Monday, August 29, 2011

River in Progress

river... in progress
12 x 12"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

I started this painting at the Waskesiu River when we were on holidays and I worked on it a bit last week at the studio. It needs more attention, but it also needs to dry before I touch it again.

I did not feet like blogging this past week. Straight up! I'm not sure if it is because summer was winding down and I felt the need to chill with the kids or that I decided to start a bit of a purge of the front porch or maybe it was that I got sidetracked by two unexpected visits with old high school friends or that I was somewhat obsessed with figuring out my new Daily Paintworks Gallery... or... well, I could go on forever with the excuses, but I'll stop there. I didn't blog and the world didn't stop. Lesson learned.
Actually, aside from all the above excuses I really did get a bit freaked by something I read on a blog last week and I have been processing it all since then. It kind of stopped me in my tracks and caused me to reflect on my work. It was a post completely unrelated to me and yet I took it personally. First let me say that I realize I am ridiculously sensitive and that has got to change because really, grow up, Nicki! At first what I read shook my foundations, but a day or two later I started settling down and began to develop my own opinion. You see, I am also ridiculously prone to innocently believing things said by those more experienced than I as being fact rather than a matter of opinion. That has got to change, too. Seriously, Nicki!

Anyway... my next post will be about this business I read on a big-wig bloggers blog. I'm sure you are on the edge of your seats! Oh, the suspense!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back From Summer Holidays

First location...
painting at the Waskesiu River

For (almost) the last three weeks I have been on holidays with my family in Waskesiu where we were lucky enough to use my parent's cabin. We had so much fun at the beach, bike riding, going for walks, checking out the nature centre, geo-caching for the first time and of course, going for ice cream! It was a break we all needed to have together. I even had some time to go out and paint, which of course made me feel calm and content.

Second location...
painting on Prospect Point

The above photo shows the Park Superintendent's house (in the background) which was built in 1929. There are more large cabins to each side and behind this one and the golf course is back there, too. I think I remember hearing that the Waskesiu golf course was one of Bob Hope's favorites. This area is slightly away from the main town-site and is called Prospect Point. Many, many, many years ago I worked at the golf course restaurant and at the time us "locals" called this area "Snob Hill". For two summers in a row I worked at the Clubhouse restaurant making some sweet tips. The first year the tips I saved got me to Europe for two and a half months. Ahhh, those were good times.

 this plaque overlooks the lake
and is near the above bench
where I painted that morning

I can't believe summer is drawing to a close. It has been a good one and I feel like we made some memories that will last us a lifetime. Many years from now I'm sure I will be saying about this summer, "Ahhh, those were good times"! And now it is time to regroup, get the rest of the school supplies, do other errands and deal with the piles of "real life" that were left in the house when we escaped to the lake.

 Third location...
near main beach in town-site

I hope your summer has been a wild, wonderful, memory generator!

Ours has!

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Been Two Years!

Water Striders- Big Broadway Number
40 x 30"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2009  

Two years ago today I gave myself this blog as a birthday present. So much has happened since then it is almost hard to comprehend. Of all the wonderful things that have come my way in that time, I am most grateful for the personal connections; the real, actual, honest-to-goodness, not-just-cyber friendships. I have had the good fortune to meet face-to-face with five Blogger friends, email with several others and have wonderful, lengthy phone calls with a couple of them. My cup runneth over!

And now for an announcement...

Today I gave myself another birthday present! A store on Daily Paintworks. Yay! It's all new and I am just sorting it all out, but please visit my Gallery as it is set up so far. For now I am just planning to sell my little paintings and we will see what happens. It's scary, it's the unknown, but it's all good!

This painting, "Water Striders- Big Broadway Number" is one of my all time favorites. I love it so I'm keepin' it! I showed it early on in my blogging days and you can see the original post here.

Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey and venture into the art world!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rolling Clouds and Exciting News!

Rolling Clouds
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  


On this day, as I painted near the main beach in Waskesiu, the clouds kept changing and moving, yet overall stayed the same. They formed rows in the sky. Quite interesting to look at. I spent quite a bit of time on the land/horizon and wish the photo showed the variations more. I especially love the birch trees on the far right and would love to experiment more with a closer view of that part of the landmass.

Now for the exciting news... a few months back fellow blogger Judy Adamson approached me about doing a guest post for her blog, "Judy Adamson's Art And Design Blog". She suggested I write about my interest in painting en plein air and that is what I ended up doing. If you click on the link to her blog you will see my post! Thanks Judy for your friendship and interest in my art and my blog. And if you are new to my blog, I'd love it if you would follow my progress, here or on my Facebook Fan Page.

