Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall On Georgian Bay

Fall On Georgian Bay
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2013
available exclusively at Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery

Things have been ridiculously busy since I got home from my trip- all very good things but I feel like I haven't stopped moving for a minute, other than sleep (and even that has been a bit fitful). I have just embarked on home renovations and while I am not doing a complete gut-job of the kitchen, it is certainly chaotic and torn apart. I am keeping my eye on the prize and know I will love all of the changes when they are complete.

My trip was amazing- six days of focused painting and creativity. When a person has that kind of time at their disposal it is shocking how much work can get done and how much can be learned so quickly. I came home with the following inventory of completed paintings: six 30 x 30", two 18 x 24", five 6 x 6", five 8 x 10" and four 8 x 8"! I felt that I grew while I tackled new subject matter; I noticed myself studying the light differently and thinking about how to convey forms through value and colour. I attribute this to my drawing and Colour Theory classes.

We were in the Owen Sound area of Georgian Bay, so on the south end, and the Maple trees were not as abundant as I anticipated, nor were the scraggly, wind-blown trees. I spent time the first day or two absorbing my surroundings and trying to get feel for the place. I was quiet and in my head, so it is entirely possible that Bridget and Jackie thought something was wrong. Looking back now I realize I was trying to find a connection; to find inspiration. It finally came to me in the form of red Sumac's, rocky shores and big boulders! I could feel the energy build within me after that. I am extremely happy with some of the work... especially a couple of the 30 x 30's. They felt fantastic to paint. I hope I can continue to tap into that energy to create a few more large pieces.

I am on the look-out for a new studio space as our building has been sold and we need to be out of our current location at the end of November. If you are in Saskatoon and know of any suitable and available buildings, I would appreciate the leads. Thanks!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Greg Hargarten

Winter Meadow, Anglin Lake
24 x 24"
© Greg Hargarten

I am absolutely thrilled that this Sunday Spotlight gives me the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most all-round creative guys I know, Greg Hargarten, a Saskatoon-based painter, musician and graphic artist. 

I was so happy that Greg sent the above painting to be included in the spotlight because it happens to be my absolute favorite Hargarten. "Winter Meadow, Anglin Lake" brings tears to my eyes I love it so much. Now I am not one to easily part with my cash, but I truly believe I would have bought it had it not already sold before I got to the opening. I am, however, a proud owner of a small study Greg painted at Fairy Island, Emma Lake.

I met Greg at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus in the summer of 2009 when we were enrolled in the same painting workshop, however I had actually heard about him and the group he paints with, "The Men Who Paint", the year before that. Greg and these guys are known to be prolific and have a reputation for squeezing every bit of painting time out of the day, including getting up in the wee hours of the morning to catch the sunrise (which can be as early as 4:30 in the summer). I was really excited to be in a class with him and to see him in action over that week. In that time he created several stunning pieces and I found him to be incredibly generous with feedback to others and quietly humble in his own work. A class act.

I mentioned that Greg is one of the most creative guys I know and that is not quite true- he is one of the most creative people I know. From my vantage point there is not much he takes on that does not contain a creative element and he is good at ALL of it: playing the drums and guitar, singing, songwriting, painting, film-making, graphic design to name a few. Please read on to see exactly what I mean and enjoy the photos he has generously shared of his art and adventures. Also, there are some great links that will take you to various locations on the world wide web where you will be entertained and enthralled by his work. Please check them out.
Autumn Gale, Lake of Two Rivers (sketch)
12 x 12"
© Greg Hargarten

At the age of fifteen, Greg started his first band, but it wasn’t until he gave up drumming and focused on songwriting that things started to happen. Playing with local bands on weekends and designing posters, T-shirts and album covers for fellow musicians during the week, he scraped together enough money to record. Under the pseudonym Ricasso he has since written, recorded and produced four full length CDs. Over the years, Greg’s songwriting has earned critical recognition by the industry and press, as well as air-play on commercial radio and campus stations across Canada. He is the two-time winner of ROCK102’s Radiostar National Songwriting Competition at Canada Music Week; he has had his songs covered by other artists and been included on numerous compilation albums. He has also produced several albums for other artists most notably Dancing with Angels, the award-winning debut album by Eileen Laverty. Greg's music is available (under Ricasso) at iTunes and at CDBaby.

