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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

January Road Trip

January Road Trip, Late Afternoon
6 x 6"
oil on board
©Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

On New Year's Day my family and I went on a road trip to Edmonton. As we listened to the Top 100 countdown of 2012 I was busy taking photos of the passing landscape. There was a small skiff of snow on the ground, just enough to reflect the deep blue colour of the late afternoon sky. There was such an ethereal glow happening... I am going to play with the idea some more- could get abstract.

As an aside, the kids felt that Stereo Heart by Gym Class Heroes should have been #1, but alas (to my delight) it was Adele's "Someone Like You".


Monday, February 27, 2012

Afterglow

Afterglow
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

I spent Friday night on a date... with myself... at the studio. It's a wild and crazy life I lead. I worked on a monster of a painting for a little bit. It's a monster because it is large and it has a big, crazy, branchy Dogwood right there on the whole canvas... right in your face. It has been a hard one to tame and a monster for that reason, too. It is basically the way I wanted it to be composition-wise, but I'm not sure it's working. It seemed like a good idea in my head. It could just end up being a monstrosity! Time will tell and I hope it ends up being something I want to share with you.

Anyhoo, after I mucked around with the "monster" I found a photo of glowing clouds at sunset that I took last spring. About 5 hours later "Afterglow" emerged.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

30 minute pencil sketch

Things went well at the drop-in drawing session today. I felt like I was seeing things better than the last few weeks. I sat in a new spot with the windows at my back and maybe that made a difference.

We've had this model before and she has awesome hair!

 10 minute pencil sketch

20 minute pencil sketch

I even stayed longer than usual,

10 minute charcoal sketch

but still didn't have time to get her legs in on this one.





Thursday, February 23, 2012

Foggy Morning at Gabriel Dumont Park

Foggy Morning at Gabriel Dumont Park
6 x 6"
oil on board
©Nicki Ault, 2012
sold
 
We are so lucky in Saskatoon to have such a beautiful river running through our city. Well, actually, what makes it so beautiful is the attention that is paid to the riverbanks. Wonderful trails and parks have been developed all along both sides of the river and let me tell you, at the first sign of great day the people of Saskatoon make use of these areas! This particular park, named after Gabriel Dumont, is a place I love to go with my kids. When they were littler they especially loved the playground... cool buffalo sculptures to climb on, a big wooden fort, and a cool, winding path to a look-out, among other things. Now we also like to ride our bikes along the trails and have wiener roasts at the fire pits. And I like to go there to paint!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tangerine Trio

Tangerine Trio
4.75 x 4.75"
oil on watercolour paper
©Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

Here is the other poppy painting I made (of three... one of them is not worth showing). As with the other, this photo does not do it service... I have found reds both hard to paint with and hard to photograph. At any rate, it is a quirky thing and I especially like the brushstrokes on the lower half of the painting...

And I am lovin' it in the white frame!

Happy Family Day Saskatchewan!

* update... just sold through Daily Paintworks!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

15 minute sketch

The model at the drop-in drawing session today was excellent... she did these crazy, really hard (as in physically difficult) 2 minute gesture poses and none of mine worked out! I think I was too preoccupied with her falling over and hurting herself. Once a mother always a mother! When we got to the slightly longer poses I decided to try to avoid drawing lines and just start shading in the forms. I enjoyed going about things this way, so I tried it again with the next pose...

 15 minute sketch

After that I decided to work on finding the right proportions...

20 minute sketch

If you look closely you can see I divided the page roughly into equal eighths to try to stick with the "an adult is 7-8 heads tall" rule... but I still couldn't keep it all on the page! I need a bigger sketch book; I forgot I used the final page last Saturday. Next week I will be at the art supply store getting a big sketch book and a big newsprint pad.

It's a gorgeous, melting day here in 'Toon Town! Enjoy your Saturday wherever you are!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Poppies

Poppies
4.75 x 4.75"
 oil on watercolour paper
©Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

I was asked by a friend to try painting red poppies and this is one of the three attempts I made. I was quite pleased with two of the attempts, and today she chose "Poppies" as the one she wanted for her home (she had seen the above picture and agrees that it doesn't do the painting justice). The frame finished it off; it's amazing how a decent frame can really dress up a small painting.

On a side note it was an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful morning here in the burgh. Hoar frost covered all of the trees in town and it was a beautiful show...




By noon it had warmed up just enough that the thick frost was melting and sliding off the branches making it look like a sunny day snowfall. Ahhhh, simple pleasures are the best.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

September Mood Near Kapasiwin

September Mood Near Kapasiwin
30 x 60"
oil on canvas
©Nicki Ault, 2012 
sold

Above is my newest and largest painting to date and with it comes an announcement...

This morning I hung "September Mood Near Kapasiwin" and 9 other pieces at O'Reilly Insurance in Saskatoon. They recently renovated and doubled their office space and Declan O'Reilly had a vision of using the beautiful new reception area and hall as an art gallery of sorts to feature local artists. Declan is my son's (amazing) soccer coach and when I invited him to the Open Studio last November he was taken aback. I was a bit puzzled by his reaction, but up until then he didn't know I was an artist and I didn't know he had been pondering the use of his renovated walls as an art space! As such, two worlds collided. I'm grateful he liked my art enough that he not only wanted to show it on his walls, but he wanted me to be the artist to kick off this venture for him. I will have more details to follow... we are taking baby steps with this and he wants it all done right. The plan is to have a closing reception in approximately eight weeks, but if you are in the Erindale area please stop in and have a look... O'Reilly Insurance, 101-407 Ludlow St.



 As a side note, Kapasiwin is a beautiful area where cabins can be rented. It is on the way to the Waksesiu River and the Marina . If I had a longer canvas the cabins and quaint resort area would be found further to the right of the grassy hill in this painting.

