July - September, 2018: A selection of my artwork is now available for the summer season at Evrgreen, a charming coffee shop in the townsite of Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park!

Representation: I am honoured to have my work represented by these well-respected professional galleries:
Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon
Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, 2266 Smith Street- a vibrant, bustling part of town.

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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