Sunday, May 14 - Mother's Day Tea Show and Sale: taking place at Studio On 20th from 12-4p.m. Our studio will be open to the public on this afternoon to exhibit the most current work by artists Bridget Aitken, Nicki Ault, Kathy Bradshaw, Jan Corcoran, Ann Donald, Jane Harington, Miranda Jones, Brenda Kennedy, Karen Maguire, Amira Wasfy and Carol Wylie. We are located at 236A 20th Street Between Aves. B and C (door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant).

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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Northern Marsh and Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

Northern Marsh
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

This is an exciting time for me! For the month of May I have been asked to be the first "Artist of the Month" at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery, the boutique that exclusively carries my 8 x 8" original oil paintings. In preparation I painted ten new works and "Northern Marsh" is one of my personal favorites. I recently delivered them as well as eleven of my large paintings which are now on display and for sale as a solo show in the back of the boutique. I will be in the store on Saturday, May 4th to meet and greet... and maybe paint! Please come and say "hi" if you are downtown. Lifestyles is located in the Canada Building on 21st Street in Saskatoon (across from Lululemon).

I have to say that three years ago if someone would have told me Darrell Bell was going to approach me with interest in my paintings I never would have believed it, nor would I have been ready at that time. I think Oprah is right, opportunities will present themselves when you are ready because ten months ago when it actually did happen, it was the right time and stage for me. I was ready and I am so grateful.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Spotlight- Bobbi Clackson-Walker


graphite drawing 
© Bobbi Clackson-Walker

When I decided to begin the Sunday Spotlight element of my blog I wanted to highlight people I know who are visual artists, but I also wanted to consider people I know who are artists in other ways.... and some people I know are artists in more ways than one. You are about to meet such a person... Bobbi Clackson-Walker.

Bobbi is a born and raised Saskatchewanian whom I met last summer at the abstractions class at Kenderdine Campus. She is a riot and (I think) we really "clicked". She has an extremely generous spirit and during that class I felt like she really took me and my floundering fish-out-of-water-in-regards-to-abstracts self under her wing. All week long I kept hearing people say, "Have you ever heard Bobbi sing? You should hear her! Her voice is gorgeous". Unfortunately I still have not heard her stellar jazz renditions, but because I am curious, I asked Bobbi to share this part of her artistic history with us.

Expo 1986
© Bobbi Clackson-Walker

Like many who are passionate artists as adults, Bobbi says a creative spirit has always been a part of who she is- she can even recall at the young age of three carving heads out of lumps of dirt while singing at the top of her lungs. To be honest, she is such a fun person I can even visualize her doing that now! The point being that she loves to create in more ways than one. In her words, "Music and art were my everything growing up". Fortunately for her (and those of us who enjoy her work) Bobbi was raised by parents who encouraged and supported her talents. When she was sixteen she auditioned for a professional band and ended up getting the lead vocal role! She would work five nights a week for three week stints singing in lounges with adults. When her sets were done she would go back to being a sixteen year old working on her homework in the dining room off the lounge. Performing and music continued to be a mainstay as other roles in her life changed- becoming a wife and mother and also pursuing a business career.

image © Bobbi Clackson-Walker

Highlights from her career as a vocalist include an ACTRA nomination, national and regional televised performances, recording, headline performer at Expo 86, back up singing for the Righteous Brothers and being a regular performer at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. Not bad for a prairie girl!



 
floor cloths © Bobbi Clackson-Walker

When Bobbi came back to visual art her interest was more with the tactile and functional. She designed and constructed quilts and eventually got into hand-painting floor cloths and building and painting folding screens and room-dividers. With these skills firmly in place, Bobbi started a business called

folding screen © Bobbi Clackson-Walker

Bobbi Clackson-Walker Fine and Functional Art. This venture kept her busy with plenty of commission work as well as various art and design markets in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. It totally makes sense to me that these things interested her at one time; they tie into what I know of her more recent work which is largely based in physically constructing elements to be used in collage. After exhausting her fascination with large, functional three dimensional work Bobbi's focus is now on her two-dimensional painting.
 

