July and August 2017: A small selection of my work, courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus) throughout the summer months.

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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

All A-Glow

All A-Glow
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery 
sold


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Finale, Waskesiu

Finale, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
 oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I was hit by the stomach flu late in the night on Christmas. I was thankful it waited until then to come (if it had to come at all) so that I was able to enjoy the earlier celebrations with my family, but the ensuing two and a half days were so very not enjoyable. The thing about being sick is that once you come out the other end and feel better, life seems a little brighter, a little clearer and perhaps a bit more do-able!

Anyway, I almost forgot to show the other two paintings I took to Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery on December 23. This one, "Finale", is cousin to "Glory Be" who I recently heard is moving to England! I'll show you the other in my next post... and I was at the studio painting last night so I have four more to show once I get decent photos.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Through The Fog

 Through The Fog
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery



May there be peace on earth.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rolling In

Rolling In
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

This afternoon I took a Christmas card to Darrell Bell and his staff only to discover they had sold another four paintings which meant, again, they had no extras on hand. What a great surprise! I am so appreciative of their efforts and enthusiasm and I am so thrilled with the feature location they have given my work in the store. It is all very exciting and somewhat unbelievable!

I was a bit better prepared this time and had more work waiting on the sidelines. Since I am a bit of a keener, I went back a little later to drop off the newest paintings and I was happy to take my sister (who is in town for the holidays) with me so I could show her the store. She is one of my biggest supporters and always believes I can do things even when I don't. I'm not sure what I would do without her. Glad

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meewasin Tapestry

Meewasin Tapestry
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

One of my favorite paintings of the year was "Morning Light on Meewasin: View From The Broadway Bridge" which I created for the Artist and Athlete Invitational Art Auction. It was a fun event raising money for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus (click on the link above to read more and you can read more here as well). After that I decided to do three smaller studies with a similar Meewasin theme, two of which I have already shown you. This is the third and is actually based on the large canvas I did for the auction. In essence the 36 x 36" was a study for the 8 x 8"!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trails and Beds- Deer Were Here

Trails and Beds: Deer Were Here
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I'm not sure I will ever get tired of the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands. I just realized I have no wintery shots of the place, so there is an entire untapped season to paint. I think I need to grab a coffee and head out for a photo shoot on the next mild December day, but this does raise a question: Do you find winter paintings appealing?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Coming or Going?

Coming or Going?
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I love the colours, shapes, brushstrokes and spontaneous feel of this one.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Veil - The Bessborough

Veil - The Bessborough
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

So far in my time as a painter I have had very little interest in subjects that include man-made objects. I am more interested in nature and wild spaces, but who knows, that may change. I certainly appreciate other artists that paint everyday scenes of life in the city... specifically Edward B. Gordon.

Earlier this year, after I took my kids to school in the morning, I was compelled to travel around the riverbank and take photos of the foggy morning. It was so pretty! There was this soft, low veil over the city. I realized that I was quite intrigued by this diffused light caused by the fog and suddenly the strong lines of buildings, bridges and other man-made things seemed more appealing. This painting is of the riverbank and the Delta Bessborough Hotel in downtown Saskatoon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Take Shelter

Take Shelter, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meewasin Meets the South Saskatchewan

Meewasin Meets the South Saskatchewan
 8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

This is my first Meewasin painting that actually incorporates the river. I think the colour is off in this photo, but you get the idea. It's already been delivered to Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery so I can't re-take the picture.

Whew!!! As of about 4:30 today when the group show "Abstracts & Beyond" was dismantled, all of my obligations for 2012 are complete. This past year included: 3 art show and sales, 3 solo shows, 3 auctions, 2 studio open houses, 2 juried shows, 2 large group shows and the show I did with my Dad. I am tired... but oh so happy! Now it is time for me to set up my new studio space (which is currently a disaster) and play! That is my main goal for 2013...  to play and experiment. I also want to make mistakes (with the hopes of learning something valuable), take a class or two, get back to drawing, plan some plein air painting excursions, try new things and, here is a big one,... avoid worrying about outcomes (unless I'm working on something for Lifestyles).

