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, July 22, 2017

Rejoice

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

The canola is glorious right now. Every day it gets more intense. That yellow is the colour of happy. It's the time of year when a good number of the prairie population has its fingers crossed that Mother Nature will work for us rather than against us. We need rain, but not too much. We need heat, but not too much, We definitely don't need hail or a plague of grasshoppers. And no tornadoes. The summer is a bit of a nail biter around here and we always hope the best for our farmers. Fingers crossed for the great bumper crops of 2017!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Wheat Ripening

Wheat Ripening
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I came across a beautiful wheat field on the drive north the other day. It was so lovely, not yet blonde, full of  warm and earthy colours, and a bit green. It rippled in the wind like gentle waves. The motion was mesmerizing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sunshine On Earth

Sunshine On Earth
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Finally! I got some painting done!

It was a lovely day at the lake yesterday, but not overwhelmingly hot. In the shade on the deck while painting, I had four layers on! But I tend to run a little on the cool side. My son thought I was crazy bananas, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, it was wonderful to get this canola field out of my head and onto a board. I am still swooning from all the yellow I saw on the drive north. More to come!

I love painting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Paintings In My Head!

Waskesiu Sunset
photo © Nicki Ault, 2017

I am at the lake with my kids. We drove up on Monday- it took longer than usual because I kept stopping to take photos of the canola fields along the way. The remainder of the day was spent unpacking and settling in, cleaning and organizing. Then yesterday was rainy, on and off all day, so each time I thought I would get outside to paint, I was foiled. And then there was a two hour glitch trying to get the Shaw Direct service to the TV. I, myself, could go without TV indefinitely, but string a few rainy days together with two teenagers in a small cabin and you will want entertainment. Any entertainment. Even Sponge Bob.

So, no paintings yet, but as I wrapped up the day, the rain stopped and the sun began to break through. As the clouds burned off, this gift arrived promising new, inspired paintings on my horizon.

P.S. I posted a video of a 180 degree view of this sunset on Instagram last night. Click the camera icon on the top right of this page to go over there to see it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Little Lovey's Art Project


First things first, I want to be clear that whenever I post any images related to my children (which is rare) I always talk to them first and ask if they are okay with it. I do not post if they say no.

Okay, that being said... my heart swells with love and pride, joy and awe over this story.

My youngest, thirteen years old and just finished Grade Seven, told me early in May that, for an art assignment in school, they were supposed to pick a famous artist and research about him or her and then do a piece of art in the style of that artist or do a reproduction of that artist's work. I was really excited when he told me that and I asked who he chose... Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, O'Keefe, Matisse, Degas? Who?!

His answer...

"I chose you, mom".

Cue the tears.

"Me?" I asked. "Oh! Really? Wow. Thank you Lovey."

Turtle Cloud
12 x 12"
acrylic on canvas
© T. Ault, 2017
NFS

He was supposed to bring supplies to school to create the art project, but we decided to take some time one evening to go to my studio so he could work on his project there. He used a 12x12 canvas propped on my easel, my brushes and acrylics. He chose one of my 6x6 paintings of a sunset as inspiration for his piece - he did not want to copy it, he wanted to create his own work.

It was quite interesting to watch the painting develop. I helped talk him through elements and showed him how to choose colours and mix paint. I listened to his thoughts and gave him advice on how to try to achieve the idea he had in his head as I understood it. It was fascinating to watch him love his painting at certain points and then really hate it at other points. Like mother, like son! He persevered and in the end he felt very proud of what he created.

my son's painting and assignment
(top left) on the bulletin board at school

What I hadn't looked at was the paper he wrote about me. I didn't see it until I stopped by the school to take a photo of the bulletin board in the hallway. At that point I read the front page of his assignment. I am not sure which I love more, his painting or his words (few as they may be)!

Under Artist Biography the question is "How did they live?"

His answer... "She lived well. She wasn't rich but she wasn't poor".

!!!!!!

How much do I love it???!!! I laughed right out loud while standing in the empty school hallway. I also enjoy that he has my date of birth wrong and that he has me expiring this year. It's been nice knowing ya!


All silliness aside, he is actually so very wrong. I am rich, but it has nothing to do with money and everything to do with him and his big brother.

Truly. My cup runneth over.

