New Representation: my art is now available at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina! They are located at 2266 Smith Street, a vibrant, bustling part of town.

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon. As well, some of my large oil paintings are now available in this beautiful local gallery.

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 18, 2018

Sky Drama

Sky Drama
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

This one was a bit of an uphill battle; it changed many times and I even considered changing it right down to the last moment, however, Bridget and I put it under the track lighting in the gallery space of the studio and right away, we both agreed it was done.


I gave it a coat of varnish to help the colours sing and delivered it with a handful of other paintings to Darrell Bell Gallery late yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

September Mood at McPhee

September Mood at McPhee
18 x 36"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

Oh boy, I am happy with this one!

If you ever drive to Waskesiu Lake, I think (and hope) you know exactly where this scene can be found. In the end it is more moody than I planned, but every time I would try to lighten it up it would feel wrong.

This definitely feels right. I hope you like it!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sky Fire II - Makeover Monday!

Sky Fire II
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

I painted the original version of "Sky Fire II" a year ago. It looked like a forest fire then and it still does now, even though it is actually a sunset. When I decided to make it over, I was very tempted to revamp it to look more like a sunset, but in the end I decided to stay true to the feel of the original in that regard.

The makeover is much more refined; so much better, from the softer clouds to the light reflected on the water and filtering through the trees on the grass. Also, two trees now are rooted to the ground rather than floating miraculously above. Can you see them? How did I miss that detail? I actually can't believe I considered the original finished. I'd be curious to know what you think.

Sky Fire II
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mann Art Gallery Winter Festival Show and Sale 2018

Rustle
40 x 30"
acrylic and oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Last Phase, Saskatchewan Afternoon
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

It's that time of year again - the annual nail-biter: the Mann Art Gallery Winter Festival Show and Sale! I almost didn't send anything this year, but at the last minute a few others from the studio decided to submit work, so I made a quick decision to enter these two paintings. I really love both of them, so I thought, "Why not?"

The Opening Reception and Awards Presentation is Friday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. It is always fun to drive to Prince Albert for the party, but my best art pal and studio mate is on holidays, so won't be able to attend. I'm not really that motivated to go as a result, but I will muster up the energy, find a different date and hopefully find something that still fits after a long chilly, chip-eating winter. I believe pajama bottoms and a big, stretched-out cowl necked sweater would be frowned upon at this event.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Ultramarine Dugout at Warman - Painting Makeover

Ultramarine Dugout at Warman
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

These "painting makeovers" have been a huge learning exercise for me. I honestly feel that over the last year alone I have grown so much in my understanding of my materials, and more specifically, my understanding of value and colour. I have so much more to learn, but I am encouraged by the fact that I am aware of my own growth.

I actually don't have too many more paintings on hand that I feel are worthy of a makeover, but I do have a stack of work worthy of a wood chipper or table saw, whichever I have access to first. Those babies are going down and NEVER seeing the light of day! They are canvases, boards and paper pieces that I hate so much I have no desire to invest anymore time on them at all. Except, that is, the time it will take to destroy them. They actually repulse me! Ha!

Ultramarine Dugout at Warman
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I do have some, though, that I like enough to try to improve. So there will be a few more makeovers. There are a handful that I did early last year which now seem to stop just short of my current standards. I love the fact that even within a year's time I would do things differently on some pieces. I love that my "eye" has more experience. In some cases it's because they now seem unfinished, in other cases they just seem dull and lifeless (an issue that is more apparent in person and hard to show in a photograph). Above is one that had both problems. I feel like now the "after" version packs the punch that I hoped for originally. The deep blue water of the dugout finally has the vibe I was going for in the first place. The shape of the foreground grasses is better and I am happy that I decided to make an entry point to the left of the bottom centre, breaking up the line of the grasses. I also love the subtle changes to the clouds.

I am curious to hear your thoughts. If you have an opinion one way or the other; drop me a comment here, on Facebook or on Instagram- I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Soft Rain

Soft Rain
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

This little study was the inspiration for "Distant Rain" which is available at the Assiniboia Gallery. On my easel at the studio right now is a 20x20 from the same rain storm, but it has a very different feel. Hopefully another session this weekend will get it where I want it to be and I will post it for you next week.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Autumn Exhibition

Autumn Exhibition
40 x 30"
oil on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

This is a new colour palette for my leafy series, and it did not start out this way. This one really morphed on me. It's not really close to what the initial plan was when I started out. In the end, after some pretty drastic changes, it arrived at a place that makes me happy. It is much more green than it was ever intended to be, but once I came to terms with the fact that the blues and purples in the original design were not working, the commitment to the green solved all the problems.

Did you know painting is about problem solving?

'Tis true. Obviously it is about a whole lot more, but problem solving is right up there.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Unsettled Sky

Unsettled Sky
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

As this one developed I felt more and more excited. At the opening for the Holiday Salon at Darrell Bell Gallery in December, I was chatting with a well known artist and art instructor who pointed at it on the wall and said to me, "More of that". 

Why does that kind of validation feel so dang good?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ominous Sky, Cheerful Field

Ominous Sky, Cheerful Field
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

J'adore.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ending in a Whisper

Ending in a Whisper
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

I posted the roughed-in sketch (below)  of this in November and it sold immediately. She was certain she would love the final version... and she did.

So cool.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bales and Bales

Bales and Bales
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold at Darrell Bell Gallery

Hay bales! Man-made objects in my prairie scene!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Burning Sky at Dusk

Burning Sky at Dusk
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

It is not often I love it so much that it makes me want to cry, but here we are. It's a version of "Exquisite Release of the Day" which I painted for the Assiniboia Gallery and which also made me teary. I have plans to do a 20x20 and also perhaps try a larger rectangular version.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Morning on the Grids

Morning on the Grids
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I am so grateful that I was asked to paint the big road commish last year because it has spurred on my new outlook which is: I can paint anything!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I can paint anything well, I'm just saying that it wouldn't hurt me to branch out a little. I used to snub my nose at landscapes containing man-made elements; I wanted to paint my province au naturel. I see now that I might be missing out on some interesting subjects, so this year I am removing all self-inflicted restrictions and I intend to look at my surroundings in a new way. You never know, I may even paint a fence or a canoe!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Last Phase

Last Phase
20 x 20"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2018
available

I took liberties with this one. I basically made up the light moving across the land. The reference photo I took was dull and dark in that area, so I added some life. I hope it is believable.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Ombre Sky

Ombre Sky
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

In fashion, they call the look of a colour fading in shade from more intense to less intense, Ombre. You see it in clothing and hair styles among other things. In French, Ombre means shaded. Well, this is my Ombre night sky. I struggled with the little tree. On the one hand I really like it and on the other hand I find it irritating. Once I put the tiny shadow in there it felt less irritating, so I decided to keep it.