Thanks for sticking with me through a busy and productive year. My posts for the next few weeks may be brief as I get ready for the holidays and spend time with my family and friends. 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blue Spruce on Meewasin

Blue Spruce on Meewasin
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

This was the study on which my recent painting "Morning on the Trail: Meewasin" was based.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Glory Be, Waskesiu

Glory Be, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
©Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Often people ask which is my favorite painting. Usually this happens at the Open Studio, an art reception or where I have my "30 daily paintings" on display. It's a hard question to answer- I like all of the paintings that I "put out there" or I wouldn't put them out there (and trust me, there are many that don't see the light of day). But right now if someone said to me "which is your favorite painting?"-  here is my answer, without any hesitation.....

"Glory Be, Waskesiu"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Floating Away and Another Tree Down

Floating Away
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold


Another Tree Down
8 x 8"
acrylic and oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Things are really busy right now, well, actually it's been like that all year. I am doing final preparations for the group show, Abstractions & Beyond, which starts on Friday... including trying to drum up a bit of media coverage for the Kenderdine Campus which is where the group met this past summer, and I am madly painting for Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery. They ended up using all nine of the paintings I initially took to the store; they used all of them to make a 3 x 3 grid on a feature wall. Luckily I had already painted four extras after that initial batch because in the four days they have been open they have already sold four! Obviously this is awesome, but I have no back-ups. They need more to replenish the grid if/when others sell. Yikes! I have been up until 1:00 the last three nights painting and now have four more to deliver. I thought I was way ahead, but I feel very behind! I may have to pull out the acrylics because even with walnut alkyd the oils aren't drying fast enough.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Buffer Zone

The Buffer Zone- Looking North to the South Saskatchewan
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

The "buffer zone" is the strip of land between the river and the Natural Grasslands in the Silverspring neighborhood of Saskatoon. This undeveloped area allows animals a path to travel to and from the water... because when deer are chillin' in the Grasslands they get a bit parched now and again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Power Over The Prairies

Power Over The Prairies
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I love the colour palette of this one. I always feel proud when Degen Lindner likes my paintings and when she saw this at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus this summer, she really liked it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last Evening, Emma Lake

Last Evening, Emma Lake
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

It is going to be difficult to write this without crying. If this blog entry was written on paper you can be sure there would be tear stains all over it.

As I was looking in my file to decide which of my 8 x 8" paintings to show you today, I saw this one... and then I looked at the title, "Last Evening, Emma Lake". I got chills and now I feel sick. I painted this on August 17th, the last evening of the week-long class I took on Abstract Expressionism this past summer at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. And now the title "Last Evening, Emma Lake" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Will this honestly be the last painting I ever paint at this campus? Will that actually have been the last evening I ever spend there? Ever again? Honestly, I can hardly stand the thought, but with the November 15th announcement by the University of Saskatchewan to close the campus for three years and review its future, it just may be. And if I knew at the time it might be my last evening, what would I have done differently? Thankfully, as I look back, I am not sure there is anything I would change.

The final day had been a good one- finishing up projects in the studio and then the two classes, painting and sculpture, took tours of each others' spaces. What inspiration! The two groups got along famously; twenty-one people had come together to learn, grow, share, inspire and encourage. And it didn't stop there. The two instructors, Alicia Popoff (abstract painting) and Les Potter (sculpture), offered so much knowledge, insight and support the entire week, and then during the tour they were like proud parents! They honestly wanted to brag about each one of their students work; their enthusiasm was genuine and touching. 

That evening was the weekly Friday Fish Fry where the kitchen offered an open invitation to the lake community to come to the campus for a delicious supper at a great price. This was one of the succsessful and creative initiatives established by the Director to bring some revenue to the campus. It was busy and wonderful to see members of the wider community enjoy and appreciate the historic Kenderdine Campus. But I digress. My new friends and I had a lovely, fishy supper together and afterwards I decided to grab my paint box and head to the beach to do one more plein air painting. I joined some others around the unlit fire-pit and settled in an Adirondack chair to paint a view of the Point. This is perhaps the most painted spot in all of Saskatchewan- the tip of Fairy Island that can be seen from the campus. As I painted we chatted, some read, others sat quietly and listened to the fish jump... and we all watched the sky dramatically change as the sun set. It was perfect- except for the fact that I knocked my camera lens-down off the arm of my chair into the sand. But again, I digress. 

