July and August 2017: A small selection of my work, courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus) throughout the summer months.

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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Under The Stars

Under The Stars
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

I love painting these night scenes. More experimenting to do in the near future... new ideas are fun!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Blooming Bright

Blooming Bright
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

Oooooh, the canola this year! I love how this painting turned out! I'm going big with some of these canola fields once the big commish is done!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Like Hope Shining Through

Like Hope Shining Through
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

There is something about the glowing rays of light of a colourful sunset filtering through the branches and boughs of pine trees; it just feels like hope.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dancing Fields of Wheat

Dancing Fields of Wheat
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

The wheat was still slightly green as we went through the countryside on the way to the lake. The drive home, however, was a different story. In the short span of a week, these young crops were no longer green, but more blonde and one step closer to harvest.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Canola and The Milky Way

Canola and The Milky Way
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I was excited about this painting when I completed it at the lake, so much so that I had to make a statement about how excited I was on my Facebook art page! Now, here it is... but hard to photograph without getting a bit of a glare/hotspot. Hope you like it!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sparkling River, Waskesiu

Sparkling River, Waskesiu
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery

My son loves this painting. He is quite convinced it won't last long at the gallery. I love his supportive nature.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Canola

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

Lots of this particular delightful scene happening right now, especially in the north... from what I could tell, the southern fields are almost done with the bright canola yellow. A lot changed in the week I was at the lake with the kids. So glad I got out there when I did. Now I am waiting for the golden wheat fields to ripen from their earthy green hue. Soon...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ultramarine Dugout at Warman

Ultramarine Dugout at Warman
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

The sky was pale blue and yet, with the wind disturbing the surface, the water reflected a deep ultramarine colour. Even dugouts are beautiful on days like this!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Roadside Canola at Neuanlage

Roadside Canola At Neuanlage
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

There is a growing, little town about twenty minutes north of Saskatoon, Neuanlage, where more and more houses are being built. It is in the heart of farmland and canola fields. Right there next to lovely new bungalows are glowing yellow fields. To drive down the main street is to drive right next to the edge of a canola field. It is Saskatchewan in a nutshell.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Whitecaps

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

 "The sea was angry that day my friends."

~ George Costanza, Seinfeld, 1994

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rejoice

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

The canola is glorious right now. Every day it gets more intense. That yellow is the colour of happy. It's the time of year when a good number of the prairie population has its fingers crossed that Mother Nature will work for us rather than against us. We need rain, but not too much. We need heat, but not too much, We definitely don't need hail or a plague of grasshoppers. And no tornadoes. The summer is a bit of a nail biter around here and we always hope the best for our farmers. Fingers crossed for the great bumper crops of 2017!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Wheat Ripening

Wheat Ripening
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I came across a beautiful wheat field on the drive north the other day. It was so lovely, not yet blonde, full of  warm and earthy colours, and a bit green. It rippled in the wind like gentle waves. The motion was mesmerizing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sunshine On Earth

Sunshine On Earth
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

Finally! I got some painting done!

It was a lovely day at the lake yesterday, but not overwhelmingly hot. In the shade on the deck while painting, I had four layers on! But I tend to run a little on the cool side. My son thought I was crazy bananas, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, it was wonderful to get this canola field out of my head and onto a board. I am still swooning from all the yellow I saw on the drive north. More to come!

I love painting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Paintings In My Head!

Waskesiu Sunset
photo © Nicki Ault, 2017

I am at the lake with my kids. We drove up on Monday- it took longer than usual because I kept stopping to take photos of the canola fields along the way. The remainder of the day was spent unpacking and settling in, cleaning and organizing. Then yesterday was rainy, on and off all day, so each time I thought I would get outside to paint, I was foiled. And then there was a two hour glitch trying to get the Shaw Direct service to the TV. I, myself, could go without TV indefinitely, but string a few rainy days together with two teenagers in a small cabin and you will want entertainment. Any entertainment. Even Sponge Bob.

