A Splash and A Dab: Chinese Brush Painting
From an interview with Michael Ringer
"It's a technique done without sketching, without going over any strokes, without any corrections. It's very liberating, and a good exercise for Western watercolor artists," said Nan Rae, a California-based painter and teacher who was recently interviewed by Michael Ringer for the PBS program "THE ARTISTS' WORLD."
According to Nan, the originators of this very free and fluid technique were men of great cultivation; the literati of China. When the Mongols would invade, for instance, these painters would not get angry or offer any resistance. Instead, they would move off into their wonderful gardens and do something meditative.
They would paint, with no thought to producing something botanically correct or detailed. They were the abstract expressionists of their day.
"Don't confuse them with the Chinese palace painters, whose work is very true to the flower, filled in, and detailed," said Nan. "The brush painters, in fact, had contempt for the palace painters, and questioned their moral character. The original Chinese brush painters just had happy thoughts, and if they would want to gift a friend with a painting, they would do it."
Nan uses two brushes. One is hard, made of deer hair. It's very resilient, and as the artist uses it, the tip returns to a very fine point. It's similar to the Kolinsky sables that Western painters use, except that it holds much more water.
The second brush is very soft, more like a mop. It's made of goat or rabbit hair. "This brush has a wonderful purpose," Nan pointed out. "It's perfect if you want to make a horse's mane, or a fishtail, or a bamboo."
The paper that's usually used for Chinese brush paint- ing is not sized so that the paint will saturate the surface. This is different from the paper used in Western watercolor, which is sized to allow for the paint to lie on top.
Chinese brush painting calls for very rapid manipulations of the brush, much like calligraphy. "It's a technique that is enhanced by spontaneity," says Nan.
Typically, Chinese brush paintings do not feature many colors. If you do see a variety of colors, it's because the technique has become more Westernized, and painters are using regular watercolors and the exquisite range of colors they can offer. She also noted that with Chinese brush painting, you don't mix colors together. You'll see yellow next to vermilion, for instance, with no orange in between.
"THE ARTISTS' WORLD with Michael Ringer," produced by WNPE-WNPI Public Television was released to PBS stations nationwide. Its goal is to provide the professional and novice artist with up-to-date information on new products, and demonstrations on everything from stretching a canvas to casting a bronze. Michael Ringer manages to share crucial,practical information in an enthusiastic and entertaining way. Anyone involved in art will find his programs helpful and informative. As such, we thought the readers of Art Materials Retailer would enjoy reading about the techniques and products that Michael reports on. Watch future issues for excerpts from "THE ARTISTS' WORLD with Michael Ringer."
EAST MEETS WEST IN PAINTINGS
by Kevin Smith
Her hand glides with the deft grace of a dancer, each brush stroke adding yet another piece to the journey. Journeys are what artist Nan Rae loves best-journeys of the brush and canvas.
Nan Rae hones her craft from her home studio atop the Verdugo Hills with a vast panorama that overlooks downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Years of study and life experiences have led Nan Rae to the creation of her own hybrid of expression: the melding of French Impressionism and Chinese Brush Painting-a kind of East meets West.
"I love Impressionism and especially Monet, but I felt the world didn't need another Monet", Nan Rae said with a laugh. "I searched for a way to express the wonder and beauty of the world around me as Monet did but in a different way."
Nan Rae began her studies at the famed Art Institute of Chicago. While there she studied many of the great paintings in the institute's permanent collections and special exhibitions, in addition to attending seminars. She also studied privately with Louise Leighton and Theodore Lukits, the former a proponent of Abstract Expressionism and the later a teacher of the High Renaissance school.
Nan Rae's turning point came in 1980 when she journeyed to France to see the opening of French Impressionist painter Claude Monet's home in Giverny. This turning point led Nan Rae down the start of a "whole new path". "When I walked into his home, I saw all these Japanese woodblock prints," Rae said "I had always studied and knew the Impressionists were influenced by Oriental Art, but to see the depth of it was amazing. After that I began to see Oriental motifs in many artists' paintings."
