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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Collecting Art


I've recently been thinking about the act of collecting art and I am extremely excited to show you my newly acquired pieces. On the left is "Communion" by Don Michael, Jr. and on the right is "Simone" by Barbara Muir. It is hard to express in words just how exciting it is to have pieces of original art by artists I admire. Not only are they unique artists with a clear vision of how they see the world, but they are both sincere, genuine, generous people. When I began my blog a year and a half ago I hoped in some way I would be able to tap into the supportive online blogging community, but I never really imagined that I would end up making friends. I've now met Barbara and, I hate to speak for her, but I think we could have spent hours and hours together. And I'd like to think that someday I'll meet Don, but it is not likely that it will be in Canada during the winter! He he. This all got me thinking about how collecting art can be so personal. There is a certain euphoria that comes with collecting original art. To be up close and personal with the colour choices, brushstrokes, texture and composition of an artist makes me feel like I know him/her in an intimate way; and then owning a piece that is one of a kind, well, a person can't get any of these things at the mall!

I've also been thinking about collecting art because I went to the art auction on Sunday (see previous post)... and was that a haven for collectors, or what!? I had no idea what to expect, but I really wanted to check it out and see all of the work that had been selected. The auction was held in an old historic building on the third floor in a huge open room with big beams, dormers and beautiful natural light. There were two musicians playing, wine and punch being served and a delicious catered spread of appetizers. Mmmm. It was quite a classy affair. My husband and I wandered around the viewing area and I was like a kid in a candy store! I kept gasping and swooning over all of the art by established Saskatchewan artists; some of them are even nationally known. They are all highly collectible. After the heart palpitations from being so close to this art subsided, I began to pay attention to the crowd that was gathering. It became pretty clear that this was a "collecting" crowd. And then I honestly broke into a cold sweat! I couldn't remove my jacket because I was drenched!!! I started to hear a little Muppet/Sesame Street voice singing in my head, "One of these kids just ain't like the others; one of these kids just isn't the same..."! All I could think was why on earth would anyone bid on my work when these are the options??? My nerves couldn't take it! Confidence is not my strong suit, so we cleared out a few minutes before the auction started and headed straight to a lounge to get a drink pour moi!!!  Once I gained some perspective I felt so honoured that the two auction curators took a chance on my work and gave me an opportunity to have my work alongside those artists.

The good news came to me yesterday through the grapevine... the auction was a complete sell-out! Everything went, so that is fantastic for Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon, the non-profit that will benefit from the sales. And now I will save some of my pennies so when they hold the next auction in two years, maybe I will stay and bid on something for my collection!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Auction tomorrow

Top : View From A Clearing
7 x 7"
oil and acrylic on canvas
sold

Bottom : New World Clouds
7 x 7"
oil on canvas
sold

Three of my little paintings have been chosen for a "Curated Auction" of original art taking place in town tomorrow. The two shown above will be auctioned together as a set and then "Haze" will be auctioned on it's own. It is one of the main fundraisers for Sexual Health Saskatoon, so I hope it will be a successful day. A couple of months ago two gentlemen came around to our studio and selected pieces from about five of us to put in the auction. I think in total they gathered work from approximately 25 local artists. Most are very established, but they like to get work from emerging artists as well. I guess that's the category I fall into! This is a long standing auction in town and, I'm told from an artist's perspective, a good one in which to be involved.

 Haze 
10 x 10"
oil on canvas
sold

I think I will attend the viewing time tomorrow- I am curious to see all of the art, but then I think I will bolt when the auction starts! It would be extremely embarrassing if the room was dead quiet when my work comes up! I don't want to stand there listening to crickets! Ha!  

If you live in or near Saskatoon, the viewing of the work is at 3:00 in the Albert Community Centre and the auction starts at 4:00. Bring your wallet... you may get a great deal on an original painting by Degen Lindner, Jane Harington, Jan Corcoran, Miranda Jones or possibly even Greg Hardy!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Day- Finished

Spring Day in Saskatchewan
8 x 8"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011

I spent more time on this today and I think it is finished. My photo could be a bit dark on the right hand side, but this is a fair representation of where it ended up. I like it. I tried to keep the snowflakes random and with slight variation in size. I like it more with the snowflakes than before I put them in, but never-the-less I do have a bit of a fear that they make the painting a bit "cute". I need to sleep on it... and get some feedback from my oh, so wise peanut gallery! ;o)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Day In Saskatchewan

Spring Day In Saskatchewan
(after twenty minutes)
8 x 8"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011 

On Monday I was at the studio working on the large commission when I looked out the window to see the gorgeous Spring day before me. (It might be hard to tell in print, but my words are dripping with sarcasm! It was gray, blustery and cold outside!) I had 45 minutes before I had to pick up the kids from school, so I decided to take a break from the large painting and do a quick study for the Twenty Minute Challenge. I worked quickly and with a limited palette. It's not done, but I was excited about the start I got. It was actually snowing outside, so once the oil has dried a bit I want to try incorporate some snowflakes. I think we have more snow right now than anytime this winter! We recently had a nice stretch of warm, melty days, but that is over and we are back to heavy jackets and snow boots!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Field of Blues

Field of Blues
8 x 8"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold

Not much left to say of this little series except... fourth, final, favorite!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Low Spots

Low Spots
8 x 8"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011 
sold

This is the third in my little series of four prairie scenes and the first of my two favorites! Did that make sense? Painting alla prima is very rewarding and I enjoyed the process very much. As I got to the third and fourth painting I had already become better at planning and as a result didn't make as much mud and didn't have to wipe off little areas so as not to mix colours. As I painted this series The Group of Seven was right at top of my mind. I studied many of their paintings a week and a half ago when I was in Toronto. What really struck me was that their studies, mostly done en plein air, were painted in such a rich, thick and sumptuous manner with globs and curls of paint very visible. So in my prairie paintings I tried to work with a well loaded brush and make purposeful marks without much backtracking.


