Sunday, May 14 - Mother's Day Tea Show and Sale: taking place at Studio On 20th from 12-4p.m. Our studio will be open to the public on this afternoon to exhibit the most current work by artists Bridget Aitken, Nicki Ault, Kathy Bradshaw, Jan Corcoran, Ann Donald, Jane Harington, Miranda Jones, Brenda Kennedy, Karen Maguire, Amira Wasfy and Carol Wylie. We are located at 236A 20th Street Between Aves. B and C (door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant).

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.

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
on hold

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!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sundown

Sundown
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)
sold

Abstract reflections. I love painting them. I am going to take this water series to new heights (I hope) in the near future. Or at least larger scale.

This is the last of the ten new paintings I recently delivered to Darrell Bell Gallery (main level) and if I am not mistaken about five of them are already sold! That makes me crazy happy! I just want to paint and paint and paint!!! Thank you!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Glimmer

Glimmer
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)

The glowing reflection of the sun was rather striking, almost neon... and hard to paint!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hanging Heart Lake

Hanging Heart Lake
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)

Memories of this spot abound. And now it is a place where my kids will have memories. It is a view of the point at the marina of the Hanging Heart Lakes (there are three Heart Lakes). Ducks everywhere! And a lovely hike from the parking lot of the marina through the forest to the tip of this point. There is an old, old home-made wooden bench on the hill behind the trees which overlooks the bay. The bench is rather spectacular in the sense that it has been reclaimed by nature; moss and carpenter ants have had their way with it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fleeting Light

Fleeting Light
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)

I love the glowing yellow light that shines through the leaves of a backlit forest.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Afterglow

Afterglow
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)
sold

I love painting these waterscapes (I just made that word up).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sun-Kissed Clouds

Sun-Kissed Clouds
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)
sold


Similar composition to the big commish I finished and shipped to Portland last month. Happily this fella has already sold at Darrell Bell Gallery.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lush

Lush
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)
sold

Dreaming of the lush greens of spring.

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Over

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

I love this sky. Love it.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Quiet Is The Day

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

Three of the ten paintings I delivered to Darrell Bell Gallery on Friday are inspired by the twinkling, sparkling, glistening watery reflections of the sunset in northern Saskatchewan. I am SO into this subject it isn't even funny. I have learned so much with each of these paintings that I have produced: four 6x6's, three 8x8's and one 20x24, that I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds. If only I could record the conversation I have in my head during the process of discovery. You might find it interesting... or you might be offended by the language! Ha!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Canola Ripening Under A Sevres Blue Sky

Canola Ripening Under a Sevres Blue Sky
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

There is something so incredibly Saskatchewan about a canola field, a blue sky and low-swelling clouds. Swoon.

I just delivered ten new paintings to Darrell Bell Gallery on Friday. This is one of them. I am so grateful for their support of my work.

P.S. "Sevres Blue" is the name of a paint by Williamsburg Oils. Me Love.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spring Cleaning SALE! Yes, I Said SALE!

Rocks, Georgian Bay
30" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
regular $900.00
SALE $450.00

I am extremely excited to announce that our lease has been renewed and I will be painting at the Studio On 20th for the next 3 years! Woo hoooooooo!

On that note, space is ever an issue. Three years ago when we moved out of St. George Studio and into Studio On 20th I purged like crazy! I brought home all of my art books and my inspiration bulletin boards and I threw out awful, horrible, really bad pieces of art that were the worst ever of my efforts. I actually sliced canvases with blades of steel! I was quite ruthless and I needed to be because no longer would I have my own space, but I would be sharing with my good friend, Bridget Aitken. The hoarder tendency in me had to be squelched. 

Now I find myself in a situation where I have paintings on hand that I still really love, but they have already been in shows, both outside of the studio and in. They won't be put in any future exhibits of my work, but they have a special place in my heart and will never meet the ruthless blade of an exacto knife nor will they ever be painted over. (I do have a stack of canvases that I plan to re-work... AKA "paint over"). So what to do when I don't have a place to store them?

I have NEVER done this before. EVER. And I may never do this again! 

It's a huge sale!

Seven paintings only!

I need to make room for all of the paintings that have yet to be created. I am so pumped for what is to come, but I still love some of what was... so as a celebration of sorts I am offering a handful of paintings lovingly held in my "vault" for crazy... and I mean crazy... prices! I hope you connect with something. Please let me know via email if there is anything you want!  First come, first served!   nicki.ault@shaw.ca

The Birch
48" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015
sold


Little Sumac On Georgian Bay
30" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
regular $900.00
SALE $450.00

Cattails
20" x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016
regular $595.00
SALE $298.00
sold

Fire In The Belly III
48" x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016
regular $1440.00
SALE $720.00
sold

 The Shallows, Georgian Bay
30" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
regular $900.00
SALE $ 450.00

 Patchwork Pasture
18" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
regular $555.00
SALE $278.00

Crazy prices on seven paintings... which one do you want? Let's talk!

