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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Road

The Road
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I am so excited about this! There is a whole situation that goes along with this painting! I have been asked to do a big commission for a lovely in-love couple. They are literally the cutest and their story is an inspiration. They came across a beautiful image by professional photographer Les Chelle and, with his permission, have asked me to create a large 40x60 inch canvas of the scene with my interpretation in paint! What?! It is a huge and blank right now! This is going to be crazy! When it is done it will be the largest painting I have ever made... and I seriously want to knock it out of the park!

Interestingly enough, I made the assumption that it was the dramatic sky that drew them to the photo, but after a few email consultations it became clear that they had a real and personal connection to the road. For them it symbolizes the journey they are taking together through life; the path they are walking together to the days ahead. I love that and I want to do them right and their love story right by this painting.

I began prepping for this project by spending time on the weekend with the image and cropping it in slightly different ways, then printing each version out as resource. On Tuesday afternoon I sat down and did the above little study as I began to think about colour mixing for the project. I love painting to music, so I found a beautiful song in my CD collection called "The Road" by Eileen Laverty who is a local musician and Saskatchewan treasure. I made a little video for Instagram with that song playing in the background. Please go have a look if you have a moment (click the camera icon on the right-hand side of this page to get over there). The lyrics are lovely and are fitting to the sweet, gentle, supportive and committed love that this painting will represent.

"...And then I saw the roses in your smile
And lilies danced as hand in hand the miles passed by.
We went traveling on the road..."
(from The Road - Eileen Laverty, © 2006)

Please stay connected and follow me on this project!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Studio Tasks

painting edges
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I didn't work at the studio at all last week as my son was home sick. I am so grateful that I have the flexibility with my schedule that I can make last minute changes to my plans if someone needs me.

We had a lovely May long weekend getting the yard cleaned up and spending time together, but I was ready to get my head back in the game today when everyone was healthy and went where they were supposed to go!

Yesterday I spent the first bit of the morning scrolling through Instagram, then making a post of my own. Check it out... take a "Shelfie" (a photo of your bookshelf) and post it with #ownabookgiveabook. McDonald's Canada has partnered with First Book Canada to get 20,000 books into the hands of kids in need. They will donate a book for every "Shelfie" posted!

I have been back-and-forth on the painting edges issue and I finally made my decision. I have always painted the edges of my 6x6's but it is a tedious task so awhile ago I decided to stop. But then I felt guilty and would offer it if a person wanted- especially if they weren't planning to frame right away. Well, at the Mother's Day Tea I sold three 6x6's to one person; two had edges painted and one didn't. She actually didn't notice, but of course I did, so I said I would match it to the others. The truth is, it really does look better when the edges are painted on the little ones. So now that I am being honest with myself, I am committing to that task. Twelve paintings, two coats and two hours later, the job was done. It's times like these that a studio assistant would come in handy... or at least a cabana boy to fan me and bring me beverages while I do the tedious studio tasks.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Moss Study (Painting Makeover)

Moss Study
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Another painting makeover.

If absolutely nothing else, the water is much, much better. Much.

Moss Study
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Billow

Billow
12 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This one was still wet at the Mother's Day Tea. I had literally just put some finishing touches on it. I walked in the door, scrambling because I was running late, and boom! - it sold. I probably could have sold it a few times over that day. It's funny how some paintings are like that. I can hardly wait for the canola to start blooming in about a couple of months. I hope to get loads of photos this season and try some new ideas for painting Saskatchewan skies over yellow fields. This ultra rectangular format was really conducive to that very theme.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Reimagined Sky (Painting Makeover)

Reimagined Sky
(after)
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Before I get into this painting makeover, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended our Mother's Day Tea at the studio yesterday! It really has become a fun event... and very busy! Your support is genuinely appreciated.

Okay, this painting has been a thorn in my side about three times over! The below "before" image is actually the second run I had at it in 2016; the original was painted in 2015 (see bottom image). Hopefully last week's repainting makes the third time a charm!

The original was quite harsh and intense- all of the edges of the clouds were sharp and the foreground grasses were soooo dark. In my second go-at-it I softened everything overall, but it still didn't sit right with me. The area at the horizon line looked very muddy and I never did like the yellow sky. When I originally tackled this canvas I had given myself the challenge of painting a big sky without using blue. Hence the yellow and purple scheme. The only part I ever really loved was the middle-ground field which I have hardly touched from the original in 2015 and, in fact, I like that portion even more in the final makeover version (above). It now seems to glow and radiate the sunlight. In the most recent repainting, I basically overhauled every other aspect of the thing! I created a new sky and slough and I activated the front grasses with more variation in colour and pops of light. I also spent time softening some of the edges of the grass so now it doesn't look cut-out.

