New Representation: my art is now available at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina! They are located at 2266 Smith Street, a vibrant, bustling part of town.

Sunday, November 19, 2017: Studio on 20th Open Studio Art Show and Sale. The studio where I paint will be open to the public from 11 am - 5 pm on this one afternoon only. Current work by our eleven artists will be exhibited and available to purchase. Please come and bring a friend! We are located at 236A 20th Street West (door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant); not wheelchair accessible.

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon. As well, some of my large oil paintings are now available in this beautiful local gallery.

November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Night Moves

Night Moves
36 x 48"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I have been powering through these last days before Open Studio. I am feeling more and more excited and love the work I will be showing this year. My remaining paintings are back from Boffins, and I still love them! I love my display boards of my 6x6's - I just did three more new ones, two of which are starry skies. And I love my new large work - yesterday I finally finished the rainy sky that was giving me so much trouble. This one, "Night Moves", is a bit of a force, which I was hoping it would be! I've said it before, I like drama in my art, not in my life! It's best seen in person, as all original work is, so come if you can. Here are the details one more time...


Studio On 20th is the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant and our event is sharing part of the day with Santa who arrives in town via parade at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon! We are open11-5, so if you plan to come around parade time you may want to avoid driving anywhere near Santa's route.

See you soon!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Keep Me Where The Light Is

Keep Me Where The Light Is
24 x 48"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

ONE DONE! Three to go.

This big fella came out better than I hoped! I love it and it is way better in person! A new camera is on my wish list... and a tripod!

I always listen to music as I paint. The energy of the music often influences my work and keeps my brain engaged in various ways. Occasionally words or lyrics jump out at me and that was the case while painting this piece. I was listening to "Gravity" by John Mayer and the line "keep me where the light is" caught my attention. I immediately knew that was the name for this painting. 

These sunset water reflections are quite powerful, especially at the scale of this one. I think the glowing light and glistening water offer a sense of hope and beauty. The sun might be going down , but there will be a tomorrow; there will be light again. As someone who has struggled with depression (I think a very extended post-partum depression) and who has watched others struggle, sometimes just getting through the day, if you actually get out of bed, is a miracle. I truly hope that whoever ends up with this painting, feels my positive energy radiating from it, and that it helps keep them where the light is, depressed or not. 

We need more hope in this world and art can help with that.

This painting will be at Open Studio on Sunday. Come if you can!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Big Canvas In Progress

work in progress
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I really want to show you a big painting, but the four I have on the go right now are just not quite ready. Three of the four are really close and will be done by Open Studio on Sunday, but the fourth one is a crap-shoot. This is a detail of the largest one which is 36 x 48 inches and is based on an 8x8 inch painting that I did for "Painting The Landscape" at Darrell Bell Gallery in September.

I am getting so excited for Sunday! It has been such an incredible year and I just want to get all dolled up and celebrate! I hope you can come!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New 6x6 Paintings For Open Studio!

 
new 6x6's!
© Nicki Ault, 2017

A quick way to show you some of the new 6x6's I will have available at Open Studio on Sunday.

Come one, come all!

 


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Canola, Dandelions, Thistles

Canola, Dandelions, Thistles
10 x 10"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Assiniboia Gallery in Regina

Bright and cheery; a Saskatchewan summer day at its finest!

Also, how does Mother Nature know colour theory? Those purple thistles are just what the yellow fields need to really sing!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Striped Sky, Sulphide Lake - Monday Makeoever

Striped Sky, Sulphide Lake
(after)
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I continue to be somewhat fascinated as I do these "painting makeovers". What I have noticed with the few that I have been re-making recently is that the originals seem under-developed to me now. It is like I stopped before they were really done. And this one was only a year old. Have I grown that much in a year? Or did I go through a lazy phase? It's a curious thing.

