Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waskesiu River

Waskesiu River
I did this painting the other day at the studio thinking it could be a companion piece to the last painting I posted. It is also 7x7 and acrylic on canvas. It is done from a photo of the Waskesiu River that I took this summer. In the end the painting wasn't about the clouds, but about the mood and colours of blue which hopefully relate to "View From A Clearing". Once this was completed and I stepped back I almost had the sense that it could have been an evening scene- dusk at the river under the stars. I enjoyed painting it and have two more 7x7 sky paintings to post in the coming days. They are both of a lighter nature than these last two.

 I was planning to make a post last night when the kids went to bed, but thank goodness I didn't because who knows what I would have ended up writing! Yes, it was one of those nights. Seriously! And it was blueberries that brought me to my knees! Here is the story:

My husband was out for the millionth time in the last month and there I was with my sweet boys once again doing the "routine". I picked them up from school, let them play at the playground, headed home, got them a drink and snack, did some reading with them, let them play, made supper, heard about how they didn't like what I cooked, listened to complaining all through supper, excused them from the table, cleaned up the dishes, (sigh), let them play on the computer while I took the opportunity for some down time. What did I do with my down time? I mopped the floors and cleaned a toilet! Yes, I am lame. And let's just talk about this cleaning the toilet business for a minute. I grew up with two sisters so I was not privy beforehand to the vital information that when you live with 3 boys cleaning the toilet actually involves more than just that. It, in fact, also involves cleaning the walls and floor surrounding the toilet! And when I went to tackle the job I glanced at the lid, which was down, and said "Hey, guys, is this pee on the lid?" Yup, turns out it was! My seven year old had to go so badly he just started going before he realized the lid was not up. Sigh... and sigh again.

At supper time I had decided to pull out some frozen blueberries for the kids to have with a little ice cream as an evening snack. I was quite proud of myself planning ahead and thinking it would be a real yummy treat for them. I'm such a good mom, I thought. They will really like this and gobble it right up. Well when I called them to the table just before jammie time I was met with sounds of disgust and horror. How could I not have known they would have wanted their ice cream in a separate bowl as opposed to right in with their blueberries. It looked so gross. They just wanted ice cream and how come it was so small? And where were the sprinkles? So I did what any burned out mom would do... burst into tears! Ahhhhh, the sweet release of pent up emotions! And just as I was beating myself up (internally) for raising such inconsiderate little creatures, they both rushed to my side with concern wondering why I was crying (they really didn't know). They rubbed my back, hugged me gently, stroked my hair, kissed me so so softly on the cheek and said such calming words like "It will be okay mommy" and "take a deep breath... in... and out" and "get mommy a blanket".

As I sit and write about it today, more removed from the situation, I am realizing that their earlier rudeness was not taught to them by me... really it was their own immaturity talking and it happened at the end of the day when coping skills are stretched thin (theirs and mine). After all they are still pretty little. But what has hit home is that in this situation they actually did show me what they have learned from me. Empathy, compassion, concern for another. I might mess up blueberries and ice cream, but it turns out, I am still a good mom.

Monday, September 28, 2009

View From The Clearing

View From The Clearing
7 x 7"
oil and acrylic on canvas

This is a 7x7 acrylic on canvas painting I did this summer when I was at the Kenderdine Campus. It was done on a  windy afternoon when a few of us went over to paint on Fairy Island. I found a clearing near the water's edge and began to paint a cluster of water logged trees, but that didn't go very well so I began painting just one water logged tree thinking I needed to simplify the composition. Well, that didn't go well either so I looked up and started on the clouds; covering up the second tree painting. But, like I said, it was quite windy and those clouds were a-movin'! So the original sky I started painting changed every time I looked up and eventually became what you see here; a simplified quirky study of shapes with (hopefully) a moody, yet vibrant atmosphere. The curator was really drawn to it the day she came over, so it will be in the show and I am hoping to come up with possibly another painting along these lines that we can pair it with.

