New Representation: my art is now available at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina! They are located at 2266 Smith Street, a vibrant, bustling part of town.

July - October, 2017: A small selection of my work,
courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus).

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon. As well, some of my large oil paintings are now available in this beautiful local gallery.

November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Survivor

Survivor
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

I will be doing some small pieces over the next few weeks so that I can display a full board for the open studio which, by the way, I guess I mentioned on my Facebook Fan Page, but not here. We have set the date for the Open Studio and it will be on Sunday, November 27 from 11-5, so mark your calendars if you live near or in Saskatoon.

I am calling this piece "Survivor" for a few reasons. This particular painting has a stormy feel to it and the prairies have been known to survive some incredible weather. Taking that notion further, I discovered on my son's Grade Two field trip to the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands, that this area has been through and survived three Ice Ages! Who knew?!

~~~~~***~~~~~

As an aside, I have a cute story for you... one that my dad is still laughing about. When the interpreter was telling the children about the area, she said that when the road to Silverspring neighborhood was built between the buffer zone (piece of land that leads to the river) and the grassland area that they discovered a Saber Tooth Tiger skull and a Wooly Mammoth tusk! These treasures are now on display at the University of Saskatchewan. She then said the bit about how the area has been through three ice ages. My son threw up his hand and exclaimed, "And I've seen them all!!!" He he. She stammered for a second until she realized he was talking about the movies. I love kids.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Feelin' Sketchy

 20 minute study  

               20 minute study             


It finally happened! I went to a live model drawing session! An artist I met at the drawing class this summer (at Emma Lake) met me for coffee then we went together. He had been before and was gracious enough to offer to meet me when I was ready to go for the first time. Today was the day! Yippee! Of course I was rusty, but I really enjoyed it and plan to mark it on the calendar semi-regularly. If I can make this happen then I expect I will get better and better. It's bound to happen, right? This is a sampling of what I did today. Not sure the proportions are right, but it just felt good to knock the cobwebs off my pencils and make marks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five Kinds of Trouble

 Memories of Spruce River
24 x 24"
(work in progress)
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

I began this painting on site when I went to Waskesiu Lake in mid- September. I drove to one of my favorite places, Spruce River, and painted for the day. I began this canvas late afternoon just before I headed back to the cabin. I was able to get some initial impressions and colours down for an abstract reflection and now I am continuing with it at the studio. Above are some progress shots of the beginning stages. I'll post it's current state on the weekend.

~~~~~~~***~~~~~~

I didn't intend on taking a small blog-cation, but it has been awhile since my last appearance so I guess I did. It happens from time to time. There have been five kinds of trouble at the root of my absence:

1) Inspiration trouble. I am not thrilled with what I have been painting, nor my execution of what I have been painting. I'm a bit bored and a bit restless.

2) Sleep trouble. My son has been waking up in the night a lot lately and therefore mama is tired. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is no wonder that sleep deprivation is used as torture. Everything is harder when I am exhausted.

3) System trouble. We have had the most glorious, sunny, blue-sky days this fall. Absolutely spectacular. That's good right? Yes. And no. I photograph my work outside on overcast days. Hands down that has always given me the best result. I don't like posting finished work unless the image quality is there, so I'm in a jam right now. Mind you, I haven't got much I am proud of these days, so I really only need to take a photo of one painting!

4) Costume trouble. Halloween gets me every year. I have been on a mad search for the costume my son wants, so on the rare occasion that I have actually had energy, I have not been in the studio but rather searching for the impossible. It is nowhere in town. Of course I can find it online, but only in the U.S. My online search for the costume in Canada came up with zip. Eventually I did a more specific search in Toronto and, SCORE!, they had the main piece. Of course they didn't have all the parts for the costume. After some tears (his, not mine), we decided that we would make-do with a substitute accessory... of course that means mommy has been hittin' the streets again to try to find a suitable alternative.

5) Health troubles. Nothing major, just stuff. I'm trying to get to the bottom of it: fatigue, mood, insomnia, nausea. Things could be worse, so I hate to complain.


There you have it. I'm sorry my posts have been sporadic. I appreciate all those who are following my journey and who take the time to check in on me. I'll get back on track and I hope you will stick around to see what I come up with!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Well Hello Old Friend

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

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?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Waskesiu Sky in a Showcase

Waskesiu Sky
10 x 10"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

I showed you this piece earlier this year, but I am posting it again because today I delivered it to the Mendel Art Gallery for their annual Member's Showcase. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that this is my first year as a member, but better late than never. Members were allowed to submit up to two pieces, so I also took "Protected Prairie". I am planning to attend the opening reception on Friday night and if you are in Saskatoon you should too! It is from 7-9 p.m. at the Mendel and I'm sure there will be a wide variety of work to view... and purchase, of course. A commission from the sales will go towards acquisitions for the gallery's permanent collection.


I'm quite happy with the framing I had done for "Waskesiu Sky". It was a small fortune, but I really wanted to try something different to help make this piece stand out. (The photo of the framing is way off in colour, but you get the idea). The "matte" has a beveled edge and is housed in a white box; both are painted a crisp, fresh white. The canvas is set inside and is floating on a recessed board painted dark charcoal. I think it looks really clean and modern.