Striped Sky, Sulphide Lake
(before)
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2016


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shades of Night

Shades of Night
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

I super, extra love this one! It sold at "Painting The Landscape" in September. I am going to attempt a larger version of it, maybe a 20x20. I always find the deep, dark, blue and purple colours very hard to photograph well- and basically that is all this painting is! You will have to trust me that it is better in person than what this image shows.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Flax At Gordon Road

Flax At Gordon Road
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Flax is a bit elusive; it is not an easy thing to find and it is not an easy thing to paint, but every summer I shall try!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Behind the Breakwater, Waskesiu

Behind the Breakwater
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Behind the breakwater, near the main beach in the Waskesiu town-site, there is a little swimming spot and a picnic table by the rocky beach. It's kind of a neat little nook. Just beyond it you can see Prospect Point which is home to the golf course and the big fancy cottages on the hill. If you keep following the shoreline it curves back and to the left where you will find lovely Murphy's Bay. I saw an otter playing there once years ago. Happy memories.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Open Studio In Ten Days!


You are invited! Mark your calendars! Our biggest event of the year is only ten days away and we are getting excited! The studio is bustling and our easels are active. New work is in progress and we can hardly wait to show you! Be sure to spread the word, we don't open to the public often, so grab this chance to see our working studio. Look for the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant on 20th Street West. That's us! Sorry, we are not wheelchair accessible.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Down Tower Road

Down Tower Road
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

This event, a tribute to Paddy O'Rourke, happened last night. It was excellent and I miss him. Paddy loved Saskatchewan and the prairies. I think he would have loved this image, at least the prairie-ness of it. He lived on an acreage outside of the city and he loved our vast, open landscape. An Irishman who chose Canada.  How lucky we were.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Floral-Like Foliage

Floral-Like Foliage
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

I am extra into these fluttery, leafy numbers lately! I did three 8x8's in this colour palette for "Painting The Landscape" two months ago and I believe they all sold! I just did three new ones in a different palette which I will deliver to Darrell Bell Gallery soon, plus I recently did a big 40 x 30 canvas that is part of this series. And, after visiting Bridget's acreage recently, I am excited about trying some more ideas!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Painting Makeover, Craig Berry and Choc'la Cure

McPhee From Highway 264
after 
(painting makeover)
12 x12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold (at auction)

I haven't done a "painting makeover" in awhile, but recently I collected my artwork from The Black Spruce Gallery and decided to freshen up those pieces. I am constantly amazed at how my eye has changed over the last several years and for this I give kudos and props to Craig Berry (Atelier 2302). Happily, all of the extraordinary information I garnered from the courses I took with him is starting to take hold. At the time, I was overwhelmed by how much I needed to learn, but I pushed through and hoped that what I was learning would begin to seep into my consciousness. I think some of it has... and there is still more stored information just waiting to take hold. I think the biggest difference I can see in my own work is my understanding and use of value. When I paint, I can hear Craig's words in my head saying, "You have more range than you think". I love that nugget. It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks- at least if they are open to learning!

McPhee From Highway 264
before
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2015

I am very proud to say that, this year, I have been able to donate about $1800 of my artwork to five different organizations for their fundraising. It is not something I am always able to do, but whenever I can, and if it is an organization/charity that is important to me, I will try to find a way. Recently I was approached by a committee member of Choc'la Cure and I did not hesitate to say yes. The problem was that I did not have much art on hand to donate.

Slivers of Blue
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold (at auction)

However, this particular year, this particular fundraiser meant a whole lot to me. Cancer has darkened the doorstep of too many people I know: friends, colleagues, neighbors, friends of friends and people I love deeply. This year it got too close to home again. Donating a couple of paintings seemed like the very least I could do. In the end, I gave them this "made over" piece as well as "Slivers of Blue" in a shadowbox for the silent auction table. Choc'la Cure is a local charity which raises money specifically to purchase equipment for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre. Please read more about Choc'la Cure and the incredible accomplishments of these volunteers here and here.