A comment was left for me a few posts ago by a talented artist, Deborah Ross, who has been blogging for almost 2 years. Lately she has been doing some really neat stamp and collage pieces that really get me excited. She first posted these experiments on Sept.20 and has done a few more since then. Anyway, she left me a message saying that I should take the word beginner out of my "About Me" profile because, in her words, "girl, you're no beginner". Well, it got me wondering, how you decide when you are not a beginner anymore? I really, really feel like a beginner. Really. I have loved art my whole life, but there is so much I don't know and have to learn; want to learn. So much. I read other artists' blogs and sometimes have never even heard of the things they are talking about. I feel like I am in serious student mode right now, but then, will there ever be a time in my life that I don't feel like that? Especially when I love learning? Do I think I am a beginner because I still think of myself as a student? So at what point do you take that word out of your vocabulary when you are describing who you are? Is it after you have amassed a certain size portfolio? Or when you have sold a certain number of paintings? Or maybe when you feel you have something to teach instead of learn? Is it after you have a BFA, or a Masters or maybe it's once you have collectors? Is it once you have had a certain number of shows? Has it got to do with confidence? I just don't know. Do you?

Comments and insight are always welcome!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Just wanted to quickly say that I fixed the link to "L'il Van Go" in the yesterday's post so it should be working now for anyone that wants to check out  this cool ride.

Very tired. Must sleep. More tomorrow...  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reworked and...Getta-Load of This!


Inky Water  
The above is a 12x12 acrylic painting I did at Spruce River last summer. The first image shows it's original state. Time passed and I realized there were aspects of it that bothered me; in particular the dark space above the grass that seemed too uniform. I also began to feel like it was a little ho-hum in the colour department. A few weeks ago I decided to rework it; to see if I could get it to a place that I would feel more satisfied. Now that I see the images together I realize just how much I actually changed the original, but I think I am happier with it now. I definitely prefer the grass to disappear off the canvas at the top left as opposed to the original grass which seemed so straight across. I am also happier with the movement in the distant grass, whereas before it was all going upwards. And I like that the island grass is more distinct now from the distant grass. As well, I think the reflection seems to make more sense. I'd love to hear any comments and opinions... anyone? Hopefully no one thinks I've ruined it... don't tell me if you do.  :o)

A few weeks ago I had a couple of my best girlfriends over on a Friday night when my husband was out of town. We ate and drank wine and talked and giggled. I told them about this book (Landmarks by Terry Fenton) I had read on a famous Canadian landscape painter who happened to be from Saskatchewan and was a stay-at-home mom in the 50's and 60's. When the last of her three girls went to school full days, Dorothy Knowles bought herself a van and would go out into the country and paint. I told my friends that I couldn't believe the awesomeness of this idea. If I had my way, next year when Tommy is in school full time, this is what I would do.... roam the city and countryside in my studio on wheels... painting in my van down by the river! My friends were all over this idea for me- these girls really are so encouraging and supportive. Well, Shauna and Nancy, if you are reading... getta-load of this.... L'il Van Go.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across this yesterday. Oh the possibilities! How fun would that be... a studio in a van with a sunroof and all! I am in daydream heaven right now. However, there are a couple of minor glitches with this as a year-round idea in the prairies (what with the odd minus 40 degree Fahrenheit winter days, and in my case, a lack of a garage... read: frozen paint)... but it definitely has potential for 6 months of the year. Dorothy Knowles would go out and paint en plein air, but then she would spend hours in her studio working on massive canvases (one of the largest I am aware of is 40x90). She did it... she was a stay-at-home-mom... that means other stay-at-home-moms can do it, too! Maybe not to the same staggering degree of success that she has found, but that's okay... I'd be happy with a smidgen of success (and a part-time job).

Who knows, maybe someday I will be blogging about my upcoming show called "Nicki Ault: The Mini Van Go Series".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orange Flower

I'm sitting here feeling a bit dazed... not really confused, just dazed. And excited... yes, definitely excited. And shocked..... and maybe also giddy! Yes, definitely giddy! I just won a painting in Ebay! I had put a "watch this" on it earlier today, but totally forgot. Then tonight when I went to check my emails I saw the reminder note, so I headed to Ebay and discovered there was 5 minutes left on the auction. A few currency calculations later, a bid at two minutes remaining, then some breath holding and the painting was mine! It all happened so fast and involved some pretty quick decision making- which is generally not my forte. An impulse shopper I am not. However, it really is a lovely little piece and the most exciting news might be who it is painted by... Duane Keiser! Woo hoo! This is right up there with my dream of owning an Edward B. Gordon. Duane Keiser is responsible for starting the painting-a-day movement in December 2004 when he decided to paint and post on his blog one small painting everyday. Since then many other painters have joined in this practice to varying degrees of success. Mr. Keiser no longer keeps up his daily painting practice (which lasted about 1 1/2 years); time has given way to new interests and painting adventures, but he still occasionally paints these small still lifes and auctions them on Ebay. I am so thrilled to now be the owner of...

