19.5 x 13"
acrylic, oil and oil pastel on terraskin paper
© Nicki Ault, 2015
I am getting really excited. The show for Hues Art Supply goes up on Monday. Here is the first painting I have to show you. This is the second exhibition of work I will be showing with my friends Bridget Aitken and Jackie Miller. In planning for the show the goal was that we try something new and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We ended up focusing the theme on still lifes. Jackie and Bridget, as it turns out, are much more adaptable than me. I struggled with the change from my landscape routine. To be honest, I actually find still lifes to be a bit of a yawn-fest. Despite this, I rallied and decided to add flowers to the table of pottery, books, vases, fruit, onions and other inanimate objects that we set up as still life vignettes at the studio. As soon as that pop of colour was added to the mix I began to get inspired.
Besides the challenge of a new subject, I found other ways to push/torment myself. I painted almost exclusively on paper surfaces, I worked solely on rectangular formats when I am more accustomed to painting on squares, and I mixed up my media. Some of these experiments didn't make the cut, but others had some pleasing qualities.
Through the self-doubt and struggle that took place in preparing for this show, I realized yet again how much I have to learn about painting and creating. The way I see it, it is better to know this than to not know this. I feel empowered. I feel like I can't help but move forward in my art-making because I am open and ready to try. I am willing to take a chance. I am willing to see what might happen if I step into the unknown. But I also know myself and I have observed the way I fight change and worry desperately about failure. I am coming to realize that, for me, these things go hand-in-hand. I don't think the desire I have to improve, grow and develop can exist in a pure state. Where this desire exists, in the background will always be some element of stress and agony; the fear of not actually being able to improve, grow and develop.