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.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bargue Drawing - Stage Four

Bargue drawing, stage four

I cannot say enough about the drawing class I am taking. I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I think we have finished four classes and I was worried I would get a bit impatient with the process, but I haven't been at all. I feel so excited about learning these old master techniques and I really believe I will be so much more skilled when I complete this module and the ones to come.

We are working on Bargue drawings (based on Charles Bargue's lessons of old masters' skills and techniques); I just completed stage four which involved rendering the darkest shadow areas more fully. I learned the importance of edges, the airplane stroke and how to get a nice crisp, clean contour. At this point I have also worked in some of the reflected light into the shadow. The photo isn't the greatest because the shadow area in the actual drawing is darker in reality... though I may still have to darken it up a bit more. So far all the work has been done using a 2B pencil, but this week for stage five when we start working on the mid-value areas it will be time to bring out the HB pencil.  

Bargue drawing, stage three:
image transferred to Stonehenge paper 
and mid-dark values rendered

Bargue drawing, stage two
(totally didn't think to take a photo of stage one)

Tonight I ordered the book recommended by my instructor, Craig Berry, and which I recall one of my favorite painters, Edward B. Gordon, recommending at one time. The plates used for our exercises are from this book. The Canadian Amazon site has a really good price on this book right now:


I think I will do more Bargue drawings on my own time, so as to really make sure I have a grasp on things.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Art Show Tomorrow at the Forestry Farm


Man I love this poster! It was designed by artist Ryan Schmidt who will also be at tomorrow's art show and sale at the Forestry Farm. My fingers are crossed for good weather because the park has all kinds of family fun activities planned for the day to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original Sutherland Nursery Farm Station. I will be at the art show with my 6x6" oil paintings. I feel a smidge guilty that I didn't do the 30 paintings in 30 days project this year, but I do have a nice selection of work to take and I am mostly relieved that I didn't put pressure on myself.

Here is a sampling of the work that will be there tomorrow:






I hope it is warm, but not burning hot so that the animals in the zoo will be out for the kids to see. I will be at the art show and sale from 12 noon until 5:00 located in the hall near the main parking lot. I do believe there will be a colouring/craft station for kids set up in this venue and also a refreshment booth. It should be a great day! Stay away rain, come crowds of people!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Kathy Bradshaw

Northern Bog
oil on canvas
© Kathy Bradshaw

It is my great pleasure to take the spotlight and shine it directly on local Saskatoon artist, Kathy Bradshaw.

Kathy is a superb and expressive landscape painter who strikes me as a life-long learner. In the first part of her high school teaching career she taught English and Physical Education. After school hours I suspect she was like many of us, busy with children and family but she would squeeze in time to draw. In 2004-05 Kathy took an educational leave from her job and pursued her B.F.A. at the University of Saskatchewan. It was at this time that she began to realize her dream of becoming an artist. While at university she fell hopelessly in love with painting and completed all four levels in just fifteen months. With her B.F.A. in hand she returned to her career, but this time in the role of art teacher at a new collegiate in town. She says,

 "As I move into my final years of teaching, I am extremely thankful that I am able to share my passion for art-making with my students".

And that sums up how I see Kathy: as an educator and a person passionately interested in growing and learning as much as she can and then sharing that information and discovery with others, whether it be her students or her colleagues. I met Kathy at, you guessed it, the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus during a week-long class in 2010. I have vivid memories of her talking about working in encaustic, which I didn't know much about at all. I recall her inviting me to come and watch her work sometime during the week. Being extremely curious, I absolutely took her up on the offer. One beautiful, calm, sunny day I saw her table set up outside of the main studio building so I wandered over to see her at work. She was layering, scraping, colouring and dripping wax- turning it into a beautiful landscape painting. It was mesmerizing!


images © Nicki Ault
 
Her muffin tin of coloured wax sat melting on a hot griddle and I had never seen anything like it before! Kathy explained that one of the classes she took while working on her B.F.A. was called "Hands on History" (with professor Paul Hamilton). The focus of the class was to research an ancient medium, create it from scratch and then reproduce an artifact from the time period using that medium. She chose encaustic because she had seen a painting once and had instantly fallen in love with its mysterious quality. She thought to herself that someday she would be doing that. For her research project she created a life-sized Egyptian mummy, wrote a research paper and presented her work. The rest is HER history... she has been painting in encaustic ever since. Please enjoy this small sampling of some of Kathy's original encaustic work:

