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!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time At The Studio

photo © Nicki Ault, 2014

Sunday was such a lazy day around the house that it only made sense for me to take my leave and go to the studio! I decided to play on another 36 x 24" canvas to see if I could come up with a second option for my little bathroom.  Dripping paint + spritzing water to make interesting marks + scrubbing around vibrant colours = good times!

detail © Nicki Ault

Friday, December 26, 2014

Peace and Gratitude


I have not had an easy time getting into the spirit of the holidays this year. Despite that fact I managed to go through the motions and get everything done. Finally on Christmas Eve I fed off the excitement of the kids and found myself feeling not only happy, but extremely grateful. Until then I was feeling rather Scroogey; the pressure of the season was taking its toll. I always want to create wonderful holiday memories for my boys and sometimes, most of the time actually, it is exhausting. The shear excess of the season also overwhelms me, as does the commercialism. Sigh. I think I go through some level of anxiety every year and every year, at some point, I take a deep breath and roll with it.

As I mentioned, this point didn't hit until Christmas Eve. I really tried to make an effort to "get in the moment", so I paused and watched my sons' growing joy and elation over the ensuing festive binge. Their innocence made me smile. Then it happened, my heart grew three sizes, maybe four! As I felt my ribcage swell, I truly felt gratitude wash over me. I mean really, who was I to be grumpy when I have so much? I have healthy children, a roof over my head, bills we can pay, clean water, easy access to food and groceries, friends and family who love me, and among so many other things I am able to say that painting is my job. Given my circumstances I decided that I was kind of a jerk to be grumpy. It is not lost on me that the holidays can be a desperate time for some people; a time of pain and hardship, loss and sorrow. Fortunately that is not the position I am in this year, but I am more than aware- knock on wood- that next year could be a different story.

So to all that read this, no matter what you believe, no matter your circumstances, no matter where you are on this earth, I wish you peace, love and friendship. I hope you get through the holiday season unscathed and I hope 2015 is a bountiful year for you and yours.

May there be peace on earth.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Not Flowers

Not Flowers
36 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since I began renovating. The bulk of the work went very smoothly and relatively quickly for how these things can go. I am really happy with the results, but I am still tying up loose ends like finding storage solutions, purging things I no longer need and finalizing little decorating details. Pre-renos my house was rather colourful with a blue kitchen, red powder room, green bathroom, cream/light yellow dining room and taupe family room. Post-renos I have neutralized all of the walls to a beautiful soft gray and now I want the colour to come from artwork and accessories. This is where today's painting comes in.

A couple of weeks ago I started this piece for my main floor powder room. My goal was to create an abstract that would have a bit of a feminine flair and work well with the awesome mirror I found online. I really wanted to use a variety of pinks, corals and oranges with some soft whites. It started out much more structural as you can see in the studio shot below...


... but as I worked on it my feelings about it changed. Initially I thought I would go with a more linear approach, but once I had a number of brushstrokes laid down I found some interesting marks, so I began to play with more organic shapes and patterns, rather than lines. The entire thing was impulsive and completely fun to paint. Between painting sessions I also had to hit Hues Art Supply for some better tubes of colour with which to do my mixing- Cadmium Red makes sucky, dull pinks!

The painting is really growing on me. It is propped against the wall in my bathroom and I am living with it for awhile to see if it is the right fit. I'm pretty sure I like it and so does my youngest son. My husband and oldest son are less enthused. What do you think?

my awesome mirror and artwork by my friends
Cam Forrester and Ken Van Rees

"Not Flowers" in its new home?

"Not Flowers" reflected in the mirror

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Paintings At Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery


Should I, shouldn't I? Should I, shouldn't I?

I've been going around like that for days. Should I make a post about the paintings I have available at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery? Or should I just hope that people remember about my paintings and the beautiful art, craft and design boutique they are in? In the end a little shameless self promotion wins. I mean, I am trying to make somewhat of a living through my art, at least enough to keep me home and available for the most important people in my life- my two sons. It's not an easy road, but I am so grateful for the flexibility my art "career" affords me. The kids have me at home at lunch and after school; this means I get to touch base with them throughout their day to see how things are going. It is what I always hoped I could do for my children if I was ever lucky enough to have them. It is what my mom did for me and my sisters.