So, no paintings yet, but as I wrapped up the day, the rain stopped and the sun began to break through. As the clouds burned off, this gift arrived promising new, inspired paintings on my horizon.

P.S. I posted a video of a 180 degree view of this sunset on Instagram last night. Click the camera icon on the top right of this page to go over there to see it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Little Lovey's Art Project


First things first, I want to be clear that whenever I post any images related to my children (which is rare) I always talk to them first and ask if they are okay with it. I do not post if they say no.

Okay, that being said... my heart swells with love and pride, joy and awe over this story.

My youngest, thirteen years old and just finished Grade Seven, told me early in May that, for an art assignment in school, they were supposed to pick a famous artist and research about him or her and then do a piece of art in the style of that artist or do a reproduction of that artist's work. I was really excited when he told me that and I asked who he chose... Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, O'Keefe, Matisse, Degas? Who?!

His answer...

"I chose you, mom".

Cue the tears.

"Me?" I asked. "Oh! Really? Wow. Thank you Lovey."

Turtle Cloud
12 x 12"
acrylic on canvas
© T. Ault, 2017
NFS

He was supposed to bring supplies to school to create the art project, but we decided to take some time one evening to go to my studio so he could work on his project there. He used a 12x12 canvas propped on my easel, my brushes and acrylics. He chose one of my 6x6 paintings of a sunset as inspiration for his piece - he did not want to copy it, he wanted to create his own work.

It was quite interesting to watch the painting develop. I helped talk him through elements and showed him how to choose colours and mix paint. I listened to his thoughts and gave him advice on how to try to achieve the idea he had in his head as I understood it. It was fascinating to watch him love his painting at certain points and then really hate it at other points. Like mother, like son! He persevered and in the end he felt very proud of what he created.

my son's painting and assignment
(top left) on the bulletin board at school

What I hadn't looked at was the paper he wrote about me. I didn't see it until I stopped by the school to take a photo of the bulletin board in the hallway. At that point I read the front page of his assignment. I am not sure which I love more, his painting or his words (few as they may be)!

Under Artist Biography the question is "How did they live?"

His answer... "She lived well. She wasn't rich but she wasn't poor".

!!!!!!

How much do I love it???!!! I laughed right out loud while standing in the empty school hallway. I also enjoy that he has my date of birth wrong and that he has me expiring this year. It's been nice knowing ya!


All silliness aside, he is actually so very wrong. I am rich, but it has nothing to do with money and everything to do with him and his big brother.

Truly. My cup runneth over.

P.S. I ran into my son's teacher who commented how absolutely sweet he thought it was that my son chose to do his assignment on me. I said I agreed, that it was very special. I also teased that my son gave me the only opportunity I will ever have to be displayed alongside Claude Monet and Salvador Dali!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Where The Heart Is

Where The Heart Is
(commission)
20 x 24"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I was contacted earlier this year by the family of a dear friend of mine. They asked if I would consider doing a painting for her 65th birthday, but they wanted her to be involved so the painting didn't actually have to be done for the big day (February). I was honoured to be asked and of course I said yes! I knew she would either choose a prairie scene or something to do with Waskesiu Lake, so I was confident I could tackle whatever she decided on. After much debating, a Waskesiu sunset was what she desired.

I have known this beautiful woman for twenty-five years. A lifetime ago in many ways. I knew her before I was married; she was my manager at a store where I worked, and with her support, that seasonal Christmas job actually evolved into a ten year career. We became fast friends and confidents, we traveled together to conferences across our beautiful country and we supported each other in our work, both the successes and struggles of our stores. We have seen each other through some really good times and, as life goes, some really hard times. And we have laughed! Boy, have we laughed!

