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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

20 minute sketch

 quick gesture studies (hat)
and 
20 minute sketch

I got an email from my friend Kerry last night asking if I was planning to go to the drop-in drawing session today. To be honest, I likely wouldn't have gone if he didn't email me, but I know he knows that drawing is a bit of a goal of mine so I was feeling accountable! I'm glad I went, but I didn't feel inspired by the model. I left early and went by the studio to contemplate a large canvas I worked on yesterday. It looks promising, but I need to let it dry so I can tweak some things. I hope to show it to you in a few days... and with it will come a announcement.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Sunrise

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

After I took the kids to school yesterday I was drawn to the gorgeous morning light. The sunrise was so beautiful I had to drive straight out of town to take pictures. Of course by the time I got away from buildings, traffic and street lights some of the magic was lost, but I still managed to get a few shots. The colours were so soft and dreamy. To the south-east there was a long band-like cloud that was dark against the crisp blue sky, but faded as it went up. The bottom of the cloud had these wispy little tendrils coming down that added to the softness of the overall scene.

On another note, we went to the family skate night at the school yesterday which was tons of fun and the weather couldn't have been better. However, let me just say that you know you are in bad shape when you go skating and the next day your forearms are sore!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waskesiu Lake at Dusk - slight revamp

Waskesiu Lake at Dusk
(update)
30 x 36"
oil on canvas 
© Nicki Ault, 2012 

I've been living with this painting for a short time and while I was happy with it, I noticed it had darkened once it dried, at least enough that I felt like it needed a bit more energy. I brightened the light areas and punched up the heat in the horizon line. As one of my studio mates said, if you're going to bite off a sunset you may as well go for it! How true! Sunsets are dicey. I often think they should come with a great big slice of cheese... and yet here I found myself painting a big one! I have been tempted to call it "Fromage at Dusk", but in the end I think there is something about the sky, the cloud formations, that keeps this painting from being full-on corny.

   before
© Nicki Ault, 2012 

One other very small change I made (that I think is an improvement) is the touch of warmth I added to the jut of land on the left hand side. The slight reflection of the setting sun really brought this area to life.

I'll be curious to hear what you think of the changes. Let me know in the comments if :

A) the painting has more impact and drama... you say, "thumbs up!"

B) you are indifferent... you say, "whatever!"

C) this painting is now perfect material for a Real Estate agent's calendar... you say, "cheese please!" 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quirk

Quirk: An Experimental Sky
6 x 6"
oil on board

This is one of the boards I played on this past week. I worked fast. I moved the paint around until what I saw seemed right. It is quirky. It is expressive. It is an idea I would like to play with more. And I feel shy showing it to you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sunlit Meadow

Sunlit Meadow
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011
sold

The other day I realized I had never put this painting on my blog. It is one of the small boards I did on my plein air painting getaway to Waskesiu Lake, P.A.N.P. this past September. I drove to my favorite painting location within the Park where the Spruce River winds out of the forest into a small clearing by a meadow and picnic area. To get this angle of the glowing grass behind the stand of  Birch trees I had to set up in front of a not-so-scenic part of the picnic area.... the outhouse! The palette is simple, but I think the contrast makes this little piece sing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Details - Paintings Within the Painting

 


 



Here are some of my favorite passages in the painting I posted yesterday, "Waskesiu Lake at Dusk". To me they are paintings within the painting.