 

 images © Bobbi Clackson-Walker
 acrylic on watercolour paper

I love the above pieces which are created by staining watercolour paper with acrylic washes and a spray bottle. Paper towel was laid down on the surface during the paint application to create a resist (the circular shapes) to the paint being sprayed. Clever and effective! I find there are so many interesting places for my eye to explore and I keep wondering how she created the many layers. I would love to see the stages of development.

In 2011 Bobbi completed the University of Saskatchewan Art and Design Certificate and now teaches a contemporary collage course for the program. Aside from this training Bobbi is largely a self-taught artist. Soon after I met her I was excited to hear that she was successful in her application to the CARFAC mentorship program and had secured Alicia Popoff as her mentor. Bobbi sums up the experience by saying it has been "the single most career altering event that has lead to a fuller understanding of myself as artist". Bobbi loves to learn by experiencing and experimenting and she enjoys tactile interaction with her work which, in my mind, made Alicia Poppoff (based on her work in abstraction) the most perfect match for Bobbi. These beautiful pieces (below) which have been produced during her mentorship with Alicia, indicate that Bobbi is flourishing within this new understanding.

 


 

images © Bobbi Clackson-Walker
mixed media collage

Each of the above pieces contain hand made elements that Bobbi first constructed and then collaged onto the painted canvas or panel in layers. I think that is why I am so drawn to Bobbi's work. The work is two-dimensional (AKA flat) yet there is such depth to them- I feel like I can go into the work and move around in the layers.
 
image © Bobbi Clackson-Walker

Artist Statement:
"I am a visual artist who creates works of lyrical abstraction.  I am interested in visually communicating impressions, ideas, and emotions through an improvisational multi-layered construction of two-dimensional space. I find inspiration in words and phrases, spoken, read, or recalled, and in physical patterns that when revealed find a foothold of personal meaning. I am by nature a maker, and most deeply connect to my work through the physical use of a variety of media, collage, processes of veiling and layering, and by hand rendering individual elements that I then bring into my art".

 drawing © Bobbi Clackson-Walker


Bobbi works on her art in some capacity every day, and like many of us, she finds she is her best self when she is creating. To connect with her, please follow the link to her Facebook page...

Bobbi Clackson-Walker Fine and Functional Art

Friday, April 26, 2013

Roy G Biv

Roy G Biv
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

 
As I painted this I became aware that almost all of the colours of the rainbow were represented. As a result I got it in my head that the painting should be named Roy G Biv except that I was missing the R and O. Initially the trees in the distance were a dark purple/blue, so I took a bit of creative license and decided that for the purposes of this painting, the season was changing which allowed me to shoot in a bit of red and orange. Voila! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Buffalo Beans

Buffalo Beans
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


I did a painting last year of the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands in the spring and at the time I wasn't sure what the pretty yellow flowers were in my reference photos. I was schooled by fellow prairie people that they were in fact, Buffalo Beans*, and so that is the title for this new painting with the same little yellow flowers in the lower left corner.

*(it makes me think of an old fashioned pseudo swear like "Oh, fiddlesticks!"... "Oh, Buffalo Beans!")

Monday, April 22, 2013

Late Day Drive North

Late Day Drive North
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013

This was a fun experiment with colour and a bit of an abstraction experiment as well. I love the layers and transitions this sky goes through. For a while now I had been looking at the reference photo of this scene- I took the picture from the passenger seat driving to the lake last summer. I wondered how I would tackle it- especially since there were very obvious telephone posts in the photo and I was not interested in them as part of the subject. Finally I just decided to try it, not knowing how things would develop. As you can see I ended up eliminating the posts altogether; I took some artistic license as they say!