P.S. I ran into my son's teacher who commented how absolutely sweet he thought it was that my son chose to do his assignment on me. I said I agreed, that it was very special. I also teased that my son gave me the only opportunity I will ever have to be displayed alongside Claude Monet and Salvador Dali!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Where The Heart Is

Where The Heart Is
(commission)
20 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I was contacted earlier this year by the family of a dear friend of mine. They asked if I would consider doing a painting for her 65th birthday, but they wanted her to be involved so the painting didn't actually have to be done for the big day (February). I was honoured to be asked and of course I said yes! I knew she would either choose a prairie scene or something to do with Waskesiu Lake, so I was confident I could tackle whatever she decided on. After much debating, a Waskesiu sunset was what she desired.

I have known this beautiful woman for twenty-five years. A lifetime ago in many ways. I knew her before I was married; she was my manager at a store where I worked, and with her support, that seasonal Christmas job actually evolved into a ten year career. We became fast friends and confidents, we traveled together to conferences across our beautiful country and we supported each other in our work, both the successes and struggles of our stores. We have seen each other through some really good times and, as life goes, some really hard times. And we have laughed! Boy, have we laughed!

Life has changed a lot for both of us since 1992 and we don't see each other as much as we used to, but our friendship is such that we always pick up where we left off and without missing a beat. She is passionate about her family; her beloved husband, her three children and her five grandchildren. She takes care of those around her with such a loving heart. I am proud to know her. I am honoured to have created this painting for her and I hope it gives her joy every single day for the rest of forever.

Happy birthday dear friend.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dark and Stormy

Dark and Stormy
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

I. LOVE. THIS. PAINTING!!!


The sky is not black, but it is a very deep, dark indigo. Hard to photograph.

I love every square inch of it.  

I LOVE it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Coming Down In Sheets

Coming Down In Sheets
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery

Oh, I am happy with this one! Made up straight out of this prairie-lovin' head of mine!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Starlit Canola

Starlit Canola
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Wow! I have been sick again and this time it knocked me down much harder than whatever I had two weeks ago. I could feel it coming on Tuesday, but somehow I managed to get to the studio in the late afternoon to meet a dear friend who wanted to buy some 6x6's for wedding gifts this summer. When I got home I had a fever. Wednesday morning I somehow managed to get back to the studio so another friend and collector of my work could pick up "Shimmer, Waskesiu River". I then delivered, fever and all, three new 8x8's to Darrell Bell Gallery ("Starlit Canola" is one of them). I have very little recollection of the day after that. I went home and crashed. I have hardly been out of bed or off the couch since, but today I finally feel about 75% better.

I am really excited about all three paintings I took to Darrell Bell Gallery! They are each made up from memories, ideas and emotions I have in my head connected to my beloved prairies.

"Starlit Canola" was supposed to be delivered with the last batch of 8x8's, but this is the one I knocked over, face down, when it was still wet. I was so frustrated because I thought it was ruined. In the end, after I worked on it some more, it was a much better painting. I actually started on a soft gray ground. I considered starting on a yellow ground, but I was worried the blue would take on a greenish tinge when painted over the yellow and I wanted it to be a deep, inky indigo. I used a rubber-tipped tool to remove the paint where I wanted the stars, which is why I initially thought a yellow ground might be the ticket- so the stars would look yellowy when I dabbed off the blue paint. In the end soft gray was the right choice because twinkling stars in the night sky actually look more white than yellow. I went back over the larger stars with a small hit of pale yellow just to give them a bit of a glow. I had to redo the entire deep blue sky because there were so many imperfections from being knocked over. As it turned out, with a second coat, the sky took on a new depth, much more rich and lovely than how it looked originally!

Anyway, after I got the painting all touched up and improved from my klutzy knock-over move, I noticed it had dried ever-so-slightly uneven. Some areas had more of a glossy sheen than others, especially in the field. I decided a nice coat of varnish (I don't always varnish) would do the trick to even things out. It did, but the field was still not perfect, so I gave it another light coat. Problem- I left a slight ridge of varnish between the field and the sky thinking it would self-level. It didn't. It dried that way. Grrrr. I should have just done a second coat of varnish over everything, but I didn't want to tamper with the sky, which looked great.