Nan Rae's painting reflect the skeletal structure of Chinese art but contain bursts of brilliant color and washes of subtle light. "Gourds Glisten in the Moonlight" depicts yellow gourds hanging from the branches of a tree with the leaves subtly shaded in varying tones of black. Nan Rae says "Black is a color in Chinese Brush Painting".
Nan Rae leaves much of the space on the paper blank, true to fashion in Oriental Art. Other works such as 'Waiting for the Wonder' and 'Now it Springs Forth' burst forth with color, seeming to infuse the entire paper with light.
One of Nan Rae's most interesting effects came as a result of her search for a new way to create color. This technique involves turning the paper over and wetting the entire surface of the back to allow the water to soak through to the front. Delicate background washes are then painted. The result is a soft, lush shading of color that would be nearly impossible to create through standard methods,
Nan Rae's unique works are painted on handmade Mulberry paper. She then hand mounts each painting herself onto a firmer acid free barrier paper. This too is a delicate process.
Limited Edition prints are then produced in Glycee and Serigraph forms. The prints average around 2,500 although some have sold for over 8,000 with Nan Rae's original paintings selling for as much as $11,900.00.
The art of working with Chinese Brush Painting requires a skill many artists either lack or are hesitant to cultivate, because of the high degree of skill requires. Nan Rae has encourage people to try this wonderful medium and a taught thousands of students since 1984, teaching at the famous Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California and workshops across the country.
All paintings are done without an outline or pencil sketch, and also, because the paper is so thin and unforgiving, you can't make any corrections. You also have to work very rapidly because of the absorbency of the paper and be very deft, because the paint will bleed if the brush is left in one place too long. "This ancient technique is so difficult to master that many modern Chinese painters have chosen to paint in a Western fashion," she added.
Nan Rae's works hang in hundreds of homes and in addition her paintings have been on display in the state office of Governor Pete Wilson in the Ronald Reagan State building in downtown Los Angeles and in the state offices of Governor George Deukmejian.
Nan Rae's biggest thrill was seeing her work exhibited for two different shows at the world-famous Grand Palais in Paris. The Grand Palais, with its spectacular glass-domed roof, was originally built as a pavilion for the Great Exposition of 1900 and is a Paris landmark.
Many viewers say Nan Rae's paintings evoke a sense of joy, peace and serenity, which she sees as a true compliment. "I feel I do 50 percent of the work, and the people looking at my work do the other 50 percent," she says. " My work seems to have its own calling, and I try not to dictate - I just follow it."
Artist Believes Success is Realized by Confidence
By CHUCK BENEDICT
Nan Rae lives in the hills, at the boundary between Glendale and Burbank, and either city should be proud to claim her.
She's an artist of such fine-arts stature that she has exhibited her Chinese brush paintings at the famous Grand Palais in Paris.
She commands worthy prices for the works that have been seen there. She also is so versatile that she operates a thriving business as a greeting card artist and a designer of commercial logos. Her driver's license suggests that most of her life is ahead of her, yet maturity seems to be a key to her success.
NAN RAE: It has everything to do with success. Maturity brings one the ability to listen to those around him, but that makes us realize that each of us has a specific personal talent. Yet, if someone is immature, he worries about the needs of the moment. In the young person, that's overwhelming. His talent is put aside. However, the mature person has confidence in his ability and steps out in faith that the combination of confidence and talent will get him opportunity.
CHUCK BENEDICT: Is this perspective common in the arts?
NR: Once I heard the famous writer Ray Bradbury say, "I've never once sought a job." He knew he was a writer and that he was meant to write. The world recognized his confidence and talent, and came to him. I heard that and thought, "If he can do it, I can do it." I had to learn that I had a gift, not of my own creation, and that I had to separate the gift from the ego and just move forward in faith.