With the start of the new year I am contemplating many things and wondering where the months ahead will lead. I want to experiment and step out of my comfort zone, the problem is it is just so comfortable here!!! I actually pushed myself today, on a small scale, but none-the-less. I played around on some small boards with expressive marks. If I muster up the courage, I'll show you what I did. I have also been devouring the art books I got for Christmas and revisiting ones I already had which is where I found the quote that is now stirring around in my head. It's related to the advice Degen Lindner gives her students regarding their paintings; she says something like "It has to be more than what it is". Simple words with a lot of meaning. Here is the quote I've been pondering:

"Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. 
A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is
lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very
basis of painting."        ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

I found it in the book "Georgia O'Keeffe" by Georgia O'Keeffe. It has a beautiful collection of some of her work and it is written as if she is having a conversation with the reader. I wanted to provide a link to the book, but couldn't find one. It's old ... a treasure I found in a used book store within an antique mall in Edmonton. Now there is a fun way to spend a few free hours!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waskesiu Lake at Dusk

Waskesiu Lake at Dusk
30 x 36"
oil on canvas

This one really busted my chops. I put in some serious time at the studio over a period of three (non-consecutive) days. This is where it ended off today. It could be done. Maybe. I think.

As I painted it, especially today as I was winding down, I kept thinking of the advice Degen Lindner gives her students about the way they paint their subjects. She often says, "It has to be more than what it is". I get that. I am just not sure I always reach that goal. Tomorrow I will show you some details of this painting that I do believe are areas that "are more than what it is"... I'm just not sure that the whole is greater than (or even equal to) the sum of it's parts. Today I also rediscovered a quote that relates to this idea and I'll share it with you tomorrow (because I forgot the book at the studio).

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bittersweet Sunset

Bittersweet Sunset, Emma Lake
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold 

This is officially my first painting of 2012. As reference I used a photo I took last summer on the beach at the Kenderdine Campus which reminded me of a painting I saw at the AGO. It was a little miracle created by Tom Thomson and I wish I could remember what it was called. My painting looks nothing like his, but never-the-less the inspiration from the memory of his work fed me as I painted.

I settled on a title today as I was listening to Adele's "Someone Like You" and I heard the word "bittersweet" in one of her lyrics. In fact, a whirlwind of things were happening around the time I took these reference shots and all of them were bittersweet. For personal reasons I think the title is perfect but I really think it suits the painting, too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a New Year!

HaPpy New YeAr!


Well, 2011 was fantastic! There were a few glitches here and there, but over-all it was one of the best years I've had in awhile... and the best year yet for my art. Why is that, you ask? Well, I really felt like things took off in many ways. The highlight for sure was being part of the International Women Celebrate! collaboration and having my painting "In My Aura" sent down east to be in the show celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. (You can read about it here, hereand here and search my blog to find more.) That was huge... and to top it off I met four blog friends at that show. That experience goes down not only as a highlight for the year, but as a highlight in my life.

 In My Aura
24 x 24"
acrylic and oil on cradled panel

In 2011 I was excited to be invited to submit paintings to 2 high profile art auctions. I was also invited to be part of two art shows, the first of which led me to challenge myself to create 30 paintings in 30 days (a small attempt to see what Daily Painting might be like). I took a class and began drawing again, I opened a gallery on Daily Paintworks (click the button at the top of the right side column to view), I started a Facebook Fanpage for my art, and I painted lots... including two of the biggest canvases I have ever done (30 x 48")! It was an exciting year and I can hardly wait to see what happens in 2012. It such an invigorating feeling (at my age) to feel like the possibilities are endless; like things are just beginning.

Here are some of my personal favorites from 2011:

 Kindness and Joy: Life on The Prairies
48 x 30"
oil on canvas

Somewhere In My Dreams
6x6"
oil on board

Little Big Sky
6x6"
oil on board

Ripple Effect
18 x 24"
acrylic on canvas

Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow
24 x 24"
oil on canvas

Haze
10 x 10"
oil on canvas

 Patchwork Prairie
6x6" 
oil on board

Field of Blues
8 x 8"
oil on board

Go Gently
48 x 30"
acrylic on canvas

This is going to be a great year! What will we all do? It's a blank canvas waiting to be painted and we can create whatever we want. In every area of our lives we can make choices that benefit our families, communities and ultimately, the world. Let's use our individual power for good, not evil! Even if it is something as simple as making a painting, sculpture, drawing, wood turning, fibre art or collage that makes a stranger smile.

And once again, may there be peace on earth.