Flock and Gather was a great experience! What a terrific event the collective puts on. They really care about the details that make it a step above other markets. Whoever warned me that people would be lined up waiting for the doors to open was right- both Friday evening and Saturday morning this was the case.


 



I was really happy with how my new display boards worked out. They were quite pretty all set up. I would even make something like this to display my collection of little paintings on my wall at home. Best of all I met people who were familiar with my blog or Facebook page, so now I am able to put faces to names! It was a great opportunity to chat and laugh with friends- old and new.

Thank you to the Flock and Gather collective!



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Refreshed

Refreshed
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault
sold


You know those spring days after the rain passes and everything is wet and vibrant? This is a painting of one of those days. The new crop is still green and growing, the rain had settled any dust that might have been blowing around and the blue sky is on it's way.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Extinguish

Extinguish
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013 
sold


I am sooo excited- it is Flock and Gather time! I am all ready and waiting to set-up my new beautiful display boards and my 6x6" oil paintings. The show starts at 6:00 this evening and I am told that people will be lined up and try to sneak in. They have to lock the doors so that vendors have the full set-up time without customers getting in! Fun! Here is the poster with the details one more time...


Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watering Hole

Watering Hole
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

I'm working madly to get ready for Flock and Gather which is in two days. I have recently sold some 6x6's and now I am playing catch-up so I have enough work to show this weekend (not complaining!). I love my new displays... I'll take photos when they are set up. They are very pretty.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Red Carpet

Red Carpet
approx. 9 x 14"
pastel on pastel paper
© Nicki Ault, 2013

For me, this year is supposed to be about learning, growing and experimenting. It is already April and I don't feel like I have been on track with this goal yet. Next month I will be starting my drawing class at Atelier 2302 and I will feel good about getting that underway. Sadly, I have only spent one day awhile ago (in January?) playing around with my pastels; smudging them, trying shapes and colour combinations. I need a better action plan than that to reach my goals for the year!

This was the piece, of the three I did, that actually got somewhere.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Spotlight- Paula Cooley


 Pintail © Paula Cooley

I am so excited to introduce you to ceramic artist Paula Cooley!

When Paula sent me images for the spotlight I should have known I would find a new favorite, and I did! I love Pintail. LOVE!!!

For a long time I admired Paula Cooley from afar and I always wanted to meet her. The collective Paula belongs to (330 Design Group) and mine (St. George Studio) were both part of last year's Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour, but she and I had never been at any of the same meetings. As it turned out a couple of months later Paula was at the Kenderdine Campus taking the sculpture class while I was there taking the class on abstraction. Paula immediately struck me as a generous, down-to-earth person who was game to try anything (art-related) once. At Kenderdine she was a workhorse, putting in long hours honing new skills and making her ideas a reality. My favorite things she created were metal sculptures to be mounted above ceramic faces; the metal sculptures represented the state of mind behind the face. "Rational Thought" below is an example and I adore how it turned out!

 Rational Thought © Paula Cooley

Up until last year I was more familiar with Paula's beautiful pottery and earthenware- lovely, simple shapes with beautiful glazes making functional items so much more delightful to use. When I saw some of her sculptural ceramic pieces at an opening for 330 Design Group, I was struck by her unique approach, her organic sensibility and her quirky creativity.

Couple © Paula Cooley


Through planning this spotlight I have been fortunate enough to learn more about Paula. She was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Saskatoon in 1989 (turns out we are neighbors- she lives a block away from me!). She started taking classes at the Saskatoon Potters Guild as a way to find time for herself unrelated to work or children (sounds familiar). What I find inspiring is that she took this new-found passion for clay and ran with it. As a busy mother she went on to get her diploma in Ceramics through SIAST in Prince Albert and then her B.F.A. at the University of Saskatchewan. Paula has had two successful applications for CARFAC mentorships (these are not easy to get, so props to her!); one with Alicia Popoff and another with Anita Rocamora.

