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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Stage Three and Stalling!

...stage 3...

Okay, so I think I had said that the next thing I would post was the first of my abstract pieces from the class I took in mid-August and as you can see I am officially stalling! I'll get there... soon. 

In the meantime I was able to paint for a few hours this week when the kids had play dates. Later that day I was so excited about how things had progressed that I decided to go back in the evening after a meeting and paint for two more hours. I love when I have the studio to myself! I put on an old CD from 1991 and completely enjoyed rediscovering the songs by the band "54-40"- songs like Baby Ran, I Go Blind, One Day In Your Life, One Gun. It's funny how 20 years later you can remember the words like it was yesterday and still enjoy them so much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wolf Willow In Autumn

Wolf Willow In Autumn
22 x 28"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

This painting is hanging in the Calories show. There is just one more painting I haven't shown you, but I don't have a photo of it, so the next you will see from me will be from the Abstract Expressionism class. I am a bit nervous to start sharing the work, but hopefully there will be a few amusing anecdotes I can write along with paintings... some of which are a bit amusing themselves... to keep you especially entertained!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Feelin' It!

Stage two... 
oil going on over-top of the acrylic wash/underpainting

Both of the kids had play-dates this afternoon, so I was able to get to the studio for a couple of hours. I tweaked a few small paintings and then bit the bullet and began working on this one again. I have been thinking about it non-stop and how I was going to tackle it. Which makes me think of a conversation I had with a friend up at the Kenderdine Campus. We were talking about how people like to ask an artist how long it takes to paint a painting, likely because they are trying to determine how much the artist's hourly rate is! What my friend had said was that the answer is really 10, 20, 40 years or however long you have been studying and working at your art. I love that! You see, although I have only got about 5 hours of painting time into this piece (with many more to go), I began "painting it" the day I took the photo. It has been imagined in my mind already for uncountable hours. I have studied my paints to figure out what colours I would mix to get the effects I want. I have laboured over the composition. And now I am just scratching the surface with marks and dashes of paint. I hope it turns out... I am hoping I will be invited to submit paintings to an art auction again this year and I'd love this to be a show stopper... but if it doesn't I will undoubtedly have learned valuable lessons that will go on to inform my next paintings. And the time spent will go into the stockpile of hours that back each and every piece of art I continue to create.

I'm so excited about this one that I hope to burn the midnight oil at the studio tonight when I get through with a meeting. Fingers crossed that the feelin' is still there! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Accumulating Cumulus

Accumulating Cumulus
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

This painting took many, many forms. It was always a sky but it began very different to where it ended. Initially I was using my 6 x 6" painting "Three In A Row" as the study but it did not translate to a larger scale. AT ALL! It was very boring and did not have the same fun, quirky edge to it that I enjoy in "Three In A Row". I decided to use those three cloud shapes to build an all over cloud formation above the horizon line, but it still left quite a vast blue sky. I thought about some of the sights I love about big prairie skies and one is the amassing of clouds in the distance; when they kind of pile up and build on top of each other and you know that eventually they will head your way even if the sky above you is clear at that moment. So that is where this painting ended up. I wish I took photos along the way, but I didn't realize the road this composition would travel! Here is a detail shot of where the original three clouds were...


 and also a picture of "Three In A Row"...




I have been processing my experience with Abstract Expressionism over the last week. I will begin writing about it very soon. Yesterday I took photos of all of the paintings I created during the class because it was a perfectly overcast day to do just that. I have to crop and file them, then I will take a deep breath and share them!

Friday, August 24, 2012

In The Thick of the Thicket

In The Thick of the Thicket
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012

This is one of the large paintings I did for my show "Prairie Love" at Calories. The front section of the restaurant has a rather high ceiling, so large canvases work well in this area. It was a pleasant surprise to realize that the direction of the sun coming in the front window was the same as the light in this painting. I have to say this was a difficult painting, partly because it has a lot going on (which is why I made resting places of the distant field and sky), but also I struggled with whether or not to keep the dead branches in the front. After a bit of contemplation I realized I wanted the viewer to feel like they were in amongst the grasses, really up close and personal, so I kept them in. Initially all of the branches were coming off the front of the picture plane and it created a bit of a wall. As soon as I pushed them back into the grass at varying distances it started working better. Each painting is an education and I love the process of working through it all!