Whew! I packed a lot in to this post. Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Electric Sunset

Electric Sunset
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

I love this one. I really do. It sold at the opening night of "Painting The Landscape" at Darrell Bell Gallery in September. I have a big, blank 36 x 48 inch canvas waiting to have a version of this sunset painted on it. Could happen this weekend - fingers crossed that I will find a good stretch of time to get a decent start on it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Decorated Pines

Decorated Pines
36 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Assiniboia Gallery in Regina

LOTS of layers in this one. It took work to get the light the way I wanted it, but the effort was worth it. It's better in person, but hopefully you get the idea. My reference photo was slightly overexposed so the distant land seen through the trees was not visible. I am glad I added it in; I knew that far shore was there and I think it helps to add depth to the piece.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day Is Done

Day Is Done
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

That last intense glow before it all fizzles out.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Boreal Harvest Moon

Boreal Harvest Moon
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I love the calm mood in this painting. Soft, neutral palette and a glowing moon; even though it is somewhat celestial, it feels "of the earth".

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rippling Reflection

Rippling Reflection
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Gentle, rippling waves that catch the colours of the sunset. My kind of peace and quiet.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bottom Heavy Cloud

Bottom Heavy Cloud
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

A bottom heavy cloud, weighed down by rain.

Sometimes I feel a little bottom heavy, weighed down by chips and dip.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cloud Stack

Cloud Stack
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

This one is a bit of a cloud pile-up! A stack o' clouds if you will!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Prairie Layers

Prairie Layers II
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

As you look across the prairie landscape into the distance often your eye passes what seem like rows of different types of foliage and plant life; wild grasses in the ditch, cattails, thistles, dandelions, wheat, canola and flax if you are lucky.

Prairie layers.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Disappearing

Disappearing
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Calm water and the glow of the setting sun. You can almost hear it sizzle as it dips below the horizon.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Stubble

Stubble
10 x 10"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Assiniboia Gallery in Regina

The bleached out stubble left on the field at the end of the season. Soft. Simple. Swoon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Woods

The Woods
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
 © Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Assiniboia Gallery in Regina


This was created en plein air last month when I went for a two night painting retreat up north. Usually in September I take a weekend and help clean up my parents cabin for the winter and do a little painting, but this year the cabin was closed a bit early so I was unable to use it. A few years ago I had heard about a place that sounded great near Christopher and Emma Lakes - Flora Bora Forest Lodging - so I phoned and left a message to see if there was any availability. She called back later that afternoon to say that right after I left my message, someone else called and cancelled for the two nights I wanted! Done and done!

So what is this place, you ask? Yurts!!! In the forest! There are two of them and, although they are not far from each other or civilization itself, they felt very secluded. I loved my yurt and my fire pit area and my hammocks. The trail through the forest on the property was gorgeous; the light coming through the trees on the first morning was glorious, especially with the yellows, golds, oranges and reds of the fall leaves. The property is nestled on the edge of Tuddles Lake, so there is a dock and canoes to use.

Me and my yurt! 
Look at it glow like the little piece of heaven that it is!
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Each yurt can sleep four with a queen bed and a pull out couch, but personally I think that would be a bit tight for four adults. It would be so much fun to rent both yurts and go up with three other people to paint and explore. Maybe next year. I know for sure I will go again. And again. And again!

inside my yurt 
(behind the kitchenette wall is the washroom)
© Nicki Ault, 2017

nighttime at my yurt
© Nicki Ault, 2017

not a bad fire for a city girl!
© Nicki Ault, 2017

painting "The Woods" in the woods
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Flora Bora
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Journey - The Big Commish is Done!

The Journey
40 x 60"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold
(commission)

This was a long road, so to speak. And in a good way.

Last December I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to create a painting based on a stunning photo by professional photographer, Les Chelle. My clients had originally hoped to enlarge his photograph (with his permission) on a large scale, but the resolution of the photo didn't work for the size they wanted. At that point they approached me with the idea of painting the scene. Since I use my own resource photos for my work, I wasn't sure I would feel connected enough to someone else's photo to tackle the project. Once I saw the image however, it felt like home. A grid road under a prairie sunset was familiar, yet a welcome challenge at a size I had never tackled before.

I fully respect the fact that a photographer owns the copyright to their images, as do all artists, so I would only take on the project if Les gave his consent, and happily for my clients, he did.

What you see in this painting is my interpretation of his image, coupled with ideas from the lovely duo who had a vision for a statement piece for their home.

And they are lovely, these two people. They are lovely. When I say I was honoured to be asked to do this for them, I do not say that lightly. I was indeed honoured.

