March 26 from 3-6 p.m.: I will have a painting in the biennial art auction in support of the Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon. Learn more about the auction and how to get tickets here.

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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Announcement - Sunday Spotlight

Welcome to a new part of my blog- Sunday Spotlight! 

I have been thinking about this for a very long time and meant to start it up in the new year, but one thing lead to another and it didn't happen. Here we are at the end of March and I am finally getting down to it!

This idea all came about last fall when I was feeling a bit over myself. Not that I am hung up on myself, but at the time my mood was quite negative and I my head space was consumed with thoughts of: "A blog, Nicki? Really? Who cares? Your parents? Your sisters? So you make art- who gives a rats-ass?" Yup, pretty negative for someone who is generally a glass-is-half-full kind of girl, but to put it in context this stinkin' thinkin' all happened around the time of the closure of my beloved Kenderdine Campus. At this time it just seemed to me that there was no point to the whole art scene since obviously nobody cared! Eventually, my thoughts turned to all of the local Saskatchewan people I know who have amazing creative and artistic talents. I started writing a list of what some of them are doing and I was blown away! And you know what? I care!!! Even if nobody else does (which, in a better state of mind, I know is not true), I discovered that I care! I admire each and every one of them, the work they do and the genuine guts it takes to pursue their passion. The creating and sharing of art is not for the faint-of-heart! This is when the idea struck that I should use my blog as a way of putting a spotlight on my talented Saskatchewan friends! So on Sundays when I make a post I am going to get over myself and on to someone else!* I am going to try not to be overly wordy with these Sunday posts; I plan to highlight the person with a brief introduction, provide links for you to explore and discover, and hopefully even use a few images with their permission.

So next week please watch for the first installment of Sunday Spotlight!

(I already have so much to share about the amazing artist who will be my first Sunday Spotlight that it will be a real challenge to not be wordy!)

* It should be noted that I do not expect anything in return from any of these friends and acquaintances. I am doing this simply because I want to and it feels right.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Smoke Haze Over Waskesiu

Smoke Haze Over Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013

In case I have been vague in my expression of my love for painting, let me just set the record straight. I really love painting. A lot. Mucho. In some ways it is like a life-line to my real self, so it makes me wonder: how did I connect with myself in the days before I was painting? It's a bit of a mystery and maybe the answer is, I didn't. Or maybe the answer is that before becoming a wife and a mother I knew who I was and didn't need art the way I need it now. Either way, thank goodness! I paint, therefore I am.

Earlier this week I made an announcement on my Facebook page that I am now listed on the Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting. Here is the link for you to check out... Nicki Ault.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wolf Willow Tapestry

Wolf Willow Tapestry
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
 sold


I am so looking forward to foliage! I love the seasons, but this winter has been a long one. I am ready for green buds on trees and glorious colour sprouting up everywhere. And then after a green summer I know I will be looking forward to the tapestry of warm, rich colours that fall will bring. And yes, when that wains I will dream of a soft white blanket of snow...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Prairie Oasis

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

I have painted this scene three times now, all different sizes, all a bit different from the other. I love the Saskatchewan fields in the spring or after a rain when they are saturated; dark,wet earth holding pools of water that reflect the sky. We are not even close to that situation right now, but when the big melt comes I think my camera and I will be out getting a boat-load of reference photos to work from... and then I won't have to keep painting this one!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday






I am so glad I went to drawing session today! And from the sketches I am sure you can guess why. We had two models today... a mom and her seven week old baby boy. What a treat! The poses were all relatively short, but what fun exercises they were. The best part? When mom took a break and had a coffee, I got to snuggle the baby! I managed to get him to fall asleep and then I snuggled him and got to enjoy his soft little breaths and baby noises. I almost want another one. Almost.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surrendering the Day

Surrendering the Day
6x6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013


I was lucky enough to have a day at the studio today and I think I will enjoy that same privilege tomorrow. I did this little study and also worked on my commission. I've been wanting this large, commissioned painting to work so badly that I have paralyzed myself a little with the desire for excellence. To ease the anxiety I have been doing small studies and it is helping. As I painted today I realized that perhaps working at a large scale may actually make some elements easier, so I am going to shift my thinking and go with that!

When I left for lunch today to could hardly get out the door at the studio. Why, you ask? Well, the wind had blown a huge snow drift across the doorway and because the door swings out, I could only open it just enough to squeeze through (luckily). I had to bring a shovel to get back in after lunch! Crazy! Ahhhh, the joys of the first day of Spring in Saskatchewan!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday and Auction Tomorrow

10 minute sketch
pencil on paper
© Nicki Ault, 2013

 15 minute sketch
pencil on paper
© Nicki Ault, 2013

Two weeks in a row! The Saturday drop-in drawing session was excellent today. The model was fantastic; she was a veteran and what a difference that makes. I so wish I got her eyes right in the second sketch. Dang. I loved the lines of her neck and shoulders in that pose. I may go back and tamper with it a bit... try to get those eyes better.

