Forest Path, watercolor, 5 1/2 x 6 1/2, ©2011 Helen Klebesadel

Welcome to day twenty in the 33 Paintings in 33 Days Project of Alaskan artist  Nikki Kinne and Wisconsin artist Helen Klebesadel.

Every so often I clean and reorganize my studio (when I can’t walk through it without tripping or can no longer find what I’m looking for within half an hour).  When I finally get around to cleaning I usually love it because I reacquaint myself with my art supplies and in-progress art.   When I  last reorganized I found a wonderful stash of  landscape sketches of northern Wisconsin from a past camping trip that inspired me to revisit them in watercolor.  The little watercolor sketch above is based on one of those sketches.  I remembered the pure pleasure of a cool woods on a hot day with the smell of water and pines.

YELLOW Truck, 6 x 8 ½, watercolor, ©2011 Nikki Kinne

Nikki painted YELLOW Truck under the instruction of Judi Betts in a watercolor class offered at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Nikki herself is a wonderful teacher who periodically teaches at the FSAF, but good teachers too love learning and treasure the opportunity to learn other artists’ process.

Nikki says of Judi Betts, “She pushed me to use colors that weren’t in the photo.  Colors one would want to own a Mustang in that color.  She said often “Paint the truck YELLOW!”   I loved the assignment until I started doing my typical photo rendition stuff.  Judi didn’t like that at all!  Once I understood what she was asking us to do a whole new world opened.  In teaching color theory, I always say “The mind reads shape before it reads color.  So, paint purple cows.”  I just wasn’t doing this concept.”

Nikki went on to describe her experience of the festival:  “The FSAF is an amazing full immersion of 2 weeks cross pollination.  The arts are everywhere, with people making, writing, performing, dancing all over UAF campus.  Walking from the bathroom to my class I hear opera being sung down the hall.  Walking up the hill in the morning I get to move to beating African drums because that class decided to move outside.  Really, African drums are meant to be heard outside, and I can’t help but put an extra swing into my walk.  Anyone that has ever wanted to try watercolor, drumming and cabaret, plus fill their evenings with world class concerts, and explore Alaska around the Festival, it is well worth the cost.  UAF allows even dorm accommodations for participants. ”

I treasure my memories of teaching at the festival too and  envy Nikki and Ken getting to spend two weeks in pure creative bliss with other like -minded artists again this year.  Its a rare opportunity we should all get to experience.  Thank you for joining us in our creative exchange!

I am now making my daily works for this project available for sale online in my Meylah shop here:​besadel  I post them each day after they are posted in the blog.