It is so useful to be able to view and study original art. More and more I am coming to realize that even the best photography, whether shown in a book or online, can really never do justice to the real thing.    

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ribbon

Ribbon
8 x 8"
oil on board 
© Nicki Ault, 2011 
sold

Here is the second of the paintings I did last week from the reference photos I took a year ago in the country. I really enjoyed  the process of painting last week. I hope this is the beginning of a productive stretch. This painting is very similar to the acrylic painting, Out On Valley Road, which I did en plein air last April. This time I used oil, a smaller support and a reference photo in the studio. Again, I am loving the pool of water reflecting the blue sky right there in the middle of the field. My two favorites are still to come...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Unexpected

Unexpected
8x8"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011 
sold

I was at the studio a few times this week and it felt great. I felt energized after my little trip and was ready to tackle an idea I've had in my head since last spring. I took several reference photos about a year ago when I was out plein air painting in the early morning hours on a weekend scrapbooking retreat... you can read about my adventures (or should I say misadventures) here. I used these reference photos for this weeks work. On this particular weekend last year the weather had warmed up and most of the snow had melted leaving lots of water behind in low spots. The reflection of the sky in these small bodies of water was spectacular. I was especially fascinated with this unexpected colour in the fields and grid roads. Vibrant blues were laying where they shouldn't be- within the golden yellows of the cut back crops and within in the dull brown dirt roads. I couldn't drink the scenery in fast enough. As you can see in "Unexpected", I loved how the dirt was so dark brown, almost black, closest to the puddle and then so much lighter further away. 

This is the first of four small paintings I did this week which may end up being studies for larger work. The next few posts will show you more of what I loved on that spring day in 2010.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day- 100 years today!

me with my painting, "In My Aura" at AyrSpace in Ayr, Ont.

Today is the big day, the centenary of International Women's Day. It's a big deal. Several of the women in the aura of my painting lived in a time when women not only did not have the same rights as men, but actually were not quite considered human. Some of the women in this piece lived when women in Canada fought for and finally got the right to vote and to have their voices heard (most provinces by 1919, Quebec not until 1940). Did you know in many countries International Women's Day is a statutory holiday? I just found that out. Although I am fortunate to live in a country where, for the most part, women and men are relatively equal, there are many places in the world where there is much work to be done. Although I could allow myself to become very sad and discouraged that this is the case, today I am choosing to feel hopeful that change can happen and I want to believe that it is never too late.

I painted today, so I will have a new painting to show very soon. Thank you to everyone who has been emailing, phoning and commenting in regards to the yesterday's newspaper story.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm In The News!

Front page headline in today's paper!



The article on the first page of the second section in today's paper!


What an amazing five days I have had! I am so happy to be home to hug my boys and get back to our busy life, but despite missing them I was able to have a wonderful time in Guelph, Ayr and Toronto. Unfortunately my flight was extremely late getting into Saskatoon last night. There were many delays leaving Toronto which put us three hours behind schedule. Ouch! Once in Saskatoon the taxi driver kindly whisked me home and I finally crawled into bed at 2:45 a.m. I'm a tired girl tonight, but I wanted to share the article that appeared in today's Star Phoenix and also I wanted to post a photo from the "Artist's Preview" weekend in Ayr, Ont.


I am so grateful for this International Women Celebrate! experience. Since beginning my blog a year and a half ago I have "met" many wonderful artists through emails and blog comments. I always hoped someday I would have an opportunity to meet some of them. This past weekend in Ayr I finally had that chance and it was fantastic! I have felt a "virtual" connection with these women for a while now, but it was a thrill to meet them in person and discover that it is not imagined or wishful thinking, but actually a real connection! These four women truly are as fabulous as they seem on a computer screen!

I am so sleepy I can hardly see straight, so I must get to bed. I will share more photos and stories very soon, but in the meantime read this post by Barbara Muir. She has eloquently put into words how she felt after this weekend and it just so happens that I feel the same way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One More Sleep!


The time has come! In one more sleep I leave the men in my life behind and fly east for an exciting adventure! I will be landing in Toronto where I will meet my sister. It is very rare we get time together just the two of us, so I am really looking forward to it. On Saturday I will drive to Ayr, Ont. where I will be attending the "Artist's Preview" of International Women Celebrate! My contribution to this collaboration celebrating the centenary of International Women's Day is called "In My Aura". It will be exhibited alongside over 100 other original artworks by women from around the world. I am beyond excited! I will meet artists Barbara Muir, Kim Rempel, Marcia Cohen Labelle and Tammy Hext! And I am sure I will leave knowing many more than that! I will take lots of photos and share some when I get back. I am especially excited to see Suzanne Berry's painting in person; you can see it on her blog post from January 7th. And Pam Holnback's; see her painting on her January 31st blog post. The official opening gala is taking place on the anniversary date which is Tuesday, March 8. I'll be back home by then, but I will be anxious to hear all about it. Apparently it has been confirmed that the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Sheila Copps, will be speaking at the gala. The show will continue through to April 10 and is also a fundraiser for charities serving women and children in Haiti.

I am so happy to be part of this. I am so happy I didn't chicken out!

Stay tuned for an update early next week.