Representation: I am honoured to have my work represented by these well-respected professional galleries:
Darrell Bell Gallery in the Canada Building, downtown Saskatoon
Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, 2266 Smith Street
Webster Galleries in Calgary, Unit 2 625-77th Ave. SE

Summer Location: I am happy to announce that my art is available once again at Evrgreen Coffee and Food in Waskesiu for the summer season.

March 21, 2019: I was interviewed by Galleries West Magazine. Read the article here.

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

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Skirting The Field and Call The Game

Skirting The Field
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

 Call The Game!
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

North Country and A Prairie Good Morning

North Country
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

A Prairie Good Morning
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I am trying to catch up the blog to the 8x8's I have already posted on Facebook and Instagram. There are about twenty-three 8x8's currently available at Darrell Bell Gallery. They make great gifts; something to keep in mind as wedding season is upon us.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

First Heat of Spring and Dreaming of the Dugout

 First Heat of Spring
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Dreaming of the Dugout
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Yikes, that was an unexpected hiatus from my blog! I haven't posted for over a month which is quite unlike me. I find Instagram and Facebook to be more immediate and interactive and the blog is much more time consuming. Its purpose is changing for me. I'm trying to sort out how to make all the social media options work in the best possible way and how to rejig the way I've been doing things so that more time is spent painting than anything else.

At any rate, I popped in to Darrell Bell Gallery today and now feel up-to-date with what is available on the 8x8 grid. I will be firing off several blog posts of the available work in the next 48 hours to try to catch up with what has been posted on my Intsa and FB.

Aside from trying to figure these things out, at the end of May and beginning of June my sister and I were thrilled to host visitors from Australia! It was a really big deal and I am still glowing from the joyous reunion.

Years ago my younger sister and I took a Contiki bus tour through Europe visiting something like twelve countries in forty-two days. It was a bus full of young adults; a really great group of people from all over the world. There were a handful we connected with on a really special level and have stayed in close touch with ever since. Life-long friends, the stuff of wonderful stories. One of them has now been to see us in Canada FIVE times (after this most recent trip) and my sister and I visited him in Australia five years after the European adventure. Considering the distance between our countries, we have done a good job of remaining in each others' lives. His visit this time was made even more amazing by the fact that he brought his parents! He organized a trip of a lifetime for them starting in B.C. and ending in Saskatoon. It included a cruise to Alaska and riding the Rocky Mountaineer to Alberta. They were over the moon. Apparently it was a dream of theirs to come to Canada.

It was a special time for all of us. Our parents got to meet and really connected. I loved that they were able to spend time with my family - he could not believe how my kids had grown since the last time he was here. I loved laughing about old memories and that crazy trip through Europe. I loved listening to my friend talk... he is absolutely hilarious! It was five days that went way too fast.

Now I can't help but wonder when I will see him again, or his parents. It's so far away, but we have talked about meeting somewhere in-between and hopefully our other friends from the Contiki trip can meet us, too. It is a very special bond.  

Friends who are family.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Breakwater and the Boat Dock

The Breakwater and the Boat Dock
10x10"
oil on panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold

The magical time of day when the light is golden.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Graphite Sky at a Party!

Graphite Sky
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Assiniboia Gallery

I took this fan-favourite down to Assiniboia Gallery the other day. There is a special event in the gallery tonight and I hope the perfect match for this painting attends. Do you have a modern aesthetic? A sophisticated eye? A designer's vision? If you answered yes, "Graphite Sky" could be the painting you've been waiting for! :)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Dusk In A Ravaged Land

Dusk In A Ravaged Land
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Assiniboia Gallery

This one is another spin-off from a 6x6 I produced in my daily painting project. The other one I painted was a slightly altered composition to accommodate a rectangular format. Both of these were done on boards.