Reimagined Sky
(before)
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016

Reimagined Sky
(original - before the above before!)36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015

That was a doozy of a painting makeover, but I am so much happier to have it hanging in the studio now. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, so if you have time, please leave a comment.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I'm Ready! Mother's Day Tea Today!

my studio all cleaned up
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I am exhausted, but I am ready. I hope you come! It's our third annual Mother's Day Tea 2017 at Studio On 20th. We are open from 12-4 today, Sunday, May 14th. We are located at 236A between Avenues B and C on 20th Street in Saskatoon. Look for the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant, we will have an A-frame sign on the sidewalk pointing to our doors.

one display of my small work
© Nicki Ault, 2017

The invitation again for easy reference...


And the sign to look for...


See you there!

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Bold Ending

A Bold Ending
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Man, I love how this sky turned out! It's a good size too! Packs a punch in person!

I am SO enjoying painting this year. It just feels right. Not everything necessarily goes right, but it is truly a joyful experience. Things are clicking in my head and I love it. Lots to look forward to as well. Thanks so much for checking in- I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day Tea 2017


You are invited! Our third annual Mother's Day Tea Show and Sale is fast approaching. We open our doors to the public two times a year for exhibitions of our newest work, Mother's Day and a Sunday in late November, the rest of the time it is a working studio. Please come if you can... bring your mom, sister, friend or a bunch of guys - it is not really a mom-specific event. Look for the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant on 20th. That is us! Sorry- there are about 24 stairs to climb to get to our space, but we will make it worth your while with yummy food and good art. You may not want to leave!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Twilight

Twilight
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This is the biggest sunset reflection yet! I love it! I enjoyed every minute of my time painting and it was a treat developing this subject on a large scale. Working into the deep blue foreground to create ripples and movement was especially satisfying. Looking forward to showing (and maybe selling?!) this at our Mother's Day Tea on Sunday! (details at the top of the blog)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Heat (Painting Makeover)

Heat
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I have been doing some paining makeovers over the last several weeks. I have some work at the studio that I am seriously not happy with, so what do I do? Store them indefinitely? Throw them out? Burn them? Or rework them and hopefully salvage the situation? Honestly, some are getting filed under "G" for garbage, but there are others I am trying to resurrect. This is one.

Heat
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on baord
© Nicki Ault, 2013

I like the makeover approximately one thousand times more!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pure and Simple

Pure and Simple
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

It has really warmed up around here! Lovely buds are coming out on the trees and I just know glorious canola fields are coming in the near future! I couldn't help but paint one yesterday in anticipation!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Shimmer And Shine

Shimmer and Shine
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I've decided to do a rather large painting (24x36) based the sunset reflection theme I have been experimenting with this year, so today I did a little 6x6 study to get myself in the mood. I have got to get some work done for the Mother's Day Tea Open Studio on May 14! I feel like I don't have much on hand right now. I need to get some fresh work done and these watery reflections may just be the answer. I will be putting some serious hours in at the studio in the next ten days! I actually went back for a couple of hours last night while my son was at football. I got a start on my big canvas...

w.i.p. © Nicki Ault, 2017

... which is going to take some layering. I put down some light acrylic washes earlier in the day and now I have started in with the oils. Should be interesting!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Misty At Point View (Painting Makeover)

Misty Morning At Point View
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I like this sooooo much more than the original. It actually feels more misty now. I love the haziness of the very most distant land and the slightly brighter sky. I love the enlivened grasses and I love the water. The original version was dullsville.

Misty At Point View
(before)
6 x 6" 
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lake Land

Lake Land
30 x 40"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I actually began this painting before our Open Studio last November, but didn't get it finished in time and wasn't thrilled with how it was going anyway. I never went back to it because I had painted myself into a corner of problems that I just couldn't decide how to fix. And there it has been, propped against the wall in an unfinished state, ever since. 

Fast-forward to March and a studio visit from an old friend who commented on it, so we hung it up and brain-stormed. Suddenly our conversation and his feedback got me excited about it again. I decided to finish it and, happily, I love the end result. I sent him an image and I think he may buy it when he is in town this weekend!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Fine Day (Painting Makeover)

One Fine Day
(after)
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available


I am trying to get caught up with the Makeover Mondays I do on my Instagram page. I think after today I should be back on track.

This simple, fresh sky is the remade "after" version of the below painting from 2015...

One Fine Day
(before)
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Aside from being irritated by the dark "stripe" of deeper blue at the top of the original painting, there were many areas where a lot of the panel showed through (it is difficult to see in the photo). While I do like that effect in small amounts, in this case there was so much board showing that I think the painting looked unfinished. Another little change is that I beefed up the clouds a bit.

