November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon. For a limited time several of my large oil paintings are also available at
their new street front gallery on 21st Street (formally Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery).

Ongoing: a selection of my larger work is available at The Black Spruce Gallery at Northside on Highway 2 just before the turn to Christopher Lake.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Road

The Road
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I am so excited about this! There is a whole situation that goes along with this painting! I have been asked to do a big commission for a lovely in-love couple. They are literally the cutest and their story is an inspiration. They came across a beautiful image by professional photographer Les Chelle and, with his permission, have asked me to create a large 40x60 inch canvas of the scene with my interpretation in paint! What?! It is a huge and blank right now! This is going to be crazy! When it is done it will be the largest painting I have ever made... and I seriously want to knock it out of the park!

Interestingly enough, I made the assumption that it was the dramatic sky that drew them to the photo, but after a few email consultations it became clear that they had a real and personal connection to the road. For them it symbolizes the journey they are taking together through life; the path they are walking together to the days ahead. I love that and I want to do them right and their love story right by this painting.

I began prepping for this project by spending time on the weekend with the image and cropping it in slightly different ways, then printing each version out as resource. On Tuesday afternoon I sat down and did the above little study as I began to think about colour mixing for the project. I love painting to music, so I found a beautiful song in my CD collection called "The Road" by Eileen Laverty who is a local musician and Saskatchewan treasure. I made a little video for Instagram with that song playing in the background. Please go have a look if you have a moment (click the camera icon on the right-hand side of this page to get over there). The lyrics are lovely and are fitting to the sweet, gentle, supportive and committed love that this painting will represent.

"...And then I saw the roses in your smile
And lilies danced as hand in hand the miles passed by.
We went traveling on the road..."
(from The Road - Eileen Laverty, © 2006)

Please stay connected and follow me on this project!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Studio Tasks

painting edges
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I didn't work at the studio at all last week as my son was home sick. I am so grateful that I have the flexibility with my schedule that I can make last minute changes to my plans if someone needs me.

We had a lovely May long weekend getting the yard cleaned up and spending time together, but I was ready to get my head back in the game today when everyone was healthy and went where they were supposed to go!

Yesterday I spent the first bit of the morning scrolling through Instagram, then making a post of my own. Check it out... take a "Shelfie" (a photo of your bookshelf) and post it with #ownabookgiveabook. McDonald's Canada has partnered with First Book Canada to get 20,000 books into the hands of kids in need. They will donate a book for every "Shelfie" posted!

I have been back-and-forth on the painting edges issue and I finally made my decision. I have always painted the edges of my 6x6's but it is a tedious task so awhile ago I decided to stop. But then I felt guilty and would offer it if a person wanted- especially if they weren't planning to frame right away. Well, at the Mother's Day Tea I sold three 6x6's to one person; two had edges painted and one didn't. She actually didn't notice, but of course I did, so I said I would match it to the others. The truth is, it really does look better when the edges are painted on the little ones. So now that I am being honest with myself, I am committing to that task. Twelve paintings, two coats and two hours later, the job was done. It's times like these that a studio assistant would come in handy... or at least a cabana boy to fan me and bring me beverages while I do the tedious studio tasks.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Moss Study (Painting Makeover)

Moss Study
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Another painting makeover.

If absolutely nothing else, the water is much, much better. Much.

Moss Study
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2016

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Billow

Billow
12 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This one was still wet at the Mother's Day Tea. I had literally just put some finishing touches on it. I walked in the door, scrambling because I was running late, and boom! - it sold. I probably could have sold it a few times over that day. It's funny how some paintings are like that. I can hardly wait for the canola to start blooming in about a couple of months. I hope to get loads of photos this season and try some new ideas for painting Saskatchewan skies over yellow fields. This ultra rectangular format was really conducive to that very theme.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Reimagined Sky (Painting Makeover)

Reimagined Sky
(after)
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Before I get into this painting makeover, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended our Mother's Day Tea at the studio yesterday! It really has become a fun event... and very busy! Your support is genuinely appreciated.

Okay, this painting has been a thorn in my side about three times over! The below "before" image is actually the second run I had at it in 2016; the original was painted in 2015 (see bottom image). Hopefully last week's repainting makes the third time a charm!

The original was quite harsh and intense- all of the edges of the clouds were sharp and the foreground grasses were soooo dark. In my second go-at-it I softened everything overall, but it still didn't sit right with me. The area at the horizon line looked very muddy and I never did like the yellow sky. When I originally tackled this canvas I had given myself the challenge of painting a big sky without using blue. Hence the yellow and purple scheme. The only part I ever really loved was the middle-ground field which I have hardly touched from the original in 2015 and, in fact, I like that portion even more in the final makeover version (above). It now seems to glow and radiate the sunlight. In the most recent repainting, I basically overhauled every other aspect of the thing! I created a new sky and slough and I activated the front grasses with more variation in colour and pops of light. I also spent time softening some of the edges of the grass so now it doesn't look cut-out.

