of your eyes

’til we melt into the night

We need to dance with life

And we leave a brilliant light behind.”

~ Bryan Ferry


I still recall the happiness and joy this painting gave to her new owner who fell in love with it and purchased it instantly a few days after I opened my art gallery during the lockdown. Donna calls it her “happy painting.” It still gives me a thrill knowing how much happiness Dance with Life created and still creates in her life.

You may enjoy this video where Donna shares why this painting sparked joy


https://youtu.be/sT_IjZZmaOs


How can you swim in bubbles of joy? Maybe it’s by commissioning a joyful piece of art from me. LOL


https://www.cassandragaisford.com/commissions/


https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/the-art-of-life-inspiration-deck/


Sometimes dancing with life can feel like a slog. There’s so much to bog us down. What can I do? I ask myself when I feel low. Throw my heart into my dreams and pursue the things that make me happy. I know from the times I have coached and counselled people who are depressed, stressed and suicidal that recalling the things that make us happy can feel hard to do—if not impossible. 

This is why I’ve created a “what makes me happy?” list in Evernote. Here’s a sample from this list in no particular order

Autonomy
Baking
Bees
Being appreciated
Beeswax painting
Being cared for
Caring for others
Cheerleading others
Coaching, uplifting, encouraging
Creating Beauty
Creating
Creating bespoke commissions that make people’s. hearts sing
Disneyland
Donald and Daisy Duck
Home building sites.




For example, it was super uplifting to visit the building site of a couple who visited me in the happy gallery (my studio – art@rangitane). They are looking to commission a ‘landscape from my mind” to grace the walls of their soon-to-be-completed home.

I love, love, love creating bespoke art for beautiful homes. Recently a couple came up to me to tell me how important the two paintings they commissioned from me in 2020 were to their lives and how much joy they brought to them and their friends.

That makes me happy!



Festival of Colour, 2020, Cassandra Gaisford 


What makes you happy?

You may recall that I spent many grieving moments following my mum’s sudden death recording the audio version of the second book in my bestselling Midlife Career Rescue Trilogy, What Makes You Happy. It was the perfect book to narrate, as it contains a whole chapter about all the creative career changes my mother made. Plus there’s loads of tips to uplift and inspire others too.

Available and Audio, eBook, Paperback and Hardback Amazon: getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

Kobo (audio):https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/mid-life-career-rescue-what-makes-you-happy-1

Audible
US: https://www.amazon.com/Midlife-Career-Rescue-Confidently-Mid-Life/dp/B0BGJPDRL5

UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Midlife-Career-Rescue-Audiobook/B0BGJSMZ2T

AU:https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Midlife-Career-Rescue-Audiobook/B0BGJLF373

https://www.cassandragaisford.com/mid-life-career-rescue-what-makes-you-happy/



Play with me!

If life has you by the horns, or you’re feeling low, and you would like to seize joyful control and create a plan to be more creative, elevate your life, start a creative business, or reinvent your career, that’s exactly what we do in a two-hour intensive Zoom call.

Details here


Have a joyful day—and don’t forget to play!

Posted in: Blog

2022 so far in review—fear can drive you

Date: November 10th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Fear often gets a bad rap. But as you’ll discover in this week’s blog, fear can drive you.

I first began to write my annual review in March 2022:

It’s the end of the tax year and a new moon in arise looms. We all hope it heralds a positive new beginning. But one thing is certain, we’ll need the fire of Aries to sustain our passions. Our Government seems entrenched in fear messaging with very little aspiration for us all.

But, as Australian seven-time world champion surfer Layne Beachely (great name for a surfer!) recently shared, “Fear drove me.” Fear of failing drove her to be really, really good. I love Beachely’s fluidity and style. She was fierce, focused and determined to make it, which she did, inspiring a generation of Kiwi surfers to take the same wave.

Fear drove me toward love

“If the poet says that he can inflame men with love..the painter has the power to do the same…in that he can place in front of the lover the true likeness of one who is beloved, often making him kiss and speak to it.

—Leonardo da Vinci

As a teenager, my mother’s motivational message to me was, “If you don’t get an education, all you’ll ever be is a checkout operator (no disrespect to these essential workers). Three decades on and three degrees later, I’ve racked up an impressive career in business and the arts. When I was 30, and the single parent of a 3-year-old, I graduated with a Batchelor of Business and Administration from Victoria University.

During that time, I was also asked to tutor students in a paper called, “The New Zealand Commercial Environment. I taught (and graded) a wide array of subjects, including The Treaty of Waitangi, Industrial Relations and more. While studying commerce, I took papers in education and lifespan development and was shocked to learn that people pursued their hobbies when they retired.

Retire! What? Why wait, I thought. With my new degree in hand, I enrolled in a Batchelor of Interior Architecture. I was 2/3rds through my passion subject when a personal crisis derailed those dreams. With a mortgage and a child to support and the end of my engagement, I needed a job. I headed off to a place where I knew they served VIPs great lunches, and this is how I was inducted into Morgan and Banks and went into the world of recruitment.

Guess what? I didn’t get the lunches! Not even the leftovers. Worse, burnout and shingles and the fear of going blind or suffering a heart attack saw me pursue a career more aligned with my values of truly helping people. I share more of my experience, and my fear of being trapped in Midlife Career Rescue: The Call for Change.

Midlife career rescue the call for change

Fear of living an uninteresting, passionless life drove me

I worked for an Employee Assistance provider, Workplace Support and set up their career counselling arm. While there, I encountered so many suicidal clients. Fear of failing them drove me to earn a professional qualification to ensure I knew what I was doing. A Diploma in Applied Counselling from the Wellington Institute of Technology followed some three years later.

Later still, I sought and obtained a psychology qualification from Massey University. I thought this would open the doors to a professional role as a psychologist, only to find, rather brutally, that the criteria had changed, and you now needed a master’s degree. I learned that only two years ago.

I pursued certifications in numerous areas of interest, including Hypnosis, Reiki healing, Interactive Drawing Therapy and more. I do love learning, and I recognise the privilege I have been given to be an educated woman. I’ve also gained buckets of creativity, drawing and painting classes—life drawing, watercolour, oils, abstracts, Frescos in Florence, Sumi ink with Max Gimblett in Hawaii, Photography with Carla Coulsen in Puglia, Italy…you name it, it if was creative, I was in! Fear of living an uninteresting, passionless life drove me.

fear-mongering by the Government drove me toward love

As I shared, in an earlier post, in the wake of Covid, fear-mongering by the Government drove me toward love. This is why I opened my own art gallery, started painting again, and taught and shared my love of creativity with others.

While the rest of the world was opening up and lucky travellers were sharing their photos on Instagram, New Zealand was still a hermit kingdom. 2022 has been a year of continued delays. For the arts and hospitality sectors thousands of people have seen their livelihoods eroded or destroyed.

As one of my former recruitment buddies, who for many years operated a successful art gallery, shared the other day on Facebook:

“We sold the gallery Feb 2019. We were lucky with timing of the sale as the business did not fare well with Covid 19 lockdowns etc, and new owners closed it down in Jun 2021 – art suffered badly everywhere.”

New Zealanders missed out on income and opportunities due to the ongoing public health measures for the longest time. Where I live, in the Bay of Islands, we had been in code red, the highest alert level since before Christmas. (As of August 2022, the whole of New Zealand was in ‘orange.’ Only recently on the 12th of October 2022, did New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) end. “With case numbers low, it is safe to remove most COVID-19 rules,” we were told.) Yet, here we are in November and case numbers are soaring. Lockdowns are not longer palatable, so we are all living with it.

This year, in spite of the less-than-opportune climate, in 2022, my creativity has sustained me—despite the ongoing health messages which for so long limited visitors to our country, decimated tourism and instilled so much fear in people who were afraid to leave their homes.

As I write now, on the 8th of November, full moon in Taurus Lunar eclipse, the country feels sluggish. Inflation is wracking havoc with people’s incomes, job losses are mounting, and New Zealanders are keen for change. From afar critical journalists (not Government paid spin doctors) are asking questions, “what’s happening in New Zealand?”

We ask, what is happening TO New Zealand?

ignorance is bliss, right? t would be easy to look the other way, and put our heads in the sand, or stay stuck in doomsday scrolling, but that would be a cop-out. Martin Luther King once had a dream. I do too. If we truly are a team of 5 million, we need to look after each other and create a better world where joy, peace and beauty can dominate the landscape.

Despite it all…I showed up for joy. Here are a few highlights

Some of my favourite commission pieces were an invitation to create from the landscapes of my mind. Drawing from the healing power and beauty of nature, flowers, the sea, sky and beyond inspired my love-infused pieces and brought joy to others. I’m so grateful to my new collectors for their faith, trust and belief in me. To be given the freedom to create, to be appreciated for who you are and who you truly wish to be, as Neale Donald Walsch writes in Conversations with God is to give someone the gift of their passion. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that passion is my passion. It’s not something you chose with your head, you are led to your passion and purpose by your heart. It is your calling—because it calls to you until you can no longer resist. Some call it an obsession. I call it love.

I share more about how to find your passion and purpose in one of my most popular books>>

APPLE TREE BAY: KNOWLES COMMISSION

Apple Tree Bay

DICKEY COMMISSIONS

annika

STEERE COMMISSION

“We LOVE the painting…..the energy is us. Thank you so much❤ We are excited to see it up on our wall.”

Harden Commission, You Are The Reason, You Are The Reason, 2022 600mm x 900mm Acrylic on canvas
Passion and Purpose Feedback

how do we raise our children to be joyful in a world that seems bleak?

Someone recently asked, “How do we raise our children to be joyful in a world that seems bleak.”

We have to keep showing up for passion, love and joy—not fear, hate and depression. This is why in 2022, I rebranded myself as The Joyful Artist. Kids, when unencumbered by adults are joy personified. The challenge is staying joyful during the inevitable hard bits.

“Whatever life gives you, you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers in this moment.”

Brother Steindl-Rast

Numerous people have found tremendous joy in the most unexpected places and very often it has been born from a place of great pain.

Here are just a few examples:

• Novelists Danielle Steel, Isabel Allende, and many others—who overcame difficult childhoods

• Drew Barrymore, especially in her new business, Flower Beauty—who overcame addiction

• Trauma Therapist Dr. Edith Eger—who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp

• Neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza—who overcame paralysis

• Motivational author Gabby Bernstein—who overcame alcohol addiction

• Comedian Billy Connelly—who overcame sexual abuse

Selena Gomez’s profound documentary sharing her journey with mental health challenges and a diagnosis of bipolar reminded me also of the deep chasm in education within schools today. The lack of teachings on dealing with feelings and how to build resilience and well-being, especially during difficult times, is direly needed. Expressing my feelings through art, saying things I couldn’t articulate in words, has been my go-to…learnt the long way.

“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”

― Shane Koyczan

kitchen Rangitane Road
Laurie and I

House for sale?

In May, we listed our lifestyle retreat for sale as part of our commitment to go in search of more joyful shores and life-enriching experiences. Interestingly, at the same time, our America’s Cup team, the defenders of the current Cup, rather than remain in NZ to host the next challenge, decided to head for Barcelona, where things are brighter.

I’m sad to say, right now, surrounded by closed businesses, the escalating mental health crises, and ballooning Government debt, New Zealand looks and feels depressing. I do, of course, realize I can create the landscapes of my mind and live in an alternative reality. I can focus on joy and appreciate the good things New Zealand offers. But I also have a foot in the ‘real’ world.

Despite the beautiful view from my property, the demise of democracy as we once knew it , the incarceration of freedom fighters, and talk of bringing in frightening hate speech laws (which would effectively fine or imprison those with contrary views to those in power), is extremely worrying. I shall leave it for experienced political reporters to comment, but in short, those media not being paid by the Government are very firm that The Labour Government has abused its power.

My father always told me, I raised you to speak the truth. As I was typing these words, my friend sent me this on Whatsapp. Am I being alarmist? Again, I leave it to lawyers and journalists more learned than I who truly believe this will be the most horrifying demise of democracy and freedom of speech. What I did experience personally during Covid was the most hateful attacks. I was accused of being a traitor to my country, among other ridiculous things, when I encouraged people to look beyond mainstream media – and this by the 60+-year-old CEO of a government-funded non-for-profit.

My crime? Bringing her attention to the lifestream of the protest marches where the peaceful protestors sought a hearing with our elected officials. Which never happened. Thankfully a documentary, River of Freedom is due to come out early next year. This should clear up the misinformation that it was ‘river of filth’. It seems to me that the people full of hate speech are the ones trying to create legislation to suppress free speech.

As an artist, should I care?

I liked the New Zealand I grew up in in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I liked it when people said, “be kind” and they meant it. As a super sensitive, I find it hard not to feel and call out the BS (as Eric Clapton so sagely says,and sings, ‘It’s gotta stop.”

I care in my way, by showing up for joy and trying to bring a smile to people’s faces. People like lovely Judy who came to my gallery, threw her arms around me, and beamed, “You make me so happy.” I can’t stop smiling.” What world leader can honestly say that right now? Honestly.

Despite the gloom and pessimistic economy, I kept creating and sharing my joy with others. For my sanity as much as anything else. As Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way writes: “It’s important to keep creativity in me and around me.  And when I am doing something creative I don’t feel trapped. I feel liberated.”-Julia Cameron

New Book Releases In 2022

Variety is truly the sizzling spice of life. As I share on my website,

“Clients call me ‘the queen of uplifting inspiration’.  Love and creativity are my superpowers. I’m a renaissance woman with many passions — all united by a love of providing creative solutions which spark joy. As well as a background in counselling and psychology, I am a creativity coachaward-winning artist and author. I am also a Reiki Master and spiritual teacher. All my work is infused with positive energy and light.

Creating beauty and making the world happier through joyful art and creative play is my soul mission.

In February 2022 I released my writing memoir Word by Word: Some Thoughts on Writing, Love, and Life.

And also The Joyful Artist: Freeing the Artist Within

love in Venice

Under my pen name Mollie Mathews, I released my romance, Love In Venice. Late this year (November) I decided to come out of the closet, as it were, and load some of my favourite love stories on the Fiction page of my own website too, https://www.cassandragaisford.com/category/books/fiction-books/. As I write, it is a work in progress. You can view my full romance collection of heart-warming love stories at www.Molliemathews.com

I’m bloomin’ mad about flowers

I’m bloomin’ mad about flowers. Flowers are my joy and obsession.

Miss Beautiful With Quote
Miss Beautiful

In this video, I share some of the inspiration, artistic process and behind-the-scenes footage involved in creating my latest commission artwork—Miss Beautiful.

Over Easter, two lovely ladies called into my gallery Art@Rangitane to see my art during my recent Easter Art Retreat They had seen my latest abstract floral paintings hanging in Ake Ake.

As a result, one of these gorgeous gals commissioned a bespoke painting to suit her home – and more importantly how she wanted to feel…happy! I guess you could say that we co-created together. Because my new collector was living at a distance from me, I showed her progress re Zoom calls and gained her feedback as the painting progressed.

“I’ve been watching the progress so exciting,” she wrote to me. “I loved the very soft palette you started with …fingerpainting.”

You are the reason
Harden Commission

I feel like I’ve been part of the whole creative experience which, to me has added so much more meaning

“I was having a lovely lunch in Kerikeri overlooked by a stunning painting of pink flowers. Not being in a rush, I enquired who the artist was & if she had a gallery I could visit. A quick phone call by a sales savey waitress friend had us having a viewing appointment the following morning a sunny, windless Sunday.
Arriving there, I wasn’t sure where to look at the mind-blowing view of the Kerikeri harbour, which had me wanting to swing a suitcase around like Julia Andrew’s in the Sound of Music or the stunning range of paintings hanging in the gallery….

Well, once the paintings got my attention, there were a couple that I fell in love with but unfortunately, due to the small walls in my beach house, neither were the right size…!!!


So Cassandra, this smiling, happy, vivacious & deeply motivating artist with who I’d only just met yet already felt a connection, suggested I commissioned a painting which immediately got me thinking…. Well, at least I’ll get exactly what I want. So for a tiny charge more, I’ve ended up with a painting that’s put my feelings & my colours & my touch into a work of art I adore! I thought it would be hard to explain feelings without a picture, but that is what Cassandra is so good at interpreting. I feel like I’ve been part of the whole creative experience which, to me has added so much more meaning.”

Open for happiness! Forget selling the house!

my fab new bestie..Anne from Ireland, living in Sydney…also chasing freedom

“You are feeling through your art

but you are not feeling through your life.”

~ Daniella, intuitive

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I’ve been drafting a book during the Covid pandemic entitled, Who Stole Our Joy? For over two years, we’ve been marinated in the grey-and-black swamp of fear. Singing and dancing were even banned for periods in countries like Australia. Importantly, so was travel.

Our last holiday had been over 26 months— one pandemic ago

After more than two years of being closed off from the world, we were yearning to rediscover the joy of exotic places and our love of leisure (i.e. taking a break!). Our last holiday had been over 26 months— one pandemic ago. Maybe it was less a permanent move we needed and more a wellness, mental health break.


The Art of Life Inspiration Deck
https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/the-art-of-life-inspiration-deck/

So in April 2022, when it was announced that travel could recommence and self-testing would become the new return-home standard, we leapt at the chance to get away for a major reset. We needed a change. We needed to feel joy again.

“Where should we go?” my partner asked.

“Fiji,” I said, instantly. “It’s our happy place.”