I have known him, actually, since I was a child in elementary school. He was a grade ahead of me and a friend of my older sister. After all this time he and his lovely bride found me on Facebook and have been huge supporters and advocates of my work over the last several years. Their story is beautiful. 

They met around Valentine's, were engaged about two weeks later and married within six months. This is the second marriage for both of them, they each had small children when they met, and together they have a wonderful son. They have been together for seventeen years now and if ever there was a story to prove the existence of soul mates, it would be theirs.

This painting is more than just a country road to them. It symbolizes the road they are traveling together and the journey to which they have committed as partners in life. It is not perfect; it is slightly rugged and overgrown, it is beautiful and vast, it is intimate and quiet, and it is long and focused.

I am pleased to say they picked up the painting on Sunday and it has made its journey home to Alberta where I hope it brings them years upon years of joy and contemplation.

© Nicki Ault, 2017

I always listen to music when I paint. This large canvas took many hours, so I heard a lot of music and lyrics during my work time. I happened to play one song quite frequently because the words suited the story of the painting; a journey of a couple going through life together. Click the link in the below title to hear the song.



"I went traveling on a road
I noticed there were flowers by the way
I bent to pick some flowers from the road
You said it's best to leave those flowers where they lay
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
I noticed there were stones along the way
I bent to move the boulders from the road
You said it's best to leave those pebbles where they lay
And then I saw the patience in your smile
And hand in hand we danced as the miles passed by

We were traveling on the road
I noticed there was gold along the way
I bent to pick the treasure off the road
You said its best to leave those pennies where they lay
And then I saw the riches in your smile
And rich as kings we danced as the miles passed by

Now I'm traveling on the road
And you're no longer here to lead the way
I bent under my grief down on the road
But it's best to leave those tears where they lay
And soon I found your image in my heart
And lilies dance as step by step the miles pass by

This marks the end of my journey with this painting. I hope it is all they want it to be. And I am filled with gratitude that they trusted me to create it for them.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Power Post of New 8x8"s at Darrell Bell Gallery

© Nicki Ault, 2017

I keep giggling because I can't get these paintings up on the blog fast enough. I honestly have about twenty-five blog post "drafts" in a queue; posts that show you the work I have been delivering to Darrell Bell Gallery and Assiniboia Gallery over the last month. In the past, I have committed one painting to each blog post and it was done in an orderly fashion. These days, however, I am finding it hard to find time to actually do the blog because all things kid-related are amping up as fall activities get underway. Also, I returned to my (very) part-time job after having the summer off and on the other days I get to the studio every single moment I can so I can paint. Oh, and once in awhile I get a load of groceries and handle other domestic chores! Writing on the blog keeps getting pushed down the to-do list.

Anyway, because normally it would take nine days to get nine new paintings on the blog and I don't have that kind of time, I am temporarily condensing the format to bring them all to you in a grid-type teaser! I do this because tomorrow is the opening reception of the new modern art show at Darrell Bell Gallery and Darrell has graciously reinstalled my grid of paintings in the back part of the street level gallery and actually made it even bigger than ever! I also got word late yesterday that four paintings sold and they need more to replenish the voids so the grid is full for the opening! Yikes and hooray!

So today, between soccer games and basketball games, I will be painting... muchos!

Friday, October 20, 2017

May I Introduce To You, Laura Payne!

Hex XX
© Laura Payne, 2016

Not only do I love making art, I love collecting it! And not only do I love collecting it, but I love taking a break from blathering on about myself, *yawn*, to tell you about other artists! I am absolutely ecstatic that this summer I took some of my personal savings (set aside specifically for art) and purchased this stunning creation by Laura Payne. The photo I took doesn't show it, but you can tell by the shadow that it is three dimensional.

Laura is just the loveliest person and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her since she began working at Darrell Bell Gallery. Every interaction with her is delightful and I always enjoy seeing her when I stop in. I knew her for a little while before I realized that she was also an artist. I remember one time Darrell made a joke about Laura's love for stripes and I thought that was kind of cool because a little known fact about me is that I totally love stripes, but then I saw some of her artwork and I realized he was referring to what she creates not necessarily fashion! I knew the minute I saw her work that someday I would find a way to buy a piece and I always thought it would be a striped piece, but when I saw the above creation, "Hex XX", I knew it was mine.

