Sunday, May 14 - Mother's Day Tea Show and Sale: taking place at Studio On 20th from 12-4p.m. Our studio will be open to the public on this afternoon to exhibit the most current work by artists Bridget Aitken, Nicki Ault, Kathy Bradshaw, Jan Corcoran, Ann Donald, Jane Harington, Miranda Jones, Brenda Kennedy, Karen Maguire, Amira Wasfy and Carol Wylie. We are located at 236A 20th Street Between Aves. B and C (door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant).

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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Title Suggestions Needed

Low Storm II
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold 

About 3 years ago I did a little 7 x 7" acrylic painting called "Low Storm" with a similar theme. Unfortunately I had never taken a photo of it and it ended up selling at an art show I had in 2008. It would be interesting to compare them... I remember the first one had little jolts of Cad. Red peaking through in the green horizon line. Anyway, this is where I am at now- using oils, trying to create a soft smudgy effect while still trying to be expressive and show my love of the power of Mother Nature. This sky fascinated me this summer at Waskesiu Lake. A brooding, intense, dark storm crept along close to the horizon while up above there were beautiful, towering, puffy clouds going about their business as if unaware of the evil beneath.

The title I gave this one is kind of lame... does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

All Things Considered

All Things Considered
28 x 22"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

You've heard me talk about my love/hate painting... well, this is it. It has been through quite the range of changes. It started out as a plain air painting, but by the end there was a whole lot more time spent in the studio than spent outdoors. If I knew at the beginning how much it was going to change I would have taken more photos along the way. The final change happened two days before the Open Studio when I found myself in about the third hate cycle of it's creation. (These were interspersed with about the same number of love stages as well as some indifferent stages). Here is what the painting looked like before the final change that you see above...


After getting feedback from Miranda (another artist in the studio) it was decided that the sky was not working with the rest of the painting. I was frustrated and feeling completely "over" it, yet I was still not prepared to cash in my chips. After a little self-imposed timeout I regrouped, grabbed my brushes, turned up the music and said, "What if..." (...well that's the polite version). Basically I didn't like it anyway so what if I churned up the sky with some stormy purples and blues, what if I left the brush marks looking rough and energetic, what if I made larger areas of colour in the foreground? 

All things considered, I am really happy with the end result. The emotional roller-coaster that was the making of this painting left me a little wobbly and weak-kneed, but valuable lessons were learned. Perhaps most importantly I finally remembered to ask myself one of the best questions to spur on creative work...

"What if...?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Magnificent Storm- a better photo!

 Magnificent Storm
24 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold  

I am astounded! Ha! Well, that might be a smidge dramatic, but look at these two photos. The photo below is the one I posted yesterday, but I didn't feel it was showing the range of colours in the sky. And then after I read my friend Don's comment from yesterday's post I wondered if I wasn't doing justice with the picture I posted.  Don mentioned an initial concern about the green water and I realized the sky wasn't showing the range of colours, although subtle, that helped tie the water in. I took the above photo today just to see if I could get a better result. Wow! Today's photo is much better and way more accurate. Both photos were taken this week on days that were overcast, so why the huge variation? Well, my best guess is that the time of day made the difference. The below photo (much more blue overall) was taken around 10:00 in the morning. Today's picture was taken at about 1:30 in the afternoon.


These days in Saskatchewan it is still dark at 8:30 a.m. and it begins to get dark again around 5:00 p.m. We are approaching the shortest day of the year for sunlight hours and so all of this makes sense. The early afternoon is about as bright as the day gets and is probably the "warmest" light of the day; right now almost all other times of the day have a cooler light. Humph! I love learnin'! And Don, thanks for making me think!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Magnificent Storm

Magnificent Storm
24 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
sold

I am excited about doing some large skies and I today I have one to show you. "Magnificent Storm" is based on one of my smaller paintings called "Little Big Sky". I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and I'm ready to tackle another, but I need to get more cradled panels. I really like how this softer, more blended technique works on the hard, wood surface.