I would say this is a quirky painting. I had the urge to paint a tiny red barn on the horizon as I made it over! I feel like it needs something else, but probably not adding a red barn was a good call!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sky Over Canola (Painting Makeover)

Sky Over Canola
(after)
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

While I like the idea of the original painting- a bright, sunny, blue sky above a happy canola field - the execution left me a little cold. I was irritated by the cloud shapes in the original as well as the intensity of the blue vs the yellow. I gave it a major overhaul and I am much more pleased with the painting now.

Sky Over Canola
(before)
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016

Monday, April 24, 2017

Gray Skies Over Fairy Island (Painting Makeover)

Gray Skies Over Fairy Island
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

The colour is likely a bit off in both these photos. I have trouble capturing bluey-purples with my camera. The original version (below) was missing the moodiness I wanted and the water was very boring- the dark land mass seemed to float on it. Also, although not shown in this photo, there were a few scratches on the painting from various moves to and from art markets. 

Not huge changes, but overall a better painting now I think.

Gray Skies Over Fairy Island
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Rest Well Little Girl




This last week was extraordinarily difficult. My son found his sweet little hamster non-responsive in her cage at about 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. He thought she was already gone but when I got her out of her den she was still warm; she was in bad shape, but for the next three hours we tried all we could to help her. He made a heart-breaking phone call to the pet store to ask what we should do. A few times she perked up enough that I thought she may turn around, but she never really did. She took her last breath at about 8:00 p.m.

We honestly do not know what happened, she honestly seemed to be thriving and she never, in the ten days we had her, showed any of the signs of stress or distress we were supposed to watch for. She actually seemed to be having the time of her life!

Anyway, art-making was put on the back-burner for the next three days as I helped my boy deal with his grief. We have been inseparable- lots of crying, lots of talking, lots of snuggles. This is truly the biggest loss he has faced in his life. I feel so honoured to be his mom and to be able to help him navigate these strong emotions. Even though we only had her for a short time, Baloo really touched his heart deeply. He took to calling her "Little Girl" which I found so endearing. He wanted a pet for so very long; this birthday present was the best of times and the worst of times.

He is doing better, by Friday he felt good enough to go out with my sister so I could get some work done at the studio. I will have a bit of art to show you soon.

~Nicki

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tiny Prairie (Painting Makeover)

Tiny Prairie
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

In my effort to rejuvenate some old canvases and boards, I am not always sure I am improving things, but since I am not happy with the original work in the first place there is really nothing to lose.

I think I like the overall feel of the makeover (above) more. The sharp angles in the middle ground of the "before" (below) really irritated me and some areas appeared rough and unfinished.

Tiny Prairie
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017

However, I might have gone overboard with the greens in the foreground of the makeover.

Thoughts?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Underneath It All

Underneath It All
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This is painted on a glorious ground of Quinacridone Magenta by Golden. I love the pops of colour that poke through around the clouds and the heat at the horizon is so intensely dreamy to me! I have seen sunsets at the lake that are almost other-worldly like this. It is a spectacular sight indeed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter Sunday!

Baloo the Black Bear Hamster
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Happy Easter Sunday!

We finally have a pet in our home! My son has been wanting an animal to care for and so for his thirteenth birthday we let him pick out a hamster. We have had her for a week now and she has settled in really well. She is so fun to watch and play with. She loves to be held and she loves her hamster ball. I just posted a video on my Instagram page if you want to see her running around in it. Click the camera icon to the right and see today's post.

We took her to the pet store yesterday to buy her a few treats and to ask a few questions. We did find out that she should not eat too much in the way of fruits and veggies because anything too watery gives them tummy troubles. Don't worry- she didn't have all these carrots, but she did choose to nibble for a minute on this one that was cut in a disc shape. She looked so funny holding onto it with her little pink hands. And she is a hoarder! It is amazing what she can store in her cheeks!

Things just got a whole lot more adorable around here!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Dreamed This

I Dreamed This
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I kind of made up this scene on Tuesday after I finished working on a larger piece. A teeny sky with a lot of drama. I've said it before and I'll say it again- I like drama in my art, not in my life!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Payne's Sky

Payne's Sky
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Payne's Gray makes for some lovely blues over a golden Saskatchewan prairie.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Living Sky

Living Sky
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I spent a good portion of the day at the studio on Friday. I got this painting done but I left feeling like I should have accomplished more. Really, when I think back on the day, I realize I just did a lot of eating. Anyone else ever have days like that? (Please say yes).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Icy Puddles

Icy Puddles
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I drove out to the country the other day to meet a dear friend about a painting her family commissioned me to do as a gift for her sixty-fifth birthday. I am excited about it and although the area that surrounds her home is beautiful, she wants the painting to be of the northern lake area she loves so much. And you know I am all about Prince Albert National Park, so it is a win win situation.