CB: Sounds like an upward circle, from faith to success to confidence and back to faith again. So this builds career opportunities, but what does maturity do to create a better artist?
NR: It reveals that the world is full of talent, and that talent is only 5% of opportunity. The mature, confident artist develops a willingness to face an every day grind to develop and properly position the ability in which he has so much confidence. He uses his talent to the fullest by rolling up his sleeves and becoming a better artist.
CB: At the Huntington Library in San Marino, you're known as an outstanding teacher. Do your young students get the meaning of maturity before they actually mature?
NR: It's the toughest thing to get across. They must learn that the more they do, the better they will be, and that reaching a plateau does not mean there are not higher plateaus available to those who keep trying to improve. I'm always afraid of the future of a young artist who says to himself, "Oh, well, I'm a gifted artist. I can just sail through life on what I have done so far." You have to continue to work at it to continue to be good at it.
CB: Students have to listen.....
NR: .....especially to their own inner voices. I tell them that someone else's success can be an inspiration, but not a strict guideline. Each of us is different. We must know ourselves better than we know those who otherwise are good examples.
CB: The world's art critics rate you very high because of your exceptional work in Chinese brush painting. This brings you top recognition. But isn't there a commercial reward, as well?
NR: Yes, thanks to my wonderful husband, Charles Parker. He has adapted much of his talent and personal support for me by designing a Web site, www.nanrae.com, with some wonderfully conceived displays of my work. That brings me students, buyers for my Chinese brush originals and reproductions and for my personally designed greeting cards. I've even had opportunities to design logo art for large companies. Also, Charles helped me to design a beautiful studio where I teach and host art visitors.
CB: In this holiday season, your year-around greeting card business must be going strong.
NR: It is. Each card has a reproduction of one of my paintings. They are available at fine stores and museums, but many sales come from my Web site's illustrated display.
CB: What was your most humbling experience as you attained your prominence as an artist?
NR: Probably the Grand Palais exhibit. So many fine artists have only dreamed of getting that invitation. It made me realize that I was truly blessed.
The Short Story of the Paintings behind the Paintings of
Nan Rae:The Art of Forever
A Sidetrip to Nan Rae's Kindergarten of Higher Learning
Copyright News World
Reprinted by Permission
The Work of NanRae® has been called The Art of Forever because, not only is it timeless. It has also been called 'free and exquisite — a truly unique — fusion of the Art of East and West'. This is not by accident, but by design, for the Artist clearly planned it that way.
In this, her Work candidly reflects the influence of both East and West: The art of the elite 'Gentlemen-Scholars' of the difficult and complex PO MO Boneless manner of ancient China. And the equally immortal work of the Impressionists of 19th Century France, mainly MANET, CEZANNE, MONET, even VAN GOGH and others, who were strongly influenced by Sino-Japanese art.
At a very early age, NanRae® was fascinated with both schools of art. Her work tells its own story. It's the story of the paintings behind her paintings. The brilliance, the form, the strong, dazzling color, the emotion are clearly reminiscent of Impressionism.
But there is evidence of the even stronger influence of the demanding techniques of the PO MO school or freestyle — the sweep, the daring and power of the masters of China's ancient Southern Sung Brush Painting, wholly unlike any Western art in philosophy.
Yet, Sino-Japanese Brush Painting left a strong imprint on the French Impressionists. Indeed, their awesome collective 'corpus' is an eternal homage to the Art of the East — even though Manet, the father of Impressionism, was influenced as much by the 17th Century Span ish classicist Velasquez as he was by the allure of the East.
Quite obviously, French Impressionism and its spiritual antecedents in Asian art have also had a lifetime impact on NanRae® — ever since, in fact, she began painting in oils and watercolor at the tender age of eight in suburban Chicago.
She avers that this was just one of many, many influences. "There weren't just one or two," she hastens to say, "though some were more important than others," she adds.