Again fear drove us. We were afraid our borders would lock up again and we wouldn’t be able to return home. We thought it best to get in and out early before ‘they’ realize we were gone.

While the New Zealand Prime Minister visited Singapore, Japan and other countries, affirming, “New Zealand is open for business,” Fiji took a different approach. Recognising that for 26 months, global citizens had experienced extreme anguish, this tiny pacific country reopened for happiness. And they delivered generously!

Open for happiness

Happiness is good for business. I share more statistics on the power of happiness in my career change and life transformation book, What Makes You Happy. Tourists returned in droves. When we arrived in Nadi it was like arriving on a different planet. Or rather, as though we had time travelled back in time. Cries of “Bula!” chorused everywhere. “Welcome home! We’re glad you’re back.”

And glad they were. With no social security system Fijians were left to fend for themselves. “I didn’t have any work for over two years,” the father of three who checked out our rental car told us. “It was very, very tough.”

Seeing tourists again made Fijians very happy.

Like Fijians, having money to pay my bills and afford my lifestyle makes me happy. How quickly we forget 2020, when the world stopped and business dropped in the blink of an eye. Layoffs. Furloughs. Forced pay cuts. The worst. Some governments, including New Zealand, bailed out their people and corporations with interest free-loans, deferred repayments, and printed money. Some commentators are noting that the toll is about to climb. Bailouts won’t happen again. Inflation is on the climb. “It feels too much like 2008,” Tim Denning. Fast-forward to Nov, 2022 and inflation is at its highest level for 30 years.

As I wrote, back in May, 2022:

New Zealand was still closed to most of the world. Not until late July will we open to the rest of the world. Things are going to get ‘bumpy’ to say the least. If the last few years have taught us anything is that you have to go for life while you can—at any moment, not of your own doing, someone, something, can whip it away.

Cling on for the ride—and hang onto happiness.

I took a little box of watercolour paints and some pads of watercolour paper and set an intention to go on a digital detox, just as I did when I travelled to Tonga back in 2020.

Spending time painting played a large role in switching off my devices. I was so prolific while I was in Fiji. Fiji inspired me and reawakened my love of vibrant colours.

Because of the many, many times that we have been loyal guests of the Warwick In Fiji, we were extremely fortunate to have been introduced to the hotel manager and given a room upgrade to a presidential suite. I had plenty of room (and privacy) to paint, including a balcony with a sea view. I felt so grateful!

I share more on my blog, here>>

Bloomin’ mad

I couldn’t resist releasing my Bloomin’ Mad series in time for Mother’s Day this year. Fiji inspired me so much the colours were so fresh, joyous and vibrant. I also displayed some of the paintings at the fabulous Ake Ake restaurant and vineyard. This is a lovely restaurant set amongst a vineyard and was one of my favourite places to dine here in the Bay of Islands. Judy and Chris, the owners of Ake Ake provide the ultimate dining…and then, with my paintings, fine art, experience.

I say, ‘was’, because Friday 28 August 2022 marked the last night for diners at Ake Ake. That day I drew a card for Judy From my Art of Life Inspiration Deck and the card said “hold all your precious memories close”. In part, this is why I am re-sharing this memory. It was one of this years’ highlights.

testimonial art

Not long after, I hung my paintings a gorgeous lady was dining in Ake Ake and purchased a painting she saw hanging there. When Love First Tasted Your Lips was near their table and the purchase decision was made in a heartbeat. I love that my new collector shared that this is the first painting she has acquired by a ‘serious artist.’

On Mother’s Day, I met Tracey, my beautiful new collector on holiday from Sydney visiting her family. Thankfully the borders had finally reopened to Australians. They made a special visit to see me in the gallery. People love meeting the artist I have found and learning more about the urge to create.

Visitors to the gallery

“My sister fell in love at first sight with your painting ‘When Love First Tasted Your Lips’” her sister, Claire told me when she called.

The two sisters shared with me, how tough all the lockdowns had been on them, how isolating and lonely the time had been…as it had for so many. Recently I read a poignant article about how our mental health can suffer dramatically by being isolated. Paintings keep me company. Paintings make me happy. As they do my collectors. It’s why I call myself The Joyful Artist. I show up for joy – an antidote to fear.

It was so wonderful to meet my new collector and her fun family in person. That’s one of the unexpected joys of having your own gallery/studio.

“Great works of art, music, and architecture that calibrate between 600 and 700 can transport us temporarily to higher levels of consciousness and are universally recognized as inspirational and timeless.”

~ David R. Hawkins M.D. PhD

I LOVE WELLY

WELLINGTON ART RETREAT

In August, fear of losing my mum saw me head to Wellington to care for her. Delays in my planned tripped proved somewhat fortuitous as it also coincided with my teaching the healing power of art in an in-person-3-day art retreat. The Home of Compassion, Wellington, NZ, was such a beautiful location for my one-on-one immersive art retreat.

We loved every moment🌸🙏❤️🖼 Such a gorgeous and sacred space to hold a retreat.

We loved using the Art of Life Inspiration Deck to guide the creative journey which was as much about what things we are letting go of and which we are setting intentions about and creating those on our canvases. Fantastic new intention energy under the Lions gate portal

It was bittersweet to be back in my home town Wellington, New Zealand. On the one-hand mum had been so unwell and had been in hospital for over a month. I flew down, especially so I could care for her when she came out of the hospital. The weather intervened by way of massive storms, and my original dates were put off. Plus, the hospital said mum wasn’t well enough to leave yet.

Then my sister decided to self-isolate in mum’s house when she got Covid at a work conference! This meant mum couldn’t come home as planned. I couldn’t believe she would be so selfish. In the end, the timing for my trip to Wellington coincided with the New Zealand Romance Writer’s Conference, too. I didn’t get to attend full-time as I was caring for mum, but when I did get to go, it was fun to see so many of my writing friends and be inspired.

The beautiful Home of Compassion turned out to be the best, most perfect setting. The weather had been wild, windy and lashing with rain, but inside, our hearts were singing and shining, and we didn’t notice the storm that raged.

In its simplest form, ‘Retreat‘, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ We have loved doing just that. The silence and serenity of this very special place is incredible. And of course, creating art (and writing) is very meditative and for me, a very spiritual practice and source of strength. Having just finished writing Love In Venice, and also narrating the audiobook, it was lovely to retreat from writing and engage in a different form of creativity and share the beauty of creating art with others.

A retreat is a special time where we can take time to connect with each other

A retreat is a special time where we can take time to connect with each other, contemplate and renew our purpose and motives, and work on one or more specific goals—in this case, painting and connecting with our deepest self. People often mistake any group planning or training meeting for a retreat. It’s completely different and much more special and sacred—and silent, too.

Grounds, Home of Compassion, Island Bay New Zealand
Carol, playing with paint

Wellington is also the setting for one of my popular stories from the Sassy Short Stories collection, Twist of Fate. Click this link to GRAB A FREE COPY. It’s a funny, laugh-out-loud story—and don’t we need that right now! You’ll be subscribed to my Mollie Mathews newsletter, but can opt out anytime.

It was also fun meeting up with a coaching client at the conference who helped create her new career combo as an audiobook narrator and romance writer. Read Naomi’s inspiring career change story on my blog, How One Young Mum Shifted from Burnout to Beautiful Bliss. Naomi’s first narration project was my very own Midlife Career Rescue: Employ Yourself.

employ yourself written by Cassandra Gaisford

ALLOWING PEACE SERIES

Fear of darkness led me toward the light. You will love the spirit of peace and joy I have infused into the Allowing Peace Collection. In the times we are living in now, it’s especially important to be surrounded by objects that make us feel serene and happy.

I love the peaceful brilliance of this collection, and I currently have one of these large works, Emptiness Dancing in my bedroom, until it finds a new home. I love it!

The focus of these works is reduced paintings in colour and texture. The works reflect my tattitude of life and of painting ‘less and better’. In times of global overwhelm, to minimise the overloading of an image with bold bright colours and put the focus on few colours and interesting surface structures. I love the peaceful brilliance of Allowing Peace Collection and hope you do too.

Pictured, My Secret is Silence: Beautifully layered with sensuously sultry glazes of textured beeswax, wax crayon, pure pigment and star-studded with gold rub

1140 mm x 1190 mm x 40mm on board

https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/…/my-secret-is-silence/

Halfway down Allen Street, nestled within the epicentre of Wellington’s cultural quarter, you’ll find ORA Gallery – home to one of the city’s best collections of contemporary New Zealand Art & Design. Situated just meters from vibrant Courtenay Place, ORA is home to a diverse range of work by some of this country’s most exceptional artists.

I’m super excited to be joining the fab NZ artists who are represented by Ora Gallery, and showcasing my encaustic beeswax pieces. Consciously sourced premium New Zealand 🐝 beeswax, pure pigment, layered with passion and created in gorgeous New Zealand. If you live in Wellington or visiting @lovewelly pop into Ora and enjoy a range of high-vibe artworks.

2022 has been bittersweet—Losing Joy.

Two days after returning from Wellington and having spent two precious weeks caring for my mother, Joy, in her home after a lengthy stay in the hospital, I received news that my mother had died suddenly. She was only 80 years young.

It was very sudden and quite a shock. The photo below, which we used for her funeral, was taken only three months prior, on her 80th birthday, May 29. Mum was a Gemini. Joyful, creative, entertaining, chatty, sociable and beautiful.

I’m lucky I inherited a lot of her creative gifts. Even though people say when your parents die you feel that you are all alone in the world and that you have nobody else, I actually am very blessed to have my creativity, and this will always connect me to my loved ones.

My mother like to share her joy. She had an interior design business for many years and uplifted people’s lives by helping them create beautiful homes, and I like to think I carry on the legacy with my artworks.

mum service card of death

Mum planned her whole funeral and included the passage below, which my sobbing and very brave, young nephew read at her service. My daughter, who has one heck of a soprano voice and the sings like an angel, sang Pie Jesu as other pallbearers and I carried mum into the church.

I flew home to the Bay of Islands the day after the funeral and immediately channelled my sorrow into making art. In fact, the day I learned of her death, before I flew to her funeral, I also created a special piece—beeswax infused with frankincense. I share more on this blog>>

susan cain bittersweet

Recently, I purchased Susan Cain’s latest book, Bittersweet. I’ve been loving reading the emphasis on light and dark and how we need both in life to fully blossom, and the reminder of the power of creativity to look pain in the eye and turn it into something better. That’s always been my guiding principle as an artist, as I share in this fun video which was taken by a happy client, who, with his wife, commissioned Always Summer and purchased Festival of Colour. I explain more about what inspires my creativity. “When it’s winter, I paint summer.” It’s a little more about me and my urge to create which may inspire you too…I hope:)

look pain in the eye and turn it into something better

Two months after mum died I showed up for love and created the Summer Love exhibition. The exhibition’s name references the much-longed-for change of season and how needful it is for our mental health and resilience to have love-inspired beauty around us. I named it Summer Love in honour of the award-winning beer from our local winery and brewer, Kainui. Finally, after two+ years of lockdowns and shutdowns they finally opened again with one of many popular live concerts.

Again the exhibition was bittersweet. I was excluded from a local art trail being held that weekend. I showed up for love, beauty and joy on my own, and people flocked to the gallery to view my Summer Love collection and purchased many of my love-inspired paintings.

“When you stand in your truth, it’s like the Universe is listening and rewards you,” my local naturopath said to me when I told her part of the reason why I felt I was excluded. Last year I had advocated for artists who were being excluded from exhibiting in Koast, our local annual art trail, due to their vaccination status.

As it turns out, despite being ignored by my fellow artists, Spirit had my back, and I met so many amazing new collectors, several of whom are coming to my ‘Paint Amazing Abstracts” retreat next week. Plus, another fun thing is that one of my new collectors also purchased a painting by one of the artist’s who was excluded years earlier:) Now we are hanging together!

Abstract botanical artwork by Cassandra Gaisford

I owe my love of painting to Vincent Van Gogh

In November this year, I finally tracked down the painting that inspired me to paint again. Vincent van Gogh’s simply named Roses. I saw it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was in New York 20 or so years ago and was love struck!

Our bodies never lie and are how our heart, intuition and soul speaks to us. While standing in front of Vincent’s painting, I experienced a powerful visceral response. My eyes started tearing up, my heart-raced, my pulse soared. My whole body was on fire. It was then that I rediscovered the joy I once felt painting with fat, juicy oils.  

I took a photo of this painting and included it in my book Happy at work which was the first book I self-published back in 2009. I chose Vincent van Gogh’s Roses in the section “value natural knacks and talents”…apt considering van Gogh largely taught himself. I never recorded the name of the painting and joy of joys, while researching something else I found it. I share more about why and how Vincent inspires me on my blog>>

Roses, Ode to Vincent Van Gosh, Cassandra Gaisford, 2022

I really believe art, happiness and healing go together. As you’ll read below, vincent created these exquisite, truly heart-inspiring flowers the day before he left the asylum in Saint-Rémy in May 1890. Arts and crafts are great for the soul. The benefits range from enhancing self-esteem and confidence and increasing brain productivity to reducing the effects of serious health conditions, including mental anguish.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise) Roses, 1890 Oil on canvas; 36 5/8 x 29 1/8 in. (93 x 74 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1993.400.5) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/436534

“On the eve of his departure from the asylum in Saint-Rémy in May 1890, Van Gogh painted an exceptional group of four still lifes, to which both the Museum’s Roses and Irises (58.187) belong. These bouquets and their counterparts—an upright composition of irises (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and a horizontal composition of roses (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)—were conceived as a series or ensemble, on a par with the earlier Sunflower decoration he made in Arles. Traces of pink along the tabletop and rose petals in the present painting, which have faded over time, offer a faint reminder of the formerly more vivid “canvas of pink roses against a yellow-green background in a green vase.”

Source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436534

Happy hobbies

Cassandra in the artist’s garden

After an eight-year hiatus, it was really fun to get out my old Canon out during the final day of my Summer Love painting exhibition.

I first purchased this camera with new friends I met while travelling in Mexico in 2009 0r 2011. After 911, I visited them in New York where they lived, and Joe drove me all around Manhattan to a special photography shop, and I purchased my camera there. They can’t believe I still have it! It’s an oldie, but still a goodie and has so many wonderful memories. I love that we are still in touch:)

Some 15 years ago, I purchased a special lens called a Lensbaby which creates magic optical effects, but I had never used it. I didn’t know where to start! So I began by taking it out of its box, and then I briefly glanced at the instructions, looked at a few Youtube clips and then just played.

The point was not to make it perfect or pressure myself by saying, “I’ll never be as good as those professional photographers (who have been using this lens for years!) The point was just to have the courage to create and experience the joy of play. This is something I model in my Create Amazing Abstracts classes and art retreats.

The sister of this beautiful poppy bloomed one wet day, so I took this photo of a poppy in bud. I think she’d made a good reference photo for a painting. (And yes, it’s supposed to be blurry).

… hobbies are good for the soul and they stave off the fear of boredom!

lensbaby poppy in bloom

Bay of Islands One Day Art Retreat: Create Amazing Abstracts

I had so much fun and met so many wonderful people that I decided to share my joy and teach people how to paint themselves happy. As I write, the first class is tomorrow. It’s bucketing down with rain and feels more like winter, but in the happy gallery, the sun will be shining!

bay of islands art retreat

I came across this statement by Joni Mitchell the other day and shared it on my social feed. I loved the responses I received, including these sage words:

“Compliance is surrendering to the will of another… we must always honour ourselves, our gifts, our connections, our integrity, and our dreams to feel fulfilled, so we are free to grow throughout our life’s experiences to become the person we are supposed to be.”

Right now, as I write, I’m listening to Eric Clapton’s song, If I Could Change the World.

“If I could change the world I would be the sunlight in your universe,” Eric Clapton.

Musicians always inspire my paintings, whether their title or the vibe. I feel another painting coming on inspired by this song. Stay tuned. Here are the full Lyrics.

If I can reach the stars
Pull one down for you
Shine it on my heart
So you could see the truth

That this love I have inside
Is everything it seems
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams

And I can change the world
I will be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world

If I could be king
Even for a day
I’d take you as my queen
I’d have it no other way

And our love would rule
In this kingdom we have made
‘Til then I’d be a fool
Wishing for the day

And I can change the world
I would be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world
Baby, if I could change the world

I could change the world
I would be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world
Baby, if I could change the world
Baby, if I could change the world

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Eric Patrick Clapton

If I could change the world I would make it more joyful. Meanwhile, I do what I can. The year is still drawing to a close, but it seemed apt to end today (for now), seeing as I drew this card from my The Art of Life Inspiration Deck this morning:

fear can drive you to achieve the impossible…I’m possible, right?!:)

dr Joe a knew story

Here, I stand, the girl once so afraid of standing out or speaking out. Who was educated to tell the truth, but was punished for speaking when a child should be seen, (perhaps), but not heard. As Dame Helen Mirren says, the great thing about getting older is caring less about what others think. What is truly important, she says is to”appreciate that I’ve worked hard and tried to do interesting things.”

Amen!

So my friend, what of you? What interesting things occurred in 2022? Even the bitter can turn sweet. What interesting things lay in wait? What is to come in the closing months? What will your life story be? How has life shaped you so far, and what will you carry forward into 2023. I would love to know:) Above all dare to be a rebel with a cause, live passionately!

“…Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.”

~ Robert McKee

Many thanks for reading. I love hearing from you, so reach out if you’d like to connect, share your thoughts on resilience, bittersweetness, or anything else.  If you’re interested in a painting or you’d like to know how my commission process works, please get in touch. 

