Studio On 20th Mother's Day Tea Art Show and Sale: Sunday, May 13 from 12-4 p.m. our studio will be open to the public and our most current work will be exhibited. Bring your favourite people and enjoy tea, dainties and original art! Located at 236A 20th Street W (door to the left of the Odd Couple Restaurant and up the stairs).

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.

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!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Starlit Canola

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

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!

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