Though she did not dream it at the time, she feels perhaps that the 'golden key' to her future as a successful artist was the world famed ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO. From earliest childhood, on into her formative teen years, then into young womanhood, NanRae® regularly made her way there, spending serious time in a search for the secrets of greatness in world acclaimed art. It was all there for her, it seemed, at her "beloved CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE!" She says "it really all began there."
She pored over art literature, closely studied the great paintings in the Art Institute's permanent collections and special exhibitions,„ attended seminar after seminar, and sometimes just sat and mused, asking "What is art, what is life, why am I her, how can I make things better, or what can I do to add to the beauty and harmony the world needs and wants, and yearns for?" The ART INSTITUTE provided plenty of fuel for that firestorm of questions.
She says now, "You could spend your whole life in a place like the CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE, and it wouldn't be enough time to learn it all, to absorb it all, or even just to appreciate it, let alone study it seriously. As for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking up blocks and blocks of Central Park, she later spent much of her time there, too, in sheer exultation. She calls the Metropolitan The Great Art Cave, The Cavern on the Green!
"You could put all of the great American art museums into that place and have room left over for some in Europe. Maybe everything but the Louvre and the Pompidou in Paris?" she looks bemused, but she says it's simply 'remembered amazement.' "Two or three lifetimes of browsing and study would not be enough for the Met," she adds in wonder. "As for the MOMA — The Modern Museum of Art in New York, where she also spent much time —she says, "of course, there simply is no place its equal for modern art, not anywhere. In fact, the best collections of world art are mostly all in New York City and Chicago," she sighs.
But it was CHICAGO'S ART INSTITUTE which had the most profound influence on her, she believes. "Maybe because I was so young when I 'discovered' it for myself, and I came to think of it as my very own, imagine?" "Or surely it had to be the memorable Oriental and French Impressionist Collections there, the finest and largest collection of French Impressionists in the whole world!" she says excitedly.
How did a lifetime of exposure to the greatest art of all time, and the history of world cultures, affect the Artist?
She responds quickly. "It raised my demands on myself, but it helped give me a quieter spirit. For instance, I'm not one for seeking honors and awards. I'm not much of a joiner, and never cared about so-called art competitions," she volunteers. Why not? "Because," she replies, "It's too much like 'let's you and him fight, like a war or the worst possible misunderstanding with your best friends," she adds. "Besides," she adds, "The Chinese never believed in it. The best honor is what the market place does, everything else is just icing on the cake if you want it!"
"But I've won my share of all 'that stuff, then decided I don't need that kind of validation at the expense of other good people. The competition itself doesn't put me off, but the occasional injustices da, the too-frequent wounds to hearts and souls of fine competing artists!" she adds with conviction. But she says she remembers some awards with satisfaction, "but only the ones I got without bloody combat!"
For example, at age 12, she won a coveted National Scholastics Award. "No combat there! And it persuaded my family that they had a 'genius' in their midst, of course, leading them to making possible my ongoing study during my teen summers at world famed Interlochen Institute for Fine Arts in Michigan. It was a school known all over the world for producing world class prodigies, and some people thought I was among them. You had to be way above average, just to be admitted, and then you had to keep proving it. Who wouldn't become a prodigy —or even a genius? — in an atmosphere like that?" she wonders. " It's really just hard work anyway," she says selfeffacedly. "Remember? 99 percent PERSPIRATION!" she chides.
The recognition and`wide acceptance of her Work are gratifying to her, not only for the material rewards that such success brings, but also because she feels "blessed to have been given the gift of keeping the promise that others recognized" in her early work.
"But it hasn't been easy," she says softly. "And maybe it shouldn't be", she quickly adds. "Whatever I do, whatever I paint, whatever I am, all of it takes staying the course, really hard work, paying your dues, teaching yourself to make the most of your experiences and all you learn from others, and never giving up!"
