Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In My Aura

In My Aura
24 x24"
mixed media on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2010 

Oh my, this is stressful! But here it is... the project I have been hinting at in recent posts. Please be gentle on me for I am a landscape painter!

I feel very fortunate to be one of 100 international artists participating in a collaboration celebrating the 100th anniversary of  International Women's Day which is on March 8th. The show is being organized by three women in Ontario and the theme we were asked to respond to is "International Women Celebrate". Around this date all of the work will come together in Ayr, Ontario for what I imagine to be a dramatic, emotional and uplifting exhibition. This project is also serving as a fundraiser for a Haitian charity focusing on women and children. The cherry on top of it all is that a book is being made! Very exciting!

We were asked to provide a concise narrative about our work, so here is what I submitted...

This piece is an intimate celebration of women from my family history. I have created a blue “aura” containing images of family photos floating around my own self-portrait; the oldest face is that of my great-great-great-grandmother. Blue represents loving kindness, peace and universal compassion which I consider to be feminine traits. While working on my painting, I felt a strong, emotional connection to these women. I reflected on their stories of great love, unimaginable loss, motherhood, emigration, depression, joy, suicide, alcoholism, travel, and academic accomplishment. In fact, their lives have shaped my own. I am proud to be a woman who has experienced the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth and who has the innate ability to nurture and create.

I am so thankful I didn't allow the negative self-talk to scare me away from this opportunity. This exploration of ideas, mediums and concepts has invigorated me and has my mind spinning with possibilities. This piece was created with acrylic, acrylic mediums, collage and oil paint. 

I have to give a shout out to Suzanne Berry and Barbara Muir who were gracious enough to generously share information on portrait painting (I emailed them in one of my panic modes). They are both participating in this collaboration and you can see their posts regarding their submissions if you click on these links:

Barbara Miur


Barbara Muir said...

I think it was Skip Lawrence, but I could be wrong who said, "you're not a painter in acrylics, or a watercolour painter, or a landscape painter, or a portrait painter -- you're an artist, and whatever you are doing at the time in whatever media is your art. Clearly you are a portrait painter and a magnificent one at that -- which I knew long before I ever saw this magnificent piece. What a fantastic show this is going to be. Check out Marcia LaBelle's blog to see the progress on her painting for the show. Wow. This is so beautiful. Thank you for getting me to take part in this. It is mega exciting!!!!!

You are great.


Nicki said...

Barbara, thanks! Wow you were quick to comment! I am so excited about this project! It is amazing! I'm glad you wanted to participate- I thought of you immediately when I heard about it!

I do feel like I could begin to be a portrait painter- I have lots to learn, but I can visualize the idea. Thank you again for your help! And I still think noses are hard! And eyes, and lips and ....

:o) Nicki XO

Anonymous said...

Nicki, well done! you had said you were fascinated by portraits and this is excellent! i love the fresh use of colour and the composition and the thinking behind it.... all unique. i wish you all the success at the exhibition and that statement is such a powerful positive and sensitive piece. well done girl!btw, how was the background done, i'm curious:)

Unknown said...

Nicki, it is a beautiful piece of artwork with so much care and love put into it. I am proud of you for pursuing this venture and not giving up when it got scary or difficult.

You are amazing and I love you!

Kim Rempel said...

You ARE a portrait painter! It's GORGEOUS and I look forward to seeing it in person ; ))) I love Barbara's quote as well : )

suzanneberry said...

nicki!!! this is a masterpiece!! i am so moved by your painting and your narrative! a beautiful, masterful painting accompanied by a moving tribute to your family of women and yourself. it's just stunning. you did an amazing job and i don't know how to tell you are not JUST a landscape painter. and i say that with no disrespect for landscapes, i say that because you are truly an artist. bravo!! bravo!!

Ess Bee Dub said...

Nicki, this is so beautiful. Look what you did - WOW! I wish I had been able to see it in person before you sent it off. I am so happy for you to have made the time to take part in this ambitious project... look in the eyes of that gorgous, natural woman in the centre of the painting and know it was worth it. Yay you!

Celeste Jackson said...

OK Nicki, you are an artist, OK?? Wonderful announcement, excellent project, beautiful art, and again, the handling of paint is your forte no matter what the subject matter.

Flora Doehler said...

This is a beautiful , moving painting! What a great idea to put your female ancestors in! I have long admired your gorgeous landscapes and love this for the very same reasons.....the colour, the clarity, the strength, the passion.
AND i agree with all of the other comments!

Nicki said...

Hi Everyone,

Wow!!! Thank you so much for such encouraging and positive feedback! I am so excited and I appreciate that you took the time to express your reaction to this piece. This project really stretched me creatively and emotionally, so you should know that you have given me a gift with the words you have written.

Thank you!


-Don said...

I don't know that there is much more I can add that has not been stated so eloquently above, but I must concur that YOU ARE AN ARTIST. Period. This is an outstanding work of art. Be proud.


Judy Adamson said...

All I can say is 'I agree with -Don' - and all the others! Fantastic achievement, Nicki!

Jean G said...

Congratulations, Nicki! This is a well-deserved honour for you. Hugh and I will look forward to reading about your experiences in Ayr when you get back.

P.S. Our three new paintings that you created of Hugh's pond have found their home in the living room. You'll have to come over and see!

- Jean

Nicki said...

Thanks Don and Judy,

With this project and the comments on this post I have had an epiphany! I am an Artist!!! I don't need to pigeon hole myself into being a landscape artist- although I have no problem with that title- but maybe, just maybe, I am larger than that!

Thanks again,


Hi Jean!

What a great surprise to see the comment from you. I'm so glad you found a place for the pond paintings and I would love to come see them sometime.

And thanks again for dropping by the Open Studio- your support means a lot.


Jill and Haida said...

Dear Nicki:

In two weeks we will all be together and I sit here at the marvel of what you helped create.

International Women Celebrate! was just a twinkle between Kim Rempel and I, then Jeanette.

I know you were responsible for bringing MANY women onboard and I really, really can't thank you enough. My sense was that it would help us all grow despite the 'negative' self talk we all have.

Stick around Barbara Muir everyone...she does not recognize negativity and I adore her for it.

I just want to mention Suzanne Berry. I am sad we will not have the opportunity to meet in person yet. Suzanne's work for IWC! is absolutely stunning and I think very meaningful to Suzanne.

I have kept the exhibit very quiet locally gals but the local paper broke the news this week, with some very attention getting language. Since then the locals who had not yet been in the gallery after two years and three months have been dropping in. We are all the buzz at the post office. Our Township Council is excited about it.

See what you all created?
Big Hugs...Jill

Nicki said...

Hi Jill,

What a great surprise to see your comment! I am so thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of this collaboration. I'm so pleased that I was able to help muster up a few more participants. It was my pleasure to help you in any way.

I can hardly wait to get there, to meet you, to meet some of the other collaborators, to see the work. It is all very exciting!