The effect of the sky on this one gave me a hard time. It's funny how simple things like moving from a hard, smooth surface of a board to a bouncy, textured surface of a canvas can affect my approach. Or maybe it's more about the prep of the surfaces. I sealed the boards with a clear-coat so the colour of the board is what I built the painting on. I never paint on a white canvas, so in this case I put on a coat of orange/peach gesso over the surface before I started painting.

The orange gesso looked great with the under-painting! So much so that I tried to keep the effect by mixing mostly orange and orangish-yellow oils to paint the sky. Unfortunately it didn't translate and just felt dark, like there was no light in the sky. The mood from the under-painting and gesso was lost. 

In an effort to salvage the painting, I started making changes and probably re-painted the sky four times until I was finally happy. 

Lessons are learned every time I am at my easel.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Fond Memories of the Farm

Fond Memories of the Farm
8 x 8"
oil on panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

A dugout and a warm summer sunset.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Sun Burns Through

The Sun Burns Through
30 x 48"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Assiniboia Gallery

Yesterday I drove to Regina with my studio mate, Bridget, to deliver work to her gallery and to mine. We gabbed so much I really don't recall stopping for a breath! I think we solved all the world's problems and we came to two basic conclusions: humans need to stop being cruel to each other and the world would be better off with more art.

I'm really excited about the three new pieces I dropped off at Assiniboia Gallery which I will post over the next few days. Or you can check out the gallery website a bit later today to see them first! I hope you agree that they have a modern feel and that each have the potential to be show stoppers in their own ways. Fingers crossed they go over well and I look forward to feedback from the gallery as they get eyes on them.

This was my first day away from the studio in quite awhile and I missed it! I can hardly wait to get there tomorrow to get started on my next projects. Stay tuned and thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Skirting The Field

Skirting The Field
8 x 8"
oil on panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

The edges of fields by the roadside are often quite interesting to look at: there might be a few thistles or weeds, you can usually see the whole plant and how tall the stems/stalks are, the foliage is visible and you can really see how the plant moves if it is windy.

Take a drive to the country this summer, get out of the car. listen to the sounds, smell the air and think about what you would want to paint, photograph, write or sing about. Then do it. 

It will do your soul good.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Into The Wide Open

Into The Wide Open
8 x 8"
oil on panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

​Another autumn scene inspired by my studio mate's acreage. The downhill path to an open clearing is one of the many lovely vantage points on her property.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Passionate Sky in "Seeing Red" at Darrell Bell Gallery

The Passionate Sky
48 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

A new group show, "Seeing Red", opens at Darrell Bell Gallery tomorrow! I submitted a brand new painting, "The Passionate Sky", based on a photo I saw in an Instagram Story by Geof at @glassandtin_ . I am very grateful he gave me permission to use his photo and it is amazing this all occurred before I even knew about the red-themed show! Serendipity I guess!

The opening reception is tomorrow, please come if you can.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Prairie Complementary, Contrary Prairie and Prairie Opposites Attract

Prairie Complementary
12 x 12"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

All of these new paintings were recently delivered to Darrell Bell Gallery and are experiments in abstracting the landscape as well as explorations on the use of complementary colours. Each one focused on using blue (primary colour) and it's complement, orange, which is a secondary colour and across from blue on the colour wheel. I then tried to work with colours only on one side of the colour wheel between those two complements.

All of these things and more are ideas I took away from Susan Woolgar's workshop which I attended in Saskatoon at the end of March.

Learning is fun!


Prairie Opposites Attract
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery


The Contrary Prairie
12 x 12"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Dusk On A Northern Lake

Dusk On A Northern Lake
14 x 18"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold
(commission)

This. I am proud of this painting. And I am proud of the little 6x6 daily painting 
(below) which acted as its study. 

 Dusk in a Ravaged Land
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold

The reason I am proud is that the photo I used, which I took on my painting and canoe adventure in 2013, is in reality rather yawnsville. There is nothing overwhelmingly beautiful about it; basically it was an overcast and very green afternoon. I rarely show my reference photos, but decided that in this instance I would because it really helps illustrate the vision for this piece.

