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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wild Prairie

Wild Prairie
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold  

Last Friday when I went out to set up for the art show and sale at Agar's Corner I realized I was short one painting for my portable wall which holds thirty. My solution? Stay up until 1:30 a.m. and get one done! This is the little prairie I came up with and I quite like it. It's a bit of a departure from the colours of the other grassland paintings and I like the movement that takes your eye back to the distance. Because I painted it the night before the show, it was still wet when I was packing up in the morning. I decided that I better get a quick photo on the off chance it sold, so outside I rushed and, you guessed it, I dropped it face down in the grass. Luckily I was able to fix it without too much trouble.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Natural Grasslands

Natural Grasslands
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

I am lovin' the prairies. I painted this for the art show at Agar's. I used one of the recent photos I took at the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands which is on the east side of the river in Silverspring. Apparently Saskatoon is one of the few places in the world where a natural grassland area is found within a city. It is home to more than 290 plants and animals and represents 10,000 years of evolution! (I got this info. from a sign near one of the main path entrances.) Somewhere in this area there is a fossil rock which I will try to get a photo of when I go back with the Grade Two class for a field trip in October. 

I love my city.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Protected Prairie (revised)

Protected Prairie
(revised)
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

private collection
 
I had a great day at Agar's yesterday. It was busy right from the get-go! This painting got a lot of attention; it was one of the few large pieces I brought. I really love it. It may look familiar and that is because it is a revision of a painting I have shown before. After I posted the original version I received an email from a new friend (who is an artist) who was kind and brave enough to speak up. He offered a gentle critique and suggested that the lower half didn't quite fit with the top half. I studied it some more at the studio and saw exactly what he meant. It was so clear I wondered how on earth I hadn't seen it myself. I really appreciate him for helping me take this painting to another level. I am so excited about the final result, I am actually giddy!

© Nicki Ault, 2011 

This is what it looked like before. Now when I look at it in it's previous state it seems so unfinished. I also decided to soften the colour of the sky to make it recede more and not compete with the colours of the treeline.

I stopped at the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands on my way back from Waskesiu last weekend and took a bunch of photos that I can hardly wait to get started on. I am full-on lovin' the wild prairies right now and will have more work to show you soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Art At Agar's


I have been invited by Judy Wood (the fabulous artist who gave me an easel) to join about 18 other artists out in the country tomorrow for an art show and sale. It should be lots of fun and the assortment of available work should be impressive. I will be there from 11-5 with my small paintings (and portable wall!), so please come check it out if you are looking for something to do. We are all hoping for a beautiful fall day, but if we should not get that, at least the show is indoors and can still go on.

Far From Prospect Point (revised)

Far From Prospect Point 
(revised)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

Another revision. Not huge changes on this one. As I suspected the horizon line was off, so that is now remedied. As well, I eliminated one of the sky holes and decreased the size of the others. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the colour of the blue sky peaking through. Although the original colour was quite true to the actual sky that day, it didn't work in the painting. The intensity of the blue was too "in your face". It's better now; more compatible if you will.

© Nicki Ault, 2011 

Above is the original version. Oh yes, I also added a couple of brushstrokes of the pale yellow from the clouds into the water. It is a bit hard to see the effect in the photo, but in person it just adds a luminosity that wasn't there before.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moody and Blue

Moody and Blue
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

This is my favorite painting from my weekend retreat in Waskesiu. I painted it while huddling behind a fallen pine tree on the beach. The wind was fierce and cold coming off the lake; white caps pounding to shore, but the tree gave me enough of a wind break that I could get the job done. I began with a very fussy attempt- trying to paint like someone other than me. It looked ridiculous, so I wiped it down, regrouped and made a painting that I love. The sky was actually bright blue, but that didn't work with the mood of the wind and crashing waves, so I made a more brooding blue sky. This plein air experience was exactly the adventure I always hope for whenever I head out.

 here you can see the fallen pine tree I nestled myself 
into so I could paint without completely freezing

When I began packing up I realized that the entire time I had been painting right beside a seagull carcass. Slightly unsettling, but yet made me feel that much more close to nature.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Glory At The City Limits (revised)

Glory At The City Limits
(revised)
6 x 6"
 oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

This is another of the revamps I did last week. I really like it now, especially the water. I used my rubber scraping tool to scratch in ripples and it reveals some of the old paint from the original version. Me likey! Here is what the original painting looked like:

© Nicki Ault, 2011 

I had such a great weekend in Waskesiu. My dad arrived on Sunday and took me for lunch (thanks Dad!). I said to him, "When in my normal life can I paint three little paintings, get started on a large one, watch 3 movies (of my choice), read two magazines, go for a nice supper and a nice lunch... all within a 48 hour period and feel so relaxed??? And still get cleaning done!" That is just not how my world works. And don't get me wrong, I am not dissin' my life- I am so fortunate for all I have- my boys especially. I have to be clear about that. The truth is that if every day were a retreat it would not be special or even discernible from any other day. So it's all good... real good!

