Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I fell asleep on the couch last night before I could could actually type up a Merry Christmas post! Ooooh, the tryptophan! We had a wonderful and magical Christmas, feeling especially lucky to be safe and together. I am so thankful for my wonderful family and I feel so lucky to be Canadian and to live in beautiful Saskatoon.

Happy holidays to all and best wishes for the upcoming year. Sincere thanks to those who have taken the time to read my blog, leave comments and even email. I am so happy to be part of this art blogging world. Take care and be safe as you enjoy the festive season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So Much Gratitude

I just had to make a quick post about how grateful I am to everyone who came to my show at St. Thomas More Gallery and who has taken the time to look at my blog. I am so pumped about the response and it feels good to be excited again after such a dark month and a half (see this post to find out why). The show came down on Friday, November 18 and yesterday I got a call from two young ladies about a painting they saw in the show (Storm Clouds Lifting) and wanted to purchase for their father for Christmas. What a lucky man... could there be any better gift than original art? Anyway, as it turned out, one of them really loved a painting (Fury) she saw on my blog and decided to purchase it for her home. So that makes the total paintings sold... 19! I am full of gratitude and I am finally feeling like I can't wait to get painting again. It feels so good to have the desire back and to know people are responding to my work. It is so very encouraging! Thank you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grass Cave and a Five Year Old

Grass Cave
acrylic on 200 lb paper

This painting was in my first ever art show that was in a local coffee shop in the spring of 2004. I had ten paintings in the show, two were not for sale and of the eight that were for sale, I sold 6. It was an incredibly exciting opening day and it really fueled the fire to get back painting again (my painting had been very sporadic since spring 2002 when I had Sammy)... except that I was pregnant with Tommy and due sometime within the six weeks the show was running. With a 22 month old in tow and a baby on the way I knew the fire within me would have to wait a bit longer... little did I know just how long that would be.... like three years!

You see my precious little Smiley Tom was not, I repeat, not a sleeper until he turned, well, 5! (This past spring). And I don't mean he woke up once a night, I mean he woke up repeatedly through the night. If I got more than two hours in a row it was a good night. When Tommy was about 2 1/2 and talking really well for his age, I finally figured out that he was having very vivid dreams. Possibly at times night terrors. He sometimes talked in his sleep and I believe he has sleepwalked. I remember one morning after a particularly rough night I asked Tommy if he knew why he woke up at night and he said he had a bad dream. I asked if he remembered what it was about and he said "Yes, mommy, there were bad guys in my room". I told him that must have been very scary and did he know who the bad guys were? He replied, "Yes mommy, you know, like Cookie Monster and Grover"! I'm not sure why the blue monsters from Sesame Street seemed to haunt his dreams, but it was a recurring theme.

Anyway, that kind of lack of sleep really messes with you and I was in a pretty bad state for quite awhile. I certainly wasn't in a good head space to be creative and I was way too exhausted to even take a night art class or go to the studio to paint. Finally in the summer of 2007, when Tommy was three, my husband practically insisted I go to the Emma Lake campus to paint and get a break. It was a turning point for me. I met my wonderful painting friend Debbie which has been such a gift and I also cried a lot... a lot with her as I worked through all kinds of emotions. But I got some painting done and that part of me as an individual started to appear again. Slowly it has been building up again and I feel like there is a new chapter opening up for me and I am fired up!

I dismantled my art show with the Curator on Friday evening and I am so pumped about the way it all went. My personal goal was to have half the paintings sell and that was achieved and the other goal was that a stranger would purchase a painting... and that happened! Yay! I now have the guest book and here is a sampling of the incredibly wonderful words people wrote:

"Splendid and strangely comforting!" -Al

"I absolutely love your work... the vivid colours and connections to nature. What a wonderful job!" -Bonnie

"I feel like I have discovered a great new artist." -Doug

"Very captivating & great use of colour." -Rita

"I have been looking for art like this for 3 or more years. Wow! I love the colour, use of nature...beautiful." -Karen

"This work is amazing and has inspired me to do some experimenting with my art using similar colours. Thanks for the inspiration!" -Caitie

"Beautiful vibrant colours... A cheery and pleasant show. Thank you, and keep on painting!" -Bessie

"Amazing job! These beautiful paintings really made my day. A nice ray of sunshine when one is in the middle of exams. Keep up the great work, you are really talented" - (no name left)

Clearly these comments make me very happy! I am also going to go through my previous posts and edit to show the pieces that sold.

