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.

November 15 - December 31, 2017: Holiday Salon - Small Works Show at Darrell Bell Gallery (street level ), running through the holidays, Darrell and his team have installed a grid of twenty of my 8x8's as well as a small wall of larger pieces at the front of the gallery. Lots of great gift ideas to be found by the many gallery artists on display.

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!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reach Out

Reach Out
10 x 10"
acrylic and oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

I thoroughly enjoyed painting these more abstract views of the "Red Alert" Dogwood bush. My past experiments with the abstract reflections, and now these branches, really gets me excited for the class I will be taking this summer (Expressive Abstraction in Painting with Alicia Popoff) I am hoping to build on some of the ideas that have been caught up in my head and hopefully the class environment will supportive and encouraging.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Confusion

Confusion
10 x 10"
acrylic and oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

After I painted Red Alert: Winter Dogwood I felt the need to review my intention of painting it in the first place because, although I was happy with the result, it was not what I had thought it would be in my mind. Once I did some contemplating I realized that it was the crazy red branches against the snow that had me inspired. As soon as I zeroed in on that I decided to paint some smaller pieces with the focus being on exactly that- the exciting tangle of red.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Butterfly Love!


I always love being surprised by Mother Nature when I leave the studio. Occasionally when I open the door I am met by a gorgeous sunset or a stormy sky or geese flying overhead. I must say there is something wonderful about spending a few hours absorbed in the process of painting my interpretation of nature and then opening the door only to find more inspiration. It feels like a gift. Well, today I must have done something right with my paintbrushes because when the session was over I was greeted by the likes of nature which I have never seen in these-here parts!!! Look at this glorious creature! Initially I thought there was a piece of dirty paper stuck in the (dirty) car door. I went to yank it out, but pulled my hand back fast when I realized it was alive!



I was shaking I was so excited! It was spectacular! The four circles/eyes were actually transparent in the middle and it's legs looked all hairy like a tarantula! I thought it was a butterfly, but a friend sent me the name of it, Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea Polyphemus) and a link. Either way, I love it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Alert: Winter Dogwood

Red Alert: Winter Dogwood
36 x 30"
acrylic, oil and oil stick on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

As you might recall I have affectionately referred to a certain piece as a "monster" of a painting. Well, here it is. The term monster was used with love... it was a difficult composition, it was a difficult colour palette and it was big... however, I loved painting it! It was kind of like a Sesame Street type of monster! It was in the Family Tree show last month and I positioned on the wall directly opposite the entrance for maximum impact. I was thrilled when a couple I really love decided they needed it for their home. Gosh, that is the best feeling. 

When I finished working on "Red Alert" I realized I hadn't tackled the entire idea I originally had for these crazy red branches, so I ended up painting three smaller pieces that addressed what was still swirling around in my head. I will show you those paintings in the next few posts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grassland Drama

Grassland Drama
12 x 12"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

This is the piece I painted during Art Trek. I wasn't sure I would be comfortable painting with people around but it ended up being okay- mostly I worked during the quieter moments because I was a bit shy about it. By the end of the two days it added up to being enough time to get a small painting done.

I used my 6 x 6" daily painting "Thicket" as the inspiration for this one.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fall Palette At The Grasslands

Fall Palette at the Grasslands
11 x 14"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

I love the soft, warm palette of this one... and I really like how the sky turned out. I actually have a 30 x 40" version of this scene to show you soon; it has a very different feel. Funny how that happens.

Happy Father's Day to my husband who wasn't feeling well today. A snuggly movie afternoon with snacks and the boys on each side of him might have just been what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

pencil on paper
 two 20 minute sketches
© Nicki Ault, 2012

I finally got to the drop-in drawing class this morning. I felt quite rusty, but very glad I went. Life has been so busy with art shows and kids in spring activities that I have gotten out of my Saturday sketching routine. Maybe I should do 30 sketches in 30 days so I can see some growth. Hmmmmm....

charcoal on newsprint
two minute gesture

pencil on paper
20 minute sketch

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bright Summer Light

Bright Summer Light
(revised)
28 x 22"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault 
sold

This painting was in the Family Tree show last month. I hummed and hawed about putting it in because I had painted it two years ago and, although I liked it, I wasn't as enthused as when I first painted it. I have learned so much about colour since then (and have so much more to learn) that I felt it could be better. You can see the original version below- the bark of the tree used to be much more blue/gray overall. 

