July and August 2017: A small selection of my work, courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus) throughout the summer months.

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, September 24, 2016

A Sound Bite From My Life

photo © Nicki Ault, 2016

It's been sixteen years and the anticipation is over. My front yard finally has curb appeal! I have had a love-hate relationship with my yard since day one. In fact, over the last sixteen years it actually became more of a hate-hate relationship. Finally, this fine September, it was time. On Monday, bright and early, City Gardens swooped in and set out to make my dreams come true. They scraped away the sunken lawn, the crumbling concrete path, the non-functioning sprinklers and the thriving crop of weeds. A clean slate was what I requested and they delivered. 

This was a different type of creative work for me; I am far from a landscape designer but I had a vision in my mind and it never wavered. My house is a one hundred year old character home and for all of its peaks and angles it deserved a curvy, maybe even sexy, front yard. However, it is not a large space, so I still had to keep it simple. My original concrete path was slightly over two feet wide- a ridiculous width given the hedge on one side and the snowbank on the other side for six months of the year. That was the first and most crucial change. 

before © Nicki Ault, 2016

I now have a wide, curving path of gorgeous Roman paving stones; slightly over four feet at its narrowest. Swoon. No longer will I snag my grocery bags on the hedge as I try to shimmy myself to the front door.

after © Nicki Ault, 2016

The rest of the yard is finished with a curving brick divider between the new lawn and the garden... I actually now have a hydrangea plant, a little weeping spruce tree and shrubs. I feel so grown up!

after © Nicki Ault, 2016

I thought I was finally going to get to the studio after months of absence, but the landscaping kept me home for three days. The City Gardens guys (who were fantastic by the way) seemed to have a good grasp of my crudely drawn vision, but I wanted to be involved in laying out the curve of the path and stone border, so it was exactly "right". I won't admit to micro-managing, but I certainly spent a bit of time hovering. Once the job was complete at the end of the afternoon on Wednesday I realized that Thursday and Friday could finally be days at the studio!... That is until my son said his throat was feeling really sore at bedtime. My heart sunk as visions of me painting at the studio quickly began to fade. In a sad and pathetic effort to keep my hope alive I said desperately, "Well, maybe you just strained it at football practice".

???

As soon as the words were uttered, and I heard the ridiculousness of the statement, I knew it was over. He was getting sick. His throat was not strained from playing football- I am pretty sure that is not even a thing. A hamstring, yes, a throat, no.

So a bit more time passes, but I will get there- blank canvases and new supplies await. Sunday is my goal and that is already tomorrow. The hope is returning.

4 comments:

Barbara Muir said...

How wonderful. My husband decided he'd had it with our falling down garage. So all of July was
dedicated to the complete revamp of the building, redoing the walls, new doors, -- amazing.
Now when I sit on our back porch and look out there is this beauty. I get exactly how you feel.
Your walk and garden look wonderful.

The front of our house remains to be fixed. (Oh and one or two other eyesores inside.) But one step at
a time right?

XOXOXOXOXO Barbara

Nicki said...

It surely feels great to have these things done at the house, but like you say, as soon as one project is over, another one surfaces! I want to tackle my main bathroom next, but I am not a fan of debt, so the I must start saving again!

XO Nicki

Natacha Davies said...

You’re right! Your front yard has curb appeal. You did an amazing job – I say you did because this design came from you; the landscape guys did the easy part. I need something like this, too. At least the landscape guys didn’t strain their throats while doing the job for you. Thank you for posting this.

Nicki said...

Hi Natacha, I am glad you enjoyed my little story, but more importantly that you like my landscaping design! Thanks!