Inspiration Point, Ivvavik, Yukon
© Greg Hargarten

A recent development in Greg's artistic career is his foray into film making which he began with the intention of producing videos for his music. His most notable music video, and my personal favorite, is “Dear Abbey Road” which he not only produced and directed, but also played all of the characters of a pseudo sixties band on a television show. This effort won him “Best Small Scale Production” at the Mann Gallery’s Reel Rave Short Film Festival. He has also produced a few short pieces focusing on his art. Please follow these links to enjoy Greg's music and film work:

Second Hand Love Song (the below painting "Coal Mine Ravine" can be seen in this video)

Coal Mine Ravine
36 x 48"
© Greg Hargarten

In 2005, Greg rediscovered his love of painting after a stay the University of Saskatchewan Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. Although he hadn’t painted since high school, he felt suddenly at home. Focusing almost exclusively on landscapes, he returned to the campus every year until its closure in November 2012.

Inspired by the work and adventurous spirit of the early Canadian painters, particularly the Group of Seven, Greg has always enjoyed painting outdoors “en Plein Air” as well as in his studio. When in 2007, he met Cam Forrester, Ken Van Rees, Paul Trottier and Roger Trottier, artists who not only shared his passion with the Group of Seven but also his affinity to paint outdoors, the Men Who Paint were born. In June of 2011 he and the group were chosen from artists across the country by Parks Canada to paint at Ivvavik National Park in the Yukon Territory. Accompanied by Parks Canada staff and a camp cook, the Men Who Paint were based at the Sheep Creek Warden station on the Firth River. There they spent 10 days in tents, visiting various locations on foot, or in some instances by helicopter, to document the National Park which borders Alaska and the Beaufort Sea.

 on the Firth River
Ivvavik, Yukon
© Greg Hargarten

Of the over 100 works the group painted in Ivvavik, 60 of the most engaging have been reproduced in a book "Halfway to Heaven". This compilation documents the Men Who Paint’s artistic journey though the remote Ivvavik National Park. It includes reproductions of the paintings done on site and photographs of the the National Park. The book is available at Chapters, Indigo and online at Greg’s website.

© Greg Hargarten

© Greg Hargarten

With Men Who Paint or on his own, Greg has painted at numerous Saskatchewan and Canadian locations including Lac LaRonge, Jasper National Park, Prince Albert National Park and Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Greg’s artwork is held in private, corporate and museum collections including The Mann Gallery in Prince Albert and the Parks Canada Permanent Collections.

October at La Ronge
12 x 12"
© Greg Hargarten

Evening Gold
24 x 24"
© Greg Hargarten

presenting his painting to Gene Simmons
© Greg Hargarten

Shekinah Pond
24 x 24"
© Greg Hargarten

Summer Breeze, Echo Lake
8 x 10"
© Greg Hargarten

Spring In Cypress Hills
24 x 24"
© Greg Hargarten

Artist Statement
"I have always needed to create things. Throughout my life, creative projects have been the one constant, whether through music, graphic design, video, drawing or painting, it has been essential to my well being. It’s my life line and keeps me exploring and learning about the world around me.
Painting is a way for me to connect with time and place in a very fundamental way. A way to strip away the limitations of the real world and explore of the essence of places and things. There is an elegance and splendor in our world that is often overlooked by all of us in our day to day life. I paint to help myself and others appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all.

Through painting I strive to capture the essence of things without describing them completely. I like working in a quick and energetic pace, using acrylics because of the immediacy they afford me. I’ve recently begun working with larger canvases and brushes, trying to deliver bold deliberate strokes. My goal is to be the medium for creativity, allowing the paint to be applied to the canvas directly from experience without stopping too long in conscience thought. It’s this freedom that I enjoy and has produced my best work."

