My first website is up!

Representation: My work can be found at these professional galleries:
Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon, the Canada Building on 21st Street
Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, 2266 Smith Street
Webster Galleries in Calgary, Unit 2 625-77th Ave. SE
Woodlands Gallery in Winnipeg, 535 Academy Road

November 18, 2020: I did a Q & A with Greg Torwalt for Tourism Saskatoon (online) on being an artist living in the city. Read the article here.

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, November 29, 2012

Sunset Outside The Grey Owl Howl, Waskesiu

Sunset Outside The Grey Owl Howl, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery will be open in two days! Of the nine paintings they have of mine, this is one of my personal favorites. I like how it turned out, but also attached to it is a really nice memory. The Grey Owl Howl is a family dance that takes place at the Community Hall in Waskesiu every August long-weekend and this past summer my cousin and her family were there. My kids adore hers, who are younger, and it was fun to see them together. It had been a beautiful day at the beach and the evening was so calm and pretty, but still warm... extra warm in the dance hall! We stepped outside to cool down and we were greeted by this glorious sunset that was sparkling between the pine trees. So inspiring. It begged to be be a painting, and so it is!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Abstractions and Beyond - A Group Show

Here is an invitation to my last show of the year. I am very excited about it - I can hardly wait to hang out with these people again! We met this past August while some were taking an abstract class instructed by Alicia Popoff at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus and, at the same time, others were taking a welding class with her husband, Les Potter. It was an extraordinary week! The two groups got along famously- much laughter, moments of connection, sharing of ideas and new-found friendships developed. When the last day arrived we didn't want it to end... so we decided to plan a show. We have rented The Mix Gallery for the weekend of Dec. 7-9 and each student will submit about three pieces of art created during that week in August 2012 at the Kenderdine Campus (or work created immediately after and inspired by that time). Some of the artists have experienced the planning and execution of an exhibition before, and others haven't. In this way it is a great opportunity for learning and teaching- a true extension of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus and the energy it has cultivated every season for almost eighty-five years. Until now. Sadly, this could be the last show of student work to come out of the Kenderdine Campus. Ever.

Circle the date on your calendar if you will be in Saskatoon- it is sure to be a lot of fun. It will be an eclectic mix of abstract paintings and unique metalwork. Most of the artists will be in attendance on Friday evening between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., so please come and say hello!

Note: during the artists' reception on Friday there will be a short program featuring songs by Rhonda Gallant-Morari who is a friend of one of the artists.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wild and Free

Wild and Free
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

I have confirmation that the new art, craft and design gift store that will be carrying my 8 x 8" original paintings will open their doors on December 1st! I'm very excited to see the renovations- in it's previous life it used to be a shoe store. The Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery store manager told me that she believes it might now be the most beautiful store in Saskatoon! Exciting! When I delivered my paintings to them "Wild and Free" was her favorite, so I am showing you that piece today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tired and Happy

Well, I am very, very tired, but very, very content. The Open Studio was a huge success in so many ways! It was busy right from the start, people enjoyed the art and conversation, food and drink was consumed and some paintings found new homes. I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces and meet some people with whom I have had email and Facebook contact. I want to say a special thank you to a few friends that have been going through some difficult times, but still came out to offer support. Life can be cruel and it is hard to see those you care about struggle, but a little art therapy is often a good short-term remedy!

Here are some photos of my space as it looked just before we opened the doors to the public. The space right beside mine came available earlier this month and I am 95% certain I will move out of the "entrance" to this more private location. I have been happy in my "doorway"; I am attached to it, but this could be a good change. I am somewhat hesitant because the building where our studio is located is for sale. We really don't know what will happen when it is purchased - we may be asked to leave, we may be asked to stay, but the rent could go up, or it could stay as is.

I think I will live on the edge and take my chances. If I relocate and then we are asked to leave in a month well, so be it.

Above you can see the space beyond mine where I will move. For the Open Studio we used it as a gallery space (we each put in one piece of art) and as a place to house the refreshments. I don't know which artist thought up the idea, but it was a good one.

I'm ready for a good sleep!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Patchwork of Raw Emotion

Patchwork of Raw Emotion
24 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012

It never fails that as the Open Studio approaches the desire to rework old paintings escalates; I tweaked three paintings this week. Well, two paintings got tweaked and one got overhauled!