She admits she had more than her fair share of moral encouragement, and perhaps even more than her fair share of acceptance. But a "lot of hard work, and even more study and self-training goes into it all, and it never stops!" she confesses.
NanRae®'s serious art studies have been broad, ranging from French Impressionism and Oriental art, then to Post-Impressionism, Cubism, the phases of Picasso, Braque, the Bauhaus school, then Pollack, and other New York abstract expressionists. Still later Louise Leighton, her art mentor in the Chicago school of Abstract Expressionism. Leighton, whose own Work was widely shown in important exhibitions and museums of the Great Lakes and La Jolla (CAL.) regions, stressed a 'freedom of ideas'. Leighton predicted that NanRae® would someday be an artist to be reckoned with internationally. The prediction seems to be on track, with new fulfillments in the market place each year, important collectors and art connoisseurs agree.
Seeking to broaden her professional skills and philosophical perspectives, NanRae came under the courtly tutelage of the Theodore LUKITS Studio of Los Angeles. A foremost master of the 'lost art' of the Renaissance, LUKITS, encouraged NanRae® to hone her skills in traditional draftsmanship, color, mass and perspective.
During the intervening years, the Artist returned to her Chinese Brush Painting, one of her first loves. In the eighties, she made the decision to give herself fully to a pursuit of the Art of East and West together. Intuitively at first, after more study and experiment, she came to understand that Andre Malraux, Minister of Culture in the Sixties regime of French Prime Minister Pompadou, was, indeed, correct all along: Without a background in the art of the Far East, the Art of the West is doomed to parochialism. Malraux said that the Chinese Brush Painters of the Confucian-era had produced abstract painting of such excellence that it would be impossible to understand the meaning of world art without immersion in the art of the East. Startling ideas, even today! Ideas that have helped to give direction to NanRae®'s Work, and distinction, too!
Malraux has insisted, and no credible art authority disputes him, that the Chinese Brush Painters have produced the greatest abstract expressionist art in history. They have no peer, Malraux has declared.
The impact of Malraux's highly intellectualized force was not lost on NanRae®. Taking Malraux as her cue, she began "a career of 'arranging a historic marriage' of the Art of East and West".
Today, this art form is known as 'Original Chinese Brush Painting In the Unique Oriental Euro-Impressionist Style of NanRae®: The Art of Forever'TM .
The artist continues to draw from her experience at the world renowned Art Institute School of Art in Chicago, and the University of Tulsa, and the University of Colorado atBoulder where she was told she was too 'free-spirited' to conform to the ways of modern art, and was left to her own devices.
Her own devices eventually turned out to be her felicitous interpretations of her 'Original Chinese Brush Painting in the Unique Oriental Euro-Impressioniste Style of NanRae®.
The marketplace validates this 'union' of opposites by giving the Artist's Work significant success. "This is recognition that is ultimately the best judge of art", NanRae® believes. Thus, the 'marriage' of the art of two continents, and two cultures, reaches its consummation in the Works of an Artist who dares to break new ground where other established artists fear to tread, yet honors tradition!
Paradox! "Chinese paradox," she corrects herself.
Yet, NanRae®'s Work is clear evidence that her dominant philosophical mentors were the French Impressionists who understood the aesthetics and principles, the nuances and subtle ironies and paradoxes of the East. "The French, as sophisticated as they are, have always given due deference to the cultural and philosophical contributions of the East," she is careful to add.
"But I learned from both cultures'", she insists, bowing to both East and West. Yet the Artist knows that without the prism of the French Impressionists, she would not have understood the Chinese way. Nor would she have become so taken with the complexities of Chinese art.
"NO," she says firmly, "I needed the French to explain the East to me, to "see" Asia with the only set of Western "eyes" that could understand its greatness, its cultural stamina and energy! Only the French can interpret the East. Their intellectuals identify with it."