Eventually the sun went behind the island and the air got cooler. We dispersed to clean-up, re-group and find warmer clothes. It didn't take long before people began wandering back down to the beach and this time a fire was lit- a spectacular, crackling glow in the dark, northern night. Picture this: twenty-one friends (not just students anymore) sharing benches and chairs, laughing, chatting, watching the fire... some wandering down to the dock to lay on their backs and observe the stars and satellites travel the night sky. Each-and-every-one-of-them gloriously exhausted, yet completely rejuvenated and inspired. The next day these people would go back to their "real worlds" as lawyers, teachers, stay-at-home-moms, graphic designers, city planners, artists and counselors to name a few. And when you think about it, the spin-off from this experience is huge. Immeasurable, really. It is not just the twenty-one students that reap the rewards of their week at the Kenderdine Campus, but their families and workplaces do as well, for they are getting back a person who is filled up. A person who is excited, happy and can envision possibilities. In a world that is moving so quickly, that is so focused on money, technology and the next-best-thing, what a powerful gift to offer your population... the gift of a quiet, accessible place where spirits and imaginations can grow and be nurtured.

And now it might be gone.

You or someone you love might never have a chance to experience this place. Or a stranger. Does it matter? I might not know you, but I wish you could experience this place.

I wouldn't change that night, but I would like the opportunity to have another.

But that might have been our last evening at Emma.

Ever.


Please sign and share the petition: Stop the closure of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus




Saturday, December 1, 2012

There is Light Beyond The Darkness

There is Light Beyond The Darkness
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
©Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I just got home from the beautiful new store that opened today... Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery in the Canada Building (21st Street E.) in Saskatoon. I have been so excited to see it that I decided to fight the traffic and take them a box of delicious Harden & Huyse chocolates to say congratulations on their opening. It is a stunning space. Gorgeous, really, and I am so proud to have my 8 x 8" paintings on their wall. My paintings had a great location- a little wall to themselves and they looked awesome displayed in a three by three grid. And guess what? "Wild and Free" sold while I was there! I'm delivering four more paintings to them tomorrow, so they can refill the grid and have extra on hand.

As an aside, back in university I actually worked at Harden & Huyse! I packed chocolates and handled orders that came in for their wholesale business. I also worked the front store area and sold chocolate. We were allowed to eat as much of the damaged chocolates as we wanted and I remember one slow Saturday when a friend dropped by - he started laughing as soon as he saw me... it turned out I had chocolate truffle dust all over my lips! A bit embarrassing. That was my job while I worked on my university degree. It was a good gig! It was and still is a family-run business and they make the best Belgian chocolates ever! The factory is in Saskatoon, but most of the family now lives out east. I became good friends with one of the sons who is still involved in the business and it turns out he and Darrell Bell are good friends! It is a small world after-all.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sunset Outside The Grey Owl Howl, Waskesiu

Sunset Outside The Grey Owl Howl, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery will be open in two days! Of the nine paintings they have of mine, this is one of my personal favorites. I like how it turned out, but also attached to it is a really nice memory. The Grey Owl Howl is a family dance that takes place at the Community Hall in Waskesiu every August long-weekend and this past summer my cousin and her family were there. My kids adore hers, who are younger, and it was fun to see them together. It had been a beautiful day at the beach and the evening was so calm and pretty, but still warm... extra warm in the dance hall! We stepped outside to cool down and we were greeted by this glorious sunset that was sparkling between the pine trees. So inspiring. It begged to be be a painting, and so it is!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Abstractions and Beyond - A Group Show