Cue the Gamblin website! What a fantastic resource for their products! I am consistently impressed with this company: their products, knowledge and innovation are top notch. I had used their varnish, Gamvar, and after educating myself on a few things I decided to take their advice and use their product Gamsol, which I had on hand, to remove the varnish ridge. I was scared to do it because I didn't want to wreck the painting again, but really, I couldn't deliver it the way it was anyway. It worked like a charm just like they said it would! 

I learned a LOT on this one 8x8. I am so glad it survived all it went through! You know the saying, "If these walls could talk"? Well, if my paintings could talk a good number of them would have plenty to say!

"Starlit Canola" is at Darrell Bell Gallery (street level) if you want to see it in person!



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Downpour

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

I love me a good torrential downpour, especially at the lake at night laying in the loft listening to the rain pound on the metal roof, window open just a smidge, snuggled in a cozy comforter and reading a good book. Heaven.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Shimmer, Waskesiu River

Shimmer, Waskesiu River
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I first painted the Waskesiu River in 2009 and I recall the sunlight was shimmering and sparkling on the water. Since it is one of my absolute favourite places in this great country, it seemed fitting that I paint another shimmery version on July 1st, Canada's 150th birthday. I like this one.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer Storm Brings The Green

Summer Storm Brings The Green
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

On my way to the studio the other day it started pouring! It got me thinking about how green things look right after a big downpour, so when I got to the studio I made this painting up. I posted it right away on Instagram because I was so excited... and it sold!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Not Canola

Not Canola
20 x 20"
mixed media on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

This was the third and final piece I exhibited in the group show "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" last weekend. It is a huge departure from what I normally paint and it was exceptionally fun to experiment. I am very grateful to Mike Remando for the invitation to join this show and for the gentle push to explore new ideas. It is something I should do more often, but don't for various reasons. If I am invited again next year I am curious to see what I might create! One thing is for sure- I will push myself out of my comfort zone again!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Not Flowers II

Not Flowers II
36 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Not Flowers II was in "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" last weekend and I really love how it turned out. The colours are not quite red and white but close enough to being appropriate for a Canada Day 150 post. So... 

HaPpY CaNaDa DaY! 


I love this beautiful, democratic, peaceful, friendly, hard-working, diverse, polite country where I live. We are not perfect and we have work to do in many, many ways- most importantly meaningful and sincere reconciliation with our First Nations people, but there is not another country I would rather call home.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fall Settling In

Fall Settling In
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I really am not thinking too much about the fall, sorry to bring it up! There is still way too much summer to enjoy. I did, however, finally spend some significant time at the studio yesterday. I was sick last week and then I had a headache that persisted all day and night for a good six or seven days. Obviously this made it hard to get any meaningful work done. I finally woke up yesterday morning from an uninterrupted sleep - I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night to take more Advil! Feeling like I had a new lease on life, I headed to the studio and worked and worked. It felt great!

I spent time struggling with the smaller of the two commissions I have on the go, but I took a photo and once I analyzed it on the screen I knew where to make the necessary changes. It may need a few tweaks today, but otherwise I think it is done!

To decompress from that battle, I painted a new little 6x6 (above) which was actually supposed to have a spring feel to it, but my palette decided to jump a couple of seasons ahead of me and land in the fall.

Now to get more work done on the really big commish! I am behind schedule from where I had hoped to be. June got the best of me yet again.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Show At Boffins Restaurant!


News flash! On Monday Darrell Bell hung some of my work at Boffins restaurant on the University of Saskatchewan campus! He emailed me last week to see if I had anything on hand at the studio that he could use to create a small show for the summer. Luckily I had five paintings that he was able to mix with a couple of pieces of mine he already had at the gallery.... and voila! A solo show is born! Huge thanks to Darrell for thinking of me for this opportunity.




 




*All photos courtesy of Darrell Bell.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not Flowers I

Not Flowers I
36 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available?

As you know from previous posts, I was invited to be in a quick two day show last weekend with nine other artists. The idea, I was told, was to exhibit work that was experimental and perhaps outside of what you normally do; to push your personal boundaries and step out of your comfort zone. I had this piece on hand that I painted for my bathroom after we renovated. I said I would use it if nothing else because it certainly fit the criteria. I ended up getting sick a week before the show, so I didn't finish all of the brand new pieces I hoped to create, so I did end up using this one. 

