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, October 18, 2011

Well Hello Old Friend

Old Friend
24 x 36"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011 

Okay.... I feel like saying "Ta daaaa!" because this one feels like it has been a long time in the making, so "Ta daaaa!"

As I explained a few posts ago, this is a tree I have painted before but I had forgotten where I had seen it. This past Labour Day weekend I was at Waskesiu Lake with my family and I wandered out one evening to take resource photos for the upcoming winter months. At one point I happened to look up at the tree I was passing and immediately thought, "Well hello old friend!" I had found it, glorious as ever and as unique as the day I first saw it. I love this tree. I love the dead, broken lower branches, I love the foliage reaching for the sky, I love the markings on the trunk, I love that it stands apart from the rest of the forest. I love this tree.

one of the distant pictures
I took of my old friend

Now down to business. Do you think I should perhaps add another leafy bit on the left down at the very bottom near the tree trunk so less sky shows? Or perhaps it is the actual lower left corner that is bothering me and I should make it more leafy with no sky showing there. It's just a small triangle of sky, but I wonder? I realize I am being finicky, but that's my way. All that being said, I love the trunk.

Please share your thoughts, ideas, feedback, wisdom... or lack thereof.  I'm all ears. No comment is silly.

And one more question... do you have a favorite tree?


Kim said...

Hey Nicki - beautiful! And that is a slammin' trunk! The left corner didn't bother me at all. But if you're wondering, have you tried the cut paper technique? Just cut up some shards of coloured construction paper and lay them in the corner you're thinking about to see how some "darks" look there. It really helps. And yeah, I have a favourite tree - an old-growth cedar. Wish it was on my yard ; )

Judy Wood said...

Check your email--I've sent some options that might make your decision process easier. Or not. :-)

Anonymous said...

leave it,,,,'tadaaaaa' it's beautiful

Nicki said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks! I'm so happy you used the word "slammin'" to describe the trunk!

I have never tried that cut paper trick, but it is very clever. Thanks for passing it along. I'm sure if I had photo shop I could play around with these ideas, but that learnin' is for another time.


Nicki said...

Judy, you rock! Thanks... you must have Photo Shop!


Nicki said...

Chey Anne, nice to hear from you again. I just may leave it. Thanks for weighing in.

By the way, your recent photos are stunning. I love the "story" told by the photos of the horse in the field in front of the mountains.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

I love the painting and can't advise you on how to improve it. The tree is wonderful, and your painting makes it even more so.

Favorite tree? I have many favorite trees. The trees that ring my acre of land in Nova Scotia,
the tree in my front yard in Toronto, the two fruit trees in my backyard here. I love the trees as I walk down the hill in our local park. So I don't have one -- but I do feel the love.

You paint an awesome tree. It's the treeness of tree.

XO Barbara

-Don said...

My favorite tree, besides your beautiful interpretation of your "Old Friend" is any kind of pine tree. I love the smell. I love the bark. I love the pine cones. Not too big a fan of the sap, tho...

I say this piece is done when you say it's done... Personally, I love it as it is, but knowing your work, I'm sure I will love it with any changes you may make.


Hannah Robinson said...

Oh wow. It's GORGEOUS! You are a genius!

I barely have time to paint (and in winter by the time I get home it's dark and I can't paint in artificial light, don't know about you)

...but when I do paint I can only dream of achieving the light and vibrancy you bring to your art! It's beautiful!

Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

You have a ring of trees??? How lucky are you? I've had many favorite trees in my life and my kids have some favorite trees that they love to climb- one is in the park near our home.

I hope you are well and wish I could come to your upcoming show.

XO Nicki

Hi Don,

Mmmm, pine trees. You would love the Boreal forest in the northern part of my province.

Thank you for such kind words about this painting.


Hi Hannah,

Wow! I sincerely appreciate your generous enthusiasm. Genius is a bit of a stretch... but I'll take it! Ha! I may never hear it again! :o)

I'm so glad you took the time to comment. You're right, it is not ideal to paint in artificial light, but with Saskatchewan winters there isn't much option. I have two cheap spotlights in which I put soft, warm light bulbs and that helps.

Take care,

suzanneberry said...

STUNNING nicki!! LOVE it! i think it's perfect as is but when i want to make changes i take the snap of it and open it in photoshop and make changes there. don't remember if we've chatted about this before so if i'm repeating myself, just chalk it up to my failing memory! amazing work, congratulations!

Mikko Tyllinen said...

Wonderful work Nicki! Very beautiful!

Nicki said...

I appreciate that you took a minute to comment Mikko. Thank you!

cohen labelle said...

Hi Nicki

It’s arguable that even the best writer needs an editor – not sure that’s so for visual artists. You have a unique vision, are emotionally involved in a way no one else can be – so for me to offer tweaking advice makes me hesitate. Could your tree be more soaring, more regal, more majestic, transcendent? I’m scratching my head on that one. My answer to my own question on that one is a resounding nope! Totally, absolutely splendid as is!!!

Trees? I’ve had many favorites. Two alas were felled on my parents’ property. One, a glorious weeping willow at the urging of neighbors – I would commune with it while I floated on my back in our backyard pool. The pitiful rationale was that its leaves clogged the drain in the pool and other dubious excuses – and then there was an exquisite gnarled, Japanese Crab whose blossoms were unbelievably magnificent. Again the pool. My dad took the heat for that one and was persona non grata for a long time even after he put a sprawling rose bush in its place. Etc, etc.
xo, Marcia

Nicki said...

Hi Marcia,

I always appreciate your thoughtful and well written comments. Thank you so much for your very kind and generous words. I think I have decided to leave the tree as it is. It feels right and I'm not sure any changes will make me more happy with it.

I love the descriptions of your favorite trees. There is something very tragic about a healthy tree being removed.

All the best to you,

Anonymous said...

i am drawn to light reflecting off surfaces, splashing on things, hypnotising the eye in an unreal moment which sees so real... this tree of yours has these elements... personally i love the play of sunlight on the truck, the leaves above protecting it like an umbrella... but i can't advise because it catches my eye just the way it is.

Nicki said...

Thank you, Rahina, for such a lovely comment. I think I have decided to call this painting finished. I am really pleased with the result and I think it is even better in person. Some of the effects of the light on the left side of the tree are lost in translation, but in person the painting really shows the glow of the late afternoon sun. And the leaves at the bottom are not bothering me anymore.

Take care and I hope you are traveling safely.