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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Drive North At Dusk

Drive North At Dusk
6 x 6"
oil on board

It has been a long winter. Maybe not as long as last year, but long none-the-less. We here on the prairies are a hardy bunch, but we DO have a breaking point. It is the point where we are so glad we can see the sunlight before nine a.m. and after five p.m., but we are so not cool with -30 degree temperatures anymore. We are over winter right about now therefore I needed to paint an image of the things of which dreams are made: driving to the lake right after work ready to start the weekend. Sigh. That Friday drive- you know the one- late afternoon, traffic may be a struggle but when the treeline changes and the Spruce and Poplar become more abundant than the towns and farmland, well, that my friends is a breaking point with which I can get on board.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Life Drawing Sessions

graphite on newsprint
© Nicki Ault, 2015

graphite on newsprint
© Nicki Ault, 2015

I am enjoying the Monday night life drawing sessions at Atelier 2302- I will be there this evening. Here are a couple of my not-so-bad efforts from two different Mondays. The first one was a forty minute drawing and the second one was about twenty minutes. I was just starting to figure out the shadow shape when the time was up. 

I have noticed a change in my approach to drawing since I have become a student at the atelier. I think the change is good and demonstrates growth. I actually feel like I see better. I've been trying to construct my drawings with ghosty-bandy lines and I have been thinking about apexes, shadow shapes and alignments which is something I never did before. At least not so deliberately. I went back over the lines of these drawings to darken them up so the camera would see them.

We are a quiet group, the Monday night session. When the model takes a break, the room is quiet. I have such an urge to crack jokes and lighten the mood, but one of the first days when I tried, no-one engaged so I took that as a hint. I've never been the class clown before and I am not sure this is the time or place to try it out!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spruce River

Spruce River
6 x 6"
oil on board

I haven't painted anything of this river since 2012. At one time I considered it my muse. It is a place I would like to go back to this summer- to visit and to paint. It is a beautiful, slow, winding river that many people canoe. This particular section is just inside the old gates in Prince Albert National Park at a picnic/rest spot. This was a favorite location of artists taking classes at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus; many an excursion was planned for a day at this site. All of my abstract reflections were inspired by the water of this river and the large canvas I am about to start will be about this river as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Watered Down

Watered Down
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015
http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/nicki-ault/watered-down/332774 
sold

More blue where it doesn't belong. I love these scenes of prairie puddles. I can hardly wait for the snow to melt so I can find some more fields like this. Give me a couple of months and I'll fire up the mini van and head out for a photo shoot. Anyone wanna come?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Country Road

Country Road
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015
http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/nicki-ault/country-road/332770
sold 

Let's face it- this is a difficult composition, but I have done a similar painting before and I thought I would try it again. I love the water pooling in the ruts in the dirt road. The blue reflection of the sky in unlikely places has always intrigued me. The shock of blue where it doesn't belong really gets me going.

I am anxious to get out and explore when the weather finally turns. I want to navigate through some of Saskatchewan's country roads and zigzag through the grids to find interesting painting scenes and locations. I was beyond remiss last year in collecting new, inspiring images with my camera- as a result I am struggling with inspiration this winter. I will make it through, but I have learned my lesson. You can never have too many resource photos!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Storm Overhead

Storm Overhead
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel

A little marshy, prairie scene for you today. I almost forgot about this painting. Once I finished working on it, I put it to the side to dry and promptly also put it out of my mind.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Birch

The Birch
48 x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015
sold

I painted this birch tree several years ago. I always loved it- the actual tree as well as the original painting. This birch can be found behind the Nature Centre in Waskesiu; the original painting can be found in the home of a dear friend. It was fun and a challenge to paint again- I hope you like it.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Ear

The Ear (in progress)
graphite on Stonehenge paper
© Nicki Ault, 2015

I was at Atelier 2302 all day today working on my drawing. It seems like I have been working on it for ages and progress has been slow. It doesn't help that I only go once a week and I can't bring it home with me to work on. After the last two classes, though, I have really begun to see things start to take shape. I spent a good chunk of time working on and filling in that cast shadow; trying to get it to a correct darkness so I can then have a better read of the values within the cast itself. I've also done a bit of work in the light shapes which has begun to give the form volume and dimension. I feel like I am at an exciting stage- there is still plenty to do, but the pieces of the puzzle are actually fitting together!

In other news, I am also going to the atelier on Monday nights for figure drawing sessions. The sessions are not instructed, in fact my teacher, Craig Berry, is in the trenches with us drawing the model. This is going to be a great way to continue to train my eye and strengthen my skills. It is also an opportunity to practice some of the things I have learned at the atelier- like how to build a good construct, how to draw with "ghosty, bandy" lines, how to measure and use alignments and how to define the shadow shape. I can say in all honesty that these concepts were never on my radar before. 

in the sketchbook
graphite on newsprint
© Nicki Ault, 2015

The above drawing is my favorite effort from the sessions so far. In it I can see growth in my thinking and my approach as opposed to how I would have sketched the figure pre-atelier. Sure there is room for more practice and improvement, that will never end, but it is encouraging for me to discover that this old dog can learn some new tricks after all!