Sunday, November 27, 11a.m. - 5 p.m.: Our annual Open Studio Show and sale at the Studio On 20th! It is always a fun and busy event with new work by eleven studio artists: Bridget Aitken, Nicki Ault, Kathy Bradshaw, Jan Corcoran, Ann Donald, Jane Harington, Miranda Jones, Brenda Kennedy, Karen Maguire, Amira Wasfy and Carol Wylie. Look for our door to the left of the Odd Couple Restaurant and head up the stairs! (236A 20th Street between Avenues B & C).

Ongoing: a selection of my larger work is available at The Black Spruce Gallery at Northside on Highway 2 just before the turn to Christopher Lake.

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings (formally available at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery) are now available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Sound Bite From My Life

photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

It's been sixteen years and the anticipation is over. My front yard finally has curb appeal! I have had a love-hate relationship with my yard since day one. In fact, over the last sixteen years it actually became more of a hate-hate relationship. Finally, this fine September, it was time. On Monday, bright and early, City Gardens swooped in and set out to make my dreams come true. They scraped away the sunken lawn, the crumbling concrete path, the non-functioning sprinklers and the thriving crop of weeds. A clean slate was what I requested and they delivered. 

This was a different type of creative work for me; I am far from a landscape designer but I had a vision in my mind and it never wavered. My house is a one hundred year old character home and for all of its peaks and angles it deserved a curvy, maybe even sexy, front yard. However, it is not a large space, so I still had to keep it simple. My original concrete path was slightly over two feet wide- a ridiculous width given the hedge on one side and the snowbank on the other side for six months of the year. That was the first and most crucial change. 

before © Nicki Ault, 2016

I now have a wide, curving path of gorgeous Roman paving stones; slightly over four feet at its narrowest. Swoon. No longer will I snag my grocery bags on the hedge as I try to shimmy myself to the front door.

after © Nicki Ault, 2016

The rest of the yard is finished with a curving brick divider between the new lawn and the garden... I actually now have a hydrangea plant, a little weeping spruce tree and shrubs. I feel so grown up!

after © Nicki Ault, 2016

I thought I was finally going to get to the studio after months of absence, but the landscaping kept me home for three days. The City Gardens guys (who were fantastic by the way) seemed to have a good grasp of my crudely drawn vision, but I wanted to be involved in laying out the curve of the path and stone border, so it was exactly "right". I won't admit to micro-managing, but I certainly spent a bit of time hovering. Once the job was complete at the end of the afternoon on Wednesday I realized that Thursday and Friday could finally be days at the studio!... That is until my son said his throat was feeling really sore at bedtime. My heart sunk as visions of me painting at the studio quickly began to fade. In a sad and pathetic effort to keep my hope alive I said desperately, "Well, maybe you just strained it at football practice".

???

As soon as the words were uttered, and I heard the ridiculousness of the statement, I knew it was over. He was getting sick. His throat was not strained from playing football- I am pretty sure that is not even a thing. A hamstring, yes, a throat, no.

So a bit more time passes, but I will get there- blank canvases and new supplies await. Sunday is my goal and that is already tomorrow. The hope is returning.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I Heart Art Supplies!

photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

For some people it is shoes, for others it is purses, and yet others it is make-up and hair products. You know, that "thing" that has you weak in the knees, flush in the cheeks and heart palpitating with the very thought. For me that "thing" is art supplies

Ooooh- I actually just had to brace myself with the very thought!

I love scanning the display racks of gorgeous tubes of pigment. I could stand there and dream all day... but that wouldn't get me nearly as far as actually pulling out my credit card and buying some, so that is usually what I do! However recently I had a gift certificate given to me... the best present for an artist ever, so a-shopping I did go! It was not easy to narrow my choices down, but eventually I chose two new oil colours by Daniel Smith: a brilliant purply pink called Quinacridone Magenta and a lovely neutral called Moonglow which Darrell Bell told me about. As much as I love my tubes of paint, my next fav is a crisp new brush, so I stocked up on three sizes that day. When I left the store I was content, satiated even.

But that was five days ago.

Guess where I want to go today despite the fact that I haven't so much as squeezed out a bead of paint in more than a month? I should have a rule for myself that I can only buy more supplies once I have actually used up some supplies. I should, but I don't.

I think I need a twelve step program!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An Exciting Weekend For My Art!




This weekend nine pieces of my art are debuting in two different events in two different parts of the country!

In Saskatoon a huge, new, first-of-its-kind art show is taking place over the weekend at Prairieland Park on the exhibition grounds. If you love art you will want to get there. Art Now: The Saskatchewan Fine Art & Craft Fair is a three day event and admission is free! You will find my four little 6"x6" paintings for sale at the Saskatchewan Craft Council booth at Prairieland Park (Hall B). I have them framed in lovely, chunky, white shadow boxes so they are ready to go home with you and be displayed immediately!



A couple of provinces over you can find the below five pieces of my art at A Square Affair in St. Catharines, Ontario.