Friday, September 16, 2011

As The Night Comes (revised)

As The Night Comes- Moonlight Reveal
6 x 6"
oil on board
(revised)
© Nicki Ault, 2011  
sold
 
This is the painting that went under a major re-vamp at the studio this past week. And of course a day later I got an email from a friend saying she saw the the original on my blog and wanted it! Ha! Oh well, I like this one more and as I was making changes I had visions of Gregory Hardy's skies in my mind, so this revised version is an ode to him. Here is what the original looked like:

© Nicki Ault, 2011 

Basically I kept the dark sky at the top, the very bottom horizon line and the puffs at the tops of the clouds- these are (in my mind) what the moon is revealing under it's glowing light. There is actually purple in the darkest colour at the top, but I just can't get a good photo.

So I am off on a solo painting retreat! I am driving to Waskesiu right away partly to clean and close my parent's cabin down for the season and partly to paint, paint, paint! I am also going to read and watch movies. I zipped into the Blockbuster end-of-business blow-out sale and grabbed an eclectic mix of movies to watch for the next two nights: Eclipse, The Polar Express, and Georgia O'Keefe. That assortment cracks me up!

Anyway, I hope to have some good things to show when I return.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Elements (revised)

Elements
(revised)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

I'm in the process of getting ready for several art related events that are taking place this fall. I'm excited about all of them and the first one is already coming up on on September 24th. I have been invited to join 18 other artists and artisans for an art show in the country at Agar's Corner, so I will take my small (6x6") paintings and my portable wall for a day of peddling my wares! All of the work in my Daily Paintworks Gallery will come with me (click on the button on the top right hand side of this blog for a sneak peak). More info. will be posted next week closer to the date.

I am in the process of reworking some small paintings that I feel could be stronger. It's fun! The painting I am showing today was one of them. I was never happy with the bush- it was really in your face before. I also thought the Wolf Willow seemed too white. I'm much happier with the revised version. Underneath is the "before" image.
© Nicki Ault, 2011 

My only goal was to like it more, and I do. Today I played around with two other little paintings and by the time I left the studio I was excited with the results. One of the paintings has changed so drastically it is unrecognizable from the original. Wheeee! I'll show it next time, so be sure to check back.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Light And Old Growth

Light And Old Growth
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

I have had a heck of a time getting a decent photo of this painting. This is the best I have come up with. The last seven days have been the most glorious of the summer. High temperatures, very little wind, and clear blue skies. Absolutely perfect; a gift, really. The catch is I take photos of my work outside on overcast days, and despite trying, I couldn't make a photo work in such perfect weather. The air has cooled off today and the prairie winds are blowing again, so I'm back in business.