When I paint, my goal is to create a striking image of a Saskatchewan landscape; a painting with atmosphere, emotion, light and, often, drama. I am not a great photographer, far from it, so when I take my photos they are meant to be a jumping off point and a reminder to myself of the wonder I saw in that moment. It is then my job to articulate that feeling, mood and memory in paint or tweak things so that you see what I feel about the place.

The canoe trip in August 2013 got off to a rocky, and somewhat terrifying, start with an extremely intense storm hitting us on our last portage to base camp on the first day. After that, the weather cleared and the next few days were serene, solitary and breathtaking. These are the things I wanted this painting to express, so I consciously made the changes I needed to convey that message.You can read about the painting and canoe trip at these links:


I am proud of this piece because my photo likely does not help you fully understand how I felt about this place, but hopefully the painting does.

My reference photo is below for you to compare. What do you think?

photo © Nicki Ault, 2013

Oh, and I have a third painting (24 x 24") in progress at the studio that is riffing off these two!
,

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wild Poppies

Wild Poppies
(commission)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold

I was recently asked to do a little prairie scene with red poppies as a special birthday gift for someone who adores this flower. I am told she loved, loved, LOVED it! Of course that makes me very happy.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Faux Island at Paignton and Makeover Monday!

Faux Island at Paignton
(after)
12 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold

Last November, as I was organizing and hanging paintings in my studio space for Open Studio, I came to a realization... I had gone through a "blue" period! Until then I was completely oblivious to how much blue existed in my recent work, but it became rather apparent as I tried to hang the paintings as a group. I ended up bringing some art from home to break up the sea of ultramarine! 

That discovery led me to revisit this painting. I quite liked the "before". I had actually painted the day as it was, I remember it clearly. I had taken my sons out to the beach at the Narrows in Waskesiu to try out the new dingy one of them received for Christmas. It was a very blue day; the water, the sky, even the air felt blue, but I became curious about taking a different approach to the sky. I ended up creating a dusky atmosphere and I toned down the aqua hues in the distant water. This late-day light meant I added some warmer tones to the trees and horizon line. Small changes, but effective. 

Happily this revised painting sold last week as a gift to commemorate a special birthday!

Faux Island at Paignton
(before)
12 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wake Up!

Wake Up!
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I'm a night owl, so sunsets are more my thing, but my goal over the next six months is to try to catch some sunrises. I want to compare the different energy, different colours, different light and different mood. I'm curious.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Lots of brushwork to love in this one - especially in the sky. I also love the distant horizon where things look a little more hopeful. And then there's wild green water.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Prairie Powerhouse

Prairie Powerhouse
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

This is an example of the dramatic skies for which Saskatchewan is known. In fact "Land of Living Skies" is on our license plates.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Light Show and In Full Bloom

Light Show
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

This was my first attempt at the Northern Lights! I have seen them several times up at the lake and a couple of times in town, but the city lights make them hard to see. I remember years ago at the lake they were absolutely spectacular! I went with my memory of that night to create this image. Unfortunately the green and purple colours in the sky were difficult to photograph.

In Full Bloom
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

I took my resource photo for this painting early last July. I finally got around to making an attempt at it and I am thrilled with the results. Flax can be elusive to find and it is even harder to paint because it can look like water in the field. Working up the purple, blue and periwinkle colours in layers helped me get the effect I was looking for.

I am thrilled to say that both of these paintings sold very quickly once they got to Darrell Bell Gallery.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Dissipating Storm

Dissipating Storm
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I am getting ready to do another big painting with this colour palette and this little study helped me remember the combo of colours I mixed for "Pewter And Platinum Glow" and "Shine Your Light". I'm excited to see if I can pull off a 30x48 canvas and get the water shimmering like it is here.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

February Hymnal

February Hymnal
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery, 2019

A soft winter serenade

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Dramatic Exit

Dramatic Exit
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery, 2019

I love the burning red sky in this one.