This event sounds like a great time and is a part of the HandMade Market running on September 16 and 17 at the 13th Street Winery. All of the paintings by about thirty artists are 12"x12" and are going for the set price of $195.00 (+HST)! A Square Affair will be open for preview at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 16 with a queue starting at 6:30 p.m. and doors to the sale opening at 7:00 p.m. It is first come, first served - I wish I could be there to watch it all happen. It could get crazy! I believe they are planning to keep any remaining work available and for sale in the gallery space on Saturday as well.

A great weekend for art, artists and art lovers! Please feel free to pass this information on to whomever might appreciate it... and have fun out there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bridget's View

Bridget's View
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
(commission)

Oh my, how much fun was this project?! It was actually a year in the making! Last September my art buddy, Monika Kinner-Whalen, and I were both part of the Solar Gardens Art Show and Sale in the country out near Pike Lake, Sask. It just so happened that my studio mate, Bridget Aitken, had recently bought a beautiful acreage in that area so Monika and I dropped by to take photos and enjoy in the scenery. That experience was fun and productive, so we decided to prolong the creative energy by agreeing to collaborate with each other. We selected a photo from that excursion (it was one of Monika's) which we would then each interpret in our own medium- mine being oil paint and hers being fibre!

Above is my effort... a painting which now belongs to Monika; we traded art on Friday. My wish is that she loves it and finds hope and friendship in this piece every time she looks at it. I am happy with the neutral, grayed-down backdrop with the brighter orange and red foliage in front. I so desperately wanted her to love it when she saw it. I do think she was pleased because as the day went on I kept getting Facebook messages with her "auditioning" it in different rooms of her house!

I am so thrilled with the piece she created for me. It is called "September Three Sixty" which is fitting because Bridget's acreage has a height-of-land where Monika and I stood and literally turned in a three-sixty while taking resource photographs.

September Three Sixty
5 x 5"
© Monika Kinner-Whalen

In her version she decided to edit out the branches in the foreground because they would have taken away from the delightful stitch-work that developed along the bottom of the piece. I agree and I love looking at her type of "mark-making".
photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

Please do yourself a favour and browse through Monika's blog and website. I also wrote a "spotlight" on her a few years ago which you can read here. As it turns out, in that bog post I mentioned how much I hoped to have a piece of her work someday! I actually now have not one, but two of her pieces because I bought a gorgeous, abstracted yarn work from her solo show at Hues Art Supply in June called "A View From Shelby's Garden". Yay me!
photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

Thank you Monika! It was fun and I will always cherish both of these unique pieces created by you!

Note: Here is a link to Monika's blog where she writes about our swap!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Saskatchewan Art Fair - It's Happening Soon!


I am excited to announce that my application was successful and the Saskatchewan Craft Council selection committee chose four of my small (framed) 6x6 paintings to be represented in their booth at the Sask Art Fair! It sounds like it will be an amazing show - the first of its kind ever to be held in Saskatchewan. Here are two links where you find even more information about this great event:

www.saskcraftcouncil.org/artnowsk/

www.artnow.ca

Mark your calendars! If you love art and fine crafts you will want to find time to get to Prairieland Park on this particular weekend. I know several of the artists whose work will also be available at the Saskatchewan Craft Council booth and I know you won't be disappointed with the offering (think Bobbi Clackson-Walker, Monika Kinner-Whalen and Paula Cooley to name a few). There will be booths showcasing many other Saskatchewan galleries and I can only imagine that this event will grow in the coming years.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery - The Last Day Is...

Earlier this year I shared with you that Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery was going to be closing. Well, the day is fast approaching. Their last day of business will be on Saturday, September 3. All inventory, excluding artist-owned work, has been reduced by 50%. My 8x8 inch original artwork is still on display and for sale until that time and my three large floral pieces are also available in the back room.


 
I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to show and sell my art in this stunning shop that Darrell created. He has been wonderful to work with and someone I now consider a friend and mentor. I am so excited for him and the next chapter of his life, which I do believe will include much more painting time!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

One Week Left!

The Kingsmere
36 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available

Thank you so much to the University Club (formerly the Faculty Club) at the University of Saskatchewan for showcasing my art for the last four months! And thank you for the sales that have taken place! I will be taking the show down on the morning of Friday, September 2nd so if you haven't had an opportunity to see the show you have one more week to get there.