From their enraptured involvement with the art of Asia, the early Impressionists evolved their own immortal methods with unmistakable stylistic hints of the Orient. Cezanne stabbed and jabbed at the canvas, using his brush 'like a madman's weapon' — broad, rough-hewn yet finally delicate strokes in the Chinese way! Visiting Monet's Garden and Farm House in Giverny, NanRae® has thrilled to the sight of Monet's collected Japanese art and other evidences of the Sino-Japanese influence on his life and Work. This French-Oriental 'marriage of art' made a lasting impact on her Work.
Quite clearly, she sees Chinese Brush Painting through the eyes of the French masters.
Thus, NanRae®'s approach to Chinese Brush Painting consciously and with art ful ease 'melds' the art of the hemispheres, with its European and American overtones. She calls it Original Chinese Brush Painting because her conceptions are, indeed, original and unique. The deft execution is inspired by the masters of ancient China who lived daringly and courageously (if not often rebelliously!) during the eras of the quietly brash 'elite gentlemen'scholar' Brush Painters who gave us PO MO, one of the most difficult of Chinese art forms, as used by Nan-Rae®.
THE CALLIGRAPHIC INFLUENCE — definitely Chinese without question —is strongly felt in her work. It is at the root of the PO MO way, for Chinese Calligraphy is the revered ancestor of Chinese Brush Painting in all it modes. Yet, in NanRaes Work, there is no slavish or immoderate adherence to rigid traditions of East or West at the expense of creative freedom. With all due deference to tradition, the artists of both East and West were at their best doing their own thing.
So, too, is NanRae®! Like the old art masters, she makes her own kind of music, and 'audiences' everywhere applaud! Applause like this is heady stuff. She says she knows that the only way to survive in the face of it is to learn the ways of humility and the value of the rituals of 'humbleness', taught, not only by the Chinese but by all the major philosophies and religions of the world. Humility, she believes, is the stuff that keeps that necessary 'spirit of freedom' alive in her Work. It's as necessary to professional survival and viability — to personal and artistic growth — as the very air we breath. She calls it the spirit of the Wind, blowing free, clearing both soul and body of "cobwebs of arrogance!". "It's the essence of Life itself," she adds, "The stuff that the 'life force' is made of, giving us the freedom to live and move and have our being in Reality, and not in self-deluding hubris — a five dollar word the ancient Greeks gave us for overweening pride!", she laughs gently.
Paradoxically, this spirit of freedom is as Chinese as it is French! In art, as in life, freedom will out! Often, with each new master of the ancient Chinese painterly arts — with every new 'school of art', every new style: New methods and 'new traditions' would spring up and eventually co-exist with the older Chinese traditions. In the initial stages of these departures from the dominant modes, there would be the usual, dynamic clash among opposing masters and traditions. Then each new wave would enhance its many antecedent traditions: each happily bending in its turn, never breaking! This is the Chinese Way! The courtly Bow of the Bamboo: Gentlemen-scholars of ancient China, facing the winds of change. This ancient 'Bow' of classic Bamboo is the Asian way. The Bamboo bends, but never breaks, then always returns to its upright position! This reconciliation of paradoxes is the Chinese way, indeed: Bending, not breaking! This Asian principle of harmony is ever reflected as the philosophical ideal of the cultural order of the ancient nations of the East. Dignity, joy, strength, resilience, harmony, survival and growth!
This is how NanRae® speaks of the Chinese way and its impact on her career. "Impact' is not exactly the right word", she says, with a knowing smile. "You can say it was more like a WALLOP from the East!"
She is always frank to credit this ancient Asian tradition as crucial to the success of her life's work. But she is also grateful to the French masters, as well, for helping her to understand the dynamic Chinese tradition through Western eyes. "They helped me join East and West together," she admits. And in a sense they showed me that what is true of the ancient Chinese and Japanese is true of all dynamic cultures," she points out.