The photo I used came from a series I took one day this past summer in Waskesiu when my family went to a camp kitchen to roast wieners and marshmallows. We started out at a camp kitchen close to the beach, but the wind was strong and cold coming off the lake so we moved to one on the far side of the park. I was completely mesmerized by the sky and had to keep running down to the beach to get photos as it changed. The lake was a wild green colour with white caps curling here and there... and was it loud!

My two little loves...

...and a bench with a view... 
 the rain is really coming down now!

Stay tuned for more storms and spectacular weather right here in the safety of your monitor (or smart phone... or iPad...)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

chalk and charcoal drawing

I went to the drop-in drawing session this morning and I'm not thrilled with my results, so I also found an old drawing from about ten years ago to show you. Obviously I didn't have time to finish it, but I think it looks cool anyway.

Here are two sketches from this morning. I'm not sure why, but everything I drew today was small and not placed well on the page. I am also finding myself a bit frustrated because the lighting is very bright (no spot-lights) which means I really have to search hard for contrast. It is especially difficult when the view or angle of the pose is like what I had today...

 10 minute pencil sketch

...it's hard to make it interesting. And this one was no better...

25 minute pencil sketch

Oh well, as I have said before and I'm sure I will say again, they can't all be winners!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Allow Me To Introduce You...

 
St. George Studio Artists' Group


I've been meaning to upload a photo to introduce you to the other artists that work in the same studio as me. This photo was taken on Nov. 27 after the Open Studio and unfortunately three had already left. They are a diverse and wonderful group of artists and I feel so fortunate to be among them... I'm like a sponge trying to learn as much as I can from their wealth of experience and knowledge. My being part of the studio is a much better deal for me than it is for them!

Going clockwise from the only dude in the group, they are:

Peter Mac Mahon- sculptor
Jane Harington- painter (website)
Miranda Jones- painter, metal worker (gallery, gallery)
Jan Corcoran- painter (website, gallery)
Moi- painter
Bridget Aitken- painter, sculptor
Gale Hagblom- painter (website)

Not in photo: Degen Lindner- painter (gallery), Carol Wylie- painter (website), Amira Wasfy- painter

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sunset Swamp

Sunset Swamp
18 x 24"
acrylic and oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold   


This past summer, after visiting a friend in Emma Lake, I came upon the most beautiful sight on the drive back to Waskesiu. It was a water-logged area, in part because of the work of some beavers and in part because of the unprecedented amount of rainfall the lake country had this season. The early evening light was absolutely magnificent causing the grasses to glow (you guessed it) the most beautiful chartreuse. The water was calm and the reflection was something out of a fairy tale. Many, many Spruce trees in the Boreal forest are dead because of an infestation of Spruce Beetles. These dead trees almost look burnt- they are a very unhealthy golden brown, but in this light they looked beautiful. "Sunset Swamp" is one of several paintings I would like to do from the photos I took that evening.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deer Bed at the Grasslands

Deer Bed at the Grasslands
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold  

In October when I went with the Grade Two class on the field trip to the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands I received quite an education. Among the things I learned was how to spot clues of wildlife in the area. Sure enough we came upon a relatively large area where the grass was packed down; not in an interesting crop circle kind of way, but more in a random free-form sort of way. This is a deer bed! Deers took a load off and chilled here! That thought made me happy, so I painted it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

 10 minute contour 

 2 minute gestures

 2 minute gestures

 10 minute sketch

25 minute sketch

Happily I made it to the drop-in drawing session again today. I am enjoying the result of the contour drawing! Her right arm looks like it is only a bone and her left arm looks like it has no bone in it at all!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Incoming

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


I have really enjoyed painting these soft, stormy skies. I've got a 24 x 24" cradled panel all gessoed and ready to go. I am planning to paint a larger version and can hardly wait to get started, however, I am planning to wait until I have a good stretch of time because I know when I start I won't want to stop. Plus I will need to work while the paint is wet so I can blend and smudge. Fun!