Posted using ShareThis

Have a look at the links which will take you to his website and blog. At his blog click on "About" to read a bit more about him and to also read a wonderful quote he has included in his write up. He really is an inspiration to me for many different reasons.

And now I have to build back up my Edward B. Gordon fund.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Month

Private Collection

Well, one month ago I began my blogging adventure and I am beyond thrilled that I did. I have been trying to figure out why it has made me so happy and I finally came to a conclusion that makes at least a bit of sense. I realized the feeling I am getting from my bloggy interactions is very similar to the feeling I have when I am around other artists and art lovers at the Kenderdine Campus. It seems I have found a way to extend my "happy place feeling" into my everyday life. It might be a virtual type of reality, but the point is that it is actually a reality. At least I think all of you people are real ! I am excited about the months ahead; imagining the people I might meet, the wonderful art I will discover on other blogs, and the new art I might produce and want to share. I already have an idea of the subject I might want to explore next... once my boreal show is hung and I am able to exhale. The painting I am posting is a hint... it's called "The River In May" (pretty large hint actually). Once again it is acrylic on canvas and it is 18x24". I painted it from a photo I took on Mother's Day 2008 while on an adventure walk with the boys in my life! It has found a most wonderful home and now belongs to a couple (close family friends) that have been extremely supportive of my work.

I also have to share my excitement... I found my first advertisement in our local Planet S newspaper in their visual arts listings! Woo hoo! It's officially official! No backing out now. Full steam ahead! I took more paintings to the framer today and I have a couple more ideas I want to tackle and possibly complete in time for the show. The countdown is on! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Crevice

I thought I may as well post the last of my fungi paintings (to date)... it won't be seen at my show, so it may as well be seen here. I thought it would be fun to post the photo I worked from, as well. The picture was taken at my favorite painting location, Spruce River, P.A.N.P. and I had wanted to tackle it for about a year. This summer when I was at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus we had a couple of rainy days so that is when I found my chance.

These glorious little fungi were growing down in the crevice of an old rotting tree stump near the river's edge. It was like a little enchanted world of it's own... a fairy land. I wanted to shrink down and go exploring! I painted it with acrylic on a canvas measuring 10x24 and for the first time I worked on a gray underpainting. This gray was the big colour mixing revelation of the week at the class for me. One of the other students said that mixing alizarin crimson with phthalo green (and white) made the best gray. Up until this point I had never used my phthalo green... I had no idea what to do with it. Well, she was right, it can make a great gray and it was a good base for this painting. If anyone reading this has other tips on ways to mix phthalo green I would love to hear them. I think the fungus on the lower left side is a bit bright  and maybe pulls the eye down too much, but I like how the brush strokes look in person, so I think I might leave it. I haven't varnished it yet, so any feedback on this piece would be appreciated.

I'm posting a sign I found along the roadside that follows Spruce River for awhile before it winds back into the forest. It's one of many poetically written signs throughout the national park. (Click on the image to see the words). 

Well, my little partner in crime has been a very good boy for me while I was hunting and pecking away at this entry. Mr. Potato Head was a helpful source of entertainment, as was the animal hospital we made for Tommy's stuffed animals, but I do believe it is now time for some of mommy's undivided attention. Thanks to those that look in today and please leave any helpful tips... I love to learn!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fun-Guys Didn't Make It

I'm still feeling under the influence! Ha ha. It actually put me in a precarious position last night, too. The day had gone well, I was tired, but felt okay. At 7:00 I was expecting the curator to drop by to have a look at all of my paintings so we could discuss the vision of the show and what to include/not include. Just as I heard her footsteps on my porch I was wracked with cramps. John wasn't home yet and the kids are not allowed to answer the door if they don't know who it is so I ignored my discomfort and welcomed her whilst in a cold sweat! The meeting went very well, but again 20 minutes later the cramps came! Yowsie! I sat down and pretended I needed to make some notes so that I could hunch over without her realizing... I knew I'd feel better if I could get to the bathroom, but I had no idea how long I'd be gone if I went that route. So I muscled through. It wouldn't have been terribly lady-like of me to disappear for 15 minutes. Then again, it is probably not too lady-like of me to be writing about this!