P.S. And might I mention that if you live in the United States these prices are particularly sweeeeeet!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Story of the Commission

Climb Inside The Sunset
36 x 48"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I realize I posted this painting not that long ago, but the story of this commission continues, so it requires another feature.

detail of Climb Inside The Sunset
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Late last November I came home to find a message on my answering machine from a man in Portland, Oregon who wanted to talk to me about a commission. I called him back and we had a wonderful conversation. He was actually originally from Saskatoon and, although we went to different high schools, we even graduated the same year! He had been "home" in the summer and saw my solo show at the University Club (formerly the Faculty Club) and wondered if I would consider doing a large painting for him and his wife. He told me they wanted silhouetted trees with a sunset behind, so I sent them some sample images of my work plus an image of "Grandeur", a cloudy sunset with no silhouetted trees, as an option. (see below)

Grandeur
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2013
sold

That did it- they wanted something like that only a bit bigger!

I was excited to take on the project because big skies always speak to me and I always wanted to do another, but never got around to it. 

Fast forward a few months and the painting is now done, approved and delivered. But the best part of the whole story is the email I received Friday morning from my client. It literally took my breath away. When I wrote him back I did so through tears. With his permission (and adjustments for privacy) here is what he wrote:

"Nicki:
I am overcome with gratitude! Your painting is more amazing in person than I imagined....Wow!
I took it to have it framed immediately and it is scheduled to be good to go right before [my wife's] birthday-great timing!
I will be sure to send you a picture once it adorns our home!
Many, many thanks!
I will be sure to let you know when we are next in Saskatoon so that we can meet in person.
So happy,
S. B.

PS: Some back story that I can't recall if I told you about. Last summer, my best friend from Saskatoon lost his mum in a tragic car accident. [His mum] was essentially my second mum. The service for this loss happened at the Faculty Club at the U of S and your art happened to be on exhibit that day. In a quiet moment together after most of the guests had left, my friend and I mused at how your works, particularly of the sky in Waskesiu where we spent countless summer and winter nights vacationing together, captured the essence of his mum. Graceful, beautiful, larger than life and always wide open to the world. Hence, me connecting with you.
My wife has a very strong connection to [her] as well. Among many moments, one stands out. [My wife] has commented on several occasions how [my second mum] made sure that [my wife], on our wedding day, thoughtfully pause throughout the day to take in all it would offer. What brilliant advice it was. Ironically, your painting will forever remind not just [my wife] but me as well of [my second mum] and the incredible sunset we saw on our wedding day 16 years ago in central Oregon."

Whew! Emotions were running high after reading that!

detail of Climb Inside The Sunset
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Commissions are hard, and I would not hesitate to say "no" to some, but this one felt right, as have the handful of others I have done. What I was not expecting from this situation was to receive that beautiful message and to have it absolutely, one hundred percent, fully stop me in my tracks and take stock of my purpose as an artist.

I did not see that coming.

You see, landscape painters, in these modern/contemporary days, are not necessarily viewed in the big art world itself as very relevant. It isn't often that landscapes are edgy or politically charged or "out there" or pushing boundaries or sexy or a million other things that get attention. I have actually heard that landscapes are at the bottom of the barrel in the hierarchy of what is interesting in art. Ouch. Whatever this attitude/stereotype is, it has messed with my mind many a-time. It has made me question whether I should continue down this path or whether I should switch gears and pursue another genre.

But I love landscapes. I LOVE Saskatchewan and I LOVE Canada. I love painting scenes that are so beautiful to me that I cannot express how I feel about them in words. 

detail of Climb Inside The Sunset
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Don't get me wrong, I still have a desire to explore and learn. I still have an itch to experiment with abstracts and to hone my figure drawing skills, BUT after receiving that email testimonial on Friday morning what has been wiped away is the thought that I must pursue these other interests because they might be more acceptable in the big ol' art world. If and when I charge down those paths it will be with a pure heart itching for self-discovery, not because someone "out there" thinks there is more honour in the pursuit of those things over landscapes.

I am humbled and invigorated to know that my artwork existed in a time and place where people suffering the tragic loss of a beautiful loved one were somehow comforted by my paintings and that viewing them helped in some way. Landscapes are capable of invoking deep memories and emotions.

I am proud.

And I will never, ever say I am "just a landscape painter" ever again.

 
detail of Climb Inside The Sunset
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Eventide

Eventide
20 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This painting will be going to auction in March. It is my fourth time being asked to participate in the biennial art auction which is a major fundraiser for the Sexual Health Centre Sasktoon. Two committee members made a studio visit last month to select work for the event. Truthfully, I didn't have a lot on hand for them to choose from and two pieces were already earmarked for the Mann Gallery show. They zeroed in on a prairie scene I painted earlier last year and I reluctantly agreed. As days passed, doubt began to creep in and even though the piece was not that old, I started to feel less excited about it being my contribution to the auction. I decided to paint a piece with the same dimensions that was more in keeping with where I am now with my art. "Eventide" is the result and I feel way more excited to send it off to the auction block. 

You can learn more about the auction here and, if you will be in Saskatoon on March 26, please consider purchasing a ticket. It is a fun event and it sounds like there will be some great art/artists this year!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Citrus Clouds

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

Every now and then it is fun to tackle something a bit weird and quirky as far as landscapes go, just to see what will happen. Quite frankly, there was a point during the process where the biggest cloud actually resembled a Goldfish cracker and I had to decide just how weird and quirky I wanted to get!