Sending bursts of sweetness and joy your way. 

With bubbles of love

Cassandra

P.s It was lovely to see my painting, She Smiled Softly, on the walls of the new beauty spa recently. I can’t think of a more perfect place

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

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Posted in: Blog

The Sweet Christmas Romance Collection

Date: November 8th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

The Sweet Christmas Romance Collection contains three popular love stories from Mollie Mathew’s romantic series set in captivatingly beautiful locations.

If you adore beautifully written stories and truly heartwarming sweet romances, you’ll love travelling along the road to love with these changing and evolving men and women as they open their heart’s again and find true love.


The books included in this bundle are:

1. The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride

What if the person who is so, so, so wrong for you is really so, so, so right, but you’re too afraid to give love a chance?

Last Christmas, art therapist Issy Riley was jilted by her fiancé. This Christmas, she’s running away. A week with a client on his private Fijian island promises to save her from cheating men and the London festive season. But when the client turns out to be a gorgeous and magnetic Italian billionaire, he threatens her resolve never again to trust her heart to the wrong man.

As the tropical heat soars, they discover that in this battle between work and play, resistance only fuels attraction—and sometimes, two wrongs make a very passionate right.

2. Love All of Me


Gianni Romano has ventured to New Zealand by the one thing he’d love to escape: family. The Romano fortune and name have followed him wherever he goes. But that only made the headstrong Italian more determined to strike out on his own. Now he’s on the cusp of achieving world acclaim.

Only one woman stands in his way—Kate Miller and her refusal to submit to his demands. The spark they have is more than a Sicilian sunset, but when emotions run deep, and lives are on the line, will mixing business with pleasure be the bedrock for a lifelong love? Or will it all explode like an angry volcano?

3. Forever and Always (Passion Down Under Sassy Short Story)

Still reeling following her malicious sacking, family therapist Lily Rose is feeling rejected and low in spirits. Even worse, she’s broke. Two weeks before Christmas, the last thing she needs is more money woes. This is exactly what happens when she collides with billionaire water magnate Leonardo Ermenegildo Bressolini’s mint-condition Lamborghini.

Fans of Danielle Steel and Sarah Morgan will enjoy these stories.

Escape into summer holiday romance with this beautiful box set. The Sweet Christmas Romance Collection 3 Book-Bundle Box Set is a sensuous read with healthy doses of escapism

PRAISE FOR THE COLLECTION

captivating romance!

“I absolutely loved this romance book set in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. Gianni has fled to New Zealand to flee from his family and Kate is in New Zealand running her global Manuka honey empire. Kate and Gianni are realistic, strong, independent, sexy, and confident. Kate is irate when Gianni demands she sell her business to him. Kate and Gianni are struggling with personal issues and just want to escape their lives. They end up having sparks that are hotter than an inferno. Their journey with each other is sensuous and in one of the most tranquil places in the world, their happily ever after came when they were at their most vulnerable. I recommend reading this phenomenal romance that will set you on fire, this author is extraordinary and knows how to captivate her reader’s hearts and attention with passion and hot, steamy romance.”

a great read

“Love All Of Me is a great read. It has its share of angst and joy. Kate and Gianni have a lot of familial events that play into this story. Well-layered and the interaction, even when it comes to their need for a therapist, is really cool. Disaster and betrayal are balanced out with the realization that they have both dealt with the volcanic activity which leads to love. A quick and balanced read.”

another heart-wrenching yet heart-healing story from this gifted author

“Another heart-wrenching yet heart-healing story from this gifted author…Loved the push & pull between the main protagonists. They both had horrific experiences & whilst she had physical scars & grieved the loss of her family with a heavy dose of self-blame, his were buried much deeper & yet he revealed everything. Loved her almost human mutt & the detailed well-written story that had a lot of angst but underpinning all the drama, the harsh words. they were so sexually connected that they could have put the stars to shame. Highly recommended.”

this phenomenal romance that will set you on fire

I recommend reading this phenomenal romance that will set you on fire; this author is extraordinary and knows how to captivate her reader’s hearts and attention with passion.”

Buy this book through the links below…

To enjoy your copy in eBook from Amazon and Apple, click here: 

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here:

AUDIO

KOBO

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sweet-christmas-romance-collection-3-book-bundle-box-set

The audio version is also available from other online retailers and libraries for your listening pleasure.

AUDIBLE
Coming soon!

Enjoy listening to the first two chapters of The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride for free on my Youtube channel. Subscribe to enjoy more free content!

Enjoy other full-length contemporary romances by Mollie Mathews: Sex With StrangersThe Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous MarriageFlight of Passion and Claimed by The Sheikh

Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

Claimed by the Skeikh

Date: November 8th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

A grief-stricken Sheikh Tariq na Hassir, the formidable ruler of the Kingdom of Avana, arrives in Paris to claim his brother’s child after a car crash killed his parents–only to find out from the hospital that the child isn’t their biological son. Salim is Tariq’s son, with his former lover, a renowned architect.

Three years ago, after being banished by Tariq from his desert kingdom, Melanie Jones secretly gave her baby to Tariq’s childless brother and his wife, in a swap the world was never supposed to discover. 

The tragedy pulls her back to the world that rejected her and the man who abandoned her—the only man capable of turning her carefully controlled world upside down.

Tariq will do whatever it takes to protect his legacy, including claiming Melanie as his bride and his son as heir before scandals ensue. But Melanie has other plans for her future—a westernized life where she’s free to operate her own business, control her life, and hold onto her wish that one day she’ll meet a man who loves her for who she truly is. 

If you love beautiful stories, set against a sensuous backdrop of the sensuous desert, art and innovative architecture you’ll love Claimed by The Sheikh.

PRAISE FOR CLAIMED BY THE SHEIKH

compellingly page-turning

“Wow, just wow, I can’t articulate enough how compellingly page-turning this remarkable story was. If I could give it more than 5 stars this would be it! This author has the gift & the power to make you experience her remarkable craft on a whole other level. I’m not one to tell the story, the blurb & other reviewers will cover that but I will concede that this magical, mystical, hauntingly beautiful story will stay with me for the longest time. Highly recommended.”

~ Terry

grabbed me from the first page

“This book grabbed me from the first page. Both lead characters were portrayed fully as real people not just by how they looked as in many books. There being a child involved added to my enjoyment!”

~ Melba

determined to carve a career for herself

“The tone for this book is set in the opening chapters as the young Sheikh is faced with ongoing difficulties in the kingdom created by his atrocious father. He is fighting an ongoing battle to prevent himself from being sucked into the past and to rather create a new and prosperous future for his people. Tariq’s previous rejection of Melanie and the results have soured her against romantic love and made her determined to carve a career for herself.”

~ Margaret

fiery, passionate and conflicting

“I really like the premise of the book, I always like the royal romance with impediments to happiness and this book has it in spades. I like the strong figure of the Sheikh and the strong heroine who has built a professional career. Immediately I can see lots of problems that seem insurmountable at first: their past stormy relationship, the baby secret, her desire to have her own career, his desire for an heir, his demand to raise the child, his vow to swear off women. I also like that, right off the bat, we learn about his plan to build a reserve for animals and to right the many wrongs from his father’s legacy. These are all good foundations for a fiery, passionate and conflicting relationship.”

~ Elaine

fantastic premise that has a substantial conflict

“Fantastic premise that has a substantial conflict behind it. I like Melanie a lot. A strong female heroine is what I want to read. I think that is particularly important with such a powerful man, and here in this instance, someone who can wield such power. I love love love the beginning. This is one tough guy but the book opens with him protecting a baby giraffe. Fantastic opening.”

~ Leanne

Buy this book through the links below…

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/ClaimedByTheSheikh

To enjoy your copy from Apple, Nook, and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/brVjdZ

To enjoy your copy from Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ebook/claimed-by-the-sheikh-8

AUDIOBOOK

KOBO

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/claimed-by-the-sheikh-9

AUDIBLE

US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B08ZB1KSM3

UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Claimed-by-the-Sheikh-Audiobook/B08Z9L7D9G

AU: https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Claimed-by-the-Sheikh-Audiobook/B08ZB8H17F

The audio version of this book is also available from all online bookstores and also libraries

Bride of GoldMarried by Christmas; Flight of Passion; Love All of Me; Sex With Strangers

Fall in love with these contemporary heroes and heroines trying to mend their hearts, overcome their fears and find true love—read the other standalone books my Mollie to discover the friends and family who tumble into a once-in-a-lifetime-happily-ever-after affair of the heart themselves. 5-star reviews



Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

Flight of Passion

Date: November 8th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Oliver Hart is used to getting what he wants. Single, thirty-five, and a committed bachelor he plays by his own rules. On a personal quest to find a rare butterfly with the ability to save his sister’s life he’s unwillingly distracted by former flame Ruby Diaz — a woman who callously abandoned him eight years earlier. When he decides he wants to reclaim the beauty as his own — in his mind, it’s as good as done.

But Ruby’s not his for the taking. Promised to the son of a wealthy landowner she refuses to succumb to his charms. On a quest to save her family land Ruby knows she must put duty first and silence the passionate stirrings of her heart. But Oliver doesn’t make things easy for her. He’s not taking no for an answer.

Risking everything to help the woman he loves to gain her freedom, Oliver entangles himself in an emotional net that alters his life forever. As he sacrifices his own selfish pursuit to help Ruby he realizes that you may be able to own something but you can never own someone – especially the woman you love.

Sharing a wee excerpt and insights behind Flight of Passion on my YouTube channel.

PRAISE FOR FLIGHT OF PASSION

tantalizes your senses

This is a well-written book that tantalizes your senses. Will Oliver be able to convince Ruby that she loves him enough to disobey her family? Can they find each other when all seems lost? An excellent book that I highly recommend. It will have you laughing with joy and crying with sadness.

~ Marie Fraser

a beautifully scripted story

Mollie Mathews has written a beautifully scripted story of two people wildly attracted to each other but too constrained by family expectations to allow themselves to commit. When they meet again after eight years can they move beyond old patterns of behavior or are they doomed to always want, but never have?

~ Jane Whitmeyer

a touching and heart-warming book

“This book is a carefully crafted, truly original story. Mollie’s wonderfully descriptive narrative paints a picture in which it is easy to lose oneself—I really felt like I had been to Mexico by the time I had finished. Her butterfly theme echoes throughout the book both literally and figuratively. The main characters, Oliver and Ruby, are each conflicted in their own ways. Despite facing challenges, both ultimately find the strength to work through their difficulties to emerge better people, and most importantly, triumph over adversity together. A touching and heart-warming book, well worth a read.”

~ Cathy Rioran

Buy this book through the links below…

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/FlightofPassion

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://www.books2read.com/u/bpp0LJ

To grab your copy from kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/flight-of-passion-3

AUDIBLE

US

https://www.audible.com/pd/Flight-of-Passion-Audiobook/B0874YCXVL

UK

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Flight-of-Passion-Audiobook/B0874X8TGX

AU

https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Flight-of-Passion-Audiobook/B0874Y3V2T

KOBO

https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/audiobook/flight-of-passion-4

The audio version of this book is also available from all online bookstores and also libraries

Enjoy other full-length contemporary romances by Mollie Mathews:

Bride of GoldMarried by Christmas; Claimed by The Sheikh

Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

Married by Christmas

Date: November 8th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Blank bookcover with clipping path

What if the person who is so, so, so wrong for you is really so, so, so right, but you’re too afraid to give love a chance?

The billionaire romance that defied the odds. Two opposites unite in a fun and frisky heart-warming sweet romance.

Last Christmas, art therapist Issy Riley was jilted by her fiancé. This Christmas she’s running away. A week with a client on his private Fijian island promises to save her from cheating men and the London festive season. But when the client turns out to be a gorgeous and magnetic Italian billionaire, he threatens her resolve to never again trust her heart to the wrong man.

The one thing Max and Issy agree on: they are as wrong for each other as wrong gets. He’s a workaholic playboy who believes emotion is a weakness. She’s a romantic who yearns for a happily ever after.

Milan fashion house leader and avowed bachelor Massimiliano Balforni has no intention of taking a vacation, despite his sister’s insistence that he subject himself to an art therapy retreat following a minor heart attack. With an important collection due, he intends to fire his therapist and work, instead. But the determined and striking Issy gives his heart palpitations of a far more dangerous kind.

As the tropical heat soars, they discover that in this battle between work and play, resistance only fuels attraction—and sometimes two wrongs make a very passionate right.

Set in two beautiful paradises—Milano, Italy and the tropical Pacific islands of Fiji.

PRAISE FOR MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS

an instantly gripping dynamic

“Mollie Mathews has created an instantly gripping dynamic between Issy and Massimilliano that beautifully blends their animosity and their undeniable attraction, making the tension soar.”

~ Laura, Harlequin Mills and Boon

Mollie is just such a good writer

“I really enjoy Mollie’s style of writing – it’s in the 21st century and relates to every woman who has been trashed by a bloke. The abandonment issues experienced by Max are also so relevant to our current world, so many have been emotionally stunted or abandoned. This is a story that resonates with me and I could not put it down. Mollie is just such a good writer with enormous appeal in her story – an excellent read on a rainy day.”

~ Rae Waterhouse

perfect holiday reading

“I couldn’t get away for a holiday this year but was lucky enough to stumble across Mollie Mathews book Married by Christmas. With inviting backdrops of Italy and Fiji to set the scene and passionate but angst-ridden leading characters, it makes the perfect holiday reading.” ~ Laura Virgo

gives me hope that I will meet my Prince

“Beautiful. Resonated in my soul, gives me hope that I will meet my Prince one day and he will love me for who I am.”

~ Amazon Review

a gorgeous escapist read

“A gorgeous escapist read. Loved the flirty spark between Max and Issy, and as for the location … sigh … I wanna be there. I will definitely be looking out for other books by this author. Recommended.”

~ Amazon Review

Buy this book through the links below…

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/MarriedByChristmas

Paperback, hardback, and audio from all good bookstores

Enjoy other full-length contemporary romances by Mollie Mathews:

Bride of Gold; Flight of Passion; Claimed by The Sheikh

Fall in love with these contemporary heroes and heroines trying to mend their hearts, overcome their fears and find true love—read the other standalone books by Mollie to discover the friends and family who tumble into a once-in-a-lifetime-happily-ever-after affair of the heart themselves. 5-star reviews

Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

Sex With Strangers

Date: November 8th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

In love, the most dangerous enemy is saucy secrets

44-year-old Ruby Evans doesn’t want to be a ‘leftover girl.’ But finding a ‘forever’ man is proving impossible.

Suddenly single after 20 years of marriage, her husband is the only man she has ever slept with. But the one bit of security she always thought she’d hold onto for the rest of her life is brutally ripped from her.

Humiliatingly and cruelly ex-ed when her husband trades her for a younger model, Chanel Zest, a long-time friend and motivational life coach, comes to her rescue. Together they embark on a quest to reclaim and rebuild Ruby’s shattered life and begin the gruelling process of dating again.

Once in a pink moon, Ruby has to play dirty…

If you loved Brigette Jones’s Diary and enjoy romantic comedy, you’ll love Sex With Strangers.

Full of quirky humour and the promise of a happily ever after.

Sex with Strangers is a clean romantic comedy with a few spicy bits.

sex with strangers three book


PRAISE FOR SEX WITH STRANGERS

loved the humor

“I absolutely enjoyed this story. I loved the storyline, I loved the characters, I loved the humor. I couldn’t put it down. The descriptions were perfect. I loved everything about this book especially the humor. It was funny, sad at times, and I loved it.”

~ Patricia Quinn

cute and fun to read

“It was cute and fun to read. I really enjoyed the story because I liked it was charming and cute, a little humorous. I thought this story was a great kept my interest, had to finish the story I would recommend it to friends and family.”

~ Carol G.

a playful and true view of a recently divorced woman

“A playful and true view of a recently divorced woman. Every woman who has gone through a divorce after more than one-decade long marriage identifies with this story. The insecurities about going out single again, the difficulties in relating to previous friends as most of them are couples (nobody likes to be the third wheel), the feeling that you are viewed as a competitor (by a previous friend) and the list goes on. Not everyone has a supporting net as Ruby – the main character – does and even though her life coach has quite a few shortcomings about relating to people and finding love she does help Ruby to get on with her life. There are quite a few steamy parts but most of the book is written with a lot of humor and the characters are easy to get fond of. It’s a true picture of modern newly divorced women and it was a fun read!”
 
~ Claudete Takahashi

Buy this book through the links below…

Paperback, hardback, large print from all good bookstores

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/SexWithStrangers

To grab your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/sex-with-strangers-13

To grab your copy from Apple, Barnes and Noble, and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/4EkM6z

AUDIO

Currently available for your listening pleasure from:

Kobo>>https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/sex-with-strangers-14

Audible

USA

https://www.audible.com/pd/Sex-with-Strangers-Audiobook/B08BTKHJ61

UK

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sex-with-Strangers-Audiobook/B08BTSSB6L

 Australia

https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Sex-with-Strangers-Audiobook/B08BTKDD8R

ENJOY THIS FREE EXCERPT NARRATED BY ME

Sex With Strangers review

Enjoy other full-length contemporary romances by Mollie Mathews:

Bride of GoldMarried by Christmas; Flight of Passion; Claimed by The Sheikh; Love All of Me

Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

Artist’s Life: Love In Wellington

Date: November 4th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Art retreat with Cassandra Gaisford

In between writing self-empowerment books and love stories (as Mollie Mathews), I love to paint…which explains, in part, why so many of my stories have art-related themes. My new release, Love In Venice is a great example, and I’ve been super happy with the lovely reviews, which confirm people love sensuous love stories against a backdrop of art and architecture. Lynn just posted this lovely review.