 Forest Magnolia
acrylic on canvas

In the end the meeting was extremely helpful and I can see her vision much more clearly and it really makes sense. We grouped pieces together, moved them around, talked about which pieces could bridge one section to another. It was really helpful and interesting. We decided my fun-guys (fungi) are not going to be in this show. She liked them a lot, but felt that they wouldn't be as cohesive as other paintings in the context of this show. I'm a little sad because they were definitely painted with the intention of including them, but I do see where she is coming from and I trust her expertise so I am okay with it. The painting I am posting is a little fungus that my friend Debbie showed me at the Kenderdine campus this summer because she knew I was interested in them. It was at the base of a tree along a path by the studio building and it looked like this delicate, glowing flower with these "petals" that curled up. I'm calling it Forest Magnolia and it is 7x7, acrylic on canvas. And it won't be in the show. :(

Now, onto blog business. I have a baker's dozen! Yup, thirteen followers. I clicked on my newest follower to see who she is and it looks like she is new in town! Welcome to Saskatoon Gen! I don't know how you found me, but I am glad you did! And then when I was reading my comments from the other day it looks like Janie, another follower, has an award for me on her blog. Thank you! How wonderful to have new friends! I'm supposed to "go get it" sooooo......

Now to the rules for this Award:
This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to other bloggers who must choose others to pass it on to and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Okay, so I've collected the award and the text that goes with it, thank you again Janie! And now I am supposed to pass it on, so I would like to give this award to these bloggers:

Tammy Hext
Art In Oils
Barbara Muir Paints
Suzanne Berry

Have a great day! It's beautiful here in Saskatoon!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Charcoal Drawing and Thank You

Monday, the kick off to another week. And it looks like it is going to be a busy one.

I am switching it up and just for fun posting a charcoal drawing I did a few years ago. I love drawing, but really haven't stretched those muscles in awhile. This is hanging in my bathroom and it maybe measures 16x20.

When I look at yesterdays post I realize how wordy I was! Whew! Thanks to everyone who bothered to read it. The kids are at school and I am really tired so I think I will keep it brief for today and then go rest. However,   I did want to thank those of you who have decided to follow my blog... it means a lot... especially when I know I haven't gotten off my butt to do any following yet... this whole time I have been bookmarking my favorites! I actually didn't even fully understand what following meant, but I just read a Blogger article on it and it is more clear. Anyway, thank you to my 12 Followers! And also thanks to those that have taken the time to leave comments for me- they are a treat to read each time I find a new message. Hopefully new readers will find your blogs (those that have one) through mine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Impacts and A-ha Moments

 Seeing The Light
acrylic on 300lb paper

Ahhhh, it's good to be feeling better. I am still stuffed up but I do think the cloud has lifted. I tried to nap this afternoon, but my mind wasn't settling down. I started thinking about more ideas for paintings, thoughts to share for my blog, what to do with paintings that won't be in the show.... you know... important stuff. When I realized I couldn't sleep I got up and did something I haven't done for (quite possibly) years... I had a bath! Now don't get me wrong and may I make it very clear.... I have showered in the last several years, albeit not as often as before I had kids, but I have not made the time for the luxury of a bath. It was a treat. I found some old lavender bath milk powder, put the jets on and soaked. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a great book.... and a glass of wine, so I'm drinking that now to make up for it. Excuse any typos that may crop up as this post progresses!

