ABOUT KERSTIN RAO

ARTIST & OWNER OF VIVID COTTAGE

Hi, I’m Kerstin! I’m the artist and entrepreneur welcoming you to Vivid Cottage. My carefully-observed drawings are created to inspire wonder and delight. 

 

My mission is to help you create an instant and lasting impression with my stationery and gifts. All the elements of quality come together to say 'You are valued!'

Which, of course, reflects beautifully on the person who gave a Vivid Cottage gift - YOU!

I am just as detail-oriented about the quality of my products. I select local businesses as partners, starting with the bouquets grown by a woman-owned flower farm. My paper artwork is transformed into professional digital scans right here in my town, then I drive one town over to the printers who set my artwork onto gorgeous paper stock.

 

At the end of the day, life is about connection and kindness. My artwork is made to add a few more bubbles to the champagne moments of your life.

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My Story

As a child, I filled my bedroom walls, shelves, and ceilings with drawings, paper sculptures, and whimsical decorations. When anyone asked, I told them with assurance that I would be an artist. 

 

But, right after college, it was time to earn a living. I began teaching and discovered the true gratification and joy of working with each of my extraordinary students. For each of the 10,000+ young people I worked with, my task was to spark their gifts which they could then offer the world.

 

I spent 34 years teaching with joy until the pandemic knocked me off my orbit and spun me onto a new path. Now I am incredibly lucky to finally chase my childhood dream of being a professional artist. Each drawing becomes a puzzle to solve with curiosity and heart.

My hope is that my artwork opens up a spark within you, and that you share your gifts with the world in your own way.

Something Else You Should Know

My mission is to use my talents for good.

For 34 years, my greatest joy was fostering each of my students to grow into their best and most authentic selves. Now my service is to inspire you with my artwork.

 

My core value is integrity.

Whenever the drawing seems too hard, the task too demanding, or the conversation too uncomfortable, I embrace Brené Brown’s mantra to ‘stay awkward, brave, and kind.’


I believe that beauty nourishes the human spirit.

When I create, ideas pass through me, right through my essence, and arrive as surprising creations, vibrant and new. My artwork conveys my core conviction of hope, resilience, renewal, yearning, and curiosity. My hope is that every piece I create brings you a refreshed sense of awe in our exquisite planet.

FUN FACTS!

For over ten years I have studied and performed improv comedy. 

 

My second husband and I re-enacted The Princess Bride for our wedding. I still melt when he says, “As you wish…’


I found so much connection and happiness with my second husband that I became a Dating Mindset Coach with Curate Your Mate. If you are a midlife woman who’s accomplished lovely things in life but still feel frustrated by dating, let’s talk.

My ancestors came to the U.S. from Norway, Sweden, and Poland, a mix of blue and white collar workers, farmers and teachers. They were smart and intense, with a strong work ethic and a wicked sense of humor. Their stories of courage and ingenuity tie me to the many immigrant stories of our nation. This moves my heart and fills me with respect.

Media Features & More

Preparing Students to Innovate their Futures 

TEDx Westport Library

 

How The Pandemic Impacted my Work as an Artist

Beechwood Arts at the Westport Library 

Artist Article Feature

Greenwich Historical Society - Tavern Garden Market

Featured Artist of the Month for June 2022

Westport Book Shop

Kerstin Rao: A Gifted Teacher’s Empowering Career

Dan Woog Where Westport Meets the World

Kerstin And Vijay’s “Princess Bride” Wedding

Dan Woog Where Westport Meets the World

Twice Exceptional, Your Inner Well, and Put Down the Armor

Podcast Episode - Uncluttered Office with Catherine Avery


Talking Life Coaching with Kerstin Rao

Podcast Episode - Unicycle by Che’La’Mora

Dating as You Wish

Featured in Buttercup

If you can design your second husband, you can design your second career

Feature in Article by Midlife Stuck

 

Behind the Scenes