 (original version)

The day before we hung the show I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to make it a painting I was excited about once again. I made up glazes of warm colours: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Indian Yellow and Magenta and then I lightly built up layers of washes on the tree trunk. As the tree warmed up and became less gray/blue, the sky actually appeared more blue and the distant trees became more green. It was very exciting to see it change. It was a light bulb moment of sorts... the whole effect of complimentary colours working together to enhance each other right before my eyes! When I showed my mom (who always loved the painting) she said, "Oh, you made the trees more green" - she was quite surprised to find out I hadn't touched anything but the bark. I also lightened areas in the dark shadows for more variation, but that change may not show well in the photo.

Learnin', it never gets old!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dreams And Opportunities

Dreams and Opportunities: Life on the Prairies
36 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

When I had my show at O'Reilly Insurance earlier this year, Declan O'Reilly's favorite painting was Kindness and Joy: Life on the Prairies. He said it reminded him of when he first came to Canada from Ireland many years ago. One of his first memories was walking through a grassy field with low bushes to get to a cabin. Kindness and Joy was put on hold with a second painting by someone that came to the show, but she ended up buying the other one. I have to admit that as soon as I got word of her decision I breathed a sigh of relief. I immediately knew I couldn't sell Kindness and Joy- the reality of my attachment to it had become clear. The problem was Declan decided he wanted it! I explained that I didn't think I wanted to sell it, but had plans to create another version of the painting for Family Tree (the tree-themed show I did with my Dad in May). If it turned out, perhaps he would be interested in it or maybe I would keep the new version and he could then have Kindness and Joy.

I was extremely pleased with the result of the new painting and that is what you see above. Happily, Declan was thrilled, too. After he made the decision to purchase it I told him the story of Kindness and Joy and how I titled it because of a friend whose initials are K.J. (read about it here). I then let him know that this new painting, Dreams and Opportunities, was titled in honour of him- the D and O coming from Declan O'Reilly. He followed his dreams to Canada, and eventually the prairies, as a young man searching for a better life with more opportunities. It is hard to imagine how scary and difficult that must have been even though it was likely exciting, too. And Declan gave me the opportunity to follow my dreams by providing space to show my art in his office. I think he was touched and I was happy to thank him in that way.

And that is the story I promised I would tell in my last post.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour

 
 
   Well, the first ever Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour was extremely well received. It was so much fun for both the artists and the public! People seemed to be having so much fun finding the places and trekking around town. Many were traveling in small groups and got a real charge out of talking about which venues hey had been to and where they still planned to go. Some were even making it a bigger event for themselves and planning a dinner out as a grand finale. If I was free, that is exactly what I would have wanted to do with my friends!

On Friday evening Saskatoon Cycles planned a bike tour of all five Art Trek locations and ended up having roughly 30 cyclists register! The studio where I paint (St. George Studio) was their last stop. I happened to be outside when they arrived (I was re-hanging the signage and balloons the neighborhood kids pulled down) and when they came around the corner it was such a cool sight! I only wish I had my camera with me!

On Saturday, at our studio location, we had a huge canvas outside and were asking the public to "make a mark" of their own as a way to get them even more engaged in the studio experience. Fun!


  
And the studio stayed in work mode so people could see things as they usually are on a daily basis.


I'm already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fall Ride

Fall Ride 
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012
sold

It is going to be fun to show you a few of the larger paintings I have done recently. I began this one with the intention of it going above the fireplace in the Family Tree show last month and happily it turned out to have impact I had imagined, so that is where it was placed.

 
The day after I began painting this piece I received an email inquiring about "Protected Prairie" which they saw in my Flickr Photostream and which is listed as "private collection". They were wondering if it was available- it wasn't, but I explained that ironically the day before I had started a painting from the same resource photo, although it was larger. They said larger was better! We made plans for me to let them know when it was finished so they could preview it before the show. When it was ready they even took it home to see in their own environment which happens to be a beautiful acreage with horses. She said it reminded her of going out for a fall ride and so when they told me they wanted to buy it I knew that was going to be the title. I am so excited these wonderful people have it and that they are actually part of the story of the painting they now own. It doesn't get much better than that for an artist!

On that note, the next painting I plan to show you also has a pretty cool story which just so happens to involve the person that ended up buying it! Stay tuned...