Speaking of books, there is one thing I know about me... I am a reader. I love a good book. I love it when I don't want to put a book down; when I am so engrossed that it hurts to stop reading, but at the same time if it is a really good book I love to make it last as long as possible. I stopped reading when I had my boys until a friend started a book club about 3 years ago and I got back into it. I'm not part of the club anymore, but I will be forever grateful that it got me reading again. The first book we read in the club was "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. When I finished the book I felt weepy. Why had I allowed myself to stop reading? What was going on with this mother business that I halted so much of who I was before these little creatures entered my world? Was I supposed to erase who I was? Was I supposed to become something entirely new when I became a mom like a caterpillar does when it basically liquefies before it morphs into a butterfly? Did I sign up for this? Was I putting these constraints on myself or was there some sort of expectation I was feeling from somewhere? Or was I simply not able to be multidimensional?

But now I know I can read and I can raise children at the same time! Who knew?!!! It's a revelation.

There is a tie-in here between the book topic and the painting I posted. This is the first ever of my paintings that I liked. It was my A-Ha! moment. I had taken my first class at the Emma Lake Kenderdine campus in summer 2000 and I completely stunk out the joint, so I pulled myself together and took a technical painting class that winter. I stunk pretty royally during that class, too. Something possessed me to sign up again for Emma Lake in 2001 and halfway through that class we went to Spruce River. Three tries at a painting later something clicked and after 2 hours of "going with it" I had finished this painting. It was on the invitation to my first show at the coffee shop in town and although people wanted to buy it, there was no way it was for sale. While working on this painting I learned something about acrylics that I was missing- how to layer them, how to glaze with them, how to simply accept them. I also discovered that I needed to focus on what interested me compositionally as opposed to trying to include things I couldn't care less about (like the spruce trees above the sweeping grasses). The single event of painting at Spruce River that day had a huge impact in my painting life. Huge.

Which brings me to one of my all time favorite books.... which I have read 2 times since I discovered it this spring: "The Impact of A Single Event" by R.L. Prendergast. Buy it. Read it. Tell everyone! I just discovered that if you click on one of your favorite things on the profile page of your blog you will automatically be on a compilation list with every other person that also has it as their favorite thing. Super cool right? Well, I am the only person who has this book down as their favorite thing! This is unacceptable!!! :o) I realize I am no Oprah and I can't do for R.L. Prendergast on my measly blog what she can do on her international Emmy winning day time talk show, but darned if I'm not gonna try! People, get yourself a copy of this book and read it! Love it! Share it! Make a book club and talk about it. If nothing else put it on your favorite books list so I am not the only one!

I gave my copy of this book to my painter friend Debbie this summer at Emma Lake. I feel like the friendship and connection we made when we met there in 2007 has forever changed both of our lives. It was one of those single events that changes you. I told her someday we would go together to paint the place at the end of the book.

Do I have you curious enough to read it now....? I hope so and let me know if you do!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Feeling Sick- In More Ways Than One

 Duck Pond in October, Forestry Farm
acrylic on canvas

The paintings I am posting today were purchased by a dear friend and her husband at my last art show. I know they make her happy which absolutely thrills me... and after this last week, I need to remember the joy art brings me and the people I share it with. The top painting is 20x16, the middle one is 8x10 (also the first abstract reflection I ever did) and the bottom one is 7x7. They are all acrylic on canvas.

 Reflection, Spruce River
acrylic on canvas

Reflection for a Writer
acrylic on canvas

Whew! It really was quite was a week!

I was so fatigued this week, all I felt like doing was sleeping and in fact, three out of the five afternoons Tommy was at Kindergarten that is exactly what I did! The sore throat came on Thursday and the fever hit on Friday.... crazy shivers and heat waves. The highest temperature I took was 103. I felt like I was in some sort of altered state. Anyway, the worst seems to have passed. I slept most of today and now I will probably be up all night! In case anyone is wondering what differentiates a cold from the flu here is what I found out... headaches and fevers rarely accompany a cold, so if you have them with your stuffy nose and sore throat you have the flu. Also, extreme exhaustion never happens with a cold, but with the flu it comes early and is prominent.