My nerves are starting to kick in because tomorrow I have three paintings in a curated auction raising money for the Sexual Health Centre. It is a biannual auction and I was in it for the first time two years ago. The curators go around to various studios in town and hand select the work for the auction. I am extremely pleased that they wanted me to participate again. They chose two of my 6x6" paintings which will go as a set and then a 36 x 36" painting... here they are:

The Day The Lake Became The Sea
6x6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault
sold

Hover
6x6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault
sold

In The Thick of The Thicket
36x36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault
sold

I framed them all and my fingers are crossed the crickets won't be chirping when they come up for bid! The auction is being held at the Albert Community Centre on Clarence Ave. in Saskatoon and is open to the public, and I do believe there is a charge at the door. Viewing of the artwork is from 2:00-3:00 and the auction then goes from about 3:00-5:00. I hope to go, but I need to sort out a date because this is the type of nerve-wracking thing a gal needs support for!

Update: the auction went well and my paintings have new homes!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Shadows and Sunsets

In Shadows and Sunsets
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013 
sold

I love the effect of a sunset behind trees. I love the silhouette and structure created by the branches in shadow. I love the colourful light filtering through it all, making a magical scene. I love that there is no snow in this painting!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reflective

Reflective
6 x 6"
oil on board

I am having so much fun with my 6x6" size again. This painting was beyond enjoyable to make! The whole time I was painting it just felt right. I did this on Monday and I did a completely different 6x6 today. Initially when I painted the distant trees on the horizon I used a magenta/alizarin crimson/burnt umber mix. I intended to paint over with some sort of green/blue in the final stage, but I liked how it looked, so I left it. And I like that reflective reflection!

I hope it makes you smile. Art can do that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grandeur

Grandeur
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

As you may remember, I really loved my painting "Glory Be" which I made for Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I decided to take it up a notch and enlarge it by almost twenty-five times! At this scale it is a pretty dramatic piece and, as always with sunsets, I hope it is not too heavy on the cheese. I think it would look fantastic over a fireplace.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

White Cliffs by Seven Mile Beach, Waskesiu

White Cliffs by Seven Mile Beach, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


This is my newest little painting which I posted earlier on Daily Paintworks. I received an email from the administrators this morning saying they had chosen it as one of their Facebook "Picks of the Day"! That made me extra happy! 

These "cliffs" are so interesting and paint-worthy. I must try them on a larger scale; I took tons of photos last summer when we were out in the boat one gorgeous, beachy day. I wonder, will a day like that ever come again or have we actually entered the next "ice age"? This has been one long, Canadian winter!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Feelin' Sketchy Saturday

20 minute standing pose
pencil on paper
 © Nicki Ault, 2013

20 minute sitting pose
pencil on paper
© Nicki Ault, 2013

It's been awhile since I have done a Feelin' Sketchy Saturday post and it feels good! I had loads of fun meeting up with a friend for coffee, and a few belly laughs, and then going to the drop-in drawing session. I'm grateful to him for lighting a candle under me and getting me there today. Of course I felt rusty and the model was brand new, so she was nervous and unsure, but it all went okay. She had these long bangs that basically covered her eyes, but you could sort of see them, and she had a cute little turned up mouth. That foreshortened bent arm in the top pose really messed with my head! Tricky! Anyway, I must make more of an effort to get there or find time to sketch at home. Seeing a bit of progress would be nice.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day

In My Aura
24 x 24"
acrylic and oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2010
private collection

Today is the 102nd International Women's Day. Two years ago I created this piece for a collaborative show which took place in Ayr, Ontario. One hundred female artists from around the world each sent one piece of art (with the same dimensions) to the show to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day. It was an amazing experience and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the artists' opening and meet many of the women, including other bloggers I already knew online.

I am not a portrait painter, so my idea really scared me! It is a self portrait set in front of a collage of family photos- all female relatives and ancestors. The oldest photo I was able to find was that of my maternal Great Great Great Grandmother. I believe that as I walk (and stumble) through my life the women that came before me and that are with me today, influence who I am. I have grown immensely and vicariously through their stories. Creating this piece was more emotional than anything I have ever done from a creative standpoint. I felt the presence of these women as I worked. I reflected on what I knew about their lives: exceptional stories of love and loss, ambitious academic endeavors, world travels, emigration, unimaginable hardships, miscarriages, alcoholism, suicide, friendship, pioneer hardships, motherhood and battles with depression. It is all there, and more, in the faces of these women.

After a bit of research, I discovered that blue in an aura represents loving kindness, peace and universal compassion all of which I consider to be feminine traits. This worked out well because blue happened to be one of my grandmother's absolute favorite colours and so it is also a bit of a nod to her.

When I was pulling everything together to be part of this show, I got talking about it to one of the young teachers at my kids' school. She is from Bosnia and she told me that International Women's Day is HUGE in that area of the world. For women it is bigger than Mother's Day. Every woman receives flowers on this day, and a loaf of bread. When she married her husband she said she didn't care if he missed a special occasion here and there, but to never miss International Women's Day.