Have a great day everyone!    

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prospect Point

Far From Prospect Point, Waskesiu
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

Several years ago Parks Canada, in an effort to raise money for P.A.N.P. (Prince Albert National Park), began "selling" beautiful wooden park benches. Each one has a small plaque which can be engraved with words; a dedication, memorial or friendly message. They are placed around the Waskesiu town site and surrounding area. I painted this view while sitting on a bench with the dedication "Compliments of Bob Potts and family". It is located at a lookout point in front of the Park Superintendent's home, built in 1929, on Prospect Point. As a kid we used to call this area "Snob Hill" because it is where (at the time) all the huge, fancy, beautiful rich-people cottages were built... and all within walking distance of the golf course.

Upon looking at this painting on the screen I think I will make some changes. I may remove the large patch of blue at the top of the composition. Although there were many "windows" through the clouds to the blue sky, I think what I have showing may be overkill. Also, I am uncertain of the intense colour of the blue. As I mixed the paint I kept holding my brush up against the sky to see how close I was getting to the true colour of blue that day. This is darn close, but never-the-less I am not sure it works. It also looks to me that the land mass on the left is sloping slightly down toward the middle of the board, so that needs to be remedied. If anyone has any thoughts, well, don't be shy! I'd love to hear 'em!

Friday, August 12, 2011


24 x 24"
oil on canvas 
© Nicki Ault, 2011

This was, in fact, the first I painted of these larger prairie scenes. "Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow" and "Protected Prairie" came after (in that order). I am so thankful that I had the studio to myself that day. The kids were at their day camps and I had set aside those hours to get work (painting) done. I was in a very emotional state and I went at this canvas with a passion and vengeance like never before. Tears and walnut alkyd make a great medium as it turns out! I won't bore you with the details, but the state I found myself in was at the culmination of a few very stressful, upsetting life scenarios. All of my pent up energy was unleashed that day as my emotions were deposited on this 24 x 24" surface! I felt raw as I worked and the overall effect of this piece, to me, is raw. I did not fuss over this painting. It is loose and free and unencumbered by nitpicking. Things are implied in this prairie scene (like the small pools of water), but not spelled out for you. I hope you like it, I think I do. And although I was alone while I painted, Kelly Clarkson did a great job of keeping me company!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Protected Prairie

Protected Prairie
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

private collection

This is another of the large paintings I recently did based on "Prairie Love" which was one of the smaller pieces from the "30 paintings in 30 days" project. Again, I used the same photo, but didn't look at any images of the small painting so I could attack the subject in a fresh way. I am loving the combination of silvery grays, rusty oranges/browns with hits of turquoise. This is painted from another reference photo I took of the protected grasslands in our city almost two years ago in October. The show of colours was spectacular and I must make a point of going back this fall to take more photos. 

As I have been painting these prairie scenes (both small and large) I am becoming more and more aware of who I am as a painter. There was a time I thought I might aspire to high realism, but I am finding that, in fact, I want to paint and I am painting more emotionally. I want react to the mood, the source and subject, the music I am listening to and what is going on inside me at that time. I think that is why, in part, I love painting en plein air because I am emotional and passionate about nature and I can react to it so honestly when I am directly immersed in it. Hmmm, lots to think about.

As an aside...I have added a few albums to my Facebook Fan Page. I'd love it if you popped by and had a look!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow

Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow
24 x 24"
oil and acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2011  


Ta da! The final result of the process. Or close to the final result. I may do a bit of tweaking here and there, but overall I am happy with the way this one went. Here is a link to the little 6 x 6" I did in my "30 paintings in 30 days" project that was the inspiration for this larger work. I used the same photo, but did not look at actual images of this little study as I worked. I wanted to keep this one fresh and not feel like I was trying to "copy" the littler painting.

I love to hear from you! Please let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Progress

Deer Trail Through Wolf Willow
(in progress)
24 x 24 " 
© Nicki Ault, 2011  

The next stage is where I begin with oils. At this point I build things up; begin to find patterns and rhythms with the paint. I really want the main focus to be the trail that carves through the grass and the Wolf Willow, so I am hoping I can get it to read right. The resource photo I am using (you can see it taped above the canvas on the easel) was taken almost two years ago at a protected grassland area within the city limits of Saskatoon. It is a really beautiful, tranquil place right in a residential neighborhood. All kinds of wildlife call it home... and there are lots of animals, too. Bah dah bah! Thank you, I'll be here all week!