I had three pieces to submit, all paintings which were out of my comfort zone to paint, but I have to say, putting them on a wall in a public show really pushed my comfort zone! It was a great experience though and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Huge thanks to Mike Remando for asking me to take part.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Silent Sunset

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

I love these sunset reflections. Once the commissions are done, I am going to do another 24x36 canvas along this theme. For now this one and "Quiet Is The Day" can be found at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level). I also have two 6x6's left at the studio, "Delicate Balance" and "Shimmer And Shine", in case you need a wedding gift for someone this summer. I think they are kind of romantic.

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

Delicate Balance
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blue II

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

I've been sick. It was a long week, but I am on the mend now. I feel like I have to catch you up on a lot! I still have paintings to show of the ones I delivered to Darrell Bell Gallery just over a week ago - this one and another. Plus I have to tell you about the group show I was just in, "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" and show you those paintings. Also, there is a little news to share!

Stay tuned as I get back on track this week!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pea Soup Swamp (Painting Makeover)

Pea Soup Swamp
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Wowzie! This new version makes me sooooo happy. I am all about that reflection. The original (below) just seems so basic; so unfinished. I think the "after" scene is much more sophisticated. Growth. That is what I am seeing in myself with these makeover Mondays. And it feels good.

Pea Soup Swamp
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hot Pink Finale

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

This one has a little kick to it. That hot pink, or in painting terms, Quinacridone Magenta, packs a punch. I love that colour, so I kind of made up this sunset, replacing oranges and yellows with pinks and a little soft purple.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wheat Field

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

This one might make a great Father's Day Gift! I've revisited this scene/photo reference of mine several times. I love it... but it may be time for it to retire.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Farmer's Field In Spring

Farmer's Field In Spring
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)

Today I delivered five new paintings to Darrell Bell Gallery and they were all still a smidge wet. Not ideal, but I really wanted to get them to the gallery in time for the days before Father's Day, so I took a chance on transporting them in this sort-of-fragile state. I was extra paranoid because I actually had six paintings done, but yesterday I knocked one over face down at the studio and it very well might be ruined. Artist troubles.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice



Oh boy!!! What have I done? What. Have. I. Done?

I said yes to this. Literally I said yes to this on May 27. See my post on June 7 about how nutty June is. And yet, I said yes to this show.

I was approached by a friend and colleague, Mike Remando, who was putting together a show of fun work, work that would allow the artist to be out of their wheel house and play and experiment and be crazy and wild. He asked me to be one of the ten artists in the show and after a brief moment of contemplation I threw caution to the wind and said YES! Basically I have no idea how the work I have in my head will translate on paper (or in this case, board), but I am going for it! I am just going to have fun and be free. Be free to be me... a me you haven't seen. A me that tries to give no effs. And the commitment is only one to three pieces so why not just do it! So I am!!! Come if you can! Details above. And wish me luck!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Heavy Sky At Dusk (Painting Makeover)

Heavy Sky At Dusk
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Here it is... the doozy I mentioned last week.

I consider myself a person of reasonable taste. Good taste even. So what the bleep was I thinking with the original version of this painting in 2014?! Honestly, it is brutal! Three years ago I apparently thought the "before" was good enough to post it on my blog and in my Daily Paintworks gallery. I'm not even saying the "after" painting above is the best thing I have ever done, but I will say that it is miles better than what I did three years ago.

Heavy Sky At Dusk
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

What this says to me, thankfully, is that I am growing and learning and refining my taste. It means I am not stagnant and I am moving forward. This growth is at my pace which could be slower or faster than that of others, but it really doesn't matter in the end, what matters is the progress is there. And I do feel I am progressing. If nothing else these painting makeovers are revealing this to me and that is a valuable thing.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Two Commissions and June Sucks

two commissions underway
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I have two commissions on the go and I want them to be done by the end of June.

I am just going to take a moment to state the obvious. June is hellish. June is a panic. June is crunch time.

It is the time of the year when I always think, "Why don't I ever remember how intense June is?" I swear June is worse than December. By far. And I never remember.

The school year is winding down and there are field trips and assignments and concerts and assemblies and activities and projects and tests and no time to do it all and my husband always goes away to a conference in June and summer is coming and the kids will be home all the time and so I won't be able to get to the studio as much as I should and I have a thousand things to do but I am lucky because I will have my kids home all summer although they will suck up all my time but I love them and the time goes so fast but it goes so slow and they are teenagers so they will sleep in every day and I will feel like my time is being wasted because I could be painting but I won't be painting because I will be waiting for them to wake up and in the meantime I will be doing something stupid like the dishes and cleaning and flipping channels and getting stuck on CNN and worrying about Trump but eventually I might get to the studio for a sliver of the day but then I will have to leave because I will have to drive the kids to wherever they need to be but I love them so much that ultimately I don't mind doing it but I should have gotten more accomplished when school was in but I didn't because I always forget about June being hellish.