Here is an invitation to my last show of the year. I am very excited about it - I can hardly wait to hang out with these people again! We met this past August while some were taking an abstract class instructed by Alicia Popoff at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus and, at the same time, others were taking a welding class with her husband, Les Potter. It was an extraordinary week! The two groups got along famously- much laughter, moments of connection, sharing of ideas and new-found friendships developed. When the last day arrived we didn't want it to end... so we decided to plan a show. We have rented The Mix Gallery for the weekend of Dec. 7-9 and each student will submit about three pieces of art created during that week in August 2012 at the Kenderdine Campus (or work created immediately after and inspired by that time). Some of the artists have experienced the planning and execution of an exhibition before, and others haven't. In this way it is a great opportunity for learning and teaching- a true extension of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus and the energy it has cultivated every season for almost eighty-five years. Until now. Sadly, this could be the last show of student work to come out of the Kenderdine Campus. Ever.

Circle the date on your calendar if you will be in Saskatoon- it is sure to be a lot of fun. It will be an eclectic mix of abstract paintings and unique metalwork. Most of the artists will be in attendance on Friday evening between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., so please come and say hello!

Note: during the artists' reception on Friday there will be a short program featuring songs by Rhonda Gallant-Morari who is a friend of one of the artists.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wild and Free

Wild and Free
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I have confirmation that the new art, craft and design gift store that will be carrying my 8 x 8" original paintings will open their doors on December 1st! I'm very excited to see the renovations- in it's previous life it used to be a shoe store. The Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery store manager told me that she believes it might now be the most beautiful store in Saskatoon! Exciting! When I delivered my paintings to them "Wild and Free" was her favorite, so I am showing you that piece today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tired and Happy


Well, I am very, very tired, but very, very content. The Open Studio was a huge success in so many ways! It was busy right from the start, people enjoyed the art and conversation, food and drink was consumed and some paintings found new homes. I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces and meet some people with whom I have had email and Facebook contact. I want to say a special thank you to a few friends that have been going through some difficult times, but still came out to offer support. Life can be cruel and it is hard to see those you care about struggle, but a little art therapy is often a good short-term remedy!


Here are some photos of my space as it looked just before we opened the doors to the public. The space right beside mine came available earlier this month and I am 95% certain I will move out of the "entrance" to this more private location. I have been happy in my "doorway"; I am attached to it, but this could be a good change. I am somewhat hesitant because the building where our studio is located is for sale. We really don't know what will happen when it is purchased - we may be asked to leave, we may be asked to stay, but the rent could go up, or it could stay as is.


I think I will live on the edge and take my chances. If I relocate and then we are asked to leave in a month well, so be it.




Above you can see the space beyond mine where I will move. For the Open Studio we used it as a gallery space (we each put in one piece of art) and as a place to house the refreshments. I don't know which artist thought up the idea, but it was a good one.

I'm ready for a good sleep!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Patchwork of Raw Emotion

Patchwork of Raw Emotion
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

It never fails that as the Open Studio approaches the desire to rework old paintings escalates; I tweaked three paintings this week. Well, two paintings got tweaked and one got overhauled!

I originally painted "Raw Emotion", which is based on a little 6x6" study called "Patchwork Prairie", one year ago when a lot of things were going on in my world. I clearly remember that day- I was at the studio alone, I had my music turned up and I was really attacking the canvas. I do believe there were tears involved in that session and a friend was sending some supportive texts my way. Hey, sometimes that's how it goes. Anyway, I liked the result, but didn't love it - it seemed unfinished. It has always bothered me until the other day when I decided to rework it. My emotions conveniently happened to be running a little high this week what with the closure of the Kenderdine Campus and all. At least I was able to continue in the same frame of mind. Thank goodness for small blessings!

Here is what it looked like before:

Raw Emotion
24 x 24"
© Nicki Ault, 2011

And this is the study:

Patchwork Prairie
6x6"
© Nicki Ault, 2011

I'm happy with the reworked version which, as you can see, I have now named "Patchwork of Raw Emotions". I feel good about it hanging on my studio wall for the Open House tomorrow.

Speaking of which, if you are in Saskatoon please drop by the St. George Open Studio if you have time. I'll be there smiling my way through wearing contacts and high heels! It is between 11 and 5 and the invitation can be found in the top right corner of this blog. And remember, the entrance is in the alley.

