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!

Friday, October 1, 2010

By The Lake

By The Lake
oil on canvas

After I did "Feathery Pine", which I posted the other day, I decided to take this new brush and toned down palette to a larger format. I didn't use as limited a palette as I did in the study- I think I was up around 10 colours (including white). I really enjoyed working on this one and tried to keep things loose- click on the image to get a better idea of the brush work. I'm sure it could be looser, but it was an accomplishment for me. It's one of the larger pieces I have tackled en plein air, but it was definitely manageable. There was a time when 16x20 seemed so large to me, but now that I have done a few 30x40's this size is no longer as intimidating. When I got it back to the studio and received feedback from the instructor, she suggested I amp up the action in the sky even though the day didn't necessarily look like that. It needed to be a bit stronger to balance the strength of the left side. I totally agreed so I increased the contrasts and activity in the clouds and I am happy with the result. Sometimes you have to just make the painting work regardless of what your subject shows you.

This was a wonderful location to paint. I set up in an Adirondack chair near, but not on, the beach. It was a bit sheltered by the trees, so as the wind picked up it didn't bother me too much. It was so peaceful listening to the water lap against the shore and to hear the bustle of nature around me. Well, to be honest, time may have softened the memory. The bustle of nature I speak of was not particularly calming so much as life threatening! Okay, I might be exaggerating, but you feel another plein air adventure coming don't you???

Again I was happily painting away when I suddenly noticed I was not alone. You know when you hear something darting around, but when you look up, nothing? Well, that went on for a short while and finally I spotted the varmint... a [ninja] squirrel! He had a real glint in his eye that one. He was nothing like the sweetie I told you about in this post that had a nap on the branch above me at Spruce River. It became clear that I had set up in his part of the woods as he ran circles around me from tree to tree, up and down, around and around. Eventually, as I continued to paint, he realized he wasn't going to spook me that easily, so he got down to the business of collecting pine cones. Here is where it got interesting.... he would shoot up a tree and then drop little pine cone bombs all around! You could almost hear them whistle through the air before they, thwack!, landed! Then he would zoom down, grab them and eat them on a nearby rock while staring at me with the evil eye. It was H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! It was funny because he could have been a cartoon the way he acted and ate. He sat on the rock shredding through the pine cones faster than anything I've ever seen before. Literally pieces and bits were flying everywhere as he spun it around in his little paws.. feet?...hands? What do squirrels have anyway?

Here is a photo of my evil  little companion. Just look at the debris on that rock! He never did hit me with a pine cone bomb, but I was definitely picking bits of bark and twigs out of my hair from when he was racing around on the branches above me!

Okay, just a bit more to show you from my course at Emma, so I will do that in my next few posts, then I am excited to show you what I have accomplished at the studio back in town. I'm working on some larger pieces for my show at Moka.


-Don said...

"By the Lake" is nice. I'm excited that you keep pushing your parameters. You are a master-in-the-making. Keep it up, sister!

The Ninja Squirrel story had me cracking up. Between that and your "Whoop, Whoop" on my blog today, you've been quite the source of smiles. I'm loving it!


Judy Adamson said...

Hi Nicki - that's a lovely painting. You're going from strength to strength!

Someone ought to make a book of 'en plein' experiences and include yours! Did you see this little adventure of mine - http://judyadamsonartanddesign.blogspot.com/2010/07/painting-en-plein-air.html ?

Neiley said...

Nicki! I'm so glad you found my blog and made the connection for me to see your art. It is exciting that you love trees too. I like the airy / feathery feeling of "Feathery Pine". Your art is very inspirational and I look forward to visiting a lot!

Anonymous said...

this had us cracking up with your story of the ninja squirrel. very entertaining our wildlife is when we just live WITH them instead of eliminating them like so many try to do. I'm just glad he didn't knock your paintbrush away, because your painting are fabulous.
peace n abundance,

Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

I love this and Feathery Pine. I like how you can switch mood. And I love a big canvas because you have room to play. This is clear in this larger work, even though the mood is somewhat subdued. Your work by the way is never illustrative. Huh! Edward Gordon has you on his list. Why? Because you are an original and a superb artist.


Janie B said...

So pretty...just like all of your tree pictures. They are my favorites...well...I love the water pics, too.

I received my painting yesterday in the mail and it's beautiful! Thank you so much. I'm going to buy a display stand for it. (I'm just getting around to thanking you because I've been babysitting my grandkids.) Just love it!

jdr said...

Nicki, that is a wonderful painting. I need to see this one in person (and all the others you've worked on lately) because I think they are mesmerizing ... that is how I feel at the lake sitting amongst the trees and "wildlife". That squirrel story is so funny ... what a little character! They are fun to watch ... what would have been fun to watch is you and the squirrel from a distance!!

Love you so much!

Nicki said...

Hi Don,

I'm glad I made someone in the world smile today! You've left me lots of wonderful comments and this one I really appreciate!

Yes, I think By The Lake is "nice", too. It's a decent painting, maybe not the best I've ever done, but far from the worst that's for sure. What I really like about it is that in this painting I pushed myself in several ways.

1) to use a palette different from my norm
2) to handle the oil paint in a new way with a new brush
3) to try to make a difficult composition work.

With all of that going on I am happy with the end result.

I wonder if my next plein air adventure will make you smile... time will tell!


Hi Judy,

You are too kind! Thank you for those encouraging words!

Yes, I am sure there are many plein air stories out there waiting to be told! I couldn't get your link to work - it said "Page not found" so I went to your blog to try to figure out which post you were talking about, but had no luck. I am wondering if I did read it though... I recall reading one about a painter being startled by a deer, but I can't remember if it was you. I also remember reading a story on someone's blog about a farmer with a rifle approaching them when they were out plein air painting. Yikes!

Take care,

Hi Neily,

So nice to meet you! How kind of you to stop by my blog and have a look... I appreciate it! I was sure inspired by you and I am looking forward to watching your blog.


Hi CheyAnne,

It's great to get a comment from you again. Thanks! I'm glad you got a kick out of my story- it sure was funny while it was going on!


Hi Barbara,

You are always so sweet and generous with your words. It is true that a larger canvas offers more room to play. I am so excited to post the work I have been doing in the studio, but I have just a few more to show from the summer.

I'm surprised you noticed my name on Edward's list. That was an incredibly exciting day for me! Although I thought it had more to do with the fact that I bought one of his paintings and he felt obligated in some way!

Thanks for always expressing such support for me.

XO Nicki

Hi Janie,

Yay! I'm glad you like it- so glad! The varnishing gave me a bit of trouble, but I worked it out and I am pleased you like it.

If you like my trees, stay tuned... I have done a couple of larger ones I will be posting soon!


Hi JJ,

I'm glad you like it. Yes, you will have to come to the studio with me sometime soon. The paintings always look better in person.

You would have got a charge out of that squirrel. He was cheeky!

Love you,


Anonymous said...

beautiful melody of colours Nicki, and that brush of yours just dances between them with such energy and panache! and what a funny story you tell! and one more thing, when i was in Canada and the States i saw those chairs everywhere and really liked them and you have now told me what they are called... thank you!

Nicki said...

Hi Rahina,

Why thank you for these encouraging words! It is not my usual palette so the end result feels a bit foreign to me, but I am pleased with it... and I learned while painting it- which is always the goal.

I love these chairs too... I wonder if you can find them in Glasgow?


Harry Kent said...

look at those clouds! so remind me of Vincent. All the engagement, the immersion, the personal response to a time and place in nature. This painting leaves me refreshed and uplifted, Nicki.

Nicki said...

Hi Harry,

What a wonderful compliment. Thank you!