Life has changed a lot for both of us since 1992 and we don't see each other as much as we used to, but our friendship is such that we always pick up where we left off and without missing a beat. She is passionate about her family; her beloved husband, her three children and her five grandchildren. She takes care of those around her with such a loving heart. I am proud to know her. I am honoured to have created this painting for her and I hope it gives her joy every single day for the rest of forever.

Happy birthday dear friend.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dark and Stormy

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

I. LOVE. THIS. PAINTING!!!


The sky is not black, but it is a very deep, dark indigo. Hard to photograph.

I love every square inch of it.  

I LOVE it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Coming Down In Sheets

Coming Down In Sheets
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery

Oh, I am happy with this one! Made up straight out of this prairie-lovin' head of mine!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Starlit Canola

Starlit Canola
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Wow! I have been sick again and this time it knocked me down much harder than whatever I had two weeks ago. I could feel it coming on Tuesday, but somehow I managed to get to the studio in the late afternoon to meet a dear friend who wanted to buy some 6x6's for wedding gifts this summer. When I got home I had a fever. Wednesday morning I somehow managed to get back to the studio so another friend and collector of my work could pick up "Shimmer, Waskesiu River". I then delivered, fever and all, three new 8x8's to Darrell Bell Gallery ("Starlit Canola" is one of them). I have very little recollection of the day after that. I went home and crashed. I have hardly been out of bed or off the couch since, but today I finally feel about 75% better.

I am really excited about all three paintings I took to Darrell Bell Gallery! They are each made up from memories, ideas and emotions I have in my head connected to my beloved prairies.

"Starlit Canola" was supposed to be delivered with the last batch of 8x8's, but this is the one I knocked over, face down, when it was still wet. I was so frustrated because I thought it was ruined. In the end, after I worked on it some more, it was a much better painting. I actually started on a soft gray ground. I considered starting on a yellow ground, but I was worried the blue would take on a greenish tinge when painted over the yellow and I wanted it to be a deep, inky indigo. I used a rubber-tipped tool to remove the paint where I wanted the stars, which is why I initially thought a yellow ground might be the ticket- so the stars would look yellowy when I dabbed off the blue paint. In the end soft gray was the right choice because twinkling stars in the night sky actually look more white than yellow. I went back over the larger stars with a small hit of pale yellow just to give them a bit of a glow. I had to redo the entire deep blue sky because there were so many imperfections from being knocked over. As it turned out, with a second coat, the sky took on a new depth, much more rich and lovely than how it looked originally!

Anyway, after I got the painting all touched up and improved from my klutzy knock-over move, I noticed it had dried ever-so-slightly uneven. Some areas had more of a glossy sheen than others, especially in the field. I decided a nice coat of varnish (I don't always varnish) would do the trick to even things out. It did, but the field was still not perfect, so I gave it another light coat. Problem- I left a slight ridge of varnish between the field and the sky thinking it would self-level. It didn't. It dried that way. Grrrr. I should have just done a second coat of varnish over everything, but I didn't want to tamper with the sky, which looked great.

Cue the Gamblin website! What a fantastic resource for their products! I am consistently impressed with this company: their products, knowledge and innovation are top notch. I had used their varnish, Gamvar, and after educating myself on a few things I decided to take their advice and use their product Gamsol, which I had on hand, to remove the varnish ridge. I was scared to do it because I didn't want to wreck the painting again, but really, I couldn't deliver it the way it was anyway. It worked like a charm just like they said it would! 

I learned a LOT on this one 8x8. I am so glad it survived all it went through! You know the saying, "If these walls could talk"? Well, if my paintings could talk a good number of them would have plenty to say!

"Starlit Canola" is at Darrell Bell Gallery (street level) if you want to see it in person!