And if you haven't had a chance to consider signing the petition to stop the closure of the historic Kenderdine Campus in the Boreal forest of Saskatchewan, well, I'd love it if you took the time to consider it now. Here is the link:

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Big Announcement- Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

Breakwater and Wet Sand, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Well, the time has come! It has been hard to keep a tight lip for the last five months, but I am finally able to announce my big news.

Late last June I was approached by a well known artist and gallery owner, Darrell Bell, and his new store manager in regards to my small paintings. At the meeting I heard about their very exciting plans to open a new art boutique on one of the main shopping streets in Saskatoon (21st Street East, one block from Midtown Plaza). They were in the process of hand-picking the artists and crafts-people that would supply their beautiful, new store with unique home accessories and art pieces. They wanted me! What? I'm still in a bit of shock! 

I will be painting prairie and Saskatchewan related original landscapes in an 8 x 8" format exclusively for their store. They will not be available anywhere else, not even from me. I painted nine pieces over the summer so they could choose their favorite four or five to start out with and guess what? They kept all nine! I'm not sure my feet touched the ground when I left that meeting. I chose the above painting as the first one to show you because it was Darrell Bell's favorite of the nine.

The store opening has been delayed, so therefore the announcement was too, but the doors will be open on Dec.1... just in time for the busy three weeks before Christmas!

Although I still struggle to think of myself as a "real" artist (in fact I just had a bad dream about the very thing!), I am getting there. This new development has provided such validation. I wish I didn't need or desire validation outside of myself, but the fact is, I guess I do. And I don't think I am alone. I am so excited about this new venture and I hope to support the success of their store through my blog and Facebook page. Stay tuned for more 8 x 8" paintings available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Morning On The Trail

Morning On The Trail: Meewasin
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

I have been so side-tracked by the announcement of the closure of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus that I have thought of little else. Thank you so much to all of my friends, both cyber and otherwise that have taken a bit of time to learn about this magical place and then sign the petition. I have recognized so many names and truly appreciate the thoughtful comments that have been left in support. An artist, Joanne Bolen, who I met at Kenderdine Campus began the petition last Thursday evening after the news broke and I am so grateful she did. As I sat at my computer on Friday morning feeling utterly helpless I saw a message on my Facebook page from her saying she started the petition. I was so excited because I had something on which I could take action. It is horrible to feel helpless and so out of control where something you love is in danger. Anyway, here is the link to the petition once again:


I will write more about it in the near future, but I must refocus and get ready for the Open Studio that is in, ACK, four sleeps!

I finished this painting the other day. A helpful critique from a friend confirmed that I needed to settle down the bright colours in the top third of the painting because they were bringing the whole thing forward too much. Hopefully I calmed it down enough. I am loving the Meewasin subject and see more in the future- I'm not tired of it yet. I've had interest in this painting already just through the progress shots, so we will see.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Saskatchewan Arts Community Needs Your Help.

Augustus Kenderdine's original cabin
still standing at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, Saskatchewan,
 almost 100 years later

I am not sure I have ever been more happy to have a blog in my life... or to have a Facebook Fan Page. The reason? For the potential reach these social media tools may have... and not for my own self-serving agenda, but for a larger and exponentially more important purpose. 

I am hoping this post can aid in change. Please consider signing the petition that has been started. Here is the link:


Yesterday the University of Saskatchewan made an announcement that is yet another blow to the arts community in our province and because of the historical significance of this site it is, in fact, a blow to the Canadian arts community. The very short-sighted decision has been made to close the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus for three years and put it's future under review.


It is all about finances and they are making it sound like the campus is in such disrepair that it is perhaps beyond help. This is not true- I was just there this past summer and I thought it had never looked better. While I'm sure it could use some upgrades, it is more than a safe and functioning site. The U of S has found itself in a real budget crisis, which has nothing to do it's satellite campus at Emma Lake, but yet the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus has somehow found itself first on the chopping block.