It was a foggy, gray morning when I drove out to meet her and even though visually the scenery was quite bleak, I was surprisingly jazzed by what I saw. The fields sported browns and ochres, siennas and umbers, as well as blonde stubble from last years growth. The cool foggy air and icy puddles were nice foils to all of the earthy colours. I could hardly wait to paint what I saw and felt. Saturday night I got the chance. I hope you like it! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ablaze (Painting Makeover)

Ablaze
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

As I mentioned the other day when I posted the painting makeover of "Spring Fever", I have several pieces at the studio that I have come to severely dislike. They are paintings I don't feel good enough about to sell, but at the same time I feel there is something salvageable contained in them. Even if it is just a hint of their former selves.

"Ablaze" is my most recent painting makeover. It is quite the transformation from what it was before. In fact, it has two former versions...  this one which is under the above image where the intense reds and oranges show through in the sunset.


And this one which is under the red and orange "Ablaze".


A crazy evolution! This painting has been on a roller coaster, but I love where it ended up... and so did someone else because it is on hold! I posted it on Instagram and it was put on hold quite quickly. I am posting my painting makeovers on Instagram on Mondays (I'm calling it Makeover Monday), but my blog is not synced up to that yet. Next week I should be. Please check out my Instagram if you haven't yet. I am nicki.ault.studio or you can click on the link at the top right-hand side of this blog which will take you to my page. It is fun over there! I find I post more spontaneous studio things on that site. As always, thank you for checking in here, on Facebook and hopefully on "Insta".

You da best!!!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Setting Star - Silent Auction

Setting Star
12 x 12
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This week I have donated these two paintings to a silent auction at my son's high school. They will be part of the Arts Night fundraiser he and his classmates are putting on in preparation for their big trip next month... to New York City! Yes, you heard me right. Long story, but in Grade Eight he applied and was accepted into a great Grade Nine program at a high school in our city. It has been a year of growth and discovery for him. His world has branched out and will open up even more to him after this trip. I am enormously proud of him. He is a caring, smart, funny, respectful, honest and loving person. I will be a wreck for the six days he is away, but honestly, I just know that when he sees more of what the world has to offer him he will be even more motivated than ever.

I just painted "Setting Star" specifically for this auction and "Riffle On The River, Waskesiu" was a painting I had on hand that I hope will resonate with the crowd. It is mounted in a white shadow box.

Riffle On The River, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Questions about the auction? Just ask. (It is on Thursday evening).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Fever (Painting Makeover)

Spring Fever
(after)
16 x 20"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

These days I am reworking a stack of paintings at the studio. I have several pieces that I just don't love, in fact, despise is the word that comes to mind to describe how I feel about them. I am making a last ditch effort to rework each of these canvases; in other words they are getting makeovers. Those that are not elevated in my emotional connection to them from despise to love are headed for the chipper!

"Spring Fever" is the reincarnated version of a much more bland prairie scene (see below) called "Through The Grasslands". I feel like it has been given new life by fresh green colours of Spring. Those harsk, dark, awkward, red branchy shrubs are gone with only a hint of them remaining. The distant horizon is softer and the overall feel is no longer remorse. Now, to me, it looks like how the air smells in Spring!

I think I love it.

 Through The Grasslands
(before)
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Friday, March 24, 2017

Amidst It All

Amidst It All
48 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I am so excited about this painting! SO excited. It is now the largest from the prairie series I began experimenting with last fall and it very well may be my favourite! There are layers and layers built up to create the depth of the branches and fluttering leaves. At times I would think it was done, then come back to the studio a day or two later and realize I needed to add more leaves or branches. The other day, after I added the light pale yellow leaves to the bottom right-hand corner, I finally felt like I could not do another thing that would make me love this painting more.

That is a good feeling.

Note: at the Open Studio in November I had a conversation with a new client (she bought two paintings that day) about my plan to create this large prairie painting based on the others I had done so far in the series. She was intrigued and I told her I would contact her when it was complete. After viewing an initial image I emailed her, it is on hold until she can see it in person on Monday. I will update this post after that as to whether it is available or sold.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Eventide At Auction This Sunday!

Eventide
20 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at auction March 26

All of the important details can be found on the below poster for the auction this coming Sunday, March 26. This is a live auction and if you have never been to one you should come- they can be very exciting! The money raised will go to support the vital work of the Saskatoon Sexual Health Centre. To see some of the art besides my painting "Eventide" that will be up for bid, please click on this link to the auction's "Facebook Event".

Look who is catering the auction -----> Ayden Kitchen and Bar! Y-yum! And cocktails are sponsored by Lucky Bastard Distillers! Those two things right there are worth the price of admission! Please come and support both this local organization and the great roster of local artists!


P.S. As a side note, tomorrow I will be unveiling a new, big painting- the biggest yet of the prairie series I started last fall. Can't wait!