Before I sign off for the night I just have to say a few more things about my little Tommy. He is larger than life. I always say that Sammy is an old soul and Tommy is a brand new soul! He was born with a big personality squeezed into a little body and he has tried to run the show since day one. However you will not find a more adorable 5 year old character as hard as you may try. He really, really cares about people. I just recently told him some exciting news about his best little friend and it was news that could have potentially made Tom sad. Instead he was genuinely happy for his friend and he just said "Awesome!" and then when he saw his friend at school he ran up to him and said "Hey Buddy, I'm really proud of you!" My heart burst with pride. And a little while ago I mentioned that the kids have said some precious things since the traumatic accident we had been through. Here are a couple of things Tommy has said that show his compassion at such a young age:

"Mommy, I'm glad your glasses didn't break because then glass might have gone in your eyes" and, with tears, "Mommy, why did they take me and Sammy out of the car first? Ladies should go first."

He is a little dream come true.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Sunshine

Quiet Prairie
acrylic on canvas
I painted this landscape from a photo in the summer of 2008 at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus and it was inspired by a man in the class named Harry. I had some wonderful chats with him over the week we were there painting and he was such a gentle man; a farmer all his life and he really loved the land. He had always wanted to go to art school and as a young married man he had been accepted into a visual arts program in a different province, but his equally young (first) wife was too nervous to leave the prairies and as a result he didn't go. He settled into a life on the farm and never pursued his love for art. Finally, though, here he was at the Kenderdine campus at the age of about 60, with a bad hip and a second wife chasing his dream after all those years. He was an inspiration. I hear he returned to the campus this past summer for the class in August... I am hopeful that I will see him again someday, that our paths will cross at Kenderdine.

Onto the topic of sunshine...

You should have seen me last night... I haven't been that giddy since, well, the afternoon of November 8th which was my gallery reception. Why was I giddy you ask???? Well, I met my friend Nancy at Indigo to get some Christmas shopping done and when I walked in the doors who is packing up from his book signing but..... drum-roll....   

I could not believe my eyes! If you aren't familiar with this blog you need to know that this is one of my all-time favorite books and you can read the post I made about this book if you click here (Impacts and A-ha Moments). I walked in and stopped in my tracks. He was getting his coat on and I looked at him, and then the table of books, and then him, and then the poster, and then I said something extremely clever like "Are you Him???" to which he replied "yes". I proceeded to gush that this was one of my all-time favorite books and then he asked "Did you write about it on your blog?" That freaked me out and I panicked slightly thinking I might be in trouble. He clarified that my friend was in the store somewhere and had told him about me (good ol' Nance) and had given him my name to Google! Ack! I was shaking I was so excited to meet him... and I had questions... which he answered! It was fantastic! Fantastic, I tell you! I ended up buying three more books which he signed for me and I had chattered/raved about it so much at his table that I think he sold at least three more copies to other customers before he left for the night. It is such a good book. Such a good book! Put it on your Christmas wish list today! Check out the above link to the website which is really well done and I think it will get you intrigued enough to buy the book. If anyone knows Oprah, please tell her to read it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Black Cloud

 Water Striders series:
Quick Step  sold
Hip Hop  sold
Jive  sold
each 10x10"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2009

My show at STM Gallery will be over in seven days which is hard to believe. It has gone extremely fast, but then again it has been a month of unusual and surreal circumstances that have shifted my mind's attention. These three paintings are in the show and two of them have sold to separate buyers. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of painting them. I actually worked on all three at the same time. I had never done that before and haven't tried it again since, but would like to if I can find suitable inspiration. I had the canvases lined up and I would move from one to the other making marks and laying down the paint to create the mood of each piece. In the show they are exhibited by one of the largest Water Strider paintings I have done to date.It was posted early on when I started this blog, but here it is again:

Water Striders: Big Broadway Number
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault,2009

I really enjoy the layering process in these paintings... on this largest one I prepped the canvas with really runny washes and let the paint naturally drip and streak. As I worked up the paint and layered with more opaque strokes I would consciously leave some of that underpainting showing through. I love the effect of finding these little surprises of dripping paint as your eye moves around the canvas.

