Snow Bird Revisited, 6 x 14, watercolor, ©2011 Nikki Kinne

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

For day twenty-one Nikki again shares a watercolor she created in a class she is taking at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival with Louisiana artist Judi Betts.

Of her experience doing this work and being influenced by her instructor Nikki says, ” I can’t wait to try the new skill on the next painting.  Judi kept telling us “Keep it light!  Save the white!”  I started telling myself “If you think it is light enough of a ratio between paint and water – add more water.”  Judi said that if you don’t paint those light range values at the first of a painting they can’t ever be added.  What I experienced in painting “Snow Birds” was a realization that I have been doing watercolor  in a very hard manner.  It’s so much fun to pick random colors, as long as I keep things light, rather than rushing to the end.”

As I mentioned in previous posts, Nikki both takes classes and offers them periodically at the FSAF.  In 2009 one of her paintings was selected as the poster for that year’s festival. Here it is below.   I’d say Nikki was pretty good at saving the white of the page  that makes the painting sparkle already, but it never hurts to be reminded.  Saving the whites and light areas in a watercolor is one of the single most important strategies for making a painting sing.

2009 Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Poster by Nikki Kinne

In my day twenty-one painting I’m doing a little bit of saving the white of the page myself.  I’m still working from the sketches of Northern Wisconsin I found cleaning my studio (it was meant to be).  I am trying hard to keep a light and spontaneous touch and capture the sense of light moving across the trees as the moon rises.

Moonrise and Pines, 14 x 19 1/2, watercolor and ink, ©2011 Helen Klebesadel

In this painting I have broken a cardinal rule of transparent watercolor painting.  (I have a whole section in my week-long watercolor workshop entitles “Techniques that will Get You Kicked Out of the Transparent Watercolor Society, and this is one).  The nice granular texture you can see in the trees comes from using waterproof in in the painting while its still very wet.  The ink does not dissolve into gray the way water soluble inks would.  It retains its body and creates this lovely texture.

Thank you for accompanying us as we explore the boundaries and possibility of watercolor, friendship and a shared passion for paint!

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.