Creeper © Paula Cooley

From all of these accomplishments I realize my first impressions of her were bang-on. She does not mind hard work, she can't get enough of learning and she loves to experiment. Speaking of experimenting, feast your eyes on the horse hair vase! Yes, I said horse hair!

Horsehair Vase © Paula Cooley

To get this effect Paula heats up an unglazed, bisque-fired white pot to about 1000 degrees C and then quickly removes it from the kiln. At this point she has less than two minutes to drape strands of horse hair onto the pot so it burns to the surface before the pot is too cool. I think the effect is stunning and I hope to own one someday.

I mentioned that Paula struck me as a generous person. This is because I saw her support and engage in the efforts of other students last summer at Kenderdine. Back in town I began following her Facebook page and I discovered that she shares more work of other ceramic artists on her page than she shares of her own! Definitely generous.

image © Paula Cooley

Paula's art is now her full-time career, but her schedule this spring actually sounds more than full-time. Along with the 330 Design Group, she has a show on right now called "Incite Insight" at the Affinity Gallery in Saskatoon which runs until April 19. Here is the rest of her schedule for the next couple of months:

Saskatoon Potters Guild Spring Sale , April 21 and 22 at the Albert Community Centre, Saskatoon
Black Strap Studio Arts Tour, Blackstrap, May 25 and 26
Art Trek: Studio Discovery Tour, Saskatoon, June 7 and 8, 330 Avenue G South.  
Bazaart, Regina, June 15

 

      Stags © Paula Cooley                                 Pleien © Paula Cooley

I hope that some of you might now be inspired to seek her out at some of these events. The beautiful photography of Paula and her work can be credited to Grant Kernan at AK Photos.

image © Paula Cooley

Artist Statement: 

"I am a full time ceramic artist, living and working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  I have been a studio potter since 1999, and my artistic practice includes functional and sculptural work, both of which influence and inform each other.  My domestic ware is uncomplicated and elegant while my one-of-a-kind sculptural work blends technique and craftsmanship with more experimental shapes.  I am interested in organic and voluptuous forms with a touch of attitude and/or whimsy.  I strive to make sculptures that appear ready to grow or move, shaping and animating the space around them.  My work tends towards abstraction as I want to encourage various and individual interpretations or readings of my sculptures.

Curiosity fuels my practice. I am fascinated by the plasticity of clay and the almost endless ways in which it can be manipulated, decorated and finished.  I work with wheel-throwing, hand-building and numerous firing techniques, ranging from low temperature barrel firing to high fire atmospheric firings using salt or wood.  In the last several years I have begun investigating how to incorporate other materials such as metal, bone and glass into my ceramic sculptures and I am excited by having even more sculptural possibilities to explore!"


Please follow these links to learn more about Paula and her work. FYI, the photos on her Facebook page are excellent!




Friday, April 12, 2013

Mi Amor

Mi Amor
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


I love this piece. I love the prairies. I love painting. The end.

*Turns out there is more to this story! When I woke up and checked emails this morning I found out that today Mi Amor is one of Daily Paintworks' Facebook picks of the day! 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shock of Blue

Shock of Blue
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013


I absolutely love pools of water in fields and the unusual shock of colour they can provide. I love driving through the prairies on a clear day and seeing shots of blue on the ground- the reflections are always more intense than the actual sky. It is especially pleasing to me in the spring (not our present white spring) when the bleached blonde stubble in the fields accentuate this effect.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beautiful Erosion

Beautiful Erosion
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


Painting a scene like this gives me hope I will see green again... and I don't mean because I am feeling envious. Well, maybe I am of those who live in the Caribbean. We are supposed to get more snow tonight. It's not funny anymore.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Monika Kinner-Whalen

© Monika Kinner-Whalen

Here it is... the first installment of Sunday Spotlight where I happily introduce and brag about a local artist I know. I hope you will take the time to follow the provided links so that you can discover even more about the artist in the spotlight.

And now with pleasure I introduce to you... 