Lynn Review Love in Venice

It was bittersweet being back in my home town Wellington, New Zealand, for the New Zealand Romance Writer’s Conference and to see so many of my writing friends. I also taught my painting techniques during my Wellington Art Retreat. It was held in the beautiful Home of Compassion which, as it turned out, was just the best, most perfect setting. The weather was wild, windy and lashing with rain, but inside, our hearts were singing and shining, and we didn’t notice the storm that raged.

We loved every moment🌸🙏❤️🖼 Such a gorgeous and sacred space to hold a retreat.

We loved using the Art of Life Inspiration Deck to guide the creative journey which was as much about what things we are letting go of and which we are setting intentions about and creating those on our canvases. Fantastic new intention energy under the Lions gate portal.

In its simplest form, ‘Retreat‘, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ We just loved doing just that. The silence and serenity of this very special place was incredible. And of course, creating art (and writing) is very meditative and for me, a very spiritual practice and source of strength. Having just finished writing Love In Venice itn was lovely to retreat from writing and engage in a different form of creativity and share the beauty of creating art with others.

carol testimonial wellington art retreat

A retreat is a special time where we can take time to connect with each other, contemplate and renew our purpose and motives, and work on one or more specific goals—in this case, painting and connecting with our deepest self. People often mistake any group planning or training meeting for a retreat. It’s completely different and much more special and sacred—and silent, too.

Grounds, Home of Compassion, Island Bay New Zealand
Grounds, Home of Compassion, Island Bay New Zealand

Carol, playing with paint

Wellington is also the setting for one of my popular stories from the Sassy Short Stories collection, Twist of Fate. Click this link to GRAB A FREE COPY. It’s a funny, laugh-out-loud story—and don’t we need that right now!

Twist of Fate a romance novel by Mollie Mathews

Carol created a really special piece, inspired in part by the cards we drew during the day from The Art of Life Inspiration Deck, vibrant memories of people she had lost through tragic circumstances, and her desire to welcome new love in her life. I love that she said one of the best things about the retreat when I sent her the post-retreat questionnaire:

What was your favourite exercise we did together or tool that you used?

When you left (please don’t take offence) for 30 minutes and told me to paint with energy and passion. I nearly completed the painting in that time, I painted intuitively, joyously. I loved going to the art gallery with you and seeing the worlddifferently – but then it was great to integrate what I learned.

What do you feel your greatest accomplishment was that came out of our retreatexperience together?

Learning , observing art, composition, colour value, colour mixing. And then how to find the concept behind the painting, and using emotion and energy to put that concept on the canvas. I can see Sassy Susan’s strength is love and intimacy.

COME AND PAINT WITH ME!

Sign up to my newsletter and be the first to know about new in-person art classes>>

Have a great week, full of fun moments and happy days,

love, Cassandra (and Mollie)

Posted in: Blog

How to commission a painting you’ll love

Date: November 3rd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

People often ask me, “How do you commission a painting from an artist? How can you be sure you’re going to get what you want? It must take a lot of trust.”

Hi, I’m Cassandra, The Joyful Artist. In this video, I share the inspiration and process behind a large beeswax painting I completed in 2021 for a local Bay of Islands family. You’ll see some of the inspiration behind the finished work as well as video footage during the creation process. You’ll also discover how easy, fun and risk-free it is to commission a truly original painting from me.

I share more about the commission process here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/commissions/

Annika and Tony  Testimonial Beeswax Commission

How to commission a painting you’ll love

Thanks for watching and reading. I hope you enjoyed the insight into my creative process. To discuss the possibility of a commission, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an obligation-free discussion. I share more about the commission process here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/commissions/ including a few questions to help guide your decisions

Cassandra

xxx

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Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Courses: 

Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people>>

Play Dates: Online Creativity Workshop>> Have fun, explore, enrich your life 


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Posted in: Blog

Love in Venice

Date: November 2nd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

One summer could change everything. . .

When two hopelessly mismatched people share a love for art, a passion for love and a city like Venice, nothing is truly impossible…or is it?

Maggie’s life isn’t going as she planned. When toxic stress levels force dramatic changes, she grabs a chance at a fresh start. But her holiday in Venice begins with disaster—she finds herself rescued by a tall, dark, impossibly wealthy Italian man named Mauro.

The two are completely unlike—Maggie leads by her head, and Mauro listens to his heart. While each has compelling reasons to stay apart, the magic of art and beauty of Venice brings them together.

Maggie has to stay longer than she intended! And the trouble is, love is everywhere. . .

If you love feel-good, sensual contemporary romances set in beautiful love-infused settings, then you’ll love Maggie and Mauro’s story!

P.S. Fans of Sarah Morgan and Danielle Steel will love this feel-good romance!

PRAISE FOR LOVE IN VENICE

I loved this story!

“I loved this story! Love In Venice leans toward the heart. Where love is the main character. Where you cheer for their relationship to flourish.”

~ Jan Z.

a beautiful romantic love story

“A beautiful romantic love story with vivid characters, incredible world-building, and about finding love when you least expect it; really, who could ask for more? Do yourself a favour and read this book.”

~ Lynn

a warmly romantic story

“Love In Venice is a warmly romantic story. I loved that their hearts seemed to speak to each other almost from their first meeting. I love that we get to see how their lives unfold and their beautiful love for each other. The story has a wonderful flow and beautiful and vivid descriptions. I could envision myself in Venice – seeing the canal, the cobblestoned streets, the architecture and more.  There are family, friends, and lots of heart-to-heart moments between Maggie and Mauro.  There is sadness and tears, euphoria, romance and love.  There is also art brought in – music and painting that touched their souls and mine. There is a happily ever after that was portrayed better than I hoped.  The epilogue adds an additional layer to the story and briefly brings in characters we’ve met in other books. Ms Mathews is an author whose books I enjoy. She always transports me to someplace new with a cast of characters I grow to love.  Give her books a try if you haven’t already!”


~ JoAnne W.

Amazon review Love in Venice

Buy this book through the links below…

To enjoy your copy in ebook or paperback from Amazon, click here: 

To enjoy your copy from Apple, Barnes and Noble, Nook, and other great bookstores, click here:

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here:

AUDIO

KOBO

https://www.kobo.com/us/audiobook/love-in-venice-1

The audio version is also available from other online retailers and libraries for your listening pleasure.

AUDIBLE

US: https://www.audible.com/pd/Love-in-Venice-Audiobook/B0BBH8S35L

UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Love-in-Venice-Audiobook/B0BBHCNBW6

AU: https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Love-in-Venice-Audiobook/B0BBH927T6

Love In Venice

Posted in: All Books, Fiction Books

How to believe in miracles when everything seems to be going wrong

Date: November 1st, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Recently a visitor to my gallery commented, “You are handling the death of your mother so well. I know people who have spent years grieving.” I didn’t burden her with all the things going on in the background with past traumas and family dynamics coming to the surface. But here’s something I would like to share, how to believe in miracles when everything seems to be going wrong.

how to believe in miracles when everything seems to be going wrong

My number one go-to is connecting with Spirit and trusting in the flow of the Universe. I only have to look at all the times in my life when miracles were masquerading as setbacks. Including last week, when I was excluded from a local art trail. I showed up for love, beauty and joy on my own, and people flocked to the gallery to view my Summer Love collection and purchased many of my love-inspired paintings.

abstract artwork by Cassandra Gaisford
art collector Cassandra gaisford
abstract artwork by Cassandra Gaisford
SUMMER LOVE ART EXHIBITION

“When you stand in your truth, it’s like the Universe is listening and rewards you,” my local naturopath said to me when I told her part of the reason why I felt I was excluded. Last year I had advocated for artists who were being excluded from exhibiting in Koast, our local annual art trail, due to their vaccination status.

As it turns out, despite being ignored by my fellow artists, Spirit had my back, and I met so many amazing new collectors, several of whom are coming to my ‘Paint Amazing Abstracts” retreat next week. Plus, another fun thing is that one of my new collectors also purchased a painting by one of the artist’s who was excluded years earlier:) Now we are hanging together!

Have you always wanted to paint?

bay of islands art retreat
https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/abstract-painting-workshop/

Wednesday 09 November (only 2 spaces left)

and/or Sunday 13 November (only 2 spaces left)

Head to my website for more info.

https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/…/abstract-painting…/

Learn to paint amazing abstracts with award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford

🐝Be creative

💐Feel inspired by nature

🌼Grow resilience through happy art

🎨Feel energised through colour

👶Connect with your fun-loving inner child

Experience true liberation!

Leave with a painting you never thought you’d create and love!

The Art of Life Inspiration Deck

Judy art of life testimonial

Today I drew this card. It reminded me to stay in my power and not allow my good nature, kindness, and generosity to be taken advantage of. Importantly, I am acknowledging, in the wake of the settlement of mum’s estate, that I am ‘pissed off’ by the lies, selfishness and greed, but I am also committed to staying in the high vibrations of purpose, joy, and peace.

Stay strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

The quote was inspired by Audrey Hepburn, whose comments and philosophy also inspired the accompanying painting, Think Pink—which is also the name of my new self-empowerment book. This is available in ebook and paperback exclusively from Amazon.

Audrey Hepburn loved pink and encouraged us to always “think pink” no matter what is going on around us. 

Audrey is super inspiring to me. She endured many hardships, including abandonment by her father, toxic marriages, low self-esteem and a lot of grief. Yet she brought so many happy moments and so much love into this world.

Audrey once said, “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.”

How can you stay strong when everything seems to be going wrong?  Some of my other strategies include:

• Journalling

• Listening to and reading inspiring things

• Doing things that are joyfully distracting—like painting.

art of life thriving through chaos book

As I share in my book, The Art of Life: Thriving Through Chaos: Insights and Inspiration to Spark and Sustain Your Creative Life , I had been feeling worried that a couple who came to my gallery and told me that they would like to commission a painting, wouldn’t come back. To shift my mindset, I went to the gallery, said some affirmations, and began to paint. I fed my expectancy that they would return. And they did. Deposit paid and hearts excited.

“We love your paintings. We love all your art. We walked into your gallery and thought, ‘Yes!” they told me. They commissioned a special beeswax painting from me. I felt so happy when they came to view the finished piece and shared, “We love it. It’s us. You totally got our vibe.”

abstract beeswax by cassandra gaisford
https://www.cassandragaisford.com/the-art-of-life-thriving-through-chaos/

It’s so easy to believe in disaster. Believe in miracles instead!

Did you know that my clients call me ‘the queen of uplifting inspiration?’

Unlike others who have sowed fear and division energy during the pandemic, inspiring others is a pretty good legacy to leave. I created my Art of Life Inspiration Deck to support myself and others during the pandemic response. Each card is partnered with one of my paintings, and an uplifting quote.

The card below has, Think Pink—Acrylic on paper, professionally mounted on archival card Finished matt dimension 243 mm x 314 mm. It went to a lovely friend of mine in Gisborne:)



https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/the-art-of-life-inspiration-deck/

Flowers are the smiles of nature, and the landscape speaks the language of love.

One of many ways I do this is by immersing myself in nature—which is why I love to paint and photograph landscapes and flowers and to sit in my garden. Flowers are the smiles of nature, and the landscape speaks the language of love.

Another mindset strategy is gratitude. As I shared in previous blogs, my mother and I had a roller-coaster relationship. She could be kind and generous and then mean and hostile—sometimes within the same hour. One of the things I am grateful for is the last birthday present she gave me before I died, enrollment in a course that taught me to produce my own oracle cards.

These cards have helped me and brought hope, healing and happiness to others. It was so lovely to receive this unsolicited feedback today…

I know I have said that I love your cards, I just want to tell, you again how much I love them. And weirdly they always deliver exactly what I am needing some clarity on or support with.

I also love reading your blogs about your art.

Love, light and blessings, Cassandra.

Warmest 

Catherine 

I sent this feedback I received to my mum when she was in the hospital a month before she died.

“I am a registered nurse for the last 32 years and have been working almost every day since the pandemic, so I need some inspiration to keep me going!”

Plus, when she was bedridden, we would pull a card every day. I am so grateful I was able to care for my mum in her last few weeks. It’s helped me make peace with much of my pain.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my wee musings on how to believe in miracles when everything seems to be going wrong. Do let me know what resonated for you:)

You may also enjoy:

How Bees Spark Joy

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HOW TO COMMISSION A PAINTING

Posted in: Blog

How to keep flowering into your true potential

Date: October 29th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

How to keep flowering into your true potential when people, situations and things beyond your control knock you about? That’s the challenge, isn’t it? It’s amazing how the simplest of things can spark joy, like a Rose in Bloom. The name, and painting, were inspired by the following quote and my reverence for roses:

“Compare the serene and simple splendour of a rose in bloom with the tensions and restlessness of your life. The rose has a gift that you lack: It is perfectly content to be itself. It has not been programmed from birth, as you have been, to be dissatisfied with itself, so it doesn’t have the slightest urge to be anything other than what it is. It possesses the artless grace and absence of inner conflict that among humans is only found in little children and mystics.” ~ Anthony de Mello


Recently, I’ve been reading a book, Stop Fixing Yourself. Wake Up. All Is Well. by Anthony de Mello. Growing up and well into my late 50s, I was constantly criticized and told I wasn’t good enough. My mother once posted on my Facebook page that I was a failure. It was such a shock to me that I deleted it immediately. I felt like I’d been punched. Perhaps I should have kept it and asked her about it…but that, I know, would have made things worse. As I’ve shared before, like many daughters and their mothers, we had a complicated relationship. I can’t imagine anything making me post something hurtful like that on my daughter’s social media page or anyone else’s. I’m not saying I have always succeeded, but show me someone who has…and I’ve had the courage to stand out from the crowd. Not because I wanted to, but because I was compelled to follow my passion—and help others too.

For years, I’ve been trying to fix myself. To be better. More likeable. More loveable. In my youth, when I was so sad and anxious, a psychic suggested I train to be a counsellor. Helping people would help me feel happier, she said. It did and it does, but now I counsel, console, uplift and inspire through the healing power of my art and art retreats, art workshops, books and other creative pursuits—which I love. Largely I have the Covid response from many World ‘leaders’ to thank for that and my rebellion against their pandemic of fear, division energy and repression. I chose to join Dr. Joe Dispenza, Pam Gregory and others I follow, and be a rebel and show up for love. I share more about this on my blog.

When my mum died in August 2022, I was glad I had a special time caring for her and making peace. I finally gave up the fight to prove myself worthy. I am worthy. I am a rose—with thorns. I’m not perfect, and I don’t profess to be. Nor do I want to be. I just show up for joy, love and beauty and try to make the world a happier place. And sometimes, recently, if people provoke me, I get angry and wield my thorns. Oh my Lord, how freeing to finally express myself more fully. As my virtual mentor, Dr Jordan Peterson says, “If you’re too nice, you’ll get killed.” Killed by toxic people, events and circumstances, especially if you are fragile and super-sensitive. I credit my trauma therapist for that. In my last session, she said, “It’s like there’s a furball in your throat chakra. I wonder what will happen now I’ve removed it?” 

I’ll share more in an email to my followers:) But let’s just say a lot has happened—and been expressed. Growing up, I was the peacekeeper in a home that was less than peaceful. That came at the cost of truth.

“Only the adult human being is able to be one thing and pretend to be another. Think of the sad history of your self-improvement efforts—they either ended in disaster or they succeeded only at the cost of struggle and pain. You are always dissatisfied with yourself, always wanting to change yourself, always wanting more. So, you are full of violence and self-intolerance, which only grows with every effort that you make to change yourself. Thus, any change you achieve is inevitably accompanied by inner conflict. Now suppose you stopped all efforts to change yourself and ended all self-dissatisfaction.” ~ Anthony de Mello

Take it from me, it’s liberating!

art collector Cassandra gaisford
Sweet Surrender, 2022, Cassandra Gaisford, https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/sweet-surrender/

I love it when a painting sparks delight. ….best feeling ever… when someone takes a day off work, especially to come and see your art in person on their birthday and says, “you make me feel so happy. I can’t stop smiling.” How many world leaders and heads of state can say that? #letsmakepeoplehappy

Flowers speak a universal language of love. A rose is a rose…she doesn’t concern herself if a cactus wants her to be something else. Layered in sultry, juicy globs of love-infused acrylic, A Rose in Bloom embodies love, joy, happiness, beauty and peace.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin

TRANSITIONS, CHANGING CAREERS and BLOSSOMS

I love that quote above. Don’t you? So many people close to me are in the throes of change. My partner included. He recently sold his business and is excited (not without some trepidation) about the future. After 22 years (and more) in the financial services industry, he’s hung up his abacus. Burn your ships, I once heard. Sometimes the ships are burnt for you—illness, redundancy, Covid or something else. Whatever happens, have faith in yourself. You will blossom.

testimonial art

🔴 I enJOYed the best Mother’s Day this year. First, I received a lovely call and message from my daughter expressing how proud and thrilled she was to see me painting again and making so many people happy and thanking me for encouraging her to follow her passion❤️💕

Then I met a beautiful new collector on holiday from Sydney visiting her family. They made a special visit to see me in the gallery to purchase “When Love First Tasted Your Lips.” People love meeting the artist I have found, and learning more about the Inspiration behind my paintings and my creative process

In this case, it was the writings of Anais Nin and the reminder that something better can emerge after a painful ending. It seems especially apt to share this today as it marks the closing of Ake Ake restaurant, here amongst the vineyards of Kerikeri, run so wonderfully by my dear friends Chris and Judy Owen. New joys await!