Any idiot can figure out that if they leave this campus to sit dormant for three years, with no maintenance or upkeep, it absolutely will fall into disrepair and will cost even more to upgrade. This decision is a death sentence. The approximately $500,000 in operating costs over the three years the university is saving by making this decision is laughable. Honestly? Seriously??? The university's budget deficit is $42,000,000!!!! Yes, I said $42 MILLION!!! To lose this provincial treasure when it's loss hardly scratches the epidermis of this monsterous and shocking number is absolutely absurd. And this decision is even more offensive when the Kenderdine Campus has had nothing to do with the budgetary mess that has manifested at the U of S. "They" say the Kenderdine Campus needs about $3,000,000 in upgrades and work in the coming years. Okay. How does that not seem do-able with some hard-core fundraising, some innovative approaches and a vision?

I realize that many of you who read this post will not have heard about the Kenderdine Campus, but it is a real place in the Northern Boreal forest of Saskatchewan. It is a place of inspiration, peace, and ideas. It is a place that employed caring, hard-working, dedicated staff. It is a place rich with history and even has a huge connection to the arts scene in New York City back in the 50's! Believe it- it's true! It is a place where art and science come together. It is a place that is almost one hundred years old and began with one man's idea. It is a place that should exist whether you would ever have the chance or privilege to get there one day or not. 

Please consider signing the petition. The link is above. It will only take minutes. Your signature might be the one that reverses the decision. And please consider sharing the link to the petition. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.






Note: I tried to put a link to The Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus website and this is now what comes up.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Sun Glow After The Storm

Sun Glow After The Storm
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012

It was fun trying to achieve the dramatic light effect in this piece. On the prairies sometimes the stormy skies are so dark you would swear it was night. After the storm, as the clouds break up, the sun can shine through and create a powerful glow on the surfaces it touches. That is the intense scene I tried to capture with this painting.

This evening I delivered "Sun Glow After The Storm" which will be hung in a small works show, "Little Gems", taking place this coming weekend. If you will be in Saskatoon stop by and have a look. Here is the invitation...


I also submitted the following four 6x6" paintings framed in white shadow boxes:

A Day To Be Determined

Pile Up

Hover

Lightness

They look really good grouped together, so the hope is someone will want all four!

 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meewasin- It's Getting Closer

stage five

I was able to spend about four hours at the studio this afternoon and when I left this was the state of my newest Meewasin painting. It is getting there, but there is more work to be done for sure. I probably won't post another photo until I can say it is complete.

The next couple of weeks will be very exciting... lots to tell you about and more paintings to show. I hope you'll check back!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another "Meewasin" Underway

Stage two - in the studio

Stage four - in the school gym

I can't get enough of the Meewasin Valley! I pondered my reference photos for two years and once I finally painted "Good Morning Meewasin" this spring I haven't been able to stop imagining more canvases with this subject. This particular morning in 2010 was absolutely glorious. I dropped my boys off at school and immediately had to drive to the river to take photos. It was a calm, clear morning and the low-rising October sun was catching the tops of the autumn foliage. It was stunning. Thank goodness I (almost) always carry my camera with me.

This painting began at the studio last week. First I put some acrylic washes down (stage one- no photo) and began laying out the composition in acrylic (stage two- top photo). The next stage was getting some of the darks put down in oil and making some of the areas more specific (stage three- no photo). I am now at stage four (above) which developed at the school gym the other night when I was invited to set up my easel and paint at an art-related fundraising event. It was lots of fun and between chatting with children and parents I was actually able to get a bit of work done.

I am anxious for tomorrow arrive because I will be able to work on this for another four hours. Could there be anything better than painting in the studio on a blustery November afternoon?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Please Buckle Up

"Embrace life. Always wear your seat belt"


Dear Friends,

This, by all accounts, began as an art blog but I also started it with the intent of sharing bits and pieces of my life and my experiences as a mother trying to make her dreams come true while her children watch. Sometimes there are powerful events that take place in our lives that we must talk about from time to time with the hopes that it might make a difference to someone.