Update: I promise to show you "Old Friend" very soon. I just received a helpful critique from Carol Wylie, who is a new member of the studio where I paint. I tweaked it yesterday and when I looked at it today, I felt that, in fact, it just may be finished. I am hoping for an overcast sky tomorrow so I can take a good photo. Today was as clear as clear can be, so it didn't happen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Friend- More Progress

Old Friend
(in progress)
24 x 36"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

We're gettin' there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Old Friend- Tree in Progress

 Old Friend  
(in progress)
 24 x 36"
acrylic on canvas

I began a painting last Friday and continued working on it today. I have been wanting to tackle another tree from a low perspective looking up. I tried it in "Autumn Dance" and it was never what I wanted it to be- in fact it is now facing the wall at the studio. It could have been the square format on that piece that really threw me off. At any rate I am trying it on a rectangular canvas and it feels much better... plus this time I am painting a Birch tree... and using acrylics.

When I was at Waskesiu Lake with my family on the Labour Day long weekend, I went for an evening walk with the purpose of taking resource photos to use this winter. As I wandered along a trail behind the Nature Centre I was looking up at all of the gorgeous Birches. I glanced at this beautiful tree to my right and without as much as a nano-second of hesitation I thought, "Well, hello old friend!" As I stared at the tree wondering why it seemed so familiar, I realized it was the same tree I painted in "Looking Up" two years ago! I had long forgotten where that tree was, but the instant I saw it again I knew we had "met" before.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wolf Willow

Wolf Willow #2
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

sold

Here is a little prairie painting I haven't shown you yet. I did it just before the show at Agar's and it is a scene from the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands. Next week I am going there on a field trip with Tommy's class and I am on a mission to find out about these burnt orange/red bushes.

As a side note, my sister sent me a link to one of the most wonderful stories I have heard in a while. It involves fascinating and imaginative paper sculptures, random acts of kindness and an intriguing mystery. Here is the link...

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Silverspring Grasslands at Auction

Silverspring Grasslands
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  
sold

I am going to type this very quietly; let's just say I have a bit of a headache today. The following story will explain.

At the end of August I received a letter from the Director of the Kenderdine Campus inviting me to submit two paintings for the first annual "Artist and Athlete Invitational Art Auction". The money raised from the auction would be split between the U of S Huskies and the Kenderdine Campus and because it was "artist friendly" the artist would be able to keep a percentage of the sale. I was thrilled to be asked because they were trying to assemble a group of high profile, well known artists (Darrell Bell, Terry Fenton, Nancy Lowry, Degen Lindner, Grant McConnell, Lorenzo Dupuis, Greg Hardy) as well as bring in a few newer names, so clearly I was thrilled to be associated with these accomplished people. I was also really excited to be able to potentially help raise some money for my beloved Campus. I donated the above painting as well as one of my recent favorites, "Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow".

 Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  
sold

The auction was last night and they wanted the artists to be in attendance if possible so I made plans to go with a girlfriend, who is a huge supporter of my work. We had so much fun and I had just a smidge too much white wine. Ouch. The event was held at the new Huskie clubhouse which is a fantastic facility at Potash Corp Park (AKA Griffith Stadium). I was really impressed with the whole thing and the best part was the Huskie football players helped with the event. Two were at the gates directing guests to the clubhouse, three were at the building entrance welcoming us and taking info for bidding cards, a couple of football players were giving tours of the locker room, and best of all there were players by the paintings in the viewing area providing guests with information on the artists. The auction itself took place upstairs in a beautiful room overlooking the field which they had fully lit to great effect. Way too much fun.

Here is what was not fun... my piece "Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow" was first up to bid! Ack! Not a good position because there was no energy and excitement established at that very early stage, nor was there any precedent set for where bids were going. As soon as they began introducing my piece I left my date and bolted. I went and sat down the hall in the stairwell. I could hear things get underway, and I could hear the bids begin, but unfortunately I could also hear that they didn't meet the reserve I had set. My painting was whisked away (I saw it go by) and the auction continued. The next few pieces began to go (I could hear the claps), then another didn't meet the reserve, and then more went and then # 11 (out of 29 paintings) came up for bid which was my painting "Silverspring Grasslands". I drank my wine and held my breath... bidding went better on this one and then I heard clapping! Sigh of relief... it was sold! Whew! I gathered my nerves and quickly went in to join my friend in the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed the auction and watching the process. It was really exciting and some of the pieces brought in great numbers. With about 4 paintings left before the auction was done I got a tap on the shoulder from one of the organizers. He wanted to know if I would be okay if they brought my painting back to try again right before the very last piece. I whispered "Yeah, just do it!" I was feeling quite warm and fuzzy at this point, not much of a care in the world you might say, so I stayed put and braced myself against my friend crossing my fingers that we would not hear crickets! Well, the bidding price began where it left off and it was quickly met. Soon the bids increased to reach my reserve, then they kept going... and going... and going! It was soooo thrilling. When the bidding was finally over and the painting was sold I let out a big "Woohoooooo!" People were laughing and clapping! It was crazy! I sincerely hope my enthusiastic outburst was seen for what it was, relief and excitement. I really hope it was not perceived as obnoxious and rude; my friend assured me on the way home that it was cute and that it put a big smile on many faces. I really hope they invite me back again next year.

My journey continues and let me tell you, there is never a dull moment. And I am grateful for that.