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!

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!



Bernie Cruikshank said...

I’m so sorry you’ve had a tough time within your own community so to speak. I personally love landscape art best. It speaks to my heart and mellows my soul. I wouldn’t buy political art or even bother going to a show of it. Keep doing what speaks to you and know that many of us truly appreciate your talent.
As to the home front. I totally empathize with your giving spirit but how sometimes it can become overwhelming. So remember to put your own mental and physical health at the top of the list because you have to be “good” inside yourself to be able to help others. I often find writing helps but often it’s my journal and not my blog when I’m out of sorts. Good for you for putting down all your thoughts here.
Take care.

Sandra Boorne said...

It’s too bad some artists choose to compete instead of collaborate. You’re right, take the high road and follow your path, it will bring you everything you want!
Kind regards!

Unknown said...

I'm sorry to hear about your son. My wife and I will be praying for you. I am dumbfounded that you have been recieving such negative feedback from your art community. Is it jealousy? You are very talented and I have always enjoyed seeing your work up close at shows. The main purpose of art should be the celebration of beauty! That is what inspires me and keeps me painting. Ignore the haters, keep doing you.

Celeste Jackson said...

Nicki I resonate with your words about how there is room for all of us, no matter what "type" of art we express. As a human being, what you have to offer is important to all the rest of us. We all have treasures for others. The fact that you deliver consistently great paintings is one facet of your treasures to us. You're a caring parent and wife and those treasures are held tightly by your family and lucky them. You're a good writer and this list will run long.
You cannot control what others think or do, and I admire how you express yourself about that truth.
Go forward brightly and please don't dim down for the other dark people with low frequencies.
You're quickly becoming a provincial treasure and I look forward to the day you are recognized nationally and then internationally.

cohen labelle said...

Hi Nicki, I love your work and your positive, pluralistic world view. I wish for your son a full recovery and a happy, second semester at school.
As for empathy, there can never be too much.
Happy painting!!!
Xoxo, Marcia

Unknown said...

Well Nicki, I love your paintings and get so much pleasure out of them on a daily basis. Thank you so much for that! It's sad to see that jealousy as a "green-eye monster" is alive and well. Don't let it get to you! Enjoy your well deserved success, and keep on going. Could be that the empathy is showing up in your art...?
Best wishes always!

Nicki said...

Bernie, thank you for your kind words. It's nice to know there is a true landscape lover out there. I think I am off balance and that is adding to my current situation, so yes, I need to take care of other parts of myself. Writing helps. Many years ago I wrote in journals. Perhaps it is time to renew that practice.

Nicki said...

Thank you Sandra, the high road is the best road :)

Nicki said...

Hi "Unknown" :), thank you so much. I have often heard that the art world is tough, but I always thought that meant in relation to fancy art critics and galleries in the larger global community. Anyway, thank you for looking at my art whenever you have a chance and thank you very much for your good wishes for my son. He is doing really well.

Nicki said...

Oh Celeste, thank you so much for writing a note! How wonderful to hear from you! That term of people having low frequencies really make sense. What a drain they can be. I shall continue onward and see where this whole thing goes for me. I miss you and appreciate your positive, high frequency vibes!

Nicki said...

Hi Marcia, how wonderful to hear from you! Thank you, my son is doing well. Can you believe that it was almost exactly eight years ago that we met in person? You are right, there can never be too much empathy.


Nicki said...

Thank you Ann, I am so happy to know you enjoy my art every day. Thank you for leaving a message. Yes... empathy and emotions are definitely showing up in may work!