The painting had only recently been hung at Ake Ake restaurant and winery here in The Bay of Islands. Tracey, who took her new acquisition to Sydney, had been enjoying a divine meal (Judy and Chris, the owners of Ake Ake provided the ultimate dining experience.)

The painting was near their table and the purchase decision was made in a heartbeat. I love that my new collector shared that this is her first painting by ‘a serious artist.’

“My sister fell in love at first sight with your painting “When Love First Tasted Your Lips’” her sister, Claire told me when she called to buy it.

This painting has sold but you may love “Sweet Surrender.” Created in a moment of passion following the sale of When Love First Tasted Your Lips.

As an intuitive artist following my inner joy, I know the magic in painting (and in life) is to remember that you just have to surrender to it and just go with it. In the end, despite much frenetic energy, ( including reworking an earlier painting) there really is magic in the whole concept.

Last night, Friday 28 August 2022 marked the last night for diners at Ake Ake. Today I drew a card for Judy from my Art of Life Inspiration Deck and the card said, “Love all your vibrant memories and hold those you love close”. In part, this is why I am re-sharing this memory.

Love-Story-The-Art-of-Life-Instagram

So many of us will have really special memories of happy times at Ake Ake surrounded by beauty, nature,  divine food,  gorgeous wine and of course, uplifting art.

I called around today to give them a hand in moving stuff out of the restaurant, and I’m now the happy owner of a couple of dining chairs that I’ve now placed in the gallery/studio Art@ Rangitane.

You might want to pop in over this long weekend, sit on the chair awhile, enjoy some high-vibe art… and create some more happy memories. Like my new collectors, who each purchased two beautiful botanical abstracts last week, and are excited to be coming to my “learn to paint amazing abstracts class in early November.

“Oh wow, I am so excited! So looking forward to it.“

Both are complete newbies which I ❤️

THE SUMMER LOVE EXHIBITION IS SHOWING TODAY and TOMORROW…In PERSON and ONLINE TOO

Abstract florals, positively blooming in a range of happy, uplifting colours. Take a peek and enjoy the garden while you’re here.

I hope to see you here  in our idyllic spot – 10 acres of trees, lawn and garden overlooking the sea

174 Rangitane Road, 12 km from Kerikeri

021873 833

Isolating? Live overseas or out of town? No worries. PM or shop online

xxxx

How to keep flowering into your true potential when people, situations and things beyond your control knock you about?

Me? I love to paint! Come and join me and I’ll share my secret tips!

Paint yourself happy. Leave your worries behind, let go of perfectionism and unleash your inner, fun-loving child!

My art and creativity workshops are known for being colourful and fun, and ever-so-slightly messy. While I do lots of demonstrations, I don’t teach you to paint like me…I teach you how to paint like YOU! You’ll learn through the creative process to find your own voice and style in your art.

ALL LEVELS. NO experience is needed.

BAY OF ISLANDS ART RETREAT

ONE DAY ART RETREAT

Will you make an artist date with me in my home city- Kerikeri, in The beautiful Bay of Islands!?

It doesn’t matter how much or how little skill you have as an artist, it doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter what your background is… All that matters is giving yourself permission to connect with your Creative Spirit and express yourself.

Get all the details below and join me for a fun day of play!

WHEN:

Wednesday 09 November and/or Sunday 13 November (choose I or 2 days)

WHERE:

Art@rangitane (12 k from Kerikeri), New Zealand

WHO:

All levels, newbies and artists of all experience levels welcome!

WHAT:

Join Cassandra Gaisford for an in-person art experience in her studio sanctuary on a beautiful 10-acre paradise to create some

Join Cassandra Gaisford for an in-person art experience in her studio sanctuary on a beautiful 10-acre paradise to create some really joyful art.

TO BOOK OR LEARN MORE>>

Well, my lovelies, as always, thanks for reading. I’d love to know what resonated with you. Keep flowering into your true potential:)

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Posted in: Blog

Are you extremely sensitive, or is life unbearable?

Date: October 26th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Vincent Van Gogh once lamented, “I don’t know if I’m extremely sensitive or life is unbearable.” I feel many of us can relate to this dilemma. There is no doubt life can be very brutal, but life also holds considerable beauty and opportunity if, like the sunflower, we turn our attention towards the sun. This is why, in the wake of the Covid pandemic I turned my attention to joy, and inspired by Vincent and other artists, like Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe, began my series of flower paintings. “Rose, peonies and anthuriums,” said a new collector who purchased two of my paintings during my Summer Love exhibition, ‘Who would have guessed I’m a florist.”

As I shared on my blog, flowers are resilient and strong. They can grow through cracks in concrete and flower in some of the most barren and harsh landscapes. And they always bring joy! Flowers are also incredible fragile wee souls, sensitive to harsh winds, gusting rage, and unsolicited attacks. But they bloom anyway.

Aretha Franklin was once told that music would save her. And it did.  I wrote in my journal the other day, art has saved me. And it has. But it’s more than art…because, as Joan Mitchell once said, “I don’t make ugly art.”

It’s beauty that has saved me, and it is the gift I share with the world. The other day, for example, I posted an image of She Smiled Softly, which is now hanging in the new beauty spa in Kerikeri. “So beautiful,” someone wrote.

She Smiled Softly abstract botantical artwork by cassandra gaisford
She Smiled Softly, 2020, Cassandra Gaisford

“We will be saved by beauty”

I was reminded of the healing power of beauty by a passage I had read in a wonderful book by Piero Ferrucci, Beauty and The Soul: “We will be saved by beauty”

“Where is my soul? That is perhaps the only question worth answering. Each of us answers in his or her own way.” Asks Piero Ferrucci in his wonderful book. 

I was once told I had the soul of an artist. I was a recruitment consultant for IT professionals at the time. Not long after returning to that job I grew to hate (a hoss who threatened to smash my head in didn’t help)  I got shingles and was told I was lucky I didn’t go blind. I share more about how this experience lead me to change careers and love life again (and you can too) in Midlife Career Rescue (the Trilogy)

Van Gogh tried a few careers, unsuccessfully, and then announced, “I want to be an artist.” Largely self-taught, he also took a few courses with established artists. Which is something I have done too, including Max Gimblett, who I studied with in Mauri. Hawaii. Next month I’m excited to be sharing my art secrets at my in-person Bay of Islands art retreat. Are you coming? Details here:




https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N29BJNJ

I came across this article recently following the media flurry caused by two women throwing tomato soup at one of Vincent van Gogh’s beautiful sunflower paintings.

“In less than a week Van Gogh painted a series of still-lifes of Sunflowers. Although they failed to sell during his lifetime, they would now be worth an unimaginable sum. Today the Sunflowers are arguably the world’s most instantly recognisable artworks.

It is less well-known that Vincent painted four still-lifes of sunflowers in the Yellow House in Arles in 1888. The first, with three sunflowers, has always been hidden away in private collections. The second, with six flowers, was destroyed in a bombing raid in Japan during the Second World War.”

In less than a week! Wow!

It’s fun to think that someone writes a weekly blog about van Gogh. I’m going to follow a few more of the author’s posts. in one of Martin Bailey‘s articles he asks:

What were the first 12 Van Gogh paintings ever sold? And who were the brave collectors, way ahead of their time?

It got me thinking! Many of my new collectors are being brave and ahead of their time too. Like my new collector who mentioned I had forgotten to sign my painting, Love is a Flower, and could I please add my signature to the front and back: “I’m sure it doesn’t really matter but when you are super famous…” she wrote.

Who knows if I’ll be famous? LOL. It’s not my goal, and I don’t think it was Vincent’s either. Like me, he wanted to paint himself happy and to share beauty with the world.

Love is a flower abstract botantical art by Cassandra Gaisford
Love is a Flower, 2022, Cassandra Gaisford, https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product/love-is-a-flower/

Bailey writes, “It may come as no surprise that the first sale after Van Gogh’s death included Three Sunflowers (August 1888). This was the first of four still lifes of sunflowers that he painted in the Yellow House in Arles. Sold in April 1891, the buyer was the French critic Octave Mirbeau, who had just published a glowing review of Van Gogh’s work.”

From there, Vincent’s sales grew exponentially. Many are now traded in excess of $50 million dollars. Portrait of Dr Paul Gachet still holds the record for the most expensive Van Gogh, although it sold as long ago as 1990. At Christie’s, it fetched $83m, then the highest auction price for a work by any artist. My other muse, Leonardo da Vinci, has since topped that at a whopping $450 million for his portrait of Christ, Saviour of The World. Here’s hoping!

Experience Your Good Now!


Growing up, I was constantly criticized. I can count the positive feedback on my hand. No doubt, my mother and father were criticised heavily too. Their childhoods were mired by a mix of abuse, neglect, and other issues that made life sometimes unbearable. Of course, there were good times too. Perhaps, just not as many as other families. I have come to understand that, yes, I am sensitive. Not just sensitive, but super sensitive. Which is a great thing for an artist. Without this heightened awareness of colour, mood, emotion, beauty—and brutality, artists’ would be less attuned to create.

To keep my vibrations high, I like to collect and share positivity. This includes keeping and surrounding myself with inspiring and uplifting quotations. Recently, I’ve begun to make a few to go with my paintings and plan to turn these into a book so others can be uplifted too.

Bloomin’, 2022, 760mm x 760mm, Cassandra Gaisford—SOLD

I came across this quote from Louise Hay as I was writing this post:

“Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All of your self-talk, your internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You’re affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought.”

I was also reminded that words can trigger the stress response in our bodies just as coming face-to-body with a hungry lion. This is why it’s so important to be vigilant with what we, and others, say to us. Using words as wands, not weapons, is why I love to name my paintings with uplifting affirmations.

ISABEL ALLENDE BLESSED WITH AN UNHAPPY CHILDHOOD AND A STRANGE FAMILY

HOW and WHY I NAME MY PAINTINGS

My paintings are my babies. I like to give my children beautiful names that allow them to flower into their true potential. Sometimes I wonder why my mother named me Cassandra. But then, look into the history of the name, and I found Cassandra was a truth-teller with a huge BS detector (like my muse Eric Clapton).

Sometimesmy paintings are named after song lyrics playing in the studio. Love is a Flower and On The Bright Side of the Road, and also my newer works, Let Your Love Rain Down On Me.

.On The Bright Side of the Road, 2022, Cassandra Gaisford

Sometimes, a story someone tells me about how they named their child and the meaning behind it, sparks a painting and a title. Like Cordelia and Te Ataroa. Te Ataroa was inspired by and named after a beautiful baby who was only three months old when I saw her while she was with her mum shopping for groceries. The young couple had lost a little girl who, a year earlier, was stillborn. Their new daughter Te Ataroa was a blessing. Translated her name means “the long morning”.

As I painted the artwork I imagined Te Ataroa’s sister shining down from heaven, sending her family endless kisses across the morning sky. The colours were inspired by the pretty little pink, white, and green floral dress Te Ataroa was wearing when I met her. I showed the young couple a photo of the painting and they told me that their mother wept because it touched their hearts. After exhibiting this painting in a group exhibition, The Beauty of Resilience, just as New Zealand emerged from the first Covid lockdown in 2020. After the exhibition, I gifted this painting to the family.

“Omg! That is the most wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me chills! You’re such a wonderful person to share your God-given talents with this family. May God continue to bless you.” – Geri Sullivan.

Te Ataroa I don't know if I'm extremely sensitive or life is unbearable
Te Ataroa, Cassandra Gaisford, 2020, 900 mm x 1200 mm Acrylic on board

Sometimes, it’s a line of poetry, as I did with When Love First Tasted Your Lips. The name of this painting was inspired by the lines of a poem by Persian Mystic, Rumi, “When love first tasted the lips of a human being it started singing.” The painting was inspired by some flowers I saw growing in my compost bin—beautiful vibrant dahlias. Right now, I’m feeling compelled to create a book, The Artist’s Garden, to share more of the beauty that inspires my work.

flower power botanical photography by Cassandra Gaisford

Several seasons ago I did create a book, Flower Power that showcases some of my botanical photos and has some of my favourite quotes by the Persian mystic Rumi. You can download it instantly here

https://www.blurb.com/b/8638155-flower-power

Or purchase a gorgeous hardcover version from Amazon here:

(Note, there is an error on the Amazon page, so don’t click the paperback version. Another author’s book has been linked to mine.)

testimonial art I don't know if I'm extremely sensitive or life is unbearable
WHEN LOVE FIRST TASTED YOUR LIPS, 2022, Cassandra Gaisford,

I don’t know if I’m extremely sensitive or life is unbearable. How I stay sane in an insane world if it’s both!

I don’t know if I’m extremely sensitive or life is unbearable. I think it’s both. I hope, as always, my musing helps you stay sane in an insane world. I know how healing art can be and the value and liberation of turning our minds and hearts toward the sun. And of course, inspiring people are like vitamins for the soul. Which is why I love the call to ‘pierce poise’ articulated so well in the biography of another of my muses, Helen Frankenthaler. I don’t look as fierce as Helen, but my act of rebellion in a world ruled by fear is to show up for joy! What fun!

Stay sane in an insane world by surrounding yourself with inspiration

“It’s important to keep creativity in me and around me.  And when I am doing something creative, I don’t feel trapped. I feel liberated.”

-Julia Cameron

BAY OF ISLANDS ART RETREAT
I don't know if I'm extremely sensitive or life is unbearable

Learn to paint amazing abstracts with award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford in her amazing Bay of Islands garden and flower sanctuary.

🐝Be creative

💐Feel inspired by nature

🌼Grow resilience through happy art

🎨Feel energised through colour

👶Connect with your fun-loving inner child

Experience true liberation!

Leave with a painting you never thought you’d create and love!

For more info and to grab your spot>>

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Posted in: Blog

Bay of Islands One Day Art Retreat November

Date: October 23rd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Leave your worries behind and unleash your inner child! Come and join award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford’s Bay of Islands Art Retreat for hours of creative play, fun and joy.

WHEN

Wednesday 09 November (only 3 spaces left)

and/or Sunday 13 November (only 2 spaces left)

(choose I or 2 days – grab the two-day discount of $750)

10 am – 4:30 pm

WHERE

Art@rangitane (12 k from Kerikeri), New Zealand

WHO

All levels, newbies and artists of all experience levels welcome!

WHAT

Join Cassandra Gaisford for an in-person art experience in her studio sanctuary to create some really joyful art.

HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT

– How to play up as you create

– How to truly feel joy during the creative process

– How to create your most joyful art

– The 7 stages of the creative process – including doubt!

– The glee and magic of mixing your own colours

– Valuing values (….this has been said to be worth the price of admission alone!)

– Composition tips that will easily take your art to the next level

– What to do when you’re blocked, stuck, or f*cked

– The 5 elements that all great paintings possess (you’re going to be surprised about #3), and how to incorporate them into your art

– How to discover your voice and harness the unique energy you bring to your art

– Cassandra’s personal painting techniques and process (this is gold!!)

– How to choose your colour combinations that sing in a more intuitive way

– How to use meditation and journaling to guide your art

– How to let go of fear, doubt and inhibitions as you create

– How to embrace our own intuition as an artist

– Cassandra’s secrets to expressing your feelings, inspiring yourself and taking your art higher

join award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford's Bay of Islands Art Retreat for hours of creative play, fun and joy.

INVESTMENT

$660 per day, per person paid in full prior to retreat, Afterpay instalments available

INCLUDES:

– Yummy refreshments during the workshop

– Paints

– Paint magic

SCHEDULE

– Gather around 9:45am

– Learn something/fling some paint around / laugh a lot and have plenty of fun

– Break for lunch

– Come back and learn/laugh/play some more

– Finish up around 4-5pm

– Enjoy some alone time OR spend time with your fellow art workshoppers

NOT INCLUDED:

– Transportation to/from retreat.

– Accommodation

– Meals

– Please bring your own canvas (we will provide the address to purchase from or ship them to in advance of the retreat), your favourite tools & brushes

FAQ

Do I need experience?

No this is an all levels course—beginners are welcome as are experienced artists. You are totally in safe, non-judgemental and skilled hands. A willingness to experiment and play is the only pre-requisite

Is there an age limit?

Anyone over the age of fifteen is able to participate in the workshop.

Once I enrol can I change my workshop date?

This is a non-refundable payment and the workshop date selected cannot be changed or swapped for a future day. In the event of a COVID lockdown, the course will be provided online.

About your instructor

Cassandra Gaisford is an award-winning Bay of Islands, Kerikeri-based abstract artist whose work is inspired by colour, infusing her paintings with happiness, love, and joy. Learn more about Cassandra here and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

RAVE REVIEWS

Carol Testimonial Art retreat

“I’m still raving about the day. Thank you much Cassandra; you have the most beautiful spot, the perfect environment for my journey of discovery of realizing I can be “creative”. I learnt some very cool abstract painting techniques, got to paint my own originals, and I went on a spiritual journey for the day.  Thanks for sharing yourself and for looking after me like a queen. I am so inspired to paint. I had a magical day.” Lyn

“This was exactly what I needed. Being a very small group was so rewarding. Cassandra has a unique way of explaining plus making you feel you can do this.   A very talented lady. Thank you, Cassandra. I loved, loved, loved the whole day.” Bev

GRAB YOUR SPOT

Join award-winning artist Cassandra Gaisford’s Bay of Islands Art Retreat for hours of creative play, fun and joy.