Aside from feeling physically sick this week, I also felt psychologically sick after the meeting John and I had with our financial planner on Tuesday evening. This economy took a round out of our "portfolio" and although some things are recovering it got me feeling very guilty. Before we had Sammy I had a full time career and John and I had a pretty good lifestyle. After my year maternity (I love Canada) I went back to my job and Sammy went to daycare full time. I lasted 6 weeks and then gave my notice. I could not do it. Since then, for the most part, I have been a stay-at-home-mom. I know deep in my heart this has been the right choice... especially for my children, but this week when I realized the impact of the economy on our finances, I got thinking that if I had been working for the last 6 years it wouldn't be so bad. We would have been able to save more and invest more. I say that for the most part I have been a stay-at-home-mom because when Tommy was 18 months old I needed to get a break, so I got a very part time job working in a retail store when John was at home and I am still doing that now. My ideal world would be that I continue to do this and sell some of my paintings which would bring in just that much extra to keep me home with the kids while they are in school. I would love it if they could continue to come home for lunch and if they could always have a parent available to help with field trips or see their assemblies or volunteer for school activities. I would love it if they would never have to be part of a before and after school program. Unfortunately I am starting to wonder if this dream is very realistic. I'm really starting to think that when Tommy is in school full-time next year, maybe I will have to consider changing my role again.

At this rate I'll never figure out who I am!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Good Weekend

We had a really great visit with my brother-in-law and his family. They have one little fella who is about 20 months old. Oh what fun my boys had with their one and only cousin! It was such a treat to see them all together. They were thoroughly entertained by each other, however Tommy did have a bit of a melt-down on Saturday night. It was a moment of  true despair. He thought Sammy didn't love him any more because he was paying so much attention to little Georgie. Tommy sobbed and sobbed until finally my dear sweet Sam realized why Tommy was so upset. He went straight over to his little brother, put his arms around him and said, "Oh Tommy, I still love you it's just that I have you for my whole life and I only have Georgie for two days. Do you understand now?" Yup, you guessed it.... mommy cried too!

Water Striders- Foxtrot
acrylic on canvas

Here is a little 7x7 abstract reflection that I did one afternoon when a neighbor had the boys over for a play date. These reflections make me so happy when I do them, especially when they go as smoothly as this one did. It is acrylic on canvas and will likely be in the show. It was inspired by a photo from one of my favorite Plein air painting locations, Spruce River, P.A.N.P. Unfortunately the large reflection I am working on at the studio right now is not going as well. Rats. But I am not giving up on it yet. I am determined to make it work... Why you ask? Because I jumped the gun and had it framed before it was finished. I thought I would save time and take it to the framer with the batch I had ready to go. Lesson learned.  

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Up Early and Posting!

I could not sleep and as I lay in bed this morning all I could do was think about my blog! Seemed like a good reason to get up and start writing. I'm probably thinking about it because my brother-in-law and his family are arriving today from Edmonton and I likely won't get a chance to post anything for a couple of days. We are all very excited because we haven't seen their little guy for ages. He is twenty-one months and my boys can't wait to play with him.

Life After Death
acrylic on canvas

This little painting I am showing you today was done after the large fungus you saw in the post on August 27. Ever since I did that one I have been interested in these parasitic treasures you can find in the forest. Some of them are spectacular. I don't know much about them, but from what I can tell they grow on sick, dying or dead trees. This one was growing inside a rotting tree stump that I found while walking through the forest and I am calling it "Life After Death". It is acrylic on canvas and is 7x7". I don't know if it will make it into the show or not. It is painted in a tighter fashion than say my reflections, but at the same time I don't think it is "anal". This particular one was sort of flat, yet had this undulating surface at the same time and the colours were spectacular! I had the little fungus to the left looking a bit like a derby for awhile. After a few tips from my instructor at the art camp, hopefully it blends in more and no longer looks quite so hat-like!

Have a great long week-end! And once again, thanks to all of you who have been leaving comments.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Deep Breath

