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Hi, I’m Kerstin, the artist and entrepreneur behind Vivid Cottage.


I was known as 'the paper and tape kid' -- always inventing paper gizmos, re-decorating my bedroom (one day it became 'The Bunny Café') and carefully drawing the odd and sundry things around our house.

At Vassar College, I majored in Fine Art, with additional art training from Eastern Kentucky University, School of Visual Arts, and graduate summer study in Florence, Italy.

For 34 years, I shared my creativity as a classroom teacher. Now, I'm sharing delight with my customers!

I believe that drawing from life uncovers the odd and marvelous details to create vibrant, satisfying, and memorable work.

Our mission at Vivid Cottage is to bring calm, beauty, and connection to your daily life!


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.


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

Why Small Businesses Matter: Vivid Cottage

June 2023 interview with Kerstin Rao

Greenwich Time - May 2023

Vivid Cottage at the Tavern Market, Greenwich Historical Society

Meet Kerstin Rao

Canvas Rebel


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

Preparing Students to Innovate their Futures 

TEDx Westport Library


Behind the Scenes

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