BOOK ONLINE TO GRAB YOUR SPOT>>

dm, call 021 873833 or email Cassandra today: Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

Consider getting a group of besties or work colleagues together for a fun and educational play date. Or, do as one super kind mother-in-law is doing, purchase a gift certificate.

Three Day Food, Art and Wine Retreat

I’m planning a Three Day Food, Art and Wine Retreat in early 2023. Enjoy the best of local award-winning wining and dining and creative play. Please email me to register your interest: Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

Posted in: Blog

how to be more resilient and have gaslight repellant

Date: October 22nd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Hi my joys,

I wanted to share my thoughts, experience and tips to help you learn how to be more resilient and have gaslight repellant.

Are laughter, love and joy missing from your life?



Fifteen Sunflowers on a yellow background (August 1888)

“Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look at squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be better than you. You cannot defeat me.’ Then repeat to yourself the most comforting words, ‘this too shall pass.'”

Anne Landers



Recently I’ve been leaning into the lives of artists I admire, living and dead. Top of mind is Vincent van Gogh whose work has always inspired me. It was seeing one of his paintings while I was in New York many moons ago that started me painting again. I think I was around 31. He’s been in the news recently with that horrid attack on his sunflowers painting by a couple of women seeking infamy for their beliefs. Google ‘van Gogh tomato soup’ to know more or click here.

Recently, I’ve felt like people have been throwing tomato soup at me. It’s been a stressful time for many reasons, not least of which is my mum passing two months ago. Horrid things have been going on with my siblings in relation to her last wishes and the settlement of her estate. It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand the dynamics within our family more fully…and it’s made me sad…and mad!


Vincent had a super loving and encouraging brother who supported him financially and encouraged his painting. I envied him that…in a good way. Because in so many other areas, Vincent suffered. His relationship with his father was strained; he desperately wanted to be loved but never married and never had a child, and he despaired that he never sold any of his paintings. But he kept painting anyway and found comfort and companionship in his art. Perhaps he never would have poured so much beauty, hope and healing into his paintings had his life been easier. He painted himself happy—even when he was in an asylum….but eventually, life, the taunts and unkindness of others, and loneliness broke him.


It’s from Vincent that I got my love of yellow and texture and found comfort and healing in art. Immersing myself in beauty protects me from the brutality of life and living.


Instead of watching the news, I’ve been watching art videos:) 

I absolutely adored this Youtube video about Vincent’s life; I wish when I studied art history, my teacher could have brought it to life in this way.



Have you subscribed to my channel yet on Youtube…? You’ll find inspiring, uplifting content here: 



I love yellow, but I love blue too. And pink…yes, I do love pink…and green…and well…I just love colour…and flowers. People often think flowers are just pretty wee things, but I loved how my new collector, Sandy, said her new painting, Bloomin’ reminded her of wildflowers. And that triggered something I heard another artist say recently about how flowers are resilient and strong. They sure are. They can grow through cracks in concrete and flower in some of the most barren and harsh landscapes. And they always bring joy!





Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank



So, as I was sharing earlier, I’d been feeling low and despondent and wondering, “what is the point?” “Am I wasting my life doing these flower paintings?” And this despair, coupled with news that a group of local artists had banded together to hold an exhibition this weekend, an art trail, but had excluded me, well, that was almost the straw that smashed the artist’s back…and then in walked Sandy.

Or rather, along came Sandy walking barefoot on the grass, side-by-side with my partner Laurie, heading to the studio. I never know if anyone will come when I open my studio, but I open it anyway…and this is the first time in many months. It’s wonderful to create joy, but it’s even nicer to share it with others…and I’m ecstatic and grateful when people love my work so much that they buy it instantly.





I said to a friend, in my next life, I want to be Taylor Swift! I love her sassiness and how she channels her heartbreak into her strong, empowering lyrics. And I love how she hosts her ‘superfans’ at her home and bakes them cakes. And I thought, hey, I kinda already do that.

I love having people in the studio, making cups of tea and chin-wagging about them, their lives, their sorrows and what lights them up…which, happily, are my paintings.





Sandy’s reaction when I showed her Simply Gorgeous made me feel so happy. I snuck this wee photo (and later asked permission to share it). “I love this., she cried. It really was love at first sight.

Simply Gorgeous is an abstract landscape painting from my Joyous Wee Gems collection. It was inspired by a magical sunset view from the studio and my gallery art@rangitane in the beautiful Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Simply Gorgeous is also inspired by a collector who saw a preview of this one in the collection and cried, “simply gorgeous”

These smaller works of heART are perfect if you are downsizing, or curating a bookcase or to brighten a smaller area of your home or office.  

I loved getting this note from Sandy the day after she visited the gallery.

“Meeting you and seeing your beautiful works were a highlight of my new life in KK. I’m looking forward to collecting my new Bloomin’ beauty next weekend.”

What I’ve been watching…how to be more resilient and have gaslight repellant


I love Dr. Ramani’s videos on helping become more resistant to toxic relationships. Do you have narcissistic parents or siblings…bosses, “collaborators,” or politicians who are bent on bringing you down? Do you need to keep yourself sane in an insane world? Here are Dr. Ramani’s tips for valuing yourself and having gaslight repellent against mean and unkind people.








Why Doesn’t Mummy Love Me?

“The narcissist is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom: No matter how much you put in, you can never fill it up.” ~ Dr Ramini

One of the things I’ve learned from Dr Ramani is getting better at setting boundaries, distancing from narcissists and enablers and, most importantly, the importance of finding meaning and purpose in my work.

As a child therapist, I had the privilege of hearing from boys and girls, young and old, who told me that their mummies didn’t love them as they should. “If I was my mother, I wouldn’t drink,” one 8-year-old said. His father was in prison and his mum was at the pub. Luckily he had an excellent GRAND-mummy who was raising him and bringing him to therapy to help with his anger issues.

“My mother wanted custody of my sister, but she didn’t come for me. She doesn’t want me. She doesn’t love me. I’m no good,” a 12-year-old boy referred, also for anger problems, told me. “I want to kill myself,” a 10-year-old sobbed. “My mother is always yelling at me. The more I try to do to make her happy, the more she gives me and then she shouts when I can’t do it all. She wouldn’t care if I died.”

Look into their mother’s history, as I helped these children do, and as I have done to heal my own wounds, and they discover that their mothers are walking wounded. Their mummies (and daddies) rather than learn from their childhoods victimise all, or some, of their children.

If you can’t be loved by your mother unconditionally, then love yourself unconditionally. Warts, pimples, freckles, flaws and extraordinary talents and all.  Because you are a star. We all are. Some stars live in dark galaxies, and others need to live in the light to shine brightly.

Sometimes we have to be our own ‘magic mummy’…as I share in my book, Why Doesn’t Mummy Love Me.

If you need help finding meaning and purpose, you’ll love my book, How to Find Your Meaning and Purpose>>

Painting, writing, creating and inspiring others fill up my love bucket. But even I need validation from time to time. This is why I store feedback, to look at when I feel low. In my family, compliments were as rare as pink diamonds. I love this validation someone left after reading The Little Princess. “Cassandra is the queen of uplifting inspiration,” Amazon reviewer.

Part moral allegory and part spiritual autobiography, The Little Princess is a timeless charm that tells the story of a young woman (me!) who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else to follow her heart.

Thank you for reading, and loving my work. You inspire me:) I hope this post has inspired you, too, and helped you know how to be more resilient and have gaslight repellant. Feel free to forward to friends and encourage them to subscribe to my newsletters for more upliftment. Goodness knows the world needs it.



P.S. Summer Love is showing weekends until Sunday 30 October 2022, 11am until 3pm

There are a range of small, medium and larger works available for sale. Something for all budgets and the perfect opportunity to pick up a special Christmas gift. 

Enjoy a light-hearted day viewing soul-enriching art set amongst a 10-acre subtropical garden overlooking the sea.

174 Rangitane Road,
Kerikeri
(12km from town, toward Opito Bay

I hope to see you here for the exhibition or my upcoming art retreats xxxx



p.p. s. I’ll be putting a selection of new works on my website throughout the weekend. Check the featured art page: https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product-category/featured/

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST: how to be more resilient and have gaslight repellant? I’d love to know what resonnated.

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Posted in: Blog

How To Commission A Painting

Date: October 21st, 2022, Posted by cassandra

A recent commission. ‘Always Summer, acrylic on canvas, 2400 mm x 1200 mm

Why Commission A Painting?

You have remodelled your home, built new, or just feel like an immediate uplift. Perhaps you’ve found an artist whose work you love. Maybe you’ve seen their work on social media or met them at an open studio event or exhibition. Perhaps you’ve been introduced to their work through a gallery and have never met them but their work speaks to you.

Maybe the artist mainly works in a smaller format and you have a large rectangle piece in mind, or there is a particular palette you want, or a reference to a favourite place that holds so many happy memories. There can be an infinite array of reasons to want a bespoke piece of work made to your taste and this is where you might consider commissioning a painting rather than purchasing an artwork that is already made.

How to Commission a Painting

it starts with a chat…

My recent artwork, ‘Always Summer’ was commissioned by a beautiful family who saw some of my smaller works on a Facebook post and visited me in my gallery. “Do you take commissions?” they asked me.

They told me they wanted a statement piece to celebrate their soon-to-be completed renovations. The creative brief was to invoke the feelings that it is always summer even when the storm clouds hover and the rain lashes outside during the notorious tropical downpours we experience here in the Bay Of Islands.

How Much Does It Cost To Commission A Painting?

Expect to pay the same for a commissioned painting as if you were to buy a similar-sized painting from a gallery. If you have a budget in mind, speak to the artist to see what that will buy you. The size, materials, and framing considerations all impact pricing. Very often, with some creative out-of-the-box thinking you can come to a win-win quality deal.

You may be asked to pay a deposit once a price has been agreed, usually around 30-50% of the total price. Some artists reserve the right to add costs for amendments to the work so make sure that is also agreed up front too.

“We absolutely love it. It’s so beautiful. You’ve exceeded the brief and more.”

How to Clarify What You Want

Again, it all begins with a conversation...

I trained as an interior architect and I have a background in colour consultancy and counselling. So often the conversation with my commissioning clients centres around their favourite colours, how they want to feel, and which of my pieces (sold or available) speaks to their heart the most.

The painting Always Summer is a love story inspired by nature. The colour palette embodies joy, happiness, and the pleasure of a shimmering blue sky, heat-hewn summer clouds, the heat of the rejuvenating sun, the caress of grounding grass beneath bare feet, swims in the sea, canoeing on lakes, memories of happy summer holidays… and more❤️

Completing A Commission

Usually when asked to work to a certain size, I might buy 3 or 4 canvasses of that size and work on them all at once. Then I will offer the client a choice of all 4 of the works to pick from with the remaining works being made available for sale or going out to galleries. I find this takes the pressure off trying to get it right the first time and means I can maintain the free, inspired and love-inspired emotion in the creation. Sometimes I create tiny versions of the painting in a variety of styles and a clients chooses their favourite or co-creates in the design.

Tanya and Pete’s painting was so bespoke, beautiful (and expensive) that I had one shot at getting the vibration right! You can watch this video to see the work in progress and learn more about my creative inspiration. There were a few hiccups along the way and that ended up being so perfect! I actually had to start the painting again after the company stretching it on the support frame ripped it and told me the work couldn’t be saved.

It turned out so well and the clients were so happy they purchased a second-piece, one that was being exhibited in a gallery—Festival of Colour!

Festival of Colour
Festival of Colour, acrylic on canvas, 901mm x 901mm

What Inspires My Work?

This video is about my inspirations, my love of colour and why I love creating commissions and the pleasure I gain from sending my love-inspired paintings out into the world. In this video, I share a variety of sources where I gain and share creative joy, passion and purpose. Thank you to Peter Heath for the outstanding video montage.

I’m looking forward to the successful installation of the commission later this month. It will be super exciting to see ‘Always Summer’ on the newly installed wall.

I know this loving family are aching to move out of their temporary lodging’s and enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned and visionary renovations. It has been an absolute joy creating a bespoke statement piece for them.

If you’re interested in commissioning a painting, please get in touch

Follow all my creative adventures on Instagram or Facebook (links below). Feel free to ask questions below and let me know what part of the episode was most helpful to you. If you like this video, please give me a thumbs up. This helps me understand what types of videos I should create. Also, subscribe to my channel so that you’re notified of new videos. Sign up for my email list and receive a free gift: http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

Thank you for reading! I hope you find my blogs inspiring and love my work.

You can also find me here: Website: https://www.cassandragaisford.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cassandraga… (this is the best place to see all my artwork and behind the scenes videos, etc.)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Powerful-cre…

Find all my books on my Amazon author page https://Author.to/CassandraGaisford

Enjoy my artworks https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/pr…

PLAY DATES Would you love to explore a new hobby or resurrect one you’ve neglected? Is stress draining your joy? Would you love to do something—just for fun? Or are you a pro who has lost their mojo? Whatever your reasons, whatever your motivation, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you feel Play Dates is perfect for you. For those ready to explore the playful freedom of Abstract Art. Play Dates is my 6-week online course that I’ve created just for you! I invite you to join me on this self-paced abstract adventure across 6 different units and over 20 different lessons. I’m excited to show you so many things! Whether you are a beginner, experienced or a pro who has lost their flow, I can show you how to loosen up, how to create art that speaks, art you love. I can help you take your art to the next level. Would you love to play? Join here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/pla…

ps. you may like to join my new FREE group for encouragement and insight – https://www.facebook.com/groups/22370… A relaxed, comfortable and joyful place to grow in your Artistic Journey. Writing, drawing, painting, mixed media tutorials by award-winning artist and best-selling author Cassandra Gaisford. With 25 years of creativity coaching, art teaching experience and a love of encouraging others to discover the joy and power of creative expression, this is a place to learn and discover the fun of making art from your heart

Free gift for artists

GET YOUR GIFT

ps. you may like to join my new FREE group for encouragement and insight – THE JOYFUL ARTISTS A relaxed, comfortable and joyful place to grow in your Artistic Journey. Writing, drawing, painting, mixed media tutorials by award-winning artist and best-selling author Cassandra Gaisford. With 25 years of creativity coaching, art teaching experience and a love of encouraging others to discover the joy and power of creative expression, this is a place to learn and discover the fun of making art from your heart

Posted in: Blog

Summer Love Exhibition

Date: October 16th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

“One word frees us from the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”

~ Sophocles

My new Labour Weekend art exhibition, “Summer Love”, shares a flurry of colourful, heart-infused paintings inspired by my love of colour and flowers.

Opens Friday 21 October at 11am. Showing weekends until Sunday 30 October 2022

The exhibition’s name references the much longed-for change of season and how needful it is for our mental health and resilience to have love-inspired beauty around us.

There will be a range of small, medium and larger works available for sale—something for all budgets and the perfect opportunity to pick up a special Christmas gift.

BIO: CASSANDRA GAISFORD

Cassandra is an award-winning abstract artist, transpersonal art therapist, author, and Reiki master. She infuses all her work with positive energy and light.

She was the supreme winner of the Wai Art Awards, and a finalist in the Adam’s Portrait award. Having participated in various overseas workshops including a Sumi–E ink painting workshop in Hawaii with ex-pat artist Max Gimblett, her latest works embrace the simplicity of pleasure and personal experiences that create flow and incite joy. Her works are held in private collections nationally and internationally.

As an intuitive artist with a passion for following her ‘inner joy’, she hopes her work captures and celebrates the ‘life-giving’ aspects of art, and leaves viewers with a feeling of pleasure, contentment and peace.

Labour Weekend art exhibition Cassandra Gaisford

Feedback from collectors

“Your work speaks to my soul in a major way.”

“The pieces inspire such positive feelings.”

“Wow! So amazing to see your pieces in reality. They have so much life in them.”

“Your work has a magical, spiritual quality. I just love them. Really love them.”

You can view and purchase her art here: www.cassandragaisford.com/gallery

SUMMER LOVE: OPENING TIMES

Friday 21 October, 11am to 3pm

Saturday, 22 October,, 11am to 3pm

Sunday, 23 October, 11am to 3pm

Monday 24 October, 11am to 3pm

Thereafter all WEEKENDS, 11am to 3pm

Exhibition closes Sunday 30 October, 11am to 3pm

Posted in: Blog

The Best Words You’ll Ever Hear

Date: October 11th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

When I was six I dreamed of being a writer and an artist. I wrote poems and short stories and submitted them to the Sunday Star Times, which was published in the children’s section. As my friend and mentor, Max Gimblett, wrote in the forward to my book  Mid-life Career Rescue

“Persevere with your mid-life; bring into consciousness your childhood dreams for they will become your living realities.”

~Max Gimblett, Artist and Zen Buddhist Monk

 

As an adult now in midlife, I have made child-like joy my passion and purpose and my mission is to share beauty and freedom with my clients and collectors.

As an artist the best words I can ever hear are

I love…
I love… the painting
I love…your work
I love…your effervescence
I love…the workshop
I love…you

Actually, I do love YOU. I love that you love receiving my newsletters and reading my blog I am so grateful to people who have purchased my love-infused work. It’s validation that when I show up for joy it matters to you too.

As I shared earlier, one of my newest collectors emailed the following “I am loving getting your inspirational emails – thank you – I love them and the Cordelia painting and really want to buy it.”