This black cloud is getting to be a bit of a joke... seriously... not a very funny joke... but if I don't laugh at it I might cry! I was feeling like my posts had been a bit gloomy so I didn't want to share the fact that we had more illness in our house last week. John had a funny bug at the start of the week, then on Tuesday after supper Tommy started saying his tummy was not feeling good and by bedtime he was throwing up, etc. He had a rough 12 hours and then it was gone, leaving him exhausted, but otherwise okay. On Thursday at about 4:30 I was about to have a shower and get ready for the Jann Arden concert (one of my favorite Canadian singers that I have always wanted to see live), but I started getting this feeling in my tummy. I remember thinking, "Humph, that's funny" and then by 5:00 I was phoning my best pal Nancy to take my ticket for the concert because I was pretty sure I would be barfing, etc. within the hour. Yup, I called that one! I had a rough 10 hours and then it was over leaving me exhausted the next day. Now today John had to go out of town for work and what happens??? Tommy is cranky after school and has a fever by suppertime with a sore throat!!! Luckily my sister was visiting so she stayed with Sammy and I headed to the doctor with Tommy. Diagnosis: Strep Throat. I do believe that I need to start a new blog which I will call "Nicki Ault: My Life As Schleprock".

However, a ray of sunshine broke through the black my newest treasure, "Tattooed Bridge" by Pierre Raby arrived. It is spectacular! When I got home after my ultrasound (to check my innards post-accident), I was so excited to find the box in the front porch that I tracked through the house in my snowy winter boots to get the scissors so I could open it immediatement! (a little French in honour of Pierre) It is even more stunning and mind blowing in person. I really can hardly stop looking at it. Honestly... do yourself a favour and win one of his auctions on Ebay. You will not be sorry. His painting recently posted on Dec.9 called "Winter Solstice" is crazy good and is calling to me, tempting me....

Take care everyone and buckle those little ones up!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Whoops, I Did It Again!

I am feeling so excited and so guilty all at once. I don't know how I talked myself into this because I am such a frugal person and sooooo not an impulsive shopper....(ask my sisters and my mom), but it has happened again!!! I have won a painting on Ebay!!! There were 4 hours left when I got looking at this auction and I tossed a bid in, but my bid was quickly topped, so then I tossed a higher bid in which wasn't topped.... however the reserve price was not met. I had to get Tommy to a birthday party and Sammy to his soccer game, so I let it sit for a bit while I got those things done. When I got back to my house before picking up Tommy from the party, there were 44 minutes remaining on the auction and I realized that this was the Pierre Raby painting I wanted... and I rationalized that I sold some of my paintings so it made sense to pay it forward, right? And I deserve a little splurge, right? Especially after the last two crapola months, right? So I made my next move which hit the reserve price and nobody else entered the bidding, so... it is mine!!! Oh the guilt... oh the excitement... oh the guilt... I am incredibly thrilled that this went my way, but I am feeling quite guilty because we have a van to buy and Christmas is around the corner.... oh dear... and yet I am very happy!!!

If you want to see my new purchase click here to check out "Tattooed Bridge"... it is awesome!!! Pierre Raby is a Canadian painter based in Montreal and his work blows my mind! I remember the first time I came across his blog I thought it was strange that he was posting so many photos, but just chalked it up to him maybe having a dry spell with his painting (kind of like me right now). Then I noticed the small print under one black and white work that said "oil on canvas". I remember saying, "What???!!!" out loud and then madly scrolling through his blog to look at all the fine print. Sure enough nothing I had been looking at was a photo! Unbelievable. Impressive. And Canadian! 

The above pencil drawing was done several years ago in a Life Drawing evening class I took with Degen Lindner. And really shouldn't be viewed after you have possibly looked at Pierre's work, but oh well, I am what I am!