July and August 2017: A small selection of my work, courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus) throughout the summer months.

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


Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon. For a limited time several of my large oil paintings are also available at
their new street front gallery on 21st Street (formally Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery).

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.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grass Cave and a Five Year Old


Grass Cave
4x6
acrylic on 200 lb paper

This painting was in my first ever art show that was in a local coffee shop in the spring of 2004. I had ten paintings in the show, two were not for sale and of the eight that were for sale, I sold 6. It was an incredibly exciting opening day and it really fueled the fire to get back painting again (my painting had been very sporadic since spring 2002 when I had Sammy)... except that I was pregnant with Tommy and due sometime within the six weeks the show was running. With a 22 month old in tow and a baby on the way I knew the fire within me would have to wait a bit longer... little did I know just how long that would be.... like three years!

You see my precious little Smiley Tom was not, I repeat, not a sleeper until he turned, well, 5! (This past spring). And I don't mean he woke up once a night, I mean he woke up repeatedly through the night. If I got more than two hours in a row it was a good night. When Tommy was about 2 1/2 and talking really well for his age, I finally figured out that he was having very vivid dreams. Possibly at times night terrors. He sometimes talked in his sleep and I believe he has sleepwalked. I remember one morning after a particularly rough night I asked Tommy if he knew why he woke up at night and he said he had a bad dream. I asked if he remembered what it was about and he said "Yes, mommy, there were bad guys in my room". I told him that must have been very scary and did he know who the bad guys were? He replied, "Yes mommy, you know, like Cookie Monster and Grover"! I'm not sure why the blue monsters from Sesame Street seemed to haunt his dreams, but it was a recurring theme.

Anyway, that kind of lack of sleep really messes with you and I was in a pretty bad state for quite awhile. I certainly wasn't in a good head space to be creative and I was way too exhausted to even take a night art class or go to the studio to paint. Finally in the summer of 2007, when Tommy was three, my husband practically insisted I go to the Emma Lake campus to paint and get a break. It was a turning point for me. I met my wonderful painting friend Debbie which has been such a gift and I also cried a lot... a lot with her as I worked through all kinds of emotions. But I got some painting done and that part of me as an individual started to appear again. Slowly it has been building up again and I feel like there is a new chapter opening up for me and I am fired up!

I dismantled my art show with the Curator on Friday evening and I am so pumped about the way it all went. My personal goal was to have half the paintings sell and that was achieved and the other goal was that a stranger would purchase a painting... and that happened! Yay! I now have the guest book and here is a sampling of the incredibly wonderful words people wrote:

"Splendid and strangely comforting!" -Al

"I absolutely love your work... the vivid colours and connections to nature. What a wonderful job!" -Bonnie

"I feel like I have discovered a great new artist." -Doug

"Very captivating & great use of colour." -Rita

"I have been looking for art like this for 3 or more years. Wow! I love the colour, use of nature...beautiful." -Karen

"This work is amazing and has inspired me to do some experimenting with my art using similar colours. Thanks for the inspiration!" -Caitie

"Beautiful vibrant colours... A cheery and pleasant show. Thank you, and keep on painting!" -Bessie

"Amazing job! These beautiful paintings really made my day. A nice ray of sunshine when one is in the middle of exams. Keep up the great work, you are really talented" - (no name left)

Clearly these comments make me very happy! I am also going to go through my previous posts and edit to show the pieces that sold.

Before I sign off for the night I just have to say a few more things about my little Tommy. He is larger than life. I always say that Sammy is an old soul and Tommy is a brand new soul! He was born with a big personality squeezed into a little body and he has tried to run the show since day one. However you will not find a more adorable 5 year old character as hard as you may try. He really, really cares about people. I just recently told him some exciting news about his best little friend and it was news that could have potentially made Tom sad. Instead he was genuinely happy for his friend and he just said "Awesome!" and then when he saw his friend at school he ran up to him and said "Hey Buddy, I'm really proud of you!" My heart burst with pride. And a little while ago I mentioned that the kids have said some precious things since the traumatic accident we had been through. Here are a couple of things Tommy has said that show his compassion at such a young age:

"Mommy, I'm glad your glasses didn't break because then glass might have gone in your eyes" and, with tears, "Mommy, why did they take me and Sammy out of the car first? Ladies should go first."

He is a little dream come true.

3 comments:

jdr said...

I do love my nephew Thomas ... he is truly such a character! It was very difficult to get through those sleepless times, Nicki, but you are such an amazing mom. You always are patient and loving - Sam and Tom are so lucky. I remember years ago, before you became a mommy, you said, "I hope any children I have will be full of personality" ... at the time we knew some small children that seemed quite "flat" for lack of a better term. Well, be careful what you wish for!!! Both of your boys are overflowing with personality and charm! I love them beyond infinity.

Also, I am super-excited about the results of your show. I am so proud of you I could burst! It is exciting to see you feeling the itch to paint again ... I can't wait to see your next stuff!

I better go and get ready for my day with Tommy ... we're making cupcakes, playing Wii, and he wants to play with my hair! Yay!

Love you so much!
XO JJ

Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

I'm so proud of you, and not a bit surprised that people loved your show and your work. You are just amazing. You do sound like you're feeling better. I'm sorry I missed your posts for so long. I was in Florence for two weeks at the Biennale, and a bit consumed with getting ready the week before that.
I love your work, and your blog and wish you a happy Christmas and joyous New Year.

XO Barbara

Nicki said...

Hi JJ,

Tommy had such fun with you... what a treat one on one time is. It makes them feel so special. Thanks for being such a great and caring auntie. And yes, personality is alive and well in this house!

XO Nicki


Hi Barbara,

It's nice to hear from you. I have been keeping up with your travels on your blog. What an amazing experience. And isn't Florence breathtaking? I am just so thrilled for you. It is well deserved and I am sure you will be invited again next year.

I am beginning to feel a bit more like me (whoever that is!) and it feels good.

Thanks and happy happy holidays to you.

Nicki XO