Artists' Conk
encaustic
© Kathy Bradshaw

Thinking It Through
 encaustic
© Kathy Bradshaw

Road To Somewhere
 encaustic
© Kathy Bradshaw

Woman Fixing Hair
encaustic
© Kathy Bradshaw

Kathy's talent does not stop there. She is a beautiful oil painter, as you can see in the first image at the top of this post and the images below. I can't get enough of looking at "Northern Bog"! It might be my absolute favorite "Kathy Bradshaw". I feel transported when I look at it- it takes me north to the land that I love; I can smell the earthy forest and wet bog-land, I know that pale gray/blue sky that is reflected in the water and I love how she has brought out the soft corals and oranges that you see in fallen, water-logged leaves.


Hydrangeas in Blue Jar
oil on canvas
© Kathy Bradshaw

Kathy's growth over the last decade can be attributed to her dedication to her craft and the learning moments she has experienced with accomplished Saskatchewan painters such as: Bob Christie, George Glenn, Iris Hauser, Graham Fowler, Clint Hunker, Ward Schell and David Alexander. Last year Kathy was awarded a CARFAC mentor-ship and began working alongside established landscape painter, Clint Hunker, in September 2012. During this time she feels has made measurable gains in her sense of composition, use of colour and skill at mark-making. Influence comes in all shapes and sizes. For all of the inspiration and influence she has garnered from these extraordinary people, Kathy feels she also must acknowledge a place. She writes,

"I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a very special place for I also owe much of my artistic growth and love for plein air landscape painting to the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus…a world-renowned artist retreat that has been recently and so shortsightedly closed."

Obviously I am in complete agreement with her, as are so many artists who have made enormous strides due to their time at this magical site. I fully imagine it to be open again and I envision Kathy teaching encaustic workshops on Kenderdine's historic grounds; back in the forest with her muffin tins of wax and and full class of participants wanting to learn from her!

Smell The Roses
oil on canvas
© Kathy Bradshaw

Roses on Red Chair
oil on canvas
© Kathy Bradshaw


Artist Statement:

"Although I work with a range of subject matters, I am most passionate about depicting the solitude, strength and beauty within prairie and northern boreal forest landscapes, a love no doubt cultured by several summers spent at Kenderdine.  My works are largely explorations in colour, texture and space and are created with oils, encaustic, various drawing media and collage.  Using a layering process allows me to imply a history, relay a sense of mystery and establish a mood.  With each work, I strive to convey the presence of the space before me and the character of the forms within that space.  I am also fascinated with the effects of light and feed on the challenge of expressing this in my work." 


 image © Kathy Bradshaw
Kathy working in the studio at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus

Kathy's oil and encaustic work is represented by the Nouveau Gallery in Regina, The Black Spruce Gallery in Christopher Lake and the Stall Gallery and Modern Country Interiors in Saskatoon.

To learn more about Kathy and her work please visit:

www.kathybradshawart.com


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Golden

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


In May, for the last couple of years, I have done a daily painting project and then taken the paintings to the Friends of the Forestry Farm House Spring Art Show and Sale. I have a table at the show again this year, but my heart was just not into the daily painting project. Other things are distracting me and as a result I was dreading the project. Not good. Then one day in April as I was hesitatingly calculating when I should start the thirty paintings in thirty days project, I realized that no one was putting pressure on me but myself! Light-bulb!!! I am my own boss! Whew! So I have just been painting 6x6's when I feel like it. Instead of using my huge portable wall that holds thirty paintings I will take my new, smaller display system to the art show. The pressure is off and the stress level is down.

I painted this painting after I made that decision and I felt happy the entire time. I love that golden moment of the day when the heat of the setting sun is slowly being replaced by the cool blues of the night.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Four New Paintings at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

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

Between Day and Night
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

 Can We Climb It?
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chartreuse Beam

Chartreuse Beam
6x6"
oil on board

I'm still missing Emma for a variety of reasons, too many to list fully. I'm sad about what I am missing out on this summer- things that were supposed to happen that now won't, things I wanted to continue but now can't, painting excursions, new challenges, new risks, new connections- the next chapter in a story. I feel like it all came to a screeching halt last fall when I found out this magnificent place, the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, would be closed for three years while the University of Saskatchewan reviewed its future. I'm miffed. And I'm being dramatic, but that's the mood I'm in.