The feedback made my heart glad…as did knowing my love-infused work was going to a loving home. Sharing and feeling love boosts my resilience. Love is the swiss-army knife of all things healing. It’s why I love to create.

My ‘why’s’ include:


Uplifting myself
Uplifting others
Playing
Creating beauty
Adding beauty to people’s lives
Living my joy
Building resilience
Creating joy
and more

My why’s resonate with my collectors who are looking for the same feelings too. Like Penny who recently purchased two of my Joyous Wee Gems. “I’ve always loved your flower paintings and wanted to have one.”






This painting is sold, but you can view more available works in the Floral series here:
https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product-category/art/floral-series/


You may want to follow me on Instagram where I share new works and my creative process. Follow here: https://www.instagram.com/cassandragaisford/

Below is another beautiful wee gem. This floral beauty is keeping me company in my writing room as I write my novel set in Renaissance Italy and France… just waiting to hear if it is this one, her sister piece, or both(❤️❤️🌸🌸) a new collector in France has her heart set on.

Who or what keep you company while you work?

New work, Life is a Bed of Roses



Love is a Bed of Roses is inspired by a beautiful Italian book of flower paintings I purchased in Puglia. Roses have always been dear to my heart. My mum adored roses and grew many beautifully perfumed varieties, and for her funeral, she specifically requested that Bette Midler’s The Rose be played.

I’ll be placing the finishing touches on Love is a Bed of Roses this week and popping it into my online gallery and social. DM to enquire

Love is a Bed of Roses, Acrylic on Canvas 76cm x 102cm (work in progress)

One of the most common questions people who answered The Art of Success questionnaire when I was creating my series of books The Art of Success (inspired by both Coco Chanel and Leonardo) said they would ask both Leonardo da Vinci and I—is how do we keep going in the face of obstacles? What gives us persistence?

One of the essential things is believing your goal or dream is worth fighting for. Do you want it bad enough? Does it fill your soul with fire? Without passion in your heart you won’t have energy, making it hard to get started—let alone to keep going.

But even with fire in your soul, you need to fan the flames of desire with a healthy dose of optimism, and lavish doses of self-soothing, in the face of setbacks.

I’m just like you. I feel defeated sometimes. Worn out. Frustrated. And sometimes, I wonder if it’s all just too hard. Leonardo did too. 

Sometimes we have no idea how to overcome the obstacles we face. But—after allowing ourselves to feel natural emotions such as despondency, frustration, and despair—we must get on with generating solutions.

Leonardo loved solving problems. He thrived on challenges. He didn’t like anything getting the better of him. And he loved to succeed—qualities you can cultivate.

Your Challenge

Go on a problem-free diet. Talk and proactively look for solutions

Feeling fearful? Feel the fear and act ‘as if’ you are confident, courageous and full of massive self-belief

Surround yourself with the beauty of art—wear it, create it, purchase it or make a date with beauty. Don’t forget the uplifting beauty of glorious gratitudes



Check out this video and discover how art can boost resilience

Many thanks for reading. I love hearing from you, so hit reply if you’d like to connect, share your thoughts on passion, purpose and resilience.  If you’re interested in a painting or you’d like to know how my commission process works, please get in touch. 

Sending bursts of colour and joy your way. 

Joyful love

Cassandra

Posted in: Blog

Serenity and Misty Days

Date: October 1st, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Hello my joys,

Happy spring or autumn, where ever you are in the world. I hope you’re enjoying the change in season. I want to share with you some recent work, misty days inspiration, some thoughts on perseverance and why living with passion and purpose can change everything. 

Perfect Harmony
beeswax and pure pigment on perspex
120 x 165 cm

This piece weaves multiple strands of hope and harmony and contains a spiritual soothing lightness. The inspiration, as is so often in my art, is nature. It’s spring here, and we are having the wettest time. It seems like the whole world is getting lots of rain. This wonderful white mist settles over the sea and islands—all most like a bridal veil.

stardust

“Stardust”
New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, Pure Pigment, Charcoal on board
150 cm x 200 cm
2022

It was such a shock to lose my mum this year. 2 days after I returned home to the Bay of Islands, after two weeks caring for her. Thankfully I can escape into creativity. I am loving the strength and beauty of black at the moment…black was my mum’s favourite colour.

There are so many reasons why throwing yourself into your passion and purpose is such a soothing balm. As I share in How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love:

  • Passion helps people lead bigger lives.
  • Passion is an indispensable part of success.
  • Passion helps people achieve.
  • Passion energises people.
  • Passion liberates people. It lets them be themselves.
  • Passion opens up fresh horizons.
  • Passion is good for your health and helps you live longer.

What will passion do for you?

What I’m reading

I never get tired of re-reading this classic book. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir is riveted and offers comfort during these crazy times. I share a little more about Viktor’s experience and why following your passion, not your pension is the ultimate success strategy on my blog. 

Available Artworks




It’s my birthday and I’m celebrating! 50 per cent off original art—my birthday gift to you. Be quick. Sales ends 03 October. Grab a piece of my joy today! https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product-category/art/


Available via my online store with global shipping. Afterpay is available.


Shop the collection here https://shop.cassandragaisford.com/product-category/art/

Posted in: Blog

How To Find Your Joy and Purpose

Date: September 26th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

At last, a different approach to career change, mental health, and happiness

Holistic therapist and Bestselling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, Cassandra Gaisford (BCA, Dip. Psych.) and Intuitive Healing Coach (BCom), Hannah Joy provides simple but powerful and easy-to-implement ways to find your joy and purpose.

If you’re stressed, struggling with anxiety or depression, or had a mental-health diagnosis you’re struggling to accept; this book is for you. If you’re supporting a loved one, a son, daughter, or partner suffering from depression or another mental health crisis, this book is for you too.

If you’ve lost your joy or work is making you sick, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose will help you connect with what makes your soul sing. Align with your purpose to create a life of joy, passion, prosperity, and fulfilment. Finding joy and purpose is the ultimate, medication-free depression, stress, and anxiety cure. Whether you are burned out, stressed out, blissed out, or checked out, the question is always the same: How do you find your joy and purpose and keep it without crashing or sacrificing your mental health?

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose if for anyone trying to create and sustain a meaningful, healthy, and prosperous career and life.

Overcome adversity, return to health, find your destiny and follow your bliss the easy way.

Let’s look briefly at what each chapter in this book will cover:

Step One, “The Call For Joy,” will help you explore the meaning of joy and discover the benefits of following it, and the consequences of ignoring your happiness. You’ll identify any blocking beliefs and intensify joy-building beliefs to boost your chances of success.

Step Two, “Discover Your Joy,” will help you to identify your sources of bliss and joy criteria. What you’ll discover may be a complete surprise and open up a realm of opportunities you’ve never considered.

Step Three, “Joy at Work,” will assist you in identifying career options and exploring ways to develop your career in light of your joy and life purpose.

Step Four, “Live Your Joy,” looks at joy beyond the world of work and ways to achieve healthy balance and fulfilment. You’ll also identify strategies to overcome obstacles and maximise your success.

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose concludes by showing you how to identify your point of brilliance.

“Providing an abundance of strategies to use in your everyday life to find joy and purpose. I have no doubt this book will empower many people.”

~ Heather Dodge, Teacher

Reader Reviews

guided me on a journey of discovery

“How to Find Your Joy and Purpose is a practical guide with thought-provoking realistic tools that guided me on a journey of discovery, and learning me. It is easy reading, practical and from the heart. It is written for me and speaks to me–which is how any self-help/improvement book should be. I loved the book!”

Joanna Baldwin, 5-Star review

a wonderful and inspiring book. LOVE it!

“This is really, really good! A wonderful and inspiring book. LOVE it! It’s concise, personal and practical. I can think of so many people who could benefit from this book.”

Heather Dodge, Founder Kaleidoscope Solutions

How to find your joy and purpose audio ipad and print

Click the BUY NOW links below to get your copy today.

To enjoy your copy from Amazon: getbook.at/FindYourJoy

AUDIOBOOK

AUDIBLE

USA

https://www.audible.com/pd/How-to-Find-Your-Joy-and-Purpose-Four-Easy-Steps-to-Discover-a-Job-You-Want-and-Live-the-Life-You-Love-Audiobook/B08NWHSS4C

UK

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/How-to-Find-Your-Joy-and-Purpose-Four-Easy-Steps-to-Discover-a-Job-You-Want-and-Live-the-Life-You-Love-Audiobook/B08NWJ7PSG

AU

https://www.audible.com.au/pd/How-to-Find-Your-Joy-and-Purpose-Four-Easy-Steps-to-Discover-a-Job-You-Want-and-Live-the-Life-You-Love-Audiobook/B08NWJ6S69

KOBO
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/how-to-find-your-joy-and-purpose

Also available from other online stores and libraries

Posted in: All Books, Career Books, Creativity Books, Wellbeing Books

HOW LESS CAN BE MORE WHEN CREATING GREAT ART

Date: September 26th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

In this video, I share practical art tips and insights into my creative process, including how to declutter your paintings to make great art. You’ll see me creating monochromatic elegance in gorgeous ivory.

EMPTINESS DANCING: Currently, I am drawn to the peace and beauty of white. Many people think white is an absence of colour, but the opposite is true. White light is a combination of all colours in the colour spectrum.

“Emptiness Dancing” is beautifully layered with sensuously sultry glazes of textured beeswax, wax crayon, pure Titanium white pigment and star-studded with quartz crystals. One of the notable uses of crystal geodes is spiritual healing. This piece positively sparkles.

You will love the light-hearted spirit of fun I have infused into this piece… especially in the times we are living in now, it’s very important to be surrounded by objects that make us smile and make us feel peaceful.

1140 mm x 1190 mm x 40mm on board

framed in Australian Ash by Peter Sharp

This painting is available for sale from my online store. International shipping is available. Commissions welcome

If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details are here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellington-art-retreat/

marilyn

Who is inspiring you lately? Recently, I have become transfixed by Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe. Yesterday during a night of restless sleep, I watched a compelling Netflix documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe; The Unheard Tapes.

I love her courage, compassion and creative genius. Unfortunately, powerful men exploited both Marilyn and Diana. Who will ever know what truly happened, but one thing is for sure, in their short lives, their huge hearts left an enduring legacy. I hope to do the same with my art, perhaps not in such a grand way, but in my way anyway:).

I have this quote by Marilyn printed in my office—we Libran’s are renowned people pleasers, and it reminds me to focus on prioritising my passion projects and me.

You may enjoy my book, co-written with my daughter for more tips on how to find your joy and purpose, view it here 

Posted in: Blog

Want a big piece of my joy?

Date: September 19th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

As well as playing around with Tiktok, I’ve been having lots of fun painting in the studio. You may be surprised to see quite a lot of black. You may already know that I recently lost my mum, very suddenly, and black was her favourite colour. I don’t usually paint with a lot of this colour, but I’m loving it.

Black is a surefire way to make a statement in your space. Not for the faint-hearted, the bold hue adds drama, and depth and shows real design flair.⁠

From feature walls to tiles, appliances, joinery and tapware—and of course art there are plenty of ways to incorporate black into your kitchen, home or workspace.


Here are a few of my latest super big works from my Allowing Peace Series:

Stardust

New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, Pure Pigment, Charcoal on board

150 cm x 200 cm

2022

SHOP

The Look of Love

New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, Pure Pigment, Charcoal on board

150 cm x 200 cm

2022

The Look of Love

SHOP

View other works in the Allow Peace Series>>

I hope you enjoy this video where I discuss the creative process behind my newest giant black beeswax artwork, Stardust.

If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellington-art-retreat/

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:

HOW TO CHANNEL YOUR EMOTIONS TO MAKE GREAT ART

HEAL YOURSELF WITH WRITING, PAINTING, CREATING

Posted in: Blog

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—his secret love and one woman’s passion and purpose behind telling his story

Date: September 16th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

 

heather morris and I I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer.

As you can appreciate, this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration, we all felt encouraged, emboldened, and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope.

Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects, but I was also reminded of the finality of life. This provided added motivation to crack on with my own writing projects.

For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz (released to great acclaim in 2018).

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival.

Sokolov used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

Below is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset) by Cassandra Gaisford.

“My book is the true story of the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that Dante-esque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married, and lived very happily for over 50 years, ” Heather told me.

After first meeting Heather I invited her to share her story and she generously emailed me the following:

“I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003. I was 50-years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays; he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier.

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita.’

Over the next three years, our friendship grew as, slowly, his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.

It didn’t matter. I fell under his spell.

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent? Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted, convoluted story I was starting to make sense of—the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me.

It was all of these things and more. I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honored and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov. It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay. He got to read it and loved it.

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died. At that time, I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years, but failed to ‘get it up’.

I took the option back and, after a rewrite, started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world. It did well, and was often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Award in 2016.

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told;’ that it was ‘Oscar bait’. But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment came when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium.

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion,’ I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign, a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up.

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.

I was getting no-where.

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California, who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain. In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow, I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary once said, ‘knocked the bugger off.’

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story. They have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries, and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.

And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it.

I am now 64 years old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully, in two or three years’ time, a film.

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me. Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way. I told myself it was The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story. I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.

A lot of very talented people/editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honored to have my name on. My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favorite screenwriters, William Goldman, who references the children’s book The Little Engine That Could.

‘Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.’”

 

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience, and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent!

Harper Collins came on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and, at the time of writing, major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

What’s also interesting about Heather’s story is that she adopted a growth mindset. She began with a film script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via Kickstarter and the Internet—and then an opportunity came knocking. But, importantly, success came because she put her work out there.

It’s a reminder to us all that you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset.

As Heather said, giving up on telling this story was never an option for her. Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich—most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.

Winners never quit and quitters never win, Heather’s brother John Williamson, a screenwriter, told me before he died. His cancer took a “u-turn” and the medication slowed, and slightly shrunk, one of the tumours in his lung. Sadly, it was not too last but at least Heather and I got to share some special moments.  Something we all agree about is there is power in story and creativity!

 

 

 

Mining for Gold

Brainstorm or list as many ways as possible that you could finance your career. Seek suggestions from others to widen the possibilities. Ask your way to success.

Which of Heather’s success strategies could you experiment with? Going AWOL? Learning a new skill? Crowdfunding? Affirmations on the wall—or something else?

Read the BBC review of Heather’s book and meet the man who inspired this unexpected love story—http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42568390

Check out Heather’s Kickstarter Campaign here—www.kickstarter.com/projects/thetattooist/the-tattooist

 

 

Heather Morris’ brother, John and I

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here:getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here:  https://books2read.com/u/38ZyeZ

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here: https://www.kobo.com/en/ebook/the-prosperous-author-developing-a-millionaire-mindset

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

 

Do you have a secret you’d love to share? A story of passion, hope, and survival? Or have you always dreamed of writing a book someday?

  • For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.
  • For anyone who wants to make a living from books.
  •  This is the book to make your dreams a reality.
  •  Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

 

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Posted in: Blog

How to channel your emotions to make great art

Date: September 15th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

In this video, I share practical art tips and insights into my thinking and creative process, including how to channel your emotions to make great art. You’ll see me creating UPON REFLECTION, using
New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, pure Pigment, and charcoal on board, 350mm x 350 mm x 65 mm deep.

This is a special piece as I created this artwork the day I received news that my mother had died suddenly. She was only 80 years young. This video is also a celebration of the joy she brought into our lives and also of the power of creativity to transform sorrow into happiness.

Enjoy the video, and scroll to the end of this Vlog if you would like to read some of my ‘relfections’

Upon reflection…

In this video, I’m sharing with you the creation of the special beeswax, frankincense and pure pigment painting I made in the wake of my mother dying suddenly. Creating something beautiful from something painful is a very healing thing to do.

My mother was 80 years-young when she died. It was very sudden and quite a shock. The photo above was taken only three months prior, on her 80th birthday, May 29. Mum was a Gemini. Joyful, creative, entertaining, chatty, sociable and beautiful.

I’m lucky I inherited a lot of her creative gifts. Even though people say when your parents die you feel that you are all alone in the world and that you have nobody else, I actually am very blessed to have my creativity and this will always connect me to my loved ones.

My mother like to share her joy. She had an interior design business for many years and uplifted people’s lives by helping them create beautiful homes and I like to think I carry on the legacy with my artworks.

I begin painting this beeswax by thinking about my mum‘s favourite colours, one of which is black. She loved black with a passion. I’m not normally someone known for painting with black and I often have told people I’m allergic to it! It may be because when I had my colours done I was analysed as ‘spring’. Spring people with their warm sunny colouring often don’t suit black near their face, we’re told. Anyway, since mum passed I have begun working with a black palette.

I knew that I wanted to use beeswax when I created Upon Reflection. I love painting with beeswax it’s very healing and beautiful. Also, my father was a beekeeper and he did a lot of pioneering research using the curative properties of bees, including healing people with terrible burns and crippling arthritis. My father had a very challenging life but he was also a gentleman and genuinely cared about other people.

To create the rich blacks for Upon Reflection I used some beautiful pure French powered pigment which I bought from The French Art Shop. Mum loved France and we went to  Paris with her some moons ago and it was such a memorable beautiful time. I’m lucky that my mum gave me so many wonderful experiences. She was very generous.

Mum also loved collecting buddha statues and I have a couple she bought back from me on a trip to Bali in my home. They always remind me of her. When I worked in a corporate role they used to call me Budh because apparently,, I said wise things!