To be continued...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Last Beach Day, Waskesiu (Painting Makeover)

Last Beach Day, Waskesiu
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available


Last Beach Day, Waskesiu
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014
 
As I go through this process of reworking old paintings, I have had many "What the bleeeep were you thinking?" moments. And while some of these old pieces have intrigued me enough to revisit them, there is a pile of work that I have no plan to repaint, rework or remake- those pieces are headed for the chipper. I would like to think I am a human with generally good taste, but apparently my eyes can be blind to my own work at times. Just wait until you see the doozy I have for you next week!

This particular painting was done on a Cadmium Orange ground so that colour pops through, which I like, but in hindsight it tinged the original painting a bit too much. Basically the makeover has softened everything up, but still leaves some pops of orange coming through which adds a bit of energy. The composition remains a bit awkward with the trees at the edge of the beach and the angles of the water, but whatevs, this makeover only went so far.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Slivers Of Blue

Slivers Of Blue
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Oh, how I love the shock of blue against the stubble in the field at this time of year. Once the new crop grows, the height of the grasses will eventually hide any puddles that may form in the field after a good rain.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ultramarine On The Field

Ultramarine On The Field
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Blonde stubble from last years' crops, new green growth sprouting up and water reflecting the glorious blue sky- this field is alive!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Blue

Blue
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I had to take my son to soccer games in Prince Albert last weekend and the blonde stubble from last year's crops looked striking against the pops of bright blue sky reflected in the water laying in the low spots.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Calgary Bound! And A Little Of My History

These are heading to Calgary!
© Nicki Ault, 2017

The truth is I don't always know what to say. I have no words when I receive an email from someone who wants to buy a painting. Well, I mean, I do have words. I know how to talk about pricing and shipping, and I certainly know how to say thank you. What I mean is, I do not know how to eloquently express what this support means to me. You see, for this there are no words. There are no words that express my gratitude to the extent that I feel it.

Ever since I won a Grover newsprint pad of paper from Ms. Eckert for a drawing contest in Grade One, I have loved art. I have wanted to make art. The actuality of that has ebbed and flowed through my life. The desire to create has always been there; the time, motivation, energy, support, finances and confidence have not. I clearly remember, as a struggling young adult, going to see a counselor at a woman's support office- I think it was called "Working For Women". I was sad, depressed even, feeling like I wanted to be at a different place in my life, but having no idea how to get there. At the time I had a university degree, I was working a job I liked but it was unrelated to my schooling and I didn't consider it a career, and I was making porcelain dolls as a hobby. My deep desire was to be an artist, but I was working a job that was so not an artist and when people asked me what I did I felt embarrassed to tell them because my heart wanted to be something other than that. I recall my counselor reframing my situation for me. She said, "if people ask you what you do, why don't you tell them you are an artist - it is true, you make and sell porcelain dolls in a gallery. That is what you do and WHO you are. Oh, and you also work this other job."

My mind was blown.

The restructuring of my thoughts at that moment was profound. I do not remember her name, but I have never forgotten her.

So, all these years later, when I receive an email from someone wanting to purchase a painting my heart literally jumps in my chest. Every time. I honestly feel moved that this is my reality. I have no words powerful enough in my vocabulary to say what that means to me. So, with these two paintings heading off to Calgary this week, all I have to offer is a thank you.

But you can bet it is from the very bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Islands On Sulphide Lake (Painting Makeover)

Islands On Sulphide Lake
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

 Islands On Sulphide Lake
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

The changes on this one are not particularly dramatic, but I love it now! I love the entire feel so much more. This painting is about the islands and the distant land masses; I feel like now it actually reads that way. And I am not sure it is obvious in the photo of the original, but when I looked at it with fresh eyes (three years later!), it really became clear that it seemed dull and unfinished. After I "made it over" it came to life- the water is better, the islands are better, the sky is better. I love this painting now!

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, blank canvas 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.