Have you had ever met someone online and then became friends with them offline too? You never know how the people you meet online may become your personal friends or business acquaintances in real life.
It happens everyday and today we wanted to share a real life story of how two people who met online are now working together thousands of miles apart on a project called '33 Paintings in 33 Days'.
The story begins in this interview with our own Meylah member and very talented artist, Helen Klebesadel.
Meylah: Hi Helen, please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started painting.
Helen: I am one of those people that was born an artist, and I have always loved painting. I maintain a studio in Madison, Wisconsin. I have an MFA from the UW-Madison and have taught art on the college level and through adult workshops for over two decades. I actually avoided painting in watercolor until I was forced by a scheduling conflict to try a class in college. One class and I was hooked. I fell in love with the brilliant colors and glow of transparent watercolors and have never looked back.
Meylah: Can you tell us about your project, 33 Paintings in 33 Days, and your fellow artist Nikki Kinne.
Helen: Since July 5th of this year, Alaskan artist Nikki Kinne and I have been doing our 33 Paintings in 33 Days Project. We have committed ourselves to sharing a painting a day which I post on my blog, Helen Klebesadel: A Muse and Her Artist. Shortly after they are published on the blog I post my own images in my Meylah storefront, Helen Klebesadel Watercolors, Prints, and Fabrics and on my art Facebook page. We are trusting the process and sharing our adventure publicly to see what it will teach us and others who join us on the journey.
Nikki and I have known each other for almost seven years. Nikki lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has degrees in art and social work. We met when she found me online when she was looking for mentorship as she made a transition from a career as a social worker to becoming a full-time artist. The long distance mentorship quickly turned into a mutually supportive peer relationship. Nikki brought me to Fairbanks to teach a couple of art workshops, which resulted in me being asked to teach periodically at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. And, I've brought Nikki to Wisconsin to be a guest artist in my summer workshops in Door County. We are sisters in art that live too far apart.
Meylah: What made you think of the idea for this project?
Helen: I was looking for an excuse to hang out with Nikki from a distance. We had both recent events that took away most of our studio time and both needed to get back in the studio regularly. I've long been interested in the painting-a-day movement. When I decided I wanted to do it I knew I would need to do it with someone else so I would have a sense of responsibility to keep me on track. When I daydreamed about who would be a very fun companion on the journey Nikki was the first person I thought of. We have camped and painted in the wilds of Alaska together and enjoyed the beauty of Wisconsin together. This was a way to give a little bit of that experience with each other from a distance.
Meylah: How do you decide what you're going to paint each day? Do you collaborate with Nikki?
Helen: We are both VERY busy people, and there is quite a time difference between Madison and Alaska so we have no idea what the other person will come up with each day until we email the image. There have been some amazing accidental parallels. We so enjoy seeing what the other has done. Each piece grows out of what is happening in our lives and minds at the moment as we build artwork around what ever strikes our fancy each day.
Meylah: We see that you're selling your paintings in your Meylah storefront...what is your favorite thing about Meylah?
Helen: Meylah is so easy to use! I love the integrated blog technology and how well the Meylah shop interacts with the other social media I use. I also have an Etsy Shop which works well for me, in many ways. However there are two additional options in my Meylah storefront that I am looking forward to developing further; offering online tutorials and digital products. I'm taking my time to develop them but I am very excited about their potential. Finally, I very much appreciate the free and useful information and shared knowledge produced and shared on Meylah's Marketplace and Blog.
Meylah: How do you spend your free time when you're not painting?
Helen: The only thing I can imagine wanting to do in my 'free time' is making art, or teaching someone how to make art. I do love to garden and get out in nature too, but I consider that part of my creative process.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today Helen and congratulations on taking on this wonderful project, 33 Paintings in 33 Days! We wish you the best of luck and can't wait to see all 33 paintings in the Meylah Marketplace!
Main image courtesy of Helen Klebesadel