I originally painted "Raw Emotion", which is based on a little 6x6" study called "Patchwork Prairie", one year ago when a lot of things were going on in my world. I clearly remember that day- I was at the studio alone, I had my music turned up and I was really attacking the canvas. I do believe there were tears involved in that session and a friend was sending some supportive texts my way. Hey, sometimes that's how it goes. Anyway, I liked the result, but didn't love it - it seemed unfinished. It has always bothered me until the other day when I decided to rework it. My emotions conveniently happened to be running a little high this week what with the closure of the Kenderdine Campus and all. At least I was able to continue in the same frame of mind. Thank goodness for small blessings!

Here is what it looked like before:

Raw Emotion
24 x 24"
© Nicki Ault, 2011

And this is the study:

Patchwork Prairie
© Nicki Ault, 2011

I'm happy with the reworked version which, as you can see, I have now named "Patchwork of Raw Emotions". I feel good about it hanging on my studio wall for the Open House tomorrow.

Speaking of which, if you are in Saskatoon please drop by the St. George Open Studio if you have time. I'll be there smiling my way through wearing contacts and high heels! It is between 11 and 5 and the invitation can be found in the top right corner of this blog. And remember, the entrance is in the alley.

And if you haven't had a chance to consider signing the petition to stop the closure of the historic Kenderdine Campus in the Boreal forest of Saskatchewan, well, I'd love it if you took the time to consider it now. Here is the link:

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Big Announcement- Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

Breakwater and Wet Sand, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012
available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery

Well, the time has come! It has been hard to keep a tight lip for the last five months, but I am finally able to announce my big news.

Late last June I was approached by a well known artist and gallery owner, Darrell Bell, and his new store manager in regards to my small paintings. At the meeting I heard about their very exciting plans to open a new art boutique on one of the main shopping streets in Saskatoon (21st Street East, one block from Midtown Plaza). They were in the process of hand-picking the artists and crafts-people that would supply their beautiful, new store with unique home accessories and art pieces. They wanted me! What? I'm still in a bit of shock! 

I will be painting prairie and Saskatchewan related original landscapes in an 8 x 8" format exclusively for their store. They will not be available anywhere else, not even from me. I painted nine pieces over the summer so they could choose their favorite four or five to start out with and guess what? They kept all nine! I'm not sure my feet touched the ground when I left that meeting. I chose the above painting as the first one to show you because it was Darrell Bell's favorite of the nine.

The store opening has been delayed, so therefore the announcement was too, but the doors will be open on Dec.1... just in time for the busy three weeks before Christmas!

Although I still struggle to think of myself as a "real" artist (in fact I just had a bad dream about the very thing!), I am getting there. This new development has provided such validation. I wish I didn't need or desire validation outside of myself, but the fact is, I guess I do. And I don't think I am alone. I am so excited about this new venture and I hope to support the success of their store through my blog and Facebook page. Stay tuned for more 8 x 8" paintings available exclusively at Lifestyles by Darrell Bell Gallery!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Morning On The Trail

Morning On The Trail: Meewasin
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012

I have been so side-tracked by the announcement of the closure of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus that I have thought of little else. Thank you so much to all of my friends, both cyber and otherwise that have taken a bit of time to learn about this magical place and then sign the petition. I have recognized so many names and truly appreciate the thoughtful comments that have been left in support. An artist, Joanne Bolen, who I met at Kenderdine Campus began the petition last Thursday evening after the news broke and I am so grateful she did. As I sat at my computer on Friday morning feeling utterly helpless I saw a message on my Facebook page from her saying she started the petition. I was so excited because I had something on which I could take action. It is horrible to feel helpless and so out of control where something you love is in danger. Anyway, here is the link to the petition once again:

I will write more about it in the near future, but I must refocus and get ready for the Open Studio that is in, ACK, four sleeps!

I finished this painting the other day. A helpful critique from a friend confirmed that I needed to settle down the bright colours in the top third of the painting because they were bringing the whole thing forward too much. Hopefully I calmed it down enough. I am loving the Meewasin subject and see more in the future- I'm not tired of it yet. I've had interest in this painting already just through the progress shots, so we will see.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Saskatchewan Arts Community Needs Your Help.

Augustus Kenderdine's original cabin
still standing at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, Saskatchewan,
 almost 100 years later

I am not sure I have ever been more happy to have a blog in my life... or to have a Facebook Fan Page. The reason? For the potential reach these social media tools may have... and not for my own self-serving agenda, but for a larger and exponentially more important purpose. 