Anyway, this beautiful campus sits on about 20 acres of pristine Boreal forest- old growth forest- about two hours north of Saskatoon. While in this missing mode I am trying to push myself to paint images from that area... if I am sad I can still try to make something good come of it. 

It makes me happy when a strong sun beam finds its way through the thick, cool forest and lights up a patch of the ground. The carpet of moss glows and radiates chartreuse... one of my favorite colours. The tangle of branches hover above, pointing out this beauty and all I want to do is go lay down on its softness.

I love it. I miss it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Missing Emma

Missing Emma
6 x 6"
oil on board

I went through a sad patch a week or so ago, thinking about Emma Lake and the Kenderdine Campus. I've been avoiding my resource photos from that area because looking at them just bummed me out. I often go to paint at the studio on the last Friday of the month and when I was there at the end of April I decided to plunge into the looming sadness and just feel it all. I looked through my photos and ended up painting this scene of Fairy Island at dusk.

The Kenderdine Campus should be opening in a couple of weeks and by now I would have registered for whichever class I might have decided to take... or maybe this would have been the year that I finally would have mustered the guts up to apply for the two week Artists' Workshop. In the end it is closed and not likely to open for three years, if the University of Saskatchewan ever even opens it again.

The Canoeski trip, "Canoeing and Painting in the Wild" will be a nice diversion and at least gives me an adventure to look forward to this summer, but nothing can take the place of Emma.

For information on The Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus please visit Keep Kenderdine.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunlight Through The Pines And Lifestyles Show

Sunlight Through the Pines
36 x 40"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

I haven't done many commissions, but when this one came up I felt really good about it. I initially thought it was do-able, but when it was about 80% finished I didn't feel that way anymore! I had to take a break and re-group. It actually helped to take a photo and study it at home which is when I realized that the trees seemed too heavy and it was all-over too dark. It was scary to make significant tweaks, but once I realized it wasn't good enough and that I wouldn't feel right about delivering it, it was easier to make the changes it needed. With the alterations it came alive and the light really began to sparkle through the trees like I had hoped.

I delivered the painting on the weekend and it was extremely well received, in fact, the reaction was humbling. Art can do this amazing thing that when you make a personal connection to a piece, it can transport you to a time and place in your memory, tapping into emotions for which it is difficult to find words. I am so happy it is in a home where it will be enjoyed for years to come.

As well on the weekend, I spent Saturday at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery. It was so much fun and I really appreciated the friends and family who came down to say "hi". This connection with Darrell Bell has been a big deal in my journey and it means a lot that people are happy for me. Here are some photos of my show at the boutique and my "window display" where I spent some time painting:










The funniest part of the day happened when I was painting and a small group of tourists walked by. They stopped and began taking photos of each other in front of the window with me in it!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Today I'll Be at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery!

Main Beach After the Rain
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

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


Today is the day! I will be hanging out at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery for the entire afternoon. We decided to create a bit of an event to stir up some interest. My painting gear will be set up in the window and I actually plan to do a bit of painting, but it will be okay if it is so busy that I can't get any work done. :) If it's not busy I will get a lot of work done, so it is all good either way!

I think original art makes a wonderful Mother's Day gift... or a gift of any kind, so come on down to see if one of my paintings or any of their other beautiful merchandise might fit someone on your shopping list.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Three More Paintings for Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

  Lean In and Enjoy The View
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold
 
The Sky Over Prospect Point
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold


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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Three New Paintings at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

It Won't Be Long
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

West End, King's Island
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

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

For the month of May I am the featured artist at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery. I am looking forward to this Saturday (May 4) when I will be at the store meeting and greeting the customers. I will even have my easel and plein air painting gear with me... it will be set up in the window where I will be working on some new 8 x 8" paintings for the store. Yes, I will be an interactive window display! It should be fun and hopefully it will get some great conversations started.

I plan to be there from about 11:00 until 6:00, so if you are in the downtown Saskatoon area, please stop by with your friendly face and say hello! Mother's Day is just over a week away and an original painting would make a wonderful gift.