Whew!!! The boys bedtime couldn't come quick enough for me tonight. How do kids have that much energy? Seriously, non-stop all day. Tommy started Kindergarten this week and the teacher told me after school today that he was such a great listener and he just did so well. I was so proud because he is, well, a tactile kid; a do-er shall we say and I wasn't sure he could keep his mitts to himself. I think he used all his self-control at school because after school he couldn't for the life of himself not bug Sammy! I think all I said after school was, "Tommy leave Sammy alone. Get off your brother. Give Sammy some space. Sammy doesn't have to play with you if he doesn't want to. Tommy, stop sitting on your brother. Let go of Sammy's cheeks. Find something else to do. No you can't have candy." You get the idea. Just when I thought my patience couldn't take any more, something cute happened. We were upstairs doing the night-time routine. I was in my bedroom, Sammy came in and we both headed to the bathroom to see if Tommy was done brushing his teeth. I stopped just short of the door and couldn't believe my little fella. His toothbrush has a suction cup on the bottom of it, I guess so it can stand up by the sink when it's not in use. Tommy had it suctioned to the side of the counter-top so it was sticking out parallel to the floor. He was bent down moving his head back and forth, side to side, up and down trying to brush his teeth that way! I looked down at Sammy who was standing beside me and his face had this soft look to it. He simply said, "Cute". I took a deep breath, let it out, enjoyed the moment and was able to wrap up the night without losing my mind.

acrylic on canvas

I have been in touch with the gallery curator this week and we have nailed down a date for my opening reception. It will be on Sunday, November 8 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. I think it will be called Nicki Ault : Multitudes (A Collection of Recent Work). I had told her about the Walt Whitman quote and gave this to her as an option for the title as well as a few other ideas. This is the one she picked. Now that she has these details nailed down she is going to get working on the advertising. I am posting a painting today that will likely be in the show. It is one of the larger pieces I will have and it is done from a photo I took when I went on a hike with my kids through Boundary Bog near Waskesiu Lake in northern Saskatchewan. It is acrylic on canvas and is 22x28". I hope you like it.

I had a conversation with one of the artists (Jan Corcoran) at the studio yesterday to try to get an idea of what to include in the show and also what to do if I disagree with the curator. She said that quite often new artists want to put in everything; as much as possible and just load up the walls. Ahhhh, guilty as charged! Yup, that is where my mindset has been! Jan said that the curator wants to find some cohesion between the work so that it makes sense as a show. And she said to remember that less is more. I love learning! I am going to take a deep breath, release my grip and let the curator do her job and see what she comes up with. I will try to be vocal if there is something I strongly disagree with, but I am curious now to see what her vision might be for my paintings. Learning is good. Growth is good.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just Keep Swimming

As I mentioned in my blog the other day, I finally told a few of my girlfriends about this new journey I have begun. Well, the next morning emailed the link (how crazy is that? I have a link!) to my immediate family. My two sisters were so excited for me. So were my parents, but they didn't quite understand what a blog was about. One of my sisters embraced this idea so enthusiastically that she immediately forwarded the link to a few people she thought might enjoy it. Later, when we spoke on the phone, she felt a bit sheepish and hoped I didn't mind that she had done that. At first I felt this pang of fear and drop in my self confidence (which actually didn't have far to fall because it is relatively low already) because one of the people she emailed is an old childhood friend of the family ( Hi Trev), but then I took a deep breathe and realized that in the end, this is what I want for this journey. I don't want to put myself out there just a little bit... I want to put myself out there full on; no holding back. And when things get a bit scary or intimidating I am going to follow some wise advice that a funny little fish once said... "Just keep swimming".

This same sister, who is one of the smartest, kindest, wittiest, prettiest, people I know, and by far the most generous, said that finding out about my blog inspired her to start a journey of her own. She has been thinking about making some changes for awhile and I guess this gave her motivation to get started. I am soooo proud of her because change is scary and it is hard, but sometimes it is what you have to do in order to get where you want to be.

acrylic on canvas

This painting (acrylic on canvas, 7x7) was done at the workshop I attended this summer and will also be part of the show. It is a little fungus that I had been looking as I ate my meals in the veranda off the dining hall. It was tucked right in the crook between two birch trees that were sort of growing out of each other. The entire time I was working on it I couldn't get over the feel of the paint. The air was incredibly humid and the paint acted much more like oil than acrylic. I had so much fun; I felt like I was playing. Because of the climate I had no choice but to paint differently than I usually do. My mind kept repeating a quote that the instructor had brought up in an earlier discussion. It somehow gave me permission to play and experiment; to not think I always have to paint in the way I have become accustomed.

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
                                                                                                  -Walt Whitman

And now that I have begun this blogging adventure, I think it will become my way to discover all of my multitudes.