I am hoping this post can aid in change. Please consider signing the petition that has been started. Here is the link:

Yesterday the University of Saskatchewan made an announcement that is yet another blow to the arts community in our province and because of the historical significance of this site it is, in fact, a blow to the Canadian arts community. The very short-sighted decision has been made to close the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus for three years and put it's future under review.

It is all about finances and they are making it sound like the campus is in such disrepair that it is perhaps beyond help. This is not true- I was just there this past summer and I thought it had never looked better. While I'm sure it could use some upgrades, it is more than a safe and functioning site. The U of S has found itself in a real budget crisis, which has nothing to do it's satellite campus at Emma Lake, but yet the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus has somehow found itself first on the chopping block.

Any idiot can figure out that if they leave this campus to sit dormant for three years, with no maintenance or upkeep, it absolutely will fall into disrepair and will cost even more to upgrade. This decision is a death sentence. The approximately $500,000 in operating costs over the three years the university is saving by making this decision is laughable. Honestly? Seriously??? The university's budget deficit is $42,000,000!!!! Yes, I said $42 MILLION!!! To lose this provincial treasure when it's loss hardly scratches the epidermis of this monsterous and shocking number is absolutely absurd. And this decision is even more offensive when the Kenderdine Campus has had nothing to do with the budgetary mess that has manifested at the U of S. "They" say the Kenderdine Campus needs about $3,000,000 in upgrades and work in the coming years. Okay. How does that not seem do-able with some hard-core fundraising, some innovative approaches and a vision?

I realize that many of you who read this post will not have heard about the Kenderdine Campus, but it is a real place in the Northern Boreal forest of Saskatchewan. It is a place of inspiration, peace, and ideas. It is a place that employed caring, hard-working, dedicated staff. It is a place rich with history and even has a huge connection to the arts scene in New York City back in the 50's! Believe it- it's true! It is a place where art and science come together. It is a place that is almost one hundred years old and began with one man's idea. It is a place that should exist whether you would ever have the chance or privilege to get there one day or not. 

Please consider signing the petition. The link is above. It will only take minutes. Your signature might be the one that reverses the decision. And please consider sharing the link to the petition. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Note: I tried to put a link to The Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus website and this is now what comes up.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sun Glow After The Storm

Sun Glow After The Storm
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012

It was fun trying to achieve the dramatic light effect in this piece. On the prairies sometimes the stormy skies are so dark you would swear it was night. After the storm, as the clouds break up, the sun can shine through and create a powerful glow on the surfaces it touches. That is the intense scene I tried to capture with this painting.

This evening I delivered "Sun Glow After The Storm" which will be hung in a small works show, "Little Gems", taking place this coming weekend. If you will be in Saskatoon stop by and have a look. Here is the invitation...

I also submitted the following four 6x6" paintings framed in white shadow boxes:

A Day To Be Determined

Pile Up



They look really good grouped together, so the hope is someone will want all four!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meewasin- It's Getting Closer

stage five

I was able to spend about four hours at the studio this afternoon and when I left this was the state of my newest Meewasin painting. It is getting there, but there is more work to be done for sure. I probably won't post another photo until I can say it is complete.

The next couple of weeks will be very exciting... lots to tell you about and more paintings to show. I hope you'll check back!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another "Meewasin" Underway

Stage two - in the studio

Stage four - in the school gym

I can't get enough of the Meewasin Valley! I pondered my reference photos for two years and once I finally painted "Good Morning Meewasin" this spring I haven't been able to stop imagining more canvases with this subject. This particular morning in 2010 was absolutely glorious. I dropped my boys off at school and immediately had to drive to the river to take photos. It was a calm, clear morning and the low-rising October sun was catching the tops of the autumn foliage. It was stunning. Thank goodness I (almost) always carry my camera with me.

This painting began at the studio last week. First I put some acrylic washes down (stage one- no photo) and began laying out the composition in acrylic (stage two- top photo). The next stage was getting some of the darks put down in oil and making some of the areas more specific (stage three- no photo). I am now at stage four (above) which developed at the school gym the other night when I was invited to set up my easel and paint at an art-related fundraising event. It was lots of fun and between chatting with children and parents I was actually able to get a bit of work done.