So here I am making a blog post about the art I have for sale at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery. Maybe one of the paintings would make the perfect gift for that special person in your life. The paintings are displayed on a feature wall in the store and they have more in the backroom, so there is lots to choose from. Or maybe one of them is the perfect gift for someone to give you- it's not too late to add to your wish list!

Thanks for considering original art!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Drawing From Life

The Ear
graphite on Stonehenge paper
© Nicki Ault, 2014

Behind the scenes I continue to quietly work on my drawing at Atelier 2302. It has come a long way, but it also has a long way to go. It is a labour of love- my first cast drawing, putting everything I learned from the Bargues to test.

Thank you so much to the organizers of Flock and Gather who asked me to fill a spot at the last moment. It was a great weekend and I was thrilled to be there among such talented artisans and vendors. Thank you everyone who dropped by to say "hi" and to those who supported me and the other "makers". I think, happily, we all left a bit low on inventory!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dusk, Waskesiu

Dusk, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

This view is from a lookout near the golf course on Prospect Point in Waskesiu. Same location as my other 6x6" painting, "As Night Falls". A time of day when everything can begin to get dark and gray, but the setting sun offers a hint if colour.

Flock and Gather Winter Wonders Handmade Market was so much fun yesterday- very busy with some good sales for me. I am sure today will be just as busy so I think a coffee is in order before I get there. It is a longer day today, seven hours, so I will be tired tonight. Happy, but tired.

Here is the poster again with all of the details:


Friday, December 5, 2014

Glimmer at Flock and Gather

Glimmer
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

Sometimes, in the forest at sunset, the light just glimmers through the trees. 

This is my one of my newest little painting- I will have another to show you tomorrow. I am so glad I recently painted a few more 6x6's because late yesterday afternoon I got an unexpected email asking me if I wanted to take a spot that came open for the Flock and Gather Winter Wonders Handmade Market. Without hesitation my answer was a resounding "YES!". It is probably the finest and most unique artisan market that Saskatoon has to offer. I am very excited, but also scrambling a bit to make sure I am prepared for set-up at 1:30 today. I think I am good to go- I have my list made up to help me, but the question is, did I forget to put something on the list?


Please come and support local artists. It is the perfect place to find that special gift for someone you love or maybe even a little something for yourself. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Clear Day In Saskatchewan

Clear Day In Saskatchewan
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014
http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/nicki-ault/clear-day-in-saskatchewan/294962
sold

This little painting makes a simple statement: yellow and blue, two colours we see a lot of in the summer in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thunderheads Rising

Thunderheads Rising
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

At drawing class last week my instructor held an impromptu lecture/discussion using Photoshop and my painting "Strange Land" to talk about various aspects of creating an image. It was really interesting and helpful to have visual references to the conversation. I now have a desire to learn more about Photoshop as a tool to use in my art... I just have to find the time!

As a response to that discussion I painted another stormy prairie scene- love those thunderheads.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Strange Land

Strange Land
36 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014
sold

This is the large sky that morphed from the little study "It Poured". It became a sky from a strange land.

The journey continues as I try to get my head in the game and use the info I am gathering from Atelier 2302. As much as I seem to understand the concepts when I am at school, I forget them all when I am at the studio and I just go back to painting my usual way. Perhaps my struggles as I perceive them are because I am still in the drawing program at the Atelier; maybe when I start the painting program it will all come together in a flash! Oooooorrrrr... perhaps you can't actually teach an old dog new tricks. I fear that may be the case! There is so much to think about: hue, value, chroma, edges, shapes, balance, proportion, harmony, pacing, patterns, contrast and keying to name a few. Ugh. It was easier when I was blissfully unaware!

We had an amazing inaugural Open Studio on Sunday. Thank you to all who came by to visit and buy original art. There is no way to have kept count of the numbers of people who stopped in- there were hundreds. I think it is safe to say that our new location was a hit and many people left very impressed. I am excited to plan another event for the new year!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sweet Prairie

Sweet Prairie
6 x 6"
oil on board

I wanted to paint one more little prairie scene to round out my display board for the Open Studio tomorrow and "Sweet Prairie" is the result.