Today is an anniversary for me. Three years ago was the reception for my first ever show at a gallery. It was a big deal and I was very excited. At the end of the event I couldn't have imagined a better day, so many friends and family came to see me and my work- it was busy and fun and paintings sold! A success in so many ways. My children attended for awhile and I was proud to share the day with them, but a five and seven year old get a bit bored at such events, so my parents eventually took them to their house. At the end of the afternoon my husband and I picked them up and as we drove away we talked about going out for dinner to celebrate. I was so tired I thought we should just go home, get our jammies on and have a Pizza Hut picnic in front of the TV. To this day I regret my decision.

My husband rerouted us and when we were about five blocks from home a woman ran a red light at the intersection we were going through and slammed right into us on the passenger side of the car. My husband saw her- I remember him saying "She's not stopping!", but I didn't have time to turn to see her, she was already crashing into us. We rolled and it truly was like slow motion. From that split second until I knew they were okay at the hospital later, all I could think of was my boys.

This is why I write about the accident again. Please make sure your children are buckled up safe and sound... and not just that... make sure they are in the correct car seat or booster for their age and size. That is a vital piece of the puzzle. Make sure if they are infants that they are facing backwards in their baby car seat  for the first year and until they reach the appropriate size and weight. Check and double check. Go to car seat clinics. Don't put young kids in the front of the vehicle if you have an airbag that could go off. Airbags pack a whollop- when my side airbag went off I actually thought it was the van caving in on me with the impact!

Take care of your precious cargo. That is my message. These things happen fast and without warning. I am so thankful our traumatic experience ended with my family in-tact and I am so sad when I hear of accidents with horrific outcomes. Seat belts are not a sure-fire guarantee, but your odds are way better if they are used correctly.

Embrace life. Always wear your seat belt.

Nicki


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Explosive Sky

Explosive Sky
20 x 20"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012

KA-POW!!! I wasn't kidding when I told you I beefed up the colour! These clouds started off on the easel quite calm, cool and collected, as you can see here, but some kind of mood kicked in and I decided to go hard or go home! The result is the product of some serious colour experimenting. When I was at the studio yesterday for a short period of time, Bridget (studio mate) and I were chuckling that I needed to do an accompanying painting of Zeus with his Thunderbolt, then last night as I was playing Battleship with my son I glanced at the box and burst out laughing because the illustrations of the explosions looked like these clouds. 



It doesn't always happen, but sometimes art can be all fun and games!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Comment Setting Change

I just wanted to make a quick announcement that I have changed my settings and now anyone can comment on my posts. You do not need an account, just choose "Anonymous" and leave a comment, however if I do actually know you, please let me know it's you!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Donation to Choc'laCure

Brewing Above
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

"Brewing Above" is going to a gala tonight! It is attending a fundraiser called Choc'laCure and at some point in the evening it will be auctioned off. My fingers are crossed that someone loves it enough to bid and that it helps the organizers reach their goal of hitting the one million dollar mark of total dollars raised since the fundraiser's inception six years ago. It is a grassroots effort and I am honoured to participate with my art. Cancer unfortunately seems to creep into far too many of our lives and if one of my paintings can help raise some money for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, well, sign me up!

Tonight I am thinking of my blogger friends who I know have dealt with this evil illness; I am thinking of my dear friend whose daughter has battled cancer twice (she is only in Grade Two) and I am thinking of my family. We lost my aunt to cancer in October.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Clouds on The Easel

  work in progress
20 x 20"
© Nicki Ault, 2012

For awhile now I have been wanting to paint clouds as a subject in their own right. I have loads of photo resources to use... I take a ton of cloud and sky pictures. Yesterday afternoon (before the Halloween bedlam) I finally had a chance to spend some time at the studio knowing I would be able to go back for two full days after that. I got started on these clouds and when I left I was pleased with the progress, but this morning when I went back the colour seemed a bit lack-luster. A "go bold or go home" attitude kicked in and after today's session there are oranges, reds, magentas, deep blues and purples, bright yellows and golds. Let's just say it isn't a meek colour palette. Once it dries I will put some finishing touches on and see if it works.