I am anxious for tomorrow arrive because I will be able to work on this for another four hours. Could there be anything better than painting in the studio on a blustery November afternoon?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Please Buckle Up

"Embrace life. Always wear your seat belt"

Dear Friends,

This, by all accounts, began as an art blog but I also started it with the intent of sharing bits and pieces of my life and my experiences as a mother trying to make her dreams come true while her children watch. Sometimes there are powerful events that take place in our lives that we must talk about from time to time with the hopes that it might make a difference to someone.

Today is an anniversary for me. Three years ago was the reception for my first ever show at a gallery. It was a big deal and I was very excited. At the end of the event I couldn't have imagined a better day, so many friends and family came to see me and my work- it was busy and fun and paintings sold! A success in so many ways. My children attended for awhile and I was proud to share the day with them, but a five and seven year old get a bit bored at such events, so my parents eventually took them to their house. At the end of the afternoon my husband and I picked them up and as we drove away we talked about going out for dinner to celebrate. I was so tired I thought we should just go home, get our jammies on and have a Pizza Hut picnic in front of the TV. To this day I regret my decision.

My husband rerouted us and when we were about five blocks from home a woman ran a red light at the intersection we were going through and slammed right into us on the passenger side of the car. My husband saw her- I remember him saying "She's not stopping!", but I didn't have time to turn to see her, she was already crashing into us. We rolled and it truly was like slow motion. From that split second until I knew they were okay at the hospital later, all I could think of was my boys.

This is why I write about the accident again. Please make sure your children are buckled up safe and sound... and not just that... make sure they are in the correct car seat or booster for their age and size. That is a vital piece of the puzzle. Make sure if they are infants that they are facing backwards in their baby car seat  for the first year and until they reach the appropriate size and weight. Check and double check. Go to car seat clinics. Don't put young kids in the front of the vehicle if you have an airbag that could go off. Airbags pack a whollop- when my side airbag went off I actually thought it was the van caving in on me with the impact!

Take care of your precious cargo. That is my message. These things happen fast and without warning. I am so thankful our traumatic experience ended with my family in-tact and I am so sad when I hear of accidents with horrific outcomes. Seat belts are not a sure-fire guarantee, but your odds are way better if they are used correctly.

Embrace life. Always wear your seat belt.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Explosive Sky

Explosive Sky
20 x 20"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2012

KA-POW!!! I wasn't kidding when I told you I beefed up the colour! These clouds started off on the easel quite calm, cool and collected, as you can see here, but some kind of mood kicked in and I decided to go hard or go home! The result is the product of some serious colour experimenting. When I was at the studio yesterday for a short period of time, Bridget (studio mate) and I were chuckling that I needed to do an accompanying painting of Zeus with his Thunderbolt, then last night as I was playing Battleship with my son I glanced at the box and burst out laughing because the illustrations of the explosions looked like these clouds. 

It doesn't always happen, but sometimes art can be all fun and games!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Comment Setting Change

I just wanted to make a quick announcement that I have changed my settings and now anyone can comment on my posts. You do not need an account, just choose "Anonymous" and leave a comment, however if I do actually know you, please let me know it's you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Donation to Choc'laCure

Brewing Above
16 x 16"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2012

"Brewing Above" is going to a gala tonight! It is attending a fundraiser called Choc'laCure and at some point in the evening it will be auctioned off. My fingers are crossed that someone loves it enough to bid and that it helps the organizers reach their goal of hitting the one million dollar mark of total dollars raised since the fundraiser's inception six years ago. It is a grassroots effort and I am honoured to participate with my art. Cancer unfortunately seems to creep into far too many of our lives and if one of my paintings can help raise some money for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, well, sign me up!

Tonight I am thinking of my blogger friends who I know have dealt with this evil illness; I am thinking of my dear friend whose daughter has battled cancer twice (she is only in Grade Two) and I am thinking of my family. We lost my aunt to cancer in October.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Clouds on The Easel

  work in progress
20 x 20"
© Nicki Ault, 2012

For awhile now I have been wanting to paint clouds as a subject in their own right. I have loads of photo resources to use... I take a ton of cloud and sky pictures. Yesterday afternoon (before the Halloween bedlam) I finally had a chance to spend some time at the studio knowing I would be able to go back for two full days after that. I got started on these clouds and when I left I was pleased with the progress, but this morning when I went back the colour seemed a bit lack-luster. A "go bold or go home" attitude kicked in and after today's session there are oranges, reds, magentas, deep blues and purples, bright yellows and golds. Let's just say it isn't a meek colour palette. Once it dries I will put some finishing touches on and see if it works.