Friday, April 5, 2019

All That Glitters

All That Glitters
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Looking towards Seven Mile Beach from the perfect picnic spot of Point View in Waskesiu on  glittery and shimmery day.

I have painted en plein air on that pebble beach and I am dreaming of it now.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ten New 8x8's Delivered to DBG!

new 8x8 inch oil paintings
$200.00 each
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Frigid Sunrise
8x8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I just delivered a new batch of work to Darrell Bell Gallery and I am pumped! I tried some new things, got bold with colour and now have more ideas for larger paintings!

"Frigid Sunrise" is a view from River Landing down from the Farmer's Market looking toward the Sid Buckwold Bridge. The sunlight is bending around buildings located on Victoria Avenue: one is Victoria Place and the other is The Pinnacle. It was a difficult effect to get.

I also gave the Northern Lights a try in one of the paintings! I will post individual photos over the coming days.

Hope you like this new batch.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Ethereal

Ethereal
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
available at Assiniboia Gallery

This one is all about the sky, so I dabbled with a rather unorthodox composition so that all of the focus would be on the clouds. As a result it's a bit quirky. I wanted the overall feel to be soft, glowy and ethereal. I think I got it there.

This painting is part of the feature on my work at the Assiniboia Gallery for the month of March, so that means there are only three more days to stop in and check it out. I am thrilled to say that they have already sold six of the twelve paintings! You can view the featured work here and also see the full inventory of my work available at the gallery here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Daily Painting Fundraiser - Results Are In!

Daily Painting Project 4
Fifteen Paintings in Fifteen Days (plus one)
© Nicki Ault, 2019

What a fantastic experience! I am overwhelmed by the overall enthusiasm for this fundraiser! To everyone who purchased a painting, a HUGE thank you! We are helping a really great group of about fifty Grade Nines go on an educational trip of a lifetime to Toronto this spring.

You can read full details about my painting project/fundraiser as well as a bit about Collective Voice here and here. They are not a singing group :)

I would like to mention a few additional things about Collective Voice. This is a Grade Nine program offered at only one high school in Saskatoon. There is an application process and Grade Eight students from all over the city are invited to apply. The program can accommodate about fifty kids which make up two classes. These fourteen and fifteen year olds are engaged learners, they are from all walks of life, they care about our world and our communities and, as the school year goes on, they become a tight-knit group. Both of my boys applied; my oldest was in a class two years ago and my youngest is currently in one of the classes.

The teacher, Matt Love, makes it clear at the high school information night for Grade Eights that ALL interested students should apply. He always stresses that, despite the program including a big class trip (flights and hotels), students should not feel hindered by finances because as a collective group families are expected to be dedicated to fundraising all year in order to reduce costs for everyone. Also, bursaries are available for anyone who may need extra financial assistance to cover the expense of the trip and various experiences throughout the school year.

I love that financial burden is not a reason to not apply for Collective Voice because everyone involved will do their part to take that burden away. If you are an eager learner, a responsible and motivated student and you want to experience what this program offers, you should apply.

I wanted to help raise money for this year's trip and in the past I have donated small paintings for silent auctions, but I wondered how I could raise a bit more money. I am not in the position to write a $1500 cheque as a donation, but I am able to use my supplies and my time to paint some art which can be sold to raise that kind of money. HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT?!

So, again, I thank everyone who got on board with my idea and bought, or tried to buy, one of the fifteen "daily paintings".


FUNDS RAISED FROM MY DAILY PAINTING PROJECT 
FOR COLLECTIVE VOICE TRIP 2019:
$1635!!!

WOW! All fifteen paintings sold, each $100, and a few people actually e-transfered a bit more than the $100 for their paintings. Also, I made a rookie mistake and to rectify that, a 6x6 painting I had on hand from before the project was sold with that $100 being donated to the fundraiser (that is why there are sixteen paintings in the above collage rather than fifteen).