So to each and every beautiful, hard-working, loving, generous, struggling, laughing, crying, dreaming woman who reads this, take time today to appreciate those who came before as well as those who are in your lives now. And let's not forget the women in the world who have not yet found the freedom that many of us enjoy.

Happy International Women's Day!









Thursday, March 7, 2013

Late Day Marsh

Late Day Marsh
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold


Well this was just plain fun! I completely enjoyed playing with and mixing the paint to get the light effect I wanted. I also really tried to stay loose and not get bogged down in the details of the clouds- I kept reminding myself to simplify, simplify, simplify.

So I just have to say it- I have had it with winter! It snowed again today and honestly, enough already! I generally consider myself to be a glass-is-half-full kind of gal, but this winter is really testing me. The snowbank in front of my house is taller than my boys and check out this "ice flow" I noticed down the side of the studio building today...


What???!!!

 

Note:  I have decided to begin to include the PayPal "buy" link when I post my 6x6" paintings. This size makes up the majority of the paintings in my Daily Paintworks Gallery; the link will take you there to see the purchase/shipping info. Clicking on this link does not mean you are committing to the purchase of the painting- it just takes you to the spot where more information is available.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Father and Son

Father and Son
pencil on paper
© Nicki Ault, 2001

Last week I went to see the new atelier (art school) that is opening in town and ever since then I have been very excited about getting back to drawing. I am so looking forward to fine tuning my skills and learning more about training my eye to really see. I think some of my friends will recognize the father in this photo; I've known him since elementary school and I was pleased and honoured when his wife asked me to draw him with their first born. The likeness is pretty good, but I am sure once I learn more I'll want to try it again.

I have recently been spurred on by my drawing buddy to meet for coffee and then attend the drop-in drawing session with him this Saturday. I'll be rusty yet again, but hopefully I'll come out with something to show you. Stay tuned for a new installment of Feelin' Sketchy Saturday! All of my drawings up until now are going to act as the "befores" to all of the drawings I do "after" my atelier training is complete!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Heat

Heat
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013


Whew! This one put me through H-E-double-hockey-sticks! It is amazing there is such a difference between a 6x6" format and an 8x8" format. I've gotten used to the slightly larger size. I initially tried to put waaaaaay to much information in this one and it just wasn't working. My photo reference had more clouds and a strong reflection of the sun right below the land line... a very glowing white/yellow patch. I tried to get it all in and it was just not happening. I almost scrapped the whole thing but then I decided to try editing. I'm glad I did because I am pleased with the end result. This was most certainly a learning piece, both in composition and colour. I'm glad I struggled through the pain!


Note:  I have decided to begin to include the PayPal "buy" link when I post my 6x6" paintings. This size makes up the majority of the paintings in my Daily Paintworks Gallery; the link will take you there to see the purchase/shipping info. Clicking on this link does not mean you are committing to the purchase of the painting- it just takes you to the spot where more information is available.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Is There Such Thing As Coincidence?

my new workspace at 
St. George Studio

This year started off a bit slow- many thing kept me from really getting down to business in my new space at St. George Studio... mostly illness (my kids and I kept taking turns) and holidays. Also, I was finding it difficult to find my groove in my new space. I really liked my original spot in the studio and I was very comfortable there, despite it's location at the entrance (which meant a lack of privacy). In the end it made sense to move one spot over when that space came open in December because I have dedicated 2013 to be a year of growth, learning and experimenting. Those things will be easier for me if I have more privacy. So now I am hunkered down in my new little corner of creativity and thankfully I finally got into the spirit of it this last week.

So with the move in place and my focus on growth and learning, you won't believe what I am about to tell you. Remember how last year I went to many drop-in drawing sessions on Saturdays (Feelin' Sketchy Saturday posts)? Well, for awhile I have been interested in learning more about portraiture and the figure, so I hoped this year of learning could really tackle that interest. Guess what is about to open up this spring in Saskatoon? An Atelier!!! This is an art school that teaches drawing and painting through the techniques of the old masters. I went with a friend and looked at the studio/school yesterday and spoke with the instructor. I am so excited! I do believe I will be going to art school this spring!

Is there such thing as coincidence or is it something else?

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Break Up

The Break Up, Waskesiu Lake
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold 


Well, that was short-lived! My oldest boy woke up in the middle of the night hacking and coughing like an old man. He was all stuffed up and very uncomfortable and is therefore home from school today. So much for the roll I was on at the studio this week. Hopefully I will be able to sustain the enthusiastic mood I have been in and pick it up again next week.

Anyway, here is another 6x6" painting I completed the other day. A beautiful ending to a rainy day at the lake when the clouds finally start to break up... leaving hope for a beach day tomorrow!

Note:  I have decided to begin to include the PayPal "buy" link when I post my 6x6" paintings. This size makes up the majority of the paintings in my Daily Paintworks Gallery; the link will take you there to see the purchase/shipping info. Clicking on this link does not mean you are committing to the purchase of the painting- it just takes you to the spot where more information is available.