The studio space is really coming together- both the common area and the individual rooms. There is a lot of anticipation for a busy day and we are all excited for this inaugural event. Please come if you are in Saskatoon- details are at the top of this blog.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Late Afternoon Grace

Late Afternoon Grace
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

This is the last of the five paintings I just delivered to Lifestyles. Maybe one of them is the perfect gift for someone in your life.

A little study of a spectacular sky and the water reflecting it. Even dugouts can be a source of beauty.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Another example of how much I love the water in fields reflecting the blue of the sky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spring Rain

Spring Rain
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Another new painting at Lifestyles... it doesn't show as well in the photo, but the green field has that wet, bright after-the-rain look to it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Marshland

Marshland
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery

 This one was all about the soft colours in the water. I love the hues that can turn up at dusk.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wet Field

Wet Field
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I just made another delivery of five paintings to Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery and plan to produce a few more pieces in anticipation of a busy holiday season. Original art makes a great gift!

I've done a couple of versions of this painting in the past. I am intrigued by water in fields and how the shock of blue from the reflection of the sky can look so powerful. In this case I love how it looks against the wet, dark earth.

I am getting really excited for the Open Studio on Sunday, November 23- it should be a wonderful event, but wouldn't you know it- I've come down with a cold! I'm intent on babying myself so that I can recover quickly and get on with the preparations. Bridget and I have a lot to do to get our space ready and time is becoming of the essence!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

You're Invited!



Please consider this your formal invitation to attend the open studio show and sale where I paint. We'd love it if you brought a friend or two! Mark your calendar- it's fourteen sleeps from today.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It Poured

It Poured
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

It's time to get ready for the open studio which is on November 23rd - not that far away. I'm in need of a few more 6 x 6" paintings to fill my display board, so when I was painting the other day, the subject was a little sky. Actually the reason for this small painting was two-fold: 1) to have another on hand for the open studio and 2) to use as a study for a larger painting I've been thinking about. The larger piece is now underway, but it has actually taken on a life of its own. It has strayed from the study, but that's okay- you gotta roll with the punches sometimes. 

I'm learning lots about planning the work, being a bit more thoughtful and academic in one's approach and applying things I never knew before, yet at the same time when it gets down to the actual job of painting, I find you still have to be prepared to react and make changes (sometimes big ones) if it just isn't working for you. The yin and yang of art making is on my mind a lot lately.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jack Pine on Lynx Lake, La Ronge

Jack Pine on Lynx Lake, La Ronge
48 x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014
sold

I still find myself inspired by my canoe trip experience from summer 2013. I've been thinking about this Jack Pine for months and finally decided to take a stab at painting it. We came across this rocky point on our last day and we felt it was the perfect place to stop for lunch. This tree really made me catch my breath, it was so beautiful. My canoeing partner, Erica, and I took loads of photos of it and the reference picture I chose to work from was hers, I think, so thank you Erica!

I recently saw Cliff Speer from CanoeSki Discovery Company and it sounds like he is planning to run a third annual "Canoeing and Painting in the Wild" trip for summer 2015. If it sounds like something you might enjoy, start thinking about it and check out the highlighted links for more information.

Update: The studio where I paint has decided on a date for our first annual "Open Studio". Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 23 from 12-5, it should be a great afternoon! See details at the top of this blog.

Monday, October 27, 2014

In The Brush

In The Brush
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014

In my last post I mentioned that I recently found two rather awful plein air paintings which I had previously started, but not finished. "Denouement" is now covering one and "In The Brush" is thankfully covering the other. Hopefully the foreground looks like dark, scrubby brush that you often see on the prairies- possibly a little patch of land that is not farmable (is that a word?) or a thicket in the grasslands.

