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Meet Nan Rae of Nan Rae Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nan Rae.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey is one of sheer serendipity beginning with seeing Monet’s collection of woodblock prints in his home in Giverny, France. I was so enchanted that the natural step as a western artist was to delve into the complex and intriguing world of Chinese Brush painting along with the refined Japanese Sumi-e style. Being heavily influenced by the Impressionists, my style reflects their feelings and sublime love of color combined with the deep connection to nature in the East.

As my style developed and I learned mastery it was a joy to write The Ch’i of the Brush, an instructional book for Watson-Guptill/Random House, where I could share this wonderful art form with so many others eager to learn Asian art. When Dr. James P. Folsom, the Director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, asked me in 1995 to teach Brush painting at the Huntington along with the many workshops and classes in my studio I can say that now having taught close to 4,000 adults it has been a continual inspiration.

We developed a line of greeting cards that we publish and now have numerous licensing agreements in the States and throughout Europe. Social media has been a wonderful way to connect with so many people who are interested in what I do and Nan Rae Fine Art now has over 100,000 followers on Instagram since we began posting there a year ago. Its great fun doing the process videos for Instagram and longer tutorials on YouTube. I’m delighted when even non-artists say they love to watch my videos to relax!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being an artist or writer or working in any of the arts is difficult in this country as there is no state-supported program for artists. You’re pretty much cast adrift into the great sea of commerce where only the strong survive. When I lecture artists a question I’m invariably asked is “What is your five-year plan?” I always hate to admit I don’t even have a five-minute plan.

A friend once said she just suits up and shows up and that’s pretty much it. I do find what works for me is to surrender to the river of my life trusting that what I need awaits me when I need it. That takes a lot of faith in the providence of life and I can’t say I’d recommend it to anyone else. The best piece of advice I could give anyone is to always obey a good impulse….. once you start mulling it over chances are you won’t have the courage to step out.

A good example of this is when I was asked to place my line of greeting cards in the California Gift Show years ago not even knowing what it was. As usual, I just said yes and it led to eventually having three booths and then doing the New York Stationary Show at the Javits center and getting countless customers for our line of greeting cards.

Please tell us about Nan Rae Studio.
Primarily we’re a greeting card company and have been called ”The Thinking Man’s Cards” perhaps because of the simplicity that’s seen in Brush painting as it reveals the essence of any subject without being botanically correct or bogged down in detail.

While painting is my profession, teaching is my purpose and it brings me great joy. I am most proud of the many lives that have been changed as a result of taking my classes. It’s thrilling to see left brained adults suddenly realize they can be creative!

I think what sets Nan Rae Fine Art apart on Instagram is the daily inspirational quotes we post along with my artwork and process videos. We want to inspire people to always strive to live their best lives.

Along with greeting cards, original art and fine art prints, we also sell lessons and supplies worldwide on my website I think our fine customer service certainly sets us apart there. The age-old adage of the customer is always right works for us!

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