Thursday, February 28, 2019

Secret Path and Delivery Day!

Secret Path
30 x 24"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold at Assiniboia Gallery

Today is the day! I've got a variety of new paintings for Assiniboia Gallery and my Artist Feature in March, so it's road trip day! And for once the weather seems pretty reasonable! 

I am really happy with this grouping, in particular "Secret Path". I love , love, LOVE how it turned out! The mood is just what I wanted; the lights and darks, the cool and warm colours, the varied chroma intensities, the focal point, all of it! I hope you like it, too.
 new work for Assiniboia Gallery!
photo © Nicki Ault, 2019

Monday, February 25, 2019

Saskatchewan: The Height of Summer and Makeover Monday!

Saskatchewan: The Height of Summer
12 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold at Assiniboia Gallery

I have two paintings at the studio from late 2017 that I have been rethinking. Both of them happen to be on reeeaaally rectangular canvases (12x36). I prefer painting on a square format so these were bought as a challenge to myself. Recently, after much consideration, I decided to drop the horizon to create a sense of a bigger sky above. I also changed the field colour from a bright green-yellow to a more earthy yellow. I then did a few things to give more dimension to the clouds.

It now feels like what I was originally going for.

Saskatchewan: The Height of Summer
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017

Next week I may have the second painting revamped for you.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Into The Amber Light

Into The Amber Light
10 x 10"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2019
sold at Assiniboia Gallery

Let's get down to the business of a new painting!

I took many resource photos from the stages of the sun's descent this particular summer evening several years ago and it has kept me going ever since. I continue to be drawn to it, trying something new each time. Even though it's obviously a sunset, I am really excited about some of the more abstract areas:

These areas give me food for thought as I prepare to attend a workshop next weekend on abstracting the landscape with artist and instructor, Susan Woolgar.

This painting and others will be delivered next week to the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina for the feature they are doing on me in March. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Feature At Assiniboia Gallery and Getting Something Off My Chest Part II

Lakeland Light 
© Nicki Ault, 2019

Between the big solo shows planned for this year, Assiniboia Gallery is doing a few smaller monthly features on some of their artists and I am the "Feature Artist" in March! Preparing paintings for this has been my main focus over the last couple of months. I will be taking new work down to Regina next week including the largest painting of the bunch, "Lakeland Light", 36x48 (detail above).

In other news, as I could have predicted, I am now feeling a bit silly about my blog post the other day. As much as I needed to get those things off my chest, I am not sure it was a constructive undertaking other than the small release it gave me from my anger.

I wrote my last blog post to express thoughts and concerns about how rough the art community can be on itself. I have definitely struggled with the notion that, in general, the art world at large looks down its nose at landscape painters, but then when other landscape painters within our smaller community take that a step further and look down their nose at "beautiful" landscapes, well, let's just say the rage has been building.

The thing is, I love landscapes. Right now they are the vehicle, or muse even, that resonates with me as a way to explore light, mood and emotion in my paintings. And since I don't have any interest in painting something that isn't of beauty, I will stay the course.

All I know is anger isn't a good look on me or anyone else, and sequestering myself from the community isn't the answer either. So on my "To Do" list:

1) Get through this rough patch of S.A.D.
2) Help my son with his physio
3) Explore more ideas in the back of my head using Landscape as my muse
4) Take deep breaths and let things truly roll off me when I feel "dissed" or...
5) Politely ask for clarification when I feel I have taken a jab
6) Look for a "yoga with goats" class to help with my anxiety... or maybe a coffee shop with kittens :)

and maybe most important of all...

7) Focus more on how supportive the art community can be. Somehow I allowed myself to veer off course in this regard and pay too much attention to the negative side of things. Thanks for the many emails, messages, texts and comments - they were a great reminder of this very thing.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Graphite Sky At The Mann And Getting Something Off My Chest

Graphite Sky
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2018

"Graphite Sky" is my submission to the Mann Art Gallery Winter Festival Art Show and Sale this year. 

Whew! January was something else! So glad it's over and the daylight is staying a bit longer. My son is on the road to recovery after having surgery last month and he is back at school full-time now that second semester is underway. We are doing all we can to make sure he heals well and returns to his active life better than ever. On top of this stress, recent tragedies in our community have affected me in a deeper way than I realized. I have always had a heightened awareness of people and their emotions, but I find as I get older, this "sense" is becoming even stronger. As wonderful as it is to be empathetic and care about others, it is also extremely overwhelming. I have experienced dark times before, so I recognize the symptoms and, thankfully, as a result I am trying to muster the energy to be a bit more proactive this time around. I almost forgot I had a therapy "sun" light because I haven't needed it in the last few years, but I pulled it out the other day and it is already making a difference. A few other tweaks and hopefully my happy self will be back and better than ever in no time.

I actually haven't written on this blog for over a month. I have never gone that long before, but, to be honest, I have been disenchanted and have needed this time to regroup, reflect and reassess. 

It's funny (funny strange, not funny haha) how I find myself in the position of having experienced the most exciting and successful eighteen months of my artistic journey, and yet I have also simultaneously experienced some of the most discouraging and hurtful moments as well. I generally go through my days feeling grateful and believing that my glass is WAY more than half full, but somehow this last year I allowed the words of the naysayers to take a prominent place in my ear. Maybe because these naysayers were rather vocal and hard to ignore. Maybe because some of the harsh words came from unexpected places, people I thought were in my corner. Maybe because their negativity was more confident than my joy.

I think that's why it was important for me to write my first blog post of the new year as a celebration of my colleagues. I wanted to take the high road because what I really felt like doing was ripping a strip off my art community and how petty and jerky it can be.

Guess what? There is room for all of us and there is a place for all of us. There is room for people making political art, deep and symbolic art, abstract art, playful art, three dimensional art, disturbing art, expressive art, realistic art, stylized art and yes, GASP, there is actually room for art whose main purpose is to add beauty to the world.

I have been on the receiving end of a few too many jabs over these last eighteen months from other artists who "are not interested in simply painting pretty pictures" or who think "galleries are a thing of the past" or who think "everyone paints landscapes around here, they are so overdone" or who wanted me to know the idea for my solo show "Mood" was not that original. All of these things were demoralizing and felt mean-spirited and, yes, it got to me. It stung. It was certainly an eye opener. BUT...

I am still going to make art. I am going to move forward. I am going to learn. I am going to get better at what I do. I am going to be here in ten years.

I am also going to continue to celebrate Every. Single. Time a piece of original art sells, whether it is mine or someone else's, because you know what that means?  

It means it can be done and this dream IS possible!