A quick bit of business: I have added an email sign-up to the top right-hand corner of my blog. Basically, if you want notification that I have added a new painting to the blog, you will receive a simple email letting you know. Just follow the easy steps and voila! These emails will not be used for any other purpose than for what I have just described.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Denouement

Denouement
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel

Last week I was rummaging around in the studio and I found two remarkably bad, unfinished plein air paintings- both of grassy, marshy landscapes. Oooh they stunk. Not wanting to throw them away, I decided to use these boards to play around in an attempt to have fun with my paints because, sadly, I have not been having much fun in the studio lately. A couple of friends recently suggested I try to paint with larger brushes, so on this relatively small 12 x 12" cradled panel I used a 1 1/4 inch brush almost exclusively. It's possible they were thinking I should be more radical than that, but I would normally use a half inch brush for this size board, maybe smaller. It seemed like a stretch to me. It was fun, I actually smiled a bit while I painted! And I like the result much more than the miserable painting that lies beneath!  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drawing From Life

my set-up at Atelier 2302

In mid-September drawing class resumed at Atelier 2302 and I picked up from where I left off. With three "Bargues" of increasing difficulty under my belt, I have now moved on to working from life. I spent three weeks drawing different angles of three different casts: a horse's head, a bust of an old man, and a skull. My task was to create a construct of the subject, finding the essence of the big, over-all shape in as few lines as possible. I was off to a rocky start with that horse's head, but each attempt after that continued to see improvement. 

I have now begun working on my actual project, an ear. It is really hard to see the construct in the above two photos, but trust me, it's there and I have worked out the over-all shapes of the big form without getting bogged down in details (an urge I have to fight). In this construct I have also worked out the shadow shape, separating the lights and darks into big groupings. You can see in the below photo what I was working on today. I filled in the shadow shape with a flat, even tone and as soon as that was done I could see areas that needed correcting- it was actually pretty cool. I find it surprising how much it looks like an ear considering the simplicity of the information.

The learning curve continues and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge, but I shall persevere! I hope someday this is all second nature.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Turkey Day

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

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and as I reflect on my paintings this is the one that pops into mind as a representation of the holidays. To me, it really feels like fall on the prairies. It also represents how thankful I am to all who have purchased my paintings. The woman who owns this piece said it reminded her of riding her horse on her acreage in the fall, so I named it "Fall Ride". She actually now has two of my paintings and her daughter has one. I love when customers become a bit more like friends- it makes my heart happy.

Just recently I sold a painting to a lovely woman in Ottawa and also heard that two of my paintings will be heading to Geneva! I am so grateful to know that my paintings are appreciated in so many different places. Another piece of news is that one of the Georgian Bay paintings has been purchased for a corporate collection. I feel very thankful for that.

Mostly I am grateful for the constant support and enthusiasm I receive from so many friends and Facebook "fans". My sister and I were talking the other night and she said she couldn't believe that it has been five years since I have been blogging. My response was that I am motivated by the blog and the encouragement I receive each time I post. It all boils down to you- those that I know visit from the traffic I get here and those that respond to the posts on Facebook. It keeps me going.

So thank you to each and every one of you.   

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Up Above

Up Above
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014

I have taken loads of digital photos over the last several years to use as reference points for my paintings. Winters are long and hard here on the prairies, so I must be prepared. I have a bit of  a problem, however, in that I have been downloading them, but not organizing them. Now it's a huge job. I began the long road to organization last week and already I have discovered ideas that I had forgotten about- like doing a series of cloud paintings. Here is the first result. Another cloud just got a start at the studio yesterday.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Looking Back

on the easel
photo © Nicki Ault, 2014

I am feeling reflective. As I mentioned before, I have had this blog for five years and as I type this my hit counter has flipped over to 100,000. Now, I realize that this number is peanuts to many-a-blogger out there, but for me I never would have imagined five years ago that someday that many people would find their way here.

When I started this blog I rarely had an opportunity to paint; I was very busy with a preschooler and a little guy in Grade One. I was dreaming of a situation where I would have time to paint. It seemed so far off, if at all possible. In those days just making it to the end of the day was an accomplishment. I was riding on very little sleep since my preschooler was up several times a night- in fact, he didn't start sleeping through the night until he was in Kindergarten. I believe I was living on the edge of sanity and thankfully somehow I discovered a world on the internet that I didn't know existed- art blogs. Finding these artists kept me grounded and connected to something I loved, art, so when I had a quiet moment in the day or evening I could travel around from link to link and revel in what others were doing. I think I first came across Abbey Ryan, then Duane Keiser, Edward B. Gordon, Karen Jurick and Carol Marine- all "Daily Painters". I had never heard of that before. Imagine how impossible that seemed to sleep deprived, exhausted, all-consumed-by-children me. What was this concept? Painting a finished (small) painting every single day??? No way! People had time for this? My mind was blown. I couldn't even find the energy to take an art class once a week never mind paint every single day.