Thank you everyone and, I am sure, Mr. Love and his fifty students thank you!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lessons Learned: Daily Painting Project - Part III

Midnight Dance (detail)

My Daily Painting Project is complete! Twelve paintings in Twelve Days morphed into Fifteen Paintings in Fifteen Days!

Here is the break-down of the three bonus paintings, all sold:

 Wonderland

- I challenged myself to use NO WHITE in a winter scene
 Go Boldly

- For kicks, I decided to start my painting on a white board because I never do that; I always paint on a toned board. Now I know why. Painting on white is a bad idea. Ha!

- I then tried to tone my board after-the-fact with my fast matte paint, but something weird happened. No lesson was learned because I really don't know what in the bleep occurred. From that point on things just became a full-on experiment in every way and I made this painting up!
Midnight Dance

- I began on a board toned with a cool colour (Phthalo Green) when usually I tone my boards with a warm colour

- I love creating these nocturnes, so with this one I tried to push more variation and colour in the sky which has always been a struggle with the dark blues. The challenge was to get a green tinge happening in the Milky Way (hard to see in the photo)

- I attempted to show more brush work than in previous night skies


Please see Part I for the lessons learned from paintings one through six and Part II for the lessons learned from paintings seven through twelve.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lessons Learned: Daily Painting Project - Part II

Burning Through (detail)

On Thursday, March 7th I began a Daily Painting Project as a fundraiser for a local Grade Nine program called Collective Voice. I have one son currently in the program and another who went through it two years ago. The fundraiser has gone off like gangbusters! It began as twelve paintings in twelve days, with today being the twelfth day, but at the last minute I decided to add three bonus paintings over three additional days! It is now officially fifteen paintings in fifteen days! Please read more about it all by clicking here.

Before I start each painting, I have been giving myself a goal or challenge or I think about something I would like to learn. Once the painting is complete, I jot down a few notes. I have never done this before, but I find that having this focused intention for each painting and awareness of the lessons learned has been extremely beneficial. It is almost as if it helps things sink in better.

You can read about the lessons from the first six paintings here.

Below are painting numbers seven to twelve, all sold.

Epic Prairie

-  A photo I took last May has been on my mind and I would like to try painting the scene on a large scale because it feels so epic. I decided creating a study to help me think about colour choices and values was a good idea so that is what this 6x6 was all about.






Tender Goodbye

- I have painted several sunset reflections and usually the values range from really dark to really light. The goal here was to keep the darkest colour in the water at a mid-value and then lighten the rest of the colours from there (with the exception of the horizon).

- For fun, I started the painting on a neon pink ground colour and left that zing of colour popping through here and there for energy. I also tried to keep my paint quite thick

Sweeping Rain

- This was all about trying a new way to blend in order to get the misty, foggy, hazy feel of sheets of rain. I began with solid stripes of colour in different proportions from top to bottom, then worked at blending them together with a dry brush






Burning Through

- I rarely do acrylic under-paintings on my 6x6's, but I did with this one. I wanted the magenta colour to show through LOTS to evoke a sense of heat, so the challenge was to keep those strong colours and fight the urge to cover them up as much as I normally might when I go in with oils.

- A big goal here was to NOT PAINT GREEN in this forest!

- This was a good reminder that new, crisp brushes are important to have on hand

Just Beyond The Hill

- The challenge was to combine three different photo references I had on hand in order to create an image of a place I have never been, but have heard about

- I was under pressure time-wise with this one, but I had to get my painting done for the day, so set my timer and worked fast!




The View From Here

- The goal was to create a beautiful sunset using unexpected colours

- I challenged myself to lay in paint and wipe it away, even if I liked how it looked. Repeat. And repeat again. I was curious to see what would happen if colours merged and built up this way. This idea has been on my mind a lot.




Since I have now added three bonus paintings to my project, I will write a "lessons learned" break down in a Part III when they are finished.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Daily Painting Project Bonus Round!


Please click here for details previously posted regarding this project.

Note: Paintings will be posted on Instagram and Facebook (links on right side of this blog)