Crow Dusk, 13 x 18, watercolor, ©2011 Helen Klebesadel

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

In my Crow Dusk painting I revisited a study I did earlier in this project and honed the idea a bit to bring more layers of meaning to the painting.  Its not uncommon for me to revisit an idea and play with it multiple times to see what greater potential an idea has.

In this case, I was thinking about how the crows darken the sky when the fly by en masse to find their evening roost.  They cave come to mean ‘dusk’ for me.  In this painting I show the stars and the moon in the bodies of the crows.  They literally bring the night.    I am sure this idea will reappear latter in a larger, multi-layered painting when the time is right.

Its not unusual for audience members or students new to art-making to think that artworks spring fully developed from the brains and hands of an artist.  After all, we only see finished artwork in the galleries and museums that exhibit art.  We don’t usually get to see the experimental and exploratory works that lead to larger finished compositions. For every masterwork hanging in a museum there are usually many many artworks created before and after that special piece that honed an idea, or developed special skills.

Easy Does It, 2 1/2 x 3 1/2, watercolor, ©2011 Nikki Kinne

For day thirty-two Nikki needed something easy and fun.  For an incredibly busy day she gave herself permission to work small (artist trading card sized), easy and fun.  She gave herself over to the joy of the mark and this is the lovely little creations she came up with.  It sings of sunshine.

I can’t let this post pass without acknowledging that Friday, August 5th marks the one year anniversary of the existence of the Co-op Arts Artist Co-operative in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Last summer, when I was visiting and teaching at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Co-op was in the final stages prior to opening.

Ken Kokjer, Nikki’s husband, is the Co-op Art co-owner and manager.  In 2010, prompted by the closing of three art galleries that significantly impacted the professional art community in Fairbanks, Ken, Nikki, and several of the current artists decided to do something about the fact that artists no longer had a place to display their art, and the public had lost the opportunity to enjoy the creativity and inspiration of a very talented segment of their community.   Co-Op Arts has worked hard over the last year to fill a small bit of the gap in the downtown arts scene.

Building a successful art business in this day and age is quite a feat.  Ken brings quiet leadership in his management of the group built upon his engineer’s organizing skills, his levelheadedness,  and his profound sense of fairness.  It helps that he really likes artists, being a vocal musician himself.  Of course the ten participating  artists have all also worked incredibly hard to bring the gallery into reality, to maintain a vibrant inventory, to staff the store, and to celebrate each month with a First Friday reception.  I can not resist the opportunity to give a special shout out to Kate Wood and Margaret Donat, both especially talented artists I got to know last summer thanks to my friendship with Nikki Kinne, artist extraordinaire.

In just a year the gallery has become  become such a profound presence in Fairbanks that Co-op Arts was awarded a Friends of the Arts recognition by the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce in January.  Please join me in congratulating Co-op Arts Artist Co-operative for a year well done.

If you are in the area Friday August 5th stop in, 5:00-8:00 and celebrate the First Friday event featuring Kate Wood’s watercolor works in Peaks of High & Low, then go again next month, September 2,  and see Margaret Donat’s works in a series entitled, Alaskan Men.

Thank you for coming with Nikki and I  as we explore the world of a-painting-a-day inspired by the world around us.

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