*This is a big one. I tried to enlarge it for this post, but the next size up doesn't fit within the post perimeters. If you click on it you will see it in a light box and it should be larger.

Monday, February 13, 2012

They're Here!


If I treat myself to something, one of my favorite things to buy is art supplies. A very close second is art books  and right behind that would be boots! Today an order I made a couple of weeks ago arrived. I am so excited! "Art Models 6: The Female Figure in Shadow and Light" by Maureen Johnson looks fantastic... absolutely beautiful images I'll be able to use for longer drawing studies. It came with a CD which has all of the photos found in the book, but with the added feature of being able to rotate the pose so it can be drawn from all sides. How cool is that? I'm also extremely excited to study "Lucien Freud Paintings" by Robert Hughes. I don't know a lot about Freud but the work of which I am aware is quite remarkable and I am looking forward to learning about his life. Finally the third book, "Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees" by Lawrence Weschler might be the one I am the most excited about. I stumbled upon it and to be honest it was the one solitary review written about it that sold me. The review was by a representational artist who raved about the increased understanding he had of abstract and conceptual art after reading this book. I've always felt like I don't understand and therefore can't fully appreciate conceptual and non-representational art. I'm hoping this book will shed some light into the cobwebs of my brain and that I will come out the other end feeling much more worldly and clever! If that happens it will have been 17 bucks well spent!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

 25 minute sketch
charcoal and pastel

 2 minute gestures

 2 minute gestures

 20 minute sketch
charcoal and pastel

10 minute contour drawing
pencil

20 minute sketch
graphite and pastel

The drop-in drawing session today was fun, although I left early because of a headache. I sat in a similar place this week (facing the windows), so still battled back-light issues on the model. I used my white pastel more sparingly just to show the bright highlights (and some reflected light) on the body. I enjoy the difference between the contour drawing and the sketch I did of the same pose. The arm coming towards me was quite foreshortened (dramatically so in the contour drawing- he he) and offered a challenge as did the line of her torso. The man sitting beside me happened to be the instructor of the drawing class I took last summer. I said something about our angle being a challenge and he told me to think of it as a landscape. Humph. Helpful!

I am very excited because I have ordered some new art books and they should be here soon. One is called "Art Models 6: The Female Figure in Shadow and Light" by Maureen Johnson. A girl probably should have started with book #1, but #6 looked so good! Anyway, even though it is not as good as a live model, I will have some images to work from at home now and I will be able to work on a pose for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fog and Ice

Fog and Ice on the South Saskatchewan
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2012

This was fun. A bit abstract- which I enjoy. I kept trying to sharpen up the image for posting until I finally realized that, hello, it's fog- I painted like that! 

I'm trying to challenge myself with colour and I'm gobbling up info. and images from my art books. I definitely have a comfort zone with blues and greens... not so much with reds, oranges and pinks. I want to expand and grow. The soft palette of this painting and "When Will I See You Again?" has been one way to try something different and this afternoon I took a giant step in the opposite direction. You should see the bold shock of a painting I mustered up (for me)! Well, actually you will after it dries and I take a picture. Basically "Sky in July" no longer exists. The more I looked at it, the more I thought, "Yeah, whatever. Blah blah blah". So with Tom Thomson egging me on from the pages, I squeezed out some rarely used reds and magentas and let 'er rip!

UPDATE (Feb. 10): At the studio this morning I was less than enthused about the "bold shock" I created yesterday... you likely won't see it after all!!!

* I just realized this is my 300th post!

Monday, February 6, 2012

When Will I See You Again?

When Will I See You Again?
6 x 6"
oil on board
 © Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

Last Wednesday it was extremely foggy in Saskatoon, so as soon as I dropped the boys off at school in the morning I went to the riverbank and took lots of photos. It was beautiful. Dreamy. Peaceful. As I painted I imagined that the trees missed their perfect view of downtown and then the lyric "When Will I See You Again?" came along in the Adele song ("Don't You Remember") I was listening to and I knew that had to be the title.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

 20 minute sketch

 20 minute sketch

 8 minute contour drawing

20 minute sketch

I went to the drop-in drawing session this morning and mucked around with my pastels (I still have a small box from Grade 12 art class!). It was tricky today because they turned out the lights and had a spotlight facing into the class on the same wall as the windows. I was looking straight at the window/spotlight wall so basically the model was very dark except a halo of back-light all around her. If I knew how to sketch in that scenario I would have been golden! Never-the-less it was interesting (if not blinding)!

I love the contour drawing- I usually enjoy how they turn out. The last sketch, well, I was planning to do a white chalk/black charcoal sketch and then shoot in some colour patches like amazing Marcia LaBelle, but somehow she ended up looking like the Wicked Witch of the West!

Oh well, onward and upward!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sky in July

Sky in July, Waskesiu
10 x 10"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012 

This was done quickly the other day... just some play time before I tackled a huge canvas. It was intimidating staring at the blank, white, 30 x 60" canvas, so I got out some colours I am comfortable with (blues) and mucked around, ending up with what you see above. I then decided to continue to reduce the fear factor of the large canvas by mapping in a bit of an underpainting with Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Nickel Azo. As soon as it wasn't white anymore it seemed more do-able.


Good lesson for the future. Finally last Friday I spent about 10 hours painting like a crazy person. I had the studio to myself and may I just say that both Blue Rodeo and Prince and The Revolution sound really good on high volume! At any rate, the last few days have been spent making improvements and changes to this behemoth; a lot of time has been put into this one. It is close to being revealed and with it will come an announcement.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What The?

What is going on with Facebook??? Anyone know???


Update: It's all good... not sure what the glitch was but it's better now. I think I pushed the panic button!