Reimagined Sky
(before)
36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2016

Reimagined Sky
(original - before the above before!)36 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2015

That was a doozy of a painting makeover, but I am so much happier to have it hanging in the studio now. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, so if you have time, please leave a comment.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I'm Ready! Mother's Day Tea Today!

my studio all cleaned up
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I am exhausted, but I am ready. I hope you come! It's our third annual Mother's Day Tea 2017 at Studio On 20th. We are open from 12-4 today, Sunday, May 14th. We are located at 236A between Avenues B and C on 20th Street in Saskatoon. Look for the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant, we will have an A-frame sign on the sidewalk pointing to our doors.

one display of my small work
© Nicki Ault, 2017

The invitation again for easy reference...


And the sign to look for...


See you there!

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Bold Ending

A Bold Ending
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Man, I love how this sky turned out! It's a good size too! Packs a punch in person!

I am SO enjoying painting this year. It just feels right. Not everything necessarily goes right, but it is truly a joyful experience. Things are clicking in my head and I love it. Lots to look forward to as well. Thanks so much for checking in- I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day Tea 2017


You are invited! Our third annual Mother's Day Tea Show and Sale is fast approaching. We open our doors to the public two times a year for exhibitions of our newest work, Mother's Day and a Sunday in late November, the rest of the time it is a working studio. Please come if you can... bring your mom, sister, friend or a bunch of guys - it is not really a mom-specific event. Look for the door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant on 20th. That is us! Sorry- there are about 24 stairs to climb to get to our space, but we will make it worth your while with yummy food and good art. You may not want to leave!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Twilight

Twilight
24 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This is the biggest sunset reflection yet! I love it! I enjoyed every minute of my time painting and it was a treat developing this subject on a large scale. Working into the deep blue foreground to create ripples and movement was especially satisfying. Looking forward to showing (and maybe selling?!) this at our Mother's Day Tea on Sunday! (details at the top of the blog)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Heat (Painting Makeover)

Heat
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I have been doing some paining makeovers over the last several weeks. I have some work at the studio that I am seriously not happy with, so what do I do? Store them indefinitely? Throw them out? Burn them? Or rework them and hopefully salvage the situation? Honestly, some are getting filed under "G" for garbage, but there are others I am trying to resurrect. This is one.

Heat
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on baord
© Nicki Ault, 2013

I like the makeover approximately one thousand times more!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pure and Simple

Pure and Simple
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

It has really warmed up around here! Lovely buds are coming out on the trees and I just know glorious canola fields are coming in the near future! I couldn't help but paint one yesterday in anticipation!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Shimmer And Shine

Shimmer and Shine
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I've decided to do a rather large painting (24x36) based the sunset reflection theme I have been experimenting with this year, so today I did a little 6x6 study to get myself in the mood. I have got to get some work done for the Mother's Day Tea Open Studio on May 14! I feel like I don't have much on hand right now. I need to get some fresh work done and these watery reflections may just be the answer. I will be putting some serious hours in at the studio in the next ten days! I actually went back for a couple of hours last night while my son was at football. I got a start on my big canvas...

w.i.p. © Nicki Ault, 2017

... which is going to take some layering. I put down some light acrylic washes earlier in the day and now I have started in with the oils. Should be interesting!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Misty At Point View (Painting Makeover)

Misty Morning At Point View
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

I like this sooooo much more than the original. It actually feels more misty now. I love the haziness of the very most distant land and the slightly brighter sky. I love the enlivened grasses and I love the water. The original version was dullsville.

Misty At Point View
(before)
6 x 6" 
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lake Land

Lake Land
30 x 40"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I actually began this painting before our Open Studio last November, but didn't get it finished in time and wasn't thrilled with how it was going anyway. I never went back to it because I had painted myself into a corner of problems that I just couldn't decide how to fix. And there it has been, propped against the wall in an unfinished state, ever since. 

Fast-forward to March and a studio visit from an old friend who commented on it, so we hung it up and brain-stormed. Suddenly our conversation and his feedback got me excited about it again. I decided to finish it and, happily, I love the end result. I sent him an image and I think he may buy it when he is in town this weekend!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Fine Day (Painting Makeover)

One Fine Day
(after)
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available


I am trying to get caught up with the Makeover Mondays I do on my Instagram page. I think after today I should be back on track.

This simple, fresh sky is the remade "after" version of the below painting from 2015...

One Fine Day
(before)
12 x 12"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2015

Aside from being irritated by the dark "stripe" of deeper blue at the top of the original painting, there were many areas where a lot of the panel showed through (it is difficult to see in the photo). While I do like that effect in small amounts, in this case there was so much board showing that I think the painting looked unfinished. Another little change is that I beefed up the clouds a bit.

I would say this is a quirky painting. I had the urge to paint a tiny red barn on the horizon as I made it over! I feel like it needs something else, but probably not adding a red barn was a good call!