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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Fire

On Fire
acrylic on panel

If you are an artist, have you ever felt like you were "in the zone" and everything was just clicking? You were on fire, so to speak? That's how I felt on August 8 when I was painting at Spruce River. I drove up to Waskesiu, Prince Albert National Park the night before so that I was that much closer to the Kenderdine Campus. I was by myself and I spent my first evening alone priming my new boards, taking reference photos around the lake and then I went for an evening swim. The water was as calm as glass and very warm. It was peaceful, relaxing and just what I needed to shift gears and get ready for a week of painting. I got up early on Aug. 8 and took the old road (more scenic) to Emma Lake which took about half an hour. Along the way, I saw 7 deer and one fox which put me into an even better mood. I swear I get more excited than the kids whenever we see wildlife. Anyway, I checked in at the campus, found my cabin and quickly set up a spot in the studio. Then I was off to paint. I decided that since I still had a valid park pass I may as well use it, so I went back the way I came on the old road and found one of my favorite spots about 15 minutes later at a picnic area by Spruce River. Here the river winds away from the forest and comes into a meadow, and immediately turns back into the forest again.

Everything felt right. I grabbed a board I had gessoed and painted with black latex then settled into a great little spot under the cover of tall pines. The above is the first painting I did that day and the three previous reflections I posted came after. I think this is my favorite. I really love how it turned out. It is the most zoomed in I have ever painted a reflection and therefore it is likely the most abstract. When I painted it there was this little patch of the river near the bank that was glowing orange. I was spectacular. It must be the way the sun was shining and illuminating the dead leaves and debris on the river floor. I love the shots of orange with the blues. Hours later as I was packing up I glanced at the river and it seriously looked like it could have been on fire! What I saw was spectacular and absolutely messed with my head. I am including a few photos to give you an idea. 
Anyway, that first day of painting was, as it turned out, the most content I ended up feeling all week. The paintings from that day may or may not be the best I produced, but the feeling of peace and happiness was there with me and it felt so good. 

Now a small bit on another topic unrelated to art. It is the morning and both my boys are at school! It is so hard! When I walked away from the school all I could think of was, "Now what?". I know most people are thinking, "GO PAINT SILLY!" but somehow I didn't want to head to the studio. My life for the last eight odd years has been so entirely about these little loves of my life that I don't really know what I will do with myself now that they are both in school full time. Maybe part of the problem is that there are so many things I could do with myself that I don't know where to begin: go back to school, find another career, get a thousand odd jobs done that have been put on the back burner, work a few more hours at my part-time job, paint with more focus, the list goes on. For this morning, however, I decided to write on my blog and have a good cleansing cry! ...Now I have to come up with something to do this afternoon when the kids go back to school after lunch.


Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

I will feel exactly the same way this weekend when my youngest goes off to third year university. It feels like his whole childhood and young adult life is speeding past. But then the next thing you'll notice is that the school day is so short!

This nostalgia will pass. The good cry will help. Hugs from Toronto.

XOBarbara -- Beautiful painting and post.

Anonymous said...

What better meditation is there than to look below your feet and find something beautiful, and then to write your own story- sing your own song about it.
These are totally original and a delight!

Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

Oh, I can't even go there in my head... university.... going away to school. Iy iy iy! Thank you for your understanding words and I'm glad you liked the painting.

Hi TJ,

Thank you for the lovely words you left above. I truly appreciate that you called these reflections "totally original and a delight". You made my day!


Artist said...

the orange does look like fire! beautiful reflection you have painted!

Anonymous said...

a beautiful post in so many ways Nicki: the painting and the zone delighted me; the fact you set out to do a week of painting inspired me as did your photos; your response to your children growing up reminded me......and all i can say is: no tears, just as we provide our children with opportunities to grow and develop, why do we adults think we should remain unmoving and stagnant? so final words....GO PAINT SILLY:)

-Don said...

Beautiful painting. Beautiful photos. Beautiful words. You ARE on fire, girl. Now that you have the first week under your belt, I bet you feel a lot better about the time you get to yourself each day. My last year has been spent as Mr. Mom - taking the kids to and from school. I find that 6 hours in between to be some of my most productive.

Happy Creating!


Nicki said...

Hi Artist,

Thank you, I'm happy I'm not the only one who likes this painting! The river that day was the coolest thing to see in person, especially because it was moving which of course a still photo can't translate. It was beautiful.


Rahina! So nice to hear from you. Thank you for these words. And, yes, you are right. In fact, I think it is likely really good for my boys to see me out there taking part in the world and striving to learn and grow.

I've gone through lots of emotions and now looking ahead to this week, I am excited to get to the studio and begin!

Take care my friend,


Hi Don,

I appreciate your kind words regarding this post. Your prediction is right... I am looking forward to this week! The emotions have settled and I'm ready to get going on all kinds of things.

I'm guessing that as much as your new role came unexpectedly last year, the experience it has given you as Mr.Mom has likely provided you with some cherished memories. Good things can come from really stinky situations.