This painting has grown on me to the point that I am really liking it. I wasn't sure at first- I tried "stepping on my greens" with a bit of red, but then I had to go back in and make the forest floor glow. I can't help it. I am really enjoying the more abstract nature if this one. I may have to try another; maybe push the idea further.
~~~*~~~

Ten years ago I was at home with a bad back. I could hardly move and I was in a lot of pain. My husband woke me as he was leaving for work and said I should get to the t.v., a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers. I spent the morning on the couch horrified, but unable to take my eyes off the screen. Just a year earlier John and I stood at the top of The World Trade Centre when we were in New York City on holidays. I kept thinking of the men and women who were working in the food court at the top of that tower the day we were there. How terrified they must have been with what was happening to them. It broke my heart. I cried for them and all of the other civilians who were just putting in an honest days work. It is hard to grasp it all even now when I see the images being replayed. From such horror there will eventually be light and growth; a rebirth of sorts. I think the memorial that is being built at ground zero is a wonderful testament to that.

Little did I know, as I was at home in physical and emotional pain that day, that there was a little light in me, already shining brightly. I found out on September 24, 2001 that I was pregnant with Sammy. And my little corner of the world had hope again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Off the Grid

Early in the week I felt a sore throat coming on, so I scrambled to the studio because I have a couple of deadlines that are coming regardless of the status of my health. Sure enough by Wednesday I was hit hard and last night plunged into the depths of fever and chills. I'm on the mend but haven't had a chance to photograph any new work to show you. I've been meaning to share a link to a very energetic, expressive artist, so now seems like a good time. His name is Jonas Gerard and I wish I could recall how I stumbled upon this video, but I don't, I'm just glad I did!


http://studioartists.ning.com/video/jonas-gerard-live-painting


Watching him paint (perform) simply makes me smile. I hope you enjoy him, too.

*NOTE: I just realized that the link didn't work. Hopefully it is all set now.

So I was off the grid, but now I am back and after another good sleep I will respond to all of the great comments and feedback left on my last post. Nightie-night!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chartreuse Or Not Chartreuse?






all images, © Nicki Ault 

I just got myself a cafe mocha, my boys are watching the football game (go Riders) and now I am going to elaborate on my last post.


I have gone through a year of growth in several ways, many of which are art related. I am consciously and actively working at getting my art and my name (in relation to my art) "out there", but I have so much to learn that at times I am overwhelmed. That niggling feeling of self doubt creeps in and whacks me over the head when I least expect it! That is what happened to me recently. Usually it happens when I read something or have a conversation that causes me to call into question my choices, ideas or intentions. Don't get me wrong- it actually isn't a bad thing to go through this once in a while because hopefully I either end up stronger in my convictions or realize I need to make an adjustment. The problem is that these self-examination periods usually start with a plunge in confidence; with me feeling like I've put the cart before the horse and should paint like a real artist with real training and real skills and real vision before putting myself "out there"...   sigh... yes, I find this mind-set exhausting, too. I am coming to realize that there are many artists, writers, musicians who are worried about being "found out"; that they are a sham and no one has figured it out yet. Which of course they are not. After the initial panic at the start of these self-examination periods, I calm down and try to gain perspective. It's a time to sort out what I actually believe; to sort out the facts from the opinions. Once that is done, with any luck, I have grown and can move forward.

So about two weeks ago I followed a link to a blog that I have looked at before, but hadn't visited in awhile. It is the blog of a very knowledgeable and successful artist, Stapleton Kearns. On his blog he shares a great deal of experience, discusses work he admires, answers questions of his readers, etc. He is extremely generous in sharing what he knows, and you can't say that about all artists. I came across his post "A Tool For Smuggling Red" and whack! self doubt right upside the head! He knows colour theory inside and out and when he talked about not wanting chartreuse in his paintings I thought, "Well, that's it for me! I'm out!" For several days after reading that post I kept thinking how much Stapleton Kearns would hate my work. It really bothered me. I love chartreuse (as you can tell by the above paintings). Then I decided to re-examine his post and I realized for the most part I agree with what he says, I just happen to think this bright yellow-green colour is A-OK to put in my paintings. It's there in nature- especially in the sunlit moss beds of the Boreal forest. I want to incorporate it because it tells part of the story. In fact, often it's the reason I am telling the story in the first place. I think chartreuse is a glorious, joyful colour.

Upon reading Mr. Kearns' post again I realized he was talking about his opinion of what he wants in his paintings and not stating a fact. He doesn't know me from a hole in the ground and so, although his words hit me personally, they were certainly not directed at me. However, if he actually saw my paintings he just might direct them towards me, and that is where my self confidence button got pushed. He says, "Sometimes I want my paintings to be the color of 500 dollar suits. High key lemon greens are not something I would want in my suits".  I get that- I wouldn't want my husband to show up wearing a chartreuse suit, however, if he wore a classy black suit with a chartreuse handkerchief poking out of the pocket I would think he was smokin' hot! And therein lies the difference between me and Stape!

This is where the growth comes in after a period of self doubt. I have shifted my mind-set because the reality is I am an artist. I have real training. Maybe not a degree, but still, real training from excellent teachers. I have real skills and I have a vision for my own art. Will it appeal to everyone. Nope. Is that okay? Yup. Do I want to paint like anyone but me? Nope. (Well, maybe Tom Thomson). Am I done learning? Nope, not even close. In fact, I am excited to see what I will learn with the next painting. I have re-written my blog profile to reflect this growth. I am hoping that by sharing my insecurities I haven't come across as unprofessional. I hope you will take my words for what they are; the sharing of this leg of my journey. Maybe you will even be able to relate in some way. The real growth here is that in the future I am going to try to be kinder to myself. I don't want to be my own worst enemy anymore.




P.S. The Riders won!