As I was creating Upon Reflection, which I made the day that I heard my mama died I was thinking about her and her life and the things she loved. So I was infusing the whole painting with this feeling of love. So it’s not a sad piece. It’s a joyful piece.

And as I created my artwork in her memory I thought about the last message I ever received from her and that was after I had left and I told her that I was stuck in Auckland because of the stormy weather and she said “I can’t believe it’ and then she “I could live forever with you. And it’s the most beautiful memory that I have. As with many families, we didn’t always see eye to eye but I think I was probably the most like my mother out of all of my siblings. I feel a bit like Princess Anne who spent her last days with her mother Queen Elizabeth and said that it was such an honour to have spent those last moments with her. And as I said, I only left two days before she died to return to my home after spending a special two weeks caring for her. I received the news that she had died suddenly just as I walked in the door. It was such a shock.

As you’ll see in the video, I love creating my beeswax artworks by pouring melted beeswax all over the sides. I have taped the edges to keep them clean. That way they won’t be messy like they are in the video.

You can see the extra texture created by the ground-up frankincense that I added to the mixture. My beautiful Japanese friend Makoto send this very special frankincense to me from the Sultan of Oman. It was such a surprise at mum’s funeral to see that the priest, in a somewhat traditional Catholic ceremony in the same church as my grandmother had her funeral, waved smoking frankincense over her coffin. I hadn’t known he was going to do this and I had just decided intuitively to use frankincense in the painting. Frankincense is well renowned for its healing, curative, and spiritual qualities. In fact, when the baby Jesus was born the three wise men came bearing gifts which included frankincense.

I carried the painting with me to Wellington to mum’s funeral several days later. I had thought I would leave it in the house but then I decided, no I wanted mum’s energy to go out into the world and with it the joy and the peace and the beauty that I found in creating this work. I’m delighted to say this painting will be exhibited along with other beeswax works at Ora Gallery in Wellington.

To Mark Twain’s beautiful quote which my distraught nephew bravely read at mum’s funeral, ‘dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening… ‘ I would add:

Paint like the spirit lives; and enjoy the rest of your days like its heaven on earth.”

If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellington-art-retreat/

Posted in: Blog

Practical art tips and insights into my thinking and creative process

Date: September 11th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Hi, I’m Cassandra—the joyful artist

A question I am often asked is,” What are your thoughts as you create your art?”

In this video, I share some insights into my creative process and practical strategies you can use to improve your art.

I hope you enjoy it

You can also join The Joyful Artists Group on Facebook:

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Cassandragaisfordnz

Connect with me on Facebook >>

Instagram>>

Find all my books on creativity, well-being and inspiration on my Amazon author page

https://Author.to/CassandraGaisford

FREE GIFT: Subscribe to my newsletter, grab your free gift and be the first to know about my new releases and giveaways: http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

Posted in: Blog

Heal yourself with writing, painting, creating

Date: September 10th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

You don’t always have to make a living with your art, you can, however, heal yourself with writing, painting, and creating.

“My most successful songs are about sadness and depression,” says the singer Robbie Willians in a recent interview. “So sometimes I just have to revisit those places to get another hit.”

Having been sober for 20 years now, he admits his music is a constant reminder of both his addiction and his recovery. Although it’s taxing, he says, to revisit those dark times, he admits he does so with the belief that his greatest hits come with vulnerability. His pain, his trauma, and also his recovery provide fuel for this creativity.

He’s a self-proclaimed narcissist and says every lyric he has written is about him in one way or another, “It’s all autobiographical, it’s all narcissistically about me,” he laughs, confessing his latest album is no different.

My mum passed away nearly three weeks ago at the time of writing. I have found great comfort in creativity. The time we had together before she passed is to be cherished forever. Much healing was achieved for us both, and some people have commented that my presence with her in the last two weeks of her life helped her to pass to the next realm peacefully. Happily, we enjoyed some good laughs in her final days.

The last message I received from my mum was a text the day before she died, “I could live forever with you.”

I could live with you forever

“Sorry about your mum. Amazing that you channelled that into creativity,” people wrote to me.

This was in reference to a post I shared in the Romance Writers NZ New Zealand FB group in which  I remarked that I had begun the seeds of a new story, “A September to Remember… conceived two weeks after the death of my mother… Joy Gaisford (nee Fairweather) in memory of her legacy.”

Sometimes we don’t recognize how powerful it is to channel our emotions into creativity.

I have written and spoken about the power of creativity many times. I think it was the songwriter Alanis Morissette who said joy and anger are some of the greatest creative forces, but I would add to that sorrow as well. Think about how many wonderful love songs have been created during times of sorrow and which provide great comfort to those who hear the words and listen to the melody. Think about how many artworks have been created—including Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting, The Mona Lisa. Da Vinci’s painting is inspiring a novel I have been working on for the last decade and am now in the final throes of writing.

Love is a wonderful teacher.


“A life without love, is no life at all,”  said Leonardo da Vinci. He’s the inspiration for my series, The Art of Success and other books on creativity.

Love is greater than fear, and more powerful than failure. Leonardo pursued his greatest loves – learning, acquiring knowledge and living and working authentically. He used his failures to fuel his success. He wasn’t afraid of trying new things, and he didn’t let setbacks overcome him. In many ways Leonardo da Vinci is just like you and me.

Leonardo channelled much of his suffering, and his joy into his work. Like many of uw, he experienced self-doubt, had family hassles, let abandoned, some of his efforts failed, people jealous of his talent tried to undermine him, and money worries meant that at times he had to suck it up and do work he didn’t enjoy. Often he had to work for bullies and tyrants. But he didn’t let obstacles stop him from doing the work he was born to do—being an artist. Pursuing knowledge born of his own enquiry and experience ultimately led to his success. 

Check out this video about the failure behind one of the world’s most visited and revered paintings The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci https://vimeo.com/84022735

Doing what you love, as Leonardo did,  is such an important part of success – and persevering in the face of failure.

In my Art of Success survey I loved the question someone said they would have loved to ask Leonardo da Vinci,  “What gave you persistence despite the obstacles?”

Setbacks only made Leonardo more determined to succeed. Leonardo once said, “Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve.” 

One of the many things I do to stay sane(?!) and motivated is to create and surround myself with inspiring quotes and memories.

A fabulously passionate bookshop owner took this photo in her magical bookstore in Puglia, Italy. I added the quote today to remind me (when I feel lonely) how it is a luxury to have time, silence and solitude.

Could it be only be eight years ago that I seized the opportunity to follow my passion for photography and combine it with a research trip (yes, research… ) for the novel I am finally bunkering down to complete while my partner is travelling for a month. It’s been a 10-year odyssey—the only failure will be to give up!

Have I failed?

My mum and I didn’t always have a positive relationship. Sometimes, she could be quite discouraging and cruel. I recall her posting something on my Facebook page once, calling me a failure. It was awful. But, the truth is like many successful people, I’ve failed many times. I remember when I went to University as a single mother and mature student just before I turned 30. I absolutely flunked my first exam. But my failure rather than defeating me only strengthened my resolve. 

I powered up and armed myself with more knowledge about how to study effectively and how to retain knowledge and succeed in exams. I still remember the note I pinned on my wall, “I have failed this time but next time I will succeed. I will score 86%. And my faith and hard work were rewarded. In my next exam, I scored 87% – a vast improvement on a lowly 16%!

What has failure taught you? 

What can you let it teach you again?  

Tip: Don’t look at setbacks as a negative thing but view them as a reflective tool shining the light on things you may need to improve.

I write more about Leonardo’s strategies for success, and my experiences and how we both can inspire you in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life


I’ve also channelled and transformed some of my hurt into my Transformational Super Kids. These modern-day heroes and heroines tackle modern-day problems with the passion and gusto of warriors. They defeat cruel critics, they slay savage self-esteem demons, and they show people—jealous of their kindness, talent, and beauty—that their biggest superpower is staying true to themselves.

Suitable for ‘kids’ of all ages—aren’t we all still children at heart?

Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.

This is a splendid little book for any person aspiring to reach another level, with such a powerful message. Of never, ever listening to anyone who steals your light. Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.

As one who has taken advantage of the wisdom, knowledge & ability of Cassandra, to communicate, over a number of years, I would encourage you to read this book thoroughly & think deeply on your own situation.”

~ Kenn Butler, CEO

“Very uplifting and inspiring”

I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration!”

~ Reviewer UK

Why Doesn't Mummy Love Me?
Cassie is a Giraffe

Sadly one of my photography buddies, John, died suddenly this year- far too young, in his 50s. And as you know, a few weeks ago my mum died too young at 80.

Time is precious..to paraphrase Steve Jobs…don’t waste it living someone else’s life or nursing old wounds. Channel your passion into your creativity!

If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details here>>

We had such a magical time at the first retreat in Wellington in 2022, and the benefits Carol received from the workshop far exceeded our expectations!

Carol Testimonial Art retreat

“The course was the best investment in myself I could possibly choose.”

Yes, the course had tutorials about composition, shapes, colour values and themes. Those tutorials change the way you look at the world and paint. But this course is more – it is the way Cassandra seamlessly guides you through how YOUR creative process works – what stops you and how to break through barriers to get into the flow of creativity. That awareness will transform who you are being and everything you do. The course was the best investment in myself I could possibly choose.”

Posted in: Blog

Wellington Art Retreat August 2022

Date: September 10th, 2022, Posted by cassandra

WARM YOUR HEART THIS WINTER…

Banish the winter blues, leave your worries behind and unleash your inner child!

Come and join Cassandra’s Wellington Art Retreat for 72 hours of pure bliss in her former home city- Wellington!

WELLINGTON ART RETREAT

WHEN:

July 29 to 31, 2022. Arriving Friday, July 29 and departing Sunday July 31

WHERE:

Wellington, New Zealand

WHO:

All levels, artists of all experience levels welcome!

WHAT:

Join Cassandra Gaisford for an in-person art experience in her home town Wellington (voted The Coolest Little Capital in the World) to create some really joyful art. Here’s what to expect:

– How to play up as you create

– How to truly feel joy during the creative process

– How to create your most joyful art

– The 7 stages of the creative process – including doubt!

– The glee and magic of mixing your own colours

– Valuing values (….this has been said to be worth the price of admission alone!)

– Composition tips that will easily take your art to the next level

– What to do when you’re blocked, stuck, or f*cked

– The 5 elements that all great paintings possess (you’re going to be surprised about #3), and how to incorporate them into your art

– How to discover your voice and harness the unique energy you bring to your art

– Cassandra’s personal painting techniques and process (this is gold!!)

– How to choose your colour combinations that sing in a more intuitive way

– How to use meditation and journaling to guide your art

– How to let go of fear, doubt and inhibitions as you create

– How to embrace our own intuition as an artist

– Cassandra’s secrets to expressing your feelings, inspiring yourself and taking your art higher

COST:

$2997 per person paid in full, or 2 payments of $1597

INCLUDES:

– Welcome drinks on arrival night

– Yummy refreshments during the workshop

– Paints

– Paint magic

SCHEDULE:

– Gather around 9am (Friday to Sunday)

– Learn something/fling some paint around / laugh a lot and have plenty of fun

– Break for lunch

– Come back and learn/laugh/play some more

– Finish up around 4-5pm (3pm on Sunday)

– Enjoy some alone time OR spend time with your fellow art workshoppers

NOT INCLUDED:

– Transportation to/from retreat.

– Accommodation

– Meals

– Please bring your own canvas (we will provide the address to purchase from or ship them to in advance of the retreat), your favourite tools & brushes

GRAB YOUR SPOT

email Cassandra today: Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,

breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” 

Mary Lou Cook

Posted in: Blog

Value your happiness

Date: September 3rd, 2022, Posted by cassandra

Are beauty, love, creativity and joy missing from your life?

Good morning my joys! How lucky are we (in NZ) to be heading into spring? I’m feeling super grateful this morning. The sun is shining, and I’m about to head on a Zoom call to lead a creativity coaching session a wonderful soul who recently joined me in Wellington for my in-person art retreat. We had such a magical time, and the benefits Carol received from the workshop far exceeded our expectations!

“Yes, the course had tutorials about composition, shapes, colour values and themes. Those tutorials change the way you look at the world and paint. But this course is more – it is the way Cassandra seamlessly guides you through how YOUR creative process works – what stops you and how to break through barriers to get into the flow of creativity. That awareness will transform who you are being and everything you do. The course was the best investment in myself I could possibly choose.”

Today’s card from the Art of Life Inspiration deck is on-point too,

“Whole-Hearted. Throw your heart into your dreams. Allow no doubt.”

Love doesn’t always show up on time. The road to victory is not always a straight line. But if we marinate ourselves and our dreams in love, we change our destiny. As Gregg Braden reminds us, “There is an effect that changes the electrical and magnetic fields in our heart and that those fields literally change the stuff that our world is made of.”

As you may know, two weeks ago I lost my mum, Joy, so unexpectedly. I am so grateful that I got to spend two magical weeks nursing and caring for her and having fun, too. Then just after I kissed her farewell and said, “I’ll see you soon,” I returned to my home in the Bay of Islands. Just as I walked in the door my sister called and said mum had died. It was and is such a shock. I just didn’t see that coming…not at all.

What can I do? I ask myself when I feel low. Throw my heart into my dreams and pursue the things that make me happy. That’s what she’d want from me—I mean, her name was joy, right? (maiden name, Fairweather!)

I’ve spent some of my grieving moments recording the audio version of the second book in my bestselling Midlife Career Rescue Trilogy, What Makes You Happy. As it turns out, it was the perfect book to narrate, as it contains a whole chapter about all the creative career changes my mother made. The audio version is available from Kobo currently—enjoy listening to a free sample here: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/mid-life-career-rescue-what-makes-you-happy-1

Play with me!

If life has you by the horns, or you’re feeling low, and you would like to seize joyful control and create a plan to be more creative, elevate your life, start a creative business, or reinvent your career, that’s exactly what we do in a two-hour intensive Zoom call.

Details here


Have a joyful day—and don’t forget to play!

Posted in: Blog

How to always feel like summer

Date: August 10th, 2022, Posted by cassandra


Always Summer
Always Summer, acrylic on canvas, 2400 mm x 1200 mm


While I’m in wild and windy Wellington, away from my home in the Bay of Islands (where the temperature definitely feels almost always summer) it’s fun to revisit this commission piece of the same name and the commission process.

“Always summer doing what it was meant to do,“ new collectors told me after a tropical downpour not long after their commission piece, “Always Summer” was installed.

They commissioned a large painting to celebrate the renovations of their home during Covid. The brief was for the house to always feel like it was summer even when the rain was full slosh ahead.
I love working on bespoke commissions!

“You exceeded our expectations, we love it”


It was such a joy to create this beautiful piece for such an amazing, truly loving family.
The palette enjoys washes of summery blues and greens with dashes of sunshine yellows and a splash of hot orange to warm the soul.

In terms of artist’s mindset and the importance of pushing through setbacks, the initial painting was originally created on pure canvas with no stretcher bars. This technique was employed by my grand muse, 50s abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler.

When I sent it down to the framer for stretching in Auckland, the canvas ripped!! What horror! I confided to the client what happened, and we both agreed that we would start again! This time I used a customised canvas already stretched on bars so that as soon as the painting was finished, it could be placed on their walls… happy days were here again and remain! One year after this commission was completed the clients emailed me, ‘This painting is a sanity saver.”

I hope wherever you are that it feels summery… even if simply in the landscapes of your mind.







Why Commission A Painting?

Knowles Commission, Beeswax on panel, 1800 x 1200mm

You have remodelled your home, built new, or just feel like an immediate uplift. Perhaps you’ve found an artist whose work you love. Maybe you’ve seen their work on social media or met them at an open studio event or exhibition.

Perhaps you’ve been introduced to their work through a gallery and have never met them but their work speaks to you. Maybe the artist mainly works in a smaller format and you have a large rectangle piece in mind, or there is a particular palette or you want, or a reference to a favourite place that holds so many happy memories.

There can be an infinite array of reasons to want a bespoke piece of work made to your taste and this is where you might consider commissioning a painting rather than purchasing an artwork that is already made.


HOW TO COMMISSION A PAINTING

Health Commission

I love to create bespoke, customised work and create with a range of mediums, including oil paints, acrylic, encaustic, watercolour, gilt and more. I adore the mesmerising colours that come from natural pigments enabling an alchemical relationship between nature and the painting. There is a joy and immediacy to my work too and a direct and absorbing relationship with each piece that is really exciting.

Hundreds of hours of work go into the process of building up the many layers of many of my work. Sometimes a painting can take many years to make and during that process they develop a personality of their own. The minimum lead time on a commission is 3 months but for a large heavily layered piece it is advisable to think in terms of at least one year. I’m trying to capture transcendent beauty and capture this as an antidote to our chaotic times. 

My soul purpose is to create something that uplifts spirits and provides harmony, peace and tranquillity. My style is constantly evolving as I keep discovering new paints and techniques and explore the boundless possibilities of colour. I am committed to taking creative risks and pushing things to the edge of possibility—and beyond. I absolutely love working to a huge scale.

Looking for larger art? I love, love, love creating bespoke pieces tailored to your home, lifestyle, goals and dreams. 

LEARN MORE HERE>






Dickey Commissions




LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMISSIONING A SPECIAL PIECE FOR YOUR HOME HERE>

Posted in: Blog

ABOUT CASSANDRA
I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!

CONTACT
P: +64 (0) 21 873 833
E: cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

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