"Still," she pauses, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, "In a way, I really learned it all in "KINDERGARTEN"! YES!" She says emphatically. "But my 'kindergarten' was the Art Institute of Chicago and the beautiful summers of the Michigan northwoods at my wonderful INTERLOCHEN, where the greatest world class celebrities and world statesmen (including even President Kennedy!) came to share their wisdom and experience with 'the brightest and the best' of our young world of fine artists in pursuit of excellence!"
"Interlochen Institute of Arts, what an experience!" she marvels wistfully. "I miss it. But, really, painting 'Chinese' is like re-living it every time I do an Original."
She goes on. "I've always thought that maybe Van Gogh experienced this same feeling when he went through his Sino-Japanese phase, borrowing so liberally from Oriental art that he felt he was living in a magical world himself," she continues.
"Van Gogh learned impressionism from Pissaro, the brilliance, the highlights, but his line was somehow off because he was unsure of his draftsmanship. All the while he was captivated —and who isn't? — by Oriental art. He learned about the exhilaration of the Sino-Japanese way as he candidly incorporated his own Japanese woodcuts and esoteric Japanese figures into his paintings. He said this part of it was 'enchantment'. The rest of his painting torture& him. He never felt he would ever get it right! Perhaps that was because Van Gogh could not seem to grasp the idea that in the Asian philosophy, which he admired so much, you don't paint to compete! You don't become the slave of your peers, tormenting yourself with invidious comparisons. NO! You do not paint to compete with masters or peers! You paint to experience the spirit of freedom that comes with letting go to the sublime gifts of heaven, as the Chinese might put it. Then you let the market place decide. He could not live with that," she said sadly, adding that "Vincent was his own executioner from beginning to end". It is her personal portrait of Van Gogh she is painting for us, half in tribute, half in regret for the pain of his cosmic talent.
"Van Gogh was tormented that Monet and other Impressionists could be so widely accepted, so successful, while he himself remained in obscurity all his short life, dying at age 37! He painted for such a short time — only ten years! Hardly long enough to learn the secret of serenity and survival: To learn that the Bamboo bends, the long road turns if you stay on it. The bamboo, indeed, does bend, for bend it must. For this reason, it does not break. The Bamboo 'knows' that when the wind stops blowing, it will revert once more to its upright growth. So, it bends, again and again. Van Gogh's greatness is really only now being fully recognized in the market place. But would he have lived longer and learned the meaning of Asia's bending Bamboo if he had really understood the underlying philosophies of the Oriental art he tried to emulate? Monet lived to be 86 and prospered all his life! Van Gogh's 'art was long', his life cut short. Others have prospered lavishly from his work; he died in poverty. Did it have to be that way? I never thought so," NanRae® opines thoughtfully.
"Maybe Van Gogh should have gone to my 'secret kindergarten' — through my childhood and teen years at the Art Institute in Chicago....and wondrous summers of Socratic-like learning in the fine arts at my beautiful INTERLOCHEN! It would have been peace like a river to Van Gogh!
It did so much for me, and helped me later to find some answers that not only satisfy me but remain my anchor to this day. I learned it all there, I think, yes! I learned to learn how to learn, how to listen. I learned the things I needed to know to understand why the French Impressionists were charmed by the Chinese and Japanese Painters. And what the ancient painters of China and Japan have given to the West, and are still giving, the part that is so priceless," she adds.
"My, what would all those young prodigies and geniuses at INTERLOCHEN say about all this now! This 'speech' I'm making to a lone reporter in my studio. These bits of ideas! I hope my old Interlochen friends would say, 'We told you so! We told you it would turn out this way for you!" she says with a flourish, and then ends the interview with a 'Thank you' and a 'humble bow'!
Is her bow a French curtsy or a gracious Chinese farewell? NanRae® smiles without answering. Is her smile Chinese or French? Probably both. Warm, vivid, perhaps subtle, just a little cryptic, yet paradoxically open and direct, translucent. Like her Paintings.
Indeed, very much like the Works of NanRae®: The Art of Forever.