As an aside, I'm pretty excited because I bought a piece of original art for myself at local gallery/art supply the other day. I saw it before I went to Emma Lake and couldn't stop thinking about it the whole time. I decided when I got home that if it was still available I would purchase it as a gift to myself for my birthday... and happily it was! Yay! The bonus was that as I looked around the gallery one of the owners, who I recognized, asked if I needed help. I pushed aside my shyness and somehow mustered up the courage to say more than "I'm just looking". Who was it? It was my first and only studio art professor from university, Bob Christie!!! I didn't expect him to recognize me, after all, that was a long time ago, but never-the-less when I told him he had once taught me, he pretty much stopped everything and chatted for half an hour! It was fantastic! I felt like a sponge trying to absorb any art talk he was willing to share and I, in turn, let him know the lessons he gave that really stuck with me. It gave me the itch to go to art school! And I have never felt like a parking ticket was so worth it before!!! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Splendor in the Grasslands

Splendor in The Grasslands
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012

I am happy to say that I survived the quick turn around! I returned home on Saturday from my week-long class at the Kenderdine Campus at Emma Lake, regrouped and planned the layout (as best I could in my living room) for the show at Calories which I had to hang bright and early on Sunday morning. I was up until midnight making lists, I.D. cards and figuring out my prices (it was time for an increase). When I finally went to bed sleep came very quickly! My Dad helped me hang the show and I'm so glad he did; it went so much more smoothly than if I had tried to do it myself. I think it looks quite good, the palette and themes of the paintings suit the atmosphere of the restaurant (in my opinion). The painting I am showing you today is one of my favorites in the show.

I feel like I have so much to write about, but I will have to pace it out over the next few days so as not to bore you!

In this post I want to acknowledge that the other day (August 19) marked my 3rd blog anniversary. In 2008, after I stumbled upon Abbey Ryan's art blog through her ETSY store, I had spent a lot of time discovering an entire art blog world I didn't know existed until then. I was intrigued, excited, intimidated, encouraged and down-right envious of all of these "real" artists. On the evening of my birthday in 2009 I sat at the computer with the kids in bed and my husband reading his papers in his chair nearby, and began going one step at a time through Blogger to set up a blog. I kept thinking I would run into something I didn't understand or know how to do, but I didn't. Before I knew it I had given myself a blog for my birthday and I shared this fact with no one for several days after it was set up. Little did I know how this one seemingly small decision would be the beginning of my art becoming a more and more integral part of my life. 

Many young people know what they want to be when they"grow up". I never really ever had a burning desire and ambition for anything specific; and I was really good at school- I could have done almost anything. I thought about it and went back and forth between many options: Teacher, Social Worker, Counselor, Doctor, Psychologist. I could never nail it down because deep in my heart all I really ever wanted to be was an artist and a mother. Who knew so many years later, decades even, that a blog would be a vehicle to help me find my way to one of those dreams?




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Welcome Home Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect
24 x 18"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold

This painting is now back home from it's long journey out east! It was in a show last summer and I am happy to see it again. I forgot how much I like the colours in it.

I am about to pack up and leave my boys for a week long class at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. It is on Abstract Expressionism, so it will really help me stretch my wings and look at my work in a new way. Maybe I will return with more of these reflections I love to do... or work that is way out of the box (for me)! I can hardly wait to find out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brewing Above

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

I've been working on getting a few more pieces ready for the show at Calories. For this painting I used the 6 x 6", "Brewing", as a study. It all really flowed as I worked and I gave the credit to using the smaller piece as a study... but then... I tried another painting using a different 6 x 6 and it went very, very badly. Very. It did not translate at all to a larger. I`m in the process of trying to save it for the fourth time. Basically the lesson learned is: you win some, you lose some. And the other lesson that will be learned (thanks to Kenny Rogers) if I can`t save the other painting: you gotta know when to fold `em!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Treasure and Show Dates


Every now and then, when I have a few extra minutes after getting groceries, I run into the used bookstore which is in the same strip mall. I make a beeline straight to the art section and look for interesting books on artists I want to learn more about. The other day I found a book on David Hockney with gorgeous photos of his work; it's called "That's The way I See It" and it is written by him. I LOVE books written by artists themselves, so I nabbed it quick-like! But look what other treasure I found- it's a book that was published for the opening of The Mendel Art Gallery. These books were obviously given as gifts by Fred Mendel because the gift card was still in this copy as you can see... and it is signed by Mr. Mendel! Coooool!



Art supplies and art books.... mm-mmm good!

And I have exciting news... I have signed and submitted the contract so my art show at Calories restaurant in Saskatoon is now official. My paintings will show on their walls from August 19- September 30. It's going to be a quick turn around because I get home from my art class on the 18th, but I can do it! The dates are now at the top of my page for easy reference.