Monika Kinner-Whalen, fibre artist extraordinaire!

Monika has been an inspiration to me ever since I met her two years ago at the Friends of the Forestry Farm House Spring Art Show and Sale. We clicked right away- I think we were both happy to find another local artist, at-home mom who "blogged" and was trying to make a business of her artistic passion. Monika is extremely dedicated to her art and her blog, My Sweet Prairie, which has reached nearly 500,000 hits! What?! Crazy talk, but true! In what I think is a short amount of time (she has only been doing this for about three years) she has basically become an expert in her field and is consistantly being approached to teach workshops and classes.

© Monika Kinner-Whalen

Monika dyes her own threads and ribbons which she then uses to represent grasses, flowers, crops, and native plants. It is fascinating, don't you think, what she can create with fancy french knots, embroidery stitches and hand-dyed fabrics?

"I work by sight (no tracing or templates) and stitch it all onto canvas
 by free-motion machine and freestyle hand embroidery. 
I had no teachers for this, although it is a common
technique in the UK where fibre art is not a new idea."

And speaking of the UK... Monika was approached to have images of her work used in a book called "Mastering the Art of Embroidery" by Sophie Long, who was one of the chosen embroiderers to work on the royal wedding gown of Kate Middleton. The book looks absolutely gorgeous and I think Monika's work stands out... not that I'm biased! It makes a huge difference that she has become an excellent photographer and is therefore able to show-case her work in the best possible light.

-
image © Monika Kinner-Whalen

One of my all-time favorite pieces that Monika has attempted is a dress... yes, I said a dress! A Prairie Dress. It was in "Seeds" (emerging Saskatchewan artists' show) last year at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Affinity Gallery and then it traveled to Halifax for Canada's national juried quilt show later in the year. What an undertaking... and she even made shoes to match! Follow the above link to her blog and search "prairie dress" to read more.

 
images © Monika Kinner-Whalen

I am always curious to see what Monika will produce next. When she posts something on her blog or Facebook page I always have to take a moment to swoon, and dream of the day that one of her pieces will be mine.

© Monika Kinner-Whalen

© Monika Kinner-Whalen

Monika's Artist Statement:

"I am a dedicated fibre artist specializing in freestyle embroidery.  My creations are expressions of my love for the prairies and often originate from my own personal photographs of Saskatchewan.  I am constantly amazed by the texture and intricate beauty that can be achieved by working with threads.  I am self-taught in the areas of needle arts and photography.  Since 2010, I have been practicing, exploring, and combining these two disciplines on a daily basis.  An extremely positive public response to my work has gained me exhibition invitations, awards, media attention, teaching & public speaking opportunities, as well as commissions locally, nationally, and internationally.  I am excited to continue my work as I see my skills and art improve with each new piece."

image © Monika Kinner-Whalen

Please follow these links so you can learn more about Monika and her art:




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Birch and Pine at Dusk

Birch and Pine at Dusk
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


I miss the north. Lately I have been yearning (yes, actually yearning!) for the smell of pine trees and fresh lake air. I have been dreaming of plein air excursions and wishing a plan for a painting retreat would fall in my lap.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flock and Gather Jury Says "Yes!"



I am extremely excited to announce that my application passed the approval of the jury! I have been a long-time admirer of the Flock and Gather Handmade Market and now I will be joining in on the fun! I will have a booth at the Springtime Market (which is in two weeks) and I will be selling my original 6x6" oil paintings. If you have never been to this market you must put it on the calendar and find the time to go. They are selective in the choice of their vendors so the quality and uniqueness has always been top-notch. You are sure to find hand-crafted things you can't really find anywhere else, from jewelry to cards to clothing to hand-bound books. And now you will find original oil paintings by moi!

I will keep the information posted to the right on my blog until the event is over, so if you need a reminder of the times and dates, come back and check... also here is a link to their Facebook event:

Flock and Gather Springtime Handmade Market

See you there!