I began my blog with the hopes of connecting to the art world I found online. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it ultimately gave me something more- it gave me something that was mine and about me. This is not an easy concept for most mothers as we tend to take care of everyone else first and then see what we have left for ourselves. More often than not there seems to be nothing left over. But committing to this blog gave me permission to commit to myself and over time the cumulative effect of that is quite surprising. 

In the last five years since I began this blog (which is close to seven hundred posts), I got my own studio space, set up an online gallery for my small paintings with Daily Paintworks, connected with and met some wonderful bloggers. As well I have: taken painting holidays, had my work in art auctions, participated in a show celebrating the centenary of International Women's Day, found representation for my 8x8" paintings in a beautiful art, craft and design boutique, had several solo shows of my art in various locations and been part of several group shows. On top of that I have begun taking classes with Atelier 2302- which came along exactly when I was ready for it. Sleep deprived me from five years ago can't believe it. And it makes me wonder what the next five years may bring.

And I wish I knew because right now I don't really know where to go from here.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold


This is the last of the five paintings I recently took to Lifestyles By Darrell Ball Gallery. I am very thankful for the amazing August they had for me this summer. It is a partnership that continues to grow.

I love the distant little pine tree in this one. The colours were so fun to play with to create the feel of a glowing sunset. I tried to keep it loose, free and energetic. I hope you like it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cloud Cover Near Hague

Cloud Cover Near Hague
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

The white cloud in this scene was absolutely spectacular, made even more so by the contrast of the small dark clouds passing by. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wind Blown, Georgian Bay

Wind Blown, Georgian Bay
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery

Something a little different- suitable for this time of year. It's funny how some trees can lose their leaves so quickly and others hang on to them for dear life.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The East Cloud

The East Cloud
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

"The East Cloud" is another new painting delivered to Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery last week. When I think about the sky that day I am still astounded by the beauty and diversity I saw all around me the entire two hour drive home from the lake.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Clearing

The Clearing
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery
sold


I just delivered a group of new paintings to Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery. It was a good summer- I continue to be thrilled with the effort Darrell and his staff put into displaying and selling my work. I am feeling grateful today.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Forest Life

Forest Life
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2014
sold

I am heading to Solar Gardens right away for the art show. "Forest Life" is a newly completed painting that I will have with me. It looks like the weather will co-operate today and I am grateful for that since we will be set up under a large tent! Enjoy your day wherever it takes you!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Little Prairie

Little Prairie
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

A simple little fall scene on the wild prairies. This one will be going to Art @ Solar Gardens with me on Saturday. I am excited to get my display boards out and filled up- it's been awhile.

I have had some interesting conversations with people over the last week in regards to my little paintings compared to my larger work. The points were just touched on, but the jist is that there is a disconnect between the small and large work. I am intrigued and have to do some further investigation as well as deep thinking. I will have to seek these people out to find out more. I do know that I tend to work in a looser style on my small boards and when I get to bigger canvases I slow down and spend more time. As well, my small boards are painted with oils while lately most of my larger work has been acrylic, so I definitely handle the mediums differently. 

My goal, as always, is to grow and learn and improve. I want to become a better painter, so constructive criticism is welcome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

As Night Falls

As Night Falls
6 x 6"
oil on board

A painting of a beautiful, transitional time of day. I love dusk- especially at the lake when it is calm, and quiet, but the sky is dynamic.

On Saturday, September 20 I will be at Solar Gardens with a selection of my small work and a few larger pieces to round things out. It has the potential to be a very busy show and sale. If you are planning to attend bring cash or a checkbook- there will be some really great vendors.

And here is a sampling of the 6x6" paintings I will have with me:

Cloud Glow

Meewasin Study #3

Tilt

Waskesiu River In August

The Islands, Sulphide Lake

It's always great to see familiar faces at these things so if you are looking for a way to spend a lovely fall day, come out and say "hi". It is only a short fifteen minute drive from the city. Here is a link with a map and directions (scroll down a bit to find it). I think a variety of pizza is on the menu for the day... if nothing else that should be worth the drive!