 
© Laura Payne

Laura has had an extremely exciting 2017. Her striking work of art, Enneadec II, was short-listed as one of fifteen finalists in the 19th Annual RBC Emerging Artist Painting Competition. This is a huge and coveted honour. There were 682 applications made to the competition this year! You can see Laura's submission as well as the other fourteen finalists at this link.


© Laura Payne

Laura earned her BFA at Western University (2010) and her MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art (2013). She currently lives in Saskatoon where she works at Darrell Bell Gallery and creates in her home studio.

© Laura Payne

If you happen to be in Saskatoon this weekend or over the next few weeks, stop in to see Laura's work at Darrell Bell Gallery where there is currently a show of modern art installed. You will find Laura's exceptional work at the front of the street level gallery and a spectacular exhibition of Eli Bornstein's work in the fourth floor gallery space (Canada Building, 21st Street). This is all coinciding with the exciting opening of the Remai Modern in Saskatoon this weekend!

© Laura Payne

Another super cool development is that Laura's work recently captured the attention of Danielle Krysa who is the well known art blogger of "The Jealous Curator" and author of the book "Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk" (which I own because I wanted to come to terms with my inner critic who is a real jackass). Check out this post about Laura on her blog!

© Laura Payne

There is something in my gut that says Laura is one to watch. Unfortunately my photos do not do her art justice, but hopefully they have you intrigued enough to click the links- especially to her website - where she has better images. In person, they are something to behold. This young woman is on her way! 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Canola At The Crossroads

Canola At The Crossroads
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I think this one is still available at Darrell Bell Gallery, but to be honest, I don't know. I will get an updated inventory list soon so I can be on top of the situation. I actually found out last Saturday that Darrell decided to keep a grid of my work up for the new show that just started today. Initially he thought it might be a bit smaller than the one he created for "Painting The Landscape", but I found out on Thursday (two days ago!) that it will, in fact, be bigger! There will be a grid of twenty-five of my 8x8 paintings in the back space of the street level gallery. As a result I am delivering eight new pieces today to replenish the stocks! Thankfully there were still some pieces on hand from last month's show as well as pieces I delivered earlier this summer, but I will continue to paint more with the hopes that there will continue to be interest in the work.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cloud Extravaganza Over Wheat

Cloud Extravaganza Over Wheat
10 x 10"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Assiniboia Gallery in Regina

Well, this little baby sold before I could get it posted! I have produced a lot of work in the last couple of months and I am having trouble remembering what I have shown and what I haven't. I need to fine tune my system!

While I was working at the studio yesterday morning I received a text from the Assiniboia Gallery and as we were chatting, Jeremy suddenly said they just sold four paintings right then and there! I think I lost consciousness for a split second! I am beyond thrilled and terribly grateful.

In the one month that I have been with Assiniboia Gallery they have sold nine paintings! Here is my artist profile on their website...


A bit hard to see I realize, but there are nine red dots out of a possible eleven! Crazy!

Speaking of red dots, I am stunned by the response to my art at Darrell Bell Gallery's show "Painting The Landscape". Darrell and his team sold thirteen 8x8's and five large paintings for me!



 

 

There is a cool story attached to one of the large pieces that sold. On the evening of the reception, someone in attendance really connected with my work. She went home, looked me up online, found my blog, read that I also had work at Boffins, went directly over to look at the work and phoned the gallery that night to purchase "Sky Over Canola"!

Sky Over Canola
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon

I am having so much fun right now! I want to paint all the time and I want to get better with each painting. I have worked hard - really hard - and it is so exciting to feel like things are coming together. There have been some serious lows along the way and right now I am experiencing some serious highs. I expect at some point the lows will come again and when they do I will persevere and work hard to come out the other side a better artist. I am humbled and overwhelmed by those who support me, who are excited about my art and who are helping make my dreams happen: my family, my friends, my art colleagues, collectors and my two favourite galleries!

Today, I paint!!!