Shekinah Birch
18 x 24"
© Greg Hargarten

Greg’s artwork can be found at Black Spruce Gallery in Northside, Modern Country Interiors in Saskatoon and at the following Men Who Paint pop-up shows across Saskatchewan:

October 25-26     Saskatoon - 212-308  4th Avenue North
January  10-28     La Ronge - Mistaseni Building
April  2014         Regina - Hague Gallery
July/August 2014     Rosthern - Station Arts Centre

Please note that the above October 25-26 date is next weekend! If you are in Saskatoon at this time, I encourage you to find time to attend this show. Full details on this event can be found at the Men Who Paint Facebook fan page. While you are there you may as well "like" their page.




Friday, October 18, 2013

I Heart Georgian Bay

I am home from my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Georgian Bay, Ontario. It was an intense, art-filled journey and I tried to savour each unique moment. I got off to a bit of a rocky start- I was intimidated at the outset when I saw how prolific my travel partners had been before I got there; they had filled canvas upon canvas and board upon board. Also, the landscape was not as I had imagined- forests of red Maple were not abundant nor were weather-beaten trees jutting out of craggily rocks. I had to refocus my game-plan before I even started! What I had envisioned in my mind's eye was probably more in line with what is found further north in the Algonquin region. I definitely had my heart set on painting images that were authentic to the area and not like what might be found at home. Initially all I could see was farmland and birch forests, so I panicked- that was not what I came cross-country to paint! I had to have a little talk with myself and get on board with the elements of the landscape that were presented to me; I had to make a connection to something or I would be in big trouble! In the end I found great inspiration in the gorgeous red Sumacs as well as the rocks and boulders on the shores and in the forests. I also found inspiration in the rapids and waterfalls which I hope will make their way to canvas soon.

I could write volumes, but it is more fun to look at pictures, so here are some of my favorites... all images © Nicki Ault.


 our most excellent make-shift studio

 I like this picture- it looks like I am having 
a light bulb moment!


 Jackie's canvas makes a good fire!

 Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound

me and a random dog


a precariously placed Inukshuk

 Lake Huron

 I wiped and restarted this painting approximately five times
and then it still only seemed best suited to the dart board

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gone Painting! Be Back Soon!

The day has finally arrived! I am on my way to paint in Georgian Bay, Ontario! Two friends are already there so I am anxious to join them and get painting. I will have photos and stories to share when I return and hopefully some art worth showing as well. Please stay tuned and check my blog in ten days when I am back!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bargue # Two - Stage Three

Bargue # Two - Stage Three
graphite on Stonehenge paper

It is difficult to see what is happening in the above photo, but I am trying to show what the transfer looks like when moved over to the Stonehenge paper. Basically once the lights and darks are separated in the initial construct drawing, the bond paper is flipped over and, with a 2B pencil, all of the lines are gone over quite heavily (remember this is on the back of the paper). To really see where the lines are you could use a light box or simply tape the construct drawing face down on a window. The Stonehenge paper is then mounted squarely on the board and the construct drawing is centered and placed carefully on the Stonehenge- taping it only at the top to make flipping back and forth easier (to see how the transfer is going). All of the lines on the construct are traced over so that the gentle pressure of this action then deposits some of the graphite from the back of the bond paper onto the Stonehenge. It is really important to apply just enough pressure to lightly transfer the graphite to the good paper; too much pressure will result in scoring the Stonehenge which could cause visible marks in the final drawing.

Above you see the back side of the construct drawing that I have gone over in graphite and to the right is the transferred image. The lines have already been restated (they were not that dark from the transfer as you saw in the first photo) and you can see I have now begun to once again separate the lights and darks in an even mid-dark value.

It is a bit nerve-wracking to be working on the good paper- this is where I plan to put some serious time in to get excellent results, but also where one klutzy move (like knocking over water or coffee) could ruin everything. I need to work in a bubble!