Walk In The Meadow
30 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015
available

Morning Paddle, Sulphide Lake
24 x 48"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available
 
 Sky Over Canola
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015
available

The Birch
48 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015
available


These paintings and more...!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Island Reflection, Heart Lakes

Island Reflection, Heart Lakes
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available

Another lovely view I enjoyed from the pontoon boat tour I took earlier this month. The reflections were clear and slightly distorted by the rippling of the water.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Point, Heart Lakes Marina, Waskesiu

The Point, Heart Lakes Marina, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold

If you have ever been to the marina at the Heart Lakes you have seen this point of land. In fact a trail goes through the forest and ends at this very spot where a couple of old homemade, wooden, moss covered and weathered benches sit overlooking the lake. I was able to take a photo of them from the pontoon boat when I took the tour of the lakes.

 
benches at the point
© Nicki Ault, 2016

I am so thankful that my friend and neighbor at the lake loved this painting when she saw it right after it was painted. She told me that she has taken many many photos of this very place, but none of them made her as happy as this painting. So she bought it!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Road Closed

Road Closed
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available

When I drove out to Aberdeen last month I came across this old road. There was something very appealing about it to me; its disheveled, over-grown, leading-to-nowhere state juxtaposed against the bold, under control canola fields on either side struck me as something I wanted to try to paint. There was actually a sign posted nearby that said "road closed" so that seemed like the natural title for the painting.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Channel, Heart Lakes

The Channel, Heart Lakes
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold

My pontoon boat tour of the Heart Lakes earlier this month was a real highlight of the summer. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the water and I was able to get many great reference photos to use for my my art. This view is of the channel that will take us from the second Heart Lake back to the first where the marina is located. On the way back I was lucky enough to see a Great Blue Heron standing on the shore. At first glance and from a distance it looked like a big ol' dead tree stump, but then it moved. Now that was a big bird!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Clouds Rising Over Flax And Canola

Clouds Rising Over Flax And Canola
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available

This painting is a bit made-up, although inspired by my trip out to Aberdeen last month to check out the fields of canola and flax. I love the lone tree that sits on the border of the two fields.

As usual I am having trouble getting an accurate photo of the colour of the purpley-blue field of flax. I think it is time to investigate getting a new camera. I love how compact my little point-and-shoot Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS is, and it has served me well, but I am wondering if I could be getting truer images with a more professional camera. I don't want to break the bank, however. Any thoughts and suggestions would be most welcome. I have heard lots of great things about Canon Rebels (I am a bit of a Canon fan), but really have not been keeping up with the newest cameras out there. Several artists at the studio where I paint have a photographer who comes in every few months to take pictures of their work, but I post on my blog frequently enough that it is not a practical option for me. I would love to know, if you are an artist what kind of camera do you use to get great photos of your work?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dusk Above Main Beach, Waskesiu

Dusk Above Main Beach, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold

Well, this one presented some challenges! How do you paint the edge of water on the shore? How do you paint the wet, smooth sand that remains after the water recedes? How do you paint dry sand that is churned up by footprints? How do you balance this particular viewpoint in a composition? How do you capture the feel of dusk? How do you resist the urge to wipe the board clean when you feel like giving up?! These answers and more to be found on another day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Show In St. Catharines, Ontario!


paintings heading to St. Catharines, Ont.
photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

I am so excited to tell you that I have been invited to participate in a show in St. Catharines, Ontario! This is my third time showing my work out-of-province and I am so appreciative of this opportunity. I was contacted last month by the Producer of the show and once I got the details I knew I had to find a way to make it happen. With her more-than-generous offer to allow me to ship my work directly to her and then her offer to return any unsold work back to me, I knew my answer had to be "yes"! She certainly didn't owe me any such kindness- we have never met or spoken before. She is just an artist doing another artist a solid. I am most humbled by her generosity of spirit.

The show is on Friday, September 16th as part of the HandMade Market running that same weekend at the 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines, Ontario. The show is called "A Square Affair" and is comprised solely of 12" x 12" pieces of original artwork. I am so honoured to be invited along with about twenty-nine other artists to have my work offered in this unique show; artists such as Kim Rempel, Jennifer Elliotson, Jennifer Woodburn, and Barbara-Jean Lovell. Wow! You just never know where each day will lead you! 

Here are the paintings I sent for the show:

Golden Reflection, Lynx Lake
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available

Prairie Layers
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold
 
Severe Weather Warning
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
available
 
The Riffle, Waskesiu River
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold
 
Thistles And Wild Spaces
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold
 
If you happen to live near St. Catharines try to see if you can make it to the show on Friday, September 16th. All of the pieces are being sold at a set price of $195.00 + HST and are on a first come first served basis. There is a viewing of the art starting at 11:00 a.m. but work is not officially for sale until 7:00 p.m. with a queue starting at 6:30 p.m. It sounds like so much fun!
Note: This is a really great price for many of the works in the show. My 12x12's usually sell for $300.00.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Riffle, Waskesiu River

The Riffle, Waskesiu River
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016
sold

I love painting this river. It is amazing how it has changed over the last few years. Not that long ago it was so high and rushing so fast that there was no tall grass at all to be seen near the edges let alone in the middle of the river. And now the rocks and "riffle" are exposed. There is a beautiful hike I have done with my kids that starts along one side and goes deep into the forest, then comes back toward the river to a boardwalk that passes over the river and continues on the other side. One section of the trail has several signs that warn of wolves. I have seen wolves on two occasions in all my days at the lake and one time actually was at the edge of the forest along the road approaching the river. Makes me think those signs on the trail are legit!