• Nan Rae and Kathabela Wilson at Don Baird Martial Arts Studio and Gallery in Burbank (Photo - Rick Wilson).

      Nan Rae and Kathabela Wilson at Don Baird Martial Arts Studio and Gallery in Burbank (Photo – Rick Wilson).

      An interview with Nan Rae, an honored and brilliant brush painter, author, teacher, and an inspiration to all her students.

      Nan Rae shows that you have all the creativity you need within you, and gives the carefree courage to express it.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A microscope on the artist

      Nan Rae painting.

      Nan Rae painting.

      You, more than anyone I have known, are so essentially joyously artistic, and your art is a lifelong passion, as well as a career, how did it all begin and how did it come to this?

      When I was in the 5th or 6th grade the teacher asked me to illustrate ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth on the chalk board. That was it, I had crossed the Rubicon, the die was cast & I was forever on labeled ‘an artist’. Not that I’ve never questioned that vocation… I felt from early on that the path for an artist in this country would not be an easy one. Ray Bradbury, a visionary genius, drawn to art at an early age, knew he would be working in the arts for his career. He said that he never went looking for work…that it always came to him. What a great concept! I thought if it worked for Ray Bradbury it just might work for me. And that’s the way it’s been with amazing projects and opportunities somehow finding me and I always gladly say yes!

      A compass on the artist

      Nan Rae brush painting

      Nan Rae brush painting

      How did it happen, in particular, that you found Brush Painting, your true love?

      In 1980 I went to Giverny to see Monet’s newly refurbished home and gardens. Seeing the Japanese woodblock prints in the foyer of his home was an ‘aha’ moment for me. The Impressionists and Post Impressionists were greatly influenced by Eastern art and the reality of that hit home. When I came back to the States there was a micro-biologist from the City of Hope teaching classes in Brush Painting at Brand Park, right down the hill from me. I found the perfect match for my natural gifts in Brush Painting. I relaxed into just painting. Painting anything, no concept needed, no angst…..just paint….a flower, a butterfly, anything. I introduced my work as a Brush Painting artist to the Pasadena Showcase House as a vendor in 1984. Someone said that my work was “like a ray of sunshine”. That did it, I knew that like it or not, this was my calling and my purpose and I never looked back.

      Pulse of the artist

      Nan Ray class studio

      Nan Ray class studio

      Your love and encouragement for each individual, student, and friend is heartfelt and effective, how are you able to transmit that delight and freedom you feel?

      I have a rule in class…..you can’t crumple up your work but rather stop and think how you can ‘save’ it. I found a students work in the trash, retrieved it and together we figured out how to bring a beautiful, satisfying painting to life. The rest of the story is that the work was later sold! Recently, a new student threw something away and I noticed it after class, mounted it and when she was shown the work during the following class she thought it was beautiful & that someone else had painted it!

      Watching someone’s progress as they realize that they can express themselves and create something of beauty and value is beyond measure or description. Teaching has always been my great purpose and reward.

      A telescope on the artist

      Brush Painting by Nan Rae.Your sense of Adventure is so strong, I feel an affirmation about life that is rare, and passionate, no matter the difficulties, how do you share it?

      Someone once gave me a scroll that says ‘If we could see the miracle in a single flower, surely our whole life would change.
      Nan Rae at one of her travelsI remember once when my husband Charles and I were doing the Gift Shows at the Convention Center, surrounded by people, noise and “business”. I was walking to our space. I suddenly realized it wasn’t about me…..it was about everyone who came to me. It was life changing. I could say “yes” more easily! I could make a difference in people’s lives.
      Am I adventurous? I don’t know…but I have learned to say yes to everything and, I suppose that entails a degree of risk and adventure. I’m always delighted at the wonderful doors that open when I most relax into my life.

      Watch a demonstration by Nan Rae on how to paint Wisteria in Chinese Brush Painting.

      ! Check Nan Rae’s website and follow her active blog.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Susan Dobay says:

        Under the generous umbrella of art , Nan choose to express the joyful side of life with brilliant technique of her brush.

      2. poetryofplace says:

        Really lovely. Enjoyed the video as well. Makes me want to paint again!

      3. susandiri says:

        Thanks, Kath & Nan, for this very inspiring presentation!!

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