July - September, 2018: A selection of my artwork is now available for the summer season at Evrgreen, a charming coffee shop in the townsite of Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park!

Representation: I am honoured to have my work represented by these well-respected professional galleries:
Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon
Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, 2266 Smith Street- a vibrant, bustling part of town.

November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shout Out To Degen

I have loved art my entire life. I remember winning a newsprint pad with Grover on it for some art I did in grade one. Then in grade three I remember winning another contest at school and my picture was made into Christmas cards. In grade eight one of my drawings won an honourable mention and I was given a plaque with my art scanned onto it. In high school I took art in grade nine and then signed up for typing in grade ten. The art teacher asked me to join him for a meeting with the principal and they talked me into continuing with art--- hence it takes me a long time to type up these posts! I won the art award at grade twelve graduation. I began University with the plan of taking Fine Arts and really enjoyed my first studio class with Bob Christie, painting in oils (the only time I ever have). In second year I was so intimidated by the Professor, Otto Rogers, and the class that I didn't go back after the first day. I switched to Sociology and didn't take another studio class again, but I kept up with art history. What can I say, I was young and silly. Now I know I could have gained some valuable experience in that class and maybe not lost so much time. Who knows?

In my early twenties I actually got into making porcelain dolls. I won a few local contests and had them in a northern Saskatchewan gallery for a few seasons. Then I got busy with my career and life and didn't do much for years. Turning thirty was hard for me, but from it I decided I didn't want to turn forty or sixty or eighty and regret not pursuing things I loved. So that fall I registered for a Life Drawing class with Degen Lindner. I was so curious to meet her because my grandmother had a large watercolour painting done by her father, Ernest Lindner, and I stared at it in her living room every time I visited her. Degen was wonderful and encouraging from the very first class. I remember the feeling of excitement when I left that first night and vowed to myself that I would never allow myself to let art go again. I have taken many Life Drawing night classes with Degen over the years and also taken 4 painting workshops with her at Emma Lake. She has been positive and encouraging all the way. She is so talented and has such an eye for art of all kinds. I swear every time I have made the changes she has suggested the work is always better. And she has a way of finding something positive no matter what. She is amazing to see in a class teaching and guiding her students...and a wonderful sense of humour to go with all her knowledge... and listening to her talk about the history of her father and other artists is like a precious gift. I have learned so much from her.

After I had my baby in 2002 I slowly let art begin to slip away. Then after my second baby I was so sleep deprived I was just trying to survive each day. She saw I was struggling and asked if I would take care of her plants at the studio while she was at the lake for the summer (2006) and said I could use her space if I liked. How generous is that? And then when she got home in the fall she offered to let me continue sharing the space. Now I am about to get my own space in December and when I told her my plan she was once again extremely supportive. She said it was the right thing for me to do and that I needed my own space because she could see I was getting more serious. You know how they say that there are something like seven people in everyone's life that make such a difference (good or bad) that your life is forever changed by knowing them? Well, she is one of my seven.... and my life has definitely changed for the better by knowing her.

Today I have posted two sketches I did in Degen's Life Drawing classes. Each drawing took about 2 1/2 hours.


jdr said...

I join you in all of your admiration of Degen ... she is so ... true to herself and amazing in all ways. I loved the giggles we would have in those art classes. So much fun. I was there just to get time with my sister and more or less goof around, but I believe I picked up some art tips and an appreciation for art from her during those times. I have so often thought of how grateful I was to her for sharing her studio space with you ... by doing so, she gave you a place to go where you were just "Nicki the artist" ... not sleep-deprived mommy. And now, your amazing art is being enjoyed and appreciated by many, many people. I could not be more proud of my sister!!

Nicki said...

Thanks JJ. We should take a class together again. Degen always asks about you.


Anonymous said...

wow, what a wonderful potted history of your art experiences...and you have had some great teachers along the way. i believe we are like salmon in many respects: no matter how far we go we have to make the journey back:) lovely sketches too Nicki! r.

Cecca said...

Really interesting hearing about your life and relationship with Art.
Degen sounds like a great inspiration and a lovely person. I hope the studio sharing is going well for you. It sounds like a great place to paint :-)

Nicki said...

Hi and thanks Rahina. Yes, I have had some really great teachers... some that weren't mentioned in this post, too. I appreciate the compliment about my sketches... especially coming from a gal who is so good at portraits!

Take care,

Hi Cecca,

Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment... and following! I did a quick swing by your blog, but wasn't able to give it the full attention it deserves so I will go back and read when I have more time... lots happening right now. And I will check out your Etsy store... I love Etsy!

Take care,

Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

I am so behind. I would call these sketches drawings, and they are superb. Wow. I know so many people who have allowed art to drop and then picked it up again and excelled. I'm glad you are painting, because it would be criminal for you to stop. Your work is so good.

Take care,


Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

You always leave such kind and encouraging words. Thank you so so much.

I hope you are managing your various commitments without too much stress. And thank you for taking a minute away from it all to drop by and "see" me!

Take care,