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.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Just a Simple Canadian Girl

Bargue #3
(big form modelling)
graphite on Stonehenge paper

I'm just a simple Canadian girl working her way through a six-pack!!!

I am roughly half-way through the big-form modelling of my third Bargue drawing- the Belvedere Torso. I'm amazed by the confidence I gained during Bargue #2. I feel like the muscles and abs on this guy are a cake-walk next to working through the beard of my last Bargue. The hardest part of this one was the comparative measure at the beginning and I suppose that is because it was new to me. It's not over yet, however, so I should probably watch my words!

Once I finish all of the big-form modelling I will take one or two more passes over the entire drawing with an incredibly sharp pencil and clean it up so it reaches a high finish, then I will move on from copying the Bargue plates to working from a cast. This will challenge me again to take all I have learned and apply it to life- working directly from a three dimensional object. 

It is hard to believe I have been attending Atelier 2302 for almost a year (part-time) and I will have done three drawings. The time invested in each one is rather staggering, but in my mind entirely worth it. I also have to admit that I rarely find the time to work on the drawing outside of class, so that has slowed me down. The training I am receiving is priceless- my eye is stronger and I am honing my skills beyond anything I could have imagined. I am so thankful Craig Berry moved back to Saskatoon and opened his Atelier. Better late than never for me to gain this knowledge.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rocks and Rapids, Georgian Bay

Rocks and Rapids, Georgian Bay
30 x 60"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014
sold

Last October Bridget Aitken, Jackie Miller and I had the good fortune to find time to travel to Georgian Bay and paint. On Thanksgiving weekend while Jackie was away visiting family, Bridget, her sister and I went out on a photo taking excursion. We ended up on a hike right within Owen Sound itself. It was gorgeous- you would never have guessed, as we walked along the little river in the forest, that traffic and the hustle of the city was just beyond our view. To our surprise we came to rushing rapids that made a turn and went over a rocky cliff. We had no idea we were even up that high! It was spectacular and the entire forest had a mystical quality. A great setting for a movie, I think. 

Bridget and her sister were kind enough to indulge me and let me take the time to pull out my paints and do a quick study of the rock wall and rapids. 

Rocks and Rapids, Georgian Bay (study)
6 x 6"
oil on canvas board
 Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

I knew I would want to try this scene on a much larger scale once back home, and now finally I have. It felt great to be in the mood to paint!I hope it lasts.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Canoeing and Painting In The Wild - Year Two

On The Shadow Side of Pine
6 x 6"
oil on canvas board
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

If you check in with this blog now and then you might know that last summer I was lucky enough to join in on a fantastic new adventure called "Canoeing and Painting in the Wild" by CanoeSki Discovery Company. We drove about five hours north (of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) to the La Ronge area where we set off on a four day excursion to a remote part of the Canadian Shield. For a girl like me who had never canoed before, it was a bit intense, but for those who had canoed I think it was rather leisurely.

The great news is that Cliff Speer of CanoeSki is planning to run another trip this year to the same location at about the same time of the year (mid-August). I highly recommend this opportunity for anyone who enjoys the challenge of plein air painting. I felt privileged to be part of the trip and to see such untouched land in my own province- I felt even more honoured to be able to paint it.

The Shield
48 x 36"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

Upon our return I wrote a blog post for each day of the trip. If you would like to read more about last year's adventure please follow these links:

Canoeing and Painting In The Wild - Day One
Canoeing and Painting in The Wild - Day Two
Canoeing and Painting in The Wild - Day Three
Canoeing and Painting in The Wild - DayFour

For detailed information regarding summer 2014 please go to the CanoeSki website and thanks to Cliff for using a couple of my paintings as visuals!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bargue # 3 - The Belvedere Torso

  Bargue #3
graphite on Stonehenge paper
© Nicki Ault, 2014

My new motto: "Keep Calm and Bargue On".

I had a great day at Atelier 2302 yesterday. The real deal is underway on the Stonehenge paper. This is the point where, with every hour spent, the fear of something bad happening increases exponentially. I now have the light and dark shapes separated and a nice, even, homogenous tone in the shadow shapes. I really enjoy the next stage which will be to describe and refine the shadow shape and big-form model in the light shapes. At first I felt really nervous about that six-pack, but then I decided that if I pulled off the beard in Bargue #2, then I can surely do this.


I found this video on YouTube- footage of the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican Museum. It's not the greatest quality, however it is interesting to see the sculpture to scale and as a three dimensional object. I now understand the markings a bit better in my drawing (i.e. the hole on his right thigh). To learn more about this sculpture go to this link: The Belvedere Torso.

In other news, I have been to the studio a little bit and it is beginning to feel good again. I am tackling a really big painting right out of the gates, so all going well I will have that to show you soon. It is 30 x 60" and has some challenging subject matter in it.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Little Sumac On Georgian Bay

Little Sumac on Georgian Bay
30 x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014

My dry spell continues, although I did get to the studio on Monday and began a large panting. It felt good at the time but the magic did not last long. At least it was a glimmer and maybe this weekend I will find the right mood to go again.

The painting above was done at the temporary studio earlier this year and I totally forgot about it! I brought it home during the studio move and stored it with my other Georgian Bay paintings. It is based on a 6x6 study, "Little Sumac on the Beach" (see below), that I did while in Georgian Bay last fall. I liked the calmness of the sky and water next to the busy foreground. My fascination persisted with the little red plant growing out of the most impossible rocky terrain and I wondered how it might translate on a larger scale. It is not quite done, but it is close.

Little Sumac on the Beach (study)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2013

Since this post brings up Georgian Bay it seems like a good time for an announcement! Our application was accepted - Bridget, Jackie and I will be having an exhibition of our Georgian Bay paintings at St. Thomas More Gallery in Saskatoon from August 26  - October 31, 2014 and I'm pretty excited about it! We all paint so differently, it will be interesting to see how it comes together. I think the show will be titled "Three Takes: Georgian Bay". It feels good to look forward to something!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Day of Barguing

Bargue #3 continued
graphite on bond paper

Last Thursday was a full day of Barguing (a new verb?). I made some changes for the better to my drawing and now the chest and the hunch/curve of the back are more accurate. I know I will need to make more adjustments even after it is transferred but I wanted it to be in the best shape possible going forward from here. So with that handled I began preparing to transfer by flipping the drawing over and covering all of my lines on the backside of the paper with graphite (I used a light-box to see the lines more clearly). 


I then centered the drawing over the Stonehenge paper and securely taped it at the top edge so that when I transferred the lines I could flip back and forth to make sure it was going well, but not worry about shifting the image. As I traced over the lines of my drawing I had to be careful not to press too hard so as to score the paper, but press hard enough to actually transfer some graphite onto the Stonehenge. In the above photo you can see my drawing flipped back showing the lines covered in graphite and you can see, very faintly, the transferred image on the Stonehenge paper. The plate I am copying of the Belvedere torso is on the left. Voila!