Orlando artist Tina Foote's paintings reflect women in erotic situations.

ORLANDO – Adeline Rivera remembers that when she was growing up on Staten Island, she often had strange visions that haunted her.

“It started when I was about eight years old,” she said.  “I started having dreams that were coming true – which was freaky.”

When she turned 16, she sought out books on ghosts, the supernatural, and the paranormal, and discovered something interesting: the chapters on extrasensory perception, which involves receiving information not gathered from physical senses, but rather sensed within the mind.  Sometimes referred to as a sixth sense, Rivera recognized what she was reading about in herself.

“There are a lot of things about ESP that really opened my eyes,” she said.  “The more I read, the more I realized, ‘I could do that,’ and ‘I could do that.’ “

It wasn’t an easy thing to recognize, though.

“My mom was evangelical, and she kicked me out of her house when I was in high school,” Rivera said.  “I lived in my car for two years.”

Today, Rivera has a home in Orlando, where she reads people’s fortunes.

“It’s something I’ve been doing for 21 years,” she said.  “I use my crystal ball, or I have my set of Tarot cards, although a good reader doesn’t need anything.”

She has no bitter feelings about her past, calling it “life lessons. I’m self-sufficient now.”

She’s also ready to help others, including couples who want to improve their relationship.  That’s why Rivera attended the EroticBliss Party, held on Saturday at the Blissful Lotis boutique in downtown Orlando, where she told the fortunes of couples and individuals who wanted to know where their romantic life was headed.

“This is about generating intimacy between couples and keeping them alive,” Rivera said.  “You don’t have to fall into the doldrums of romance.”

Blissful Lotus, she said, is the ideal place for a celebration like this one.

“One of the things that keeps me coming back here is it’s a very positive environment,” Rivera said.  “In terms of single women, it helps them with their confidence levels.  It’s been very transformative for them.”

The EroticBliss Party was something else: an artistic night, and a celebration not just of erotica, but erotica as art.

“This is a great way to start your Saturday night,” said Sean Ramsay, who operates the Blissful Lotus boutique along with his wife, Stacey Murphy. “This event goes from 8 o’clock to 11, and every couple of months we do this.”

The Blissful Lotus boutique hosts EroticBliss Parties that celebrate sensual art.

By 8:30 that night, the erotic boutique on Orange Avenue had attracted a large crowd of people who were there to drink wine, get their fortunes read, learn about Henna art, and check out the paintings on the wall by Orlando artist Tina Foote – a crowd that Murphy said exceeded their initial expectations.

“These events have been going really, really well,” she said.  “In October when we did this, we put a table outside because the crowd was overflowing.”

It was also a happy event for Foote, who said it gave her an opportunity to present her work to a larger audience.

“Right now I’m working mostly in pastel, and getting into oil paintings as well,” Foote said.  “All the paintings are sensual women, in emotional situations.  Some of them are erotic, and touch on erotic situations.”

But they’re not intended, Foote said, simply for shock value or to be controversial, but for self-reflection.

”For me, they are extremely therapeutic,” she said. “There’s a lot of bondage. It kind of reflects the limitations put on us, or that we put on ourselves. Most of the paintings have a lot of emotion behind them, sadness and fear. There are stories behind all of them.”

Foote was raised in Upstate New York, and moved to Orlando in 1997. She now has a studio in her home, and has shown her work at galleries in Tampa and Atlanta.

“I’ve been painting women since I was 14,” she said. “By painting women, I’m wanting to create more of a story.  Most of them are more emotion than erotic – but they always seem to lead into being erotic by nature.”

Her artwork, she added, is also a passion for her.

“I can’t live without it,” she said.  “I can’t breathe without it.  I have to get my thoughts and feelings out.”

It’s also, Murphy said, about countering galleries that prejudge art like this as being crude or offensive — and forget there are other people who disagree.  Blissful Lotus wants to be a forum for artists who often can’t get their works shown in more traditional galleries for censorship reasons.

“Our goal is to host artists who have very sensual and erotic art,” Murphy said, “and it’s been very popular. What’s unfortunate, though, with sensual and erotic art is there are some galleries that will not show it. Many of the artists want to have a place for shows, but don’t.”

To learn more, call the boutique at 407-704-3357, or log on to www.theBlissfulLotus.Blogspot.com. The shop is at 1810 N. Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando.

To get a Tarot card reading from Rivera, call her at 407-435-3767.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.


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