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Downpour

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

I love me a good torrential downpour, especially at the lake at night laying in the loft listening to the rain pound on the metal roof, window open just a smidge, snuggled in a cozy comforter and reading a good book. Heaven.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Shimmer, Waskesiu River

Shimmer, Waskesiu River
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I first painted the Waskesiu River in 2009 and I recall the sunlight was shimmering and sparkling on the water. Since it is one of my absolute favourite places in this great country, it seemed fitting that I paint another shimmery version on July 1st, Canada's 150th birthday. I like this one.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer Storm Brings The Green

Summer Storm Brings The Green
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

On my way to the studio the other day it started pouring! It got me thinking about how green things look right after a big downpour, so when I got to the studio I made this painting up. I posted it right away on Instagram because I was so excited... and it sold!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Not Canola

Not Canola
20 x 20"
mixed media on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

This was the third and final piece I exhibited in the group show "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" last weekend. It is a huge departure from what I normally paint and it was exceptionally fun to experiment. I am very grateful to Mike Remando for the invitation to join this show and for the gentle push to explore new ideas. It is something I should do more often, but don't for various reasons. If I am invited again next year I am curious to see what I might create! One thing is for sure- I will push myself out of my comfort zone again!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Not Flowers II

Not Flowers II
36 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Not Flowers II was in "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" last weekend and I really love how it turned out. The colours are not quite red and white but close enough to being appropriate for a Canada Day 150 post. So... 

HaPpY CaNaDa DaY! 


I love this beautiful, democratic, peaceful, friendly, hard-working, diverse, polite country where I live. We are not perfect and we have work to do in many, many ways- most importantly meaningful and sincere reconciliation with our First Nations people, but there is not another country I would rather call home.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fall Settling In

Fall Settling In
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I really am not thinking too much about the fall, sorry to bring it up! There is still way too much summer to enjoy. I did, however, finally spend some significant time at the studio yesterday. I was sick last week and then I had a headache that persisted all day and night for a good six or seven days. Obviously this made it hard to get any meaningful work done. I finally woke up yesterday morning from an uninterrupted sleep - I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night to take more Advil! Feeling like I had a new lease on life, I headed to the studio and worked and worked. It felt great!

I spent time struggling with the smaller of the two commissions I have on the go, but I took a photo and once I analyzed it on the screen I knew where to make the necessary changes. It may need a few tweaks today, but otherwise I think it is done!

To decompress from that battle, I painted a new little 6x6 (above) which was actually supposed to have a spring feel to it, but my palette decided to jump a couple of seasons ahead of me and land in the fall.

Now to get more work done on the really big commish! I am behind schedule from where I had hoped to be. June got the best of me yet again.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Show At Boffins Restaurant!


News flash! On Monday Darrell Bell hung some of my work at Boffins restaurant on the University of Saskatchewan campus! He emailed me last week to see if I had anything on hand at the studio that he could use to create a small show for the summer. Luckily I had five paintings that he was able to mix with a couple of pieces of mine he already had at the gallery.... and voila! A solo show is born! Huge thanks to Darrell for thinking of me for this opportunity.




 




*All photos courtesy of Darrell Bell.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not Flowers I

Not Flowers I
36 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
© Nicki Ault, 2014
available?

As you know from previous posts, I was invited to be in a quick two day show last weekend with nine other artists. The idea, I was told, was to exhibit work that was experimental and perhaps outside of what you normally do; to push your personal boundaries and step out of your comfort zone. I had this piece on hand that I painted for my bathroom after we renovated. I said I would use it if nothing else because it certainly fit the criteria. I ended up getting sick a week before the show, so I didn't finish all of the brand new pieces I hoped to create, so I did end up using this one. 

I had three pieces to submit, all paintings which were out of my comfort zone to paint, but I have to say, putting them on a wall in a public show really pushed my comfort zone! It was a great experience though and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Huge thanks to Mike Remando for asking me to take part.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Silent Sunset

Silent Sunset
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I love these sunset reflections. Once the commissions are done, I am going to do another 24x36 canvas along this theme. For now this one and "Quiet Is The Day" can be found at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level). I also have two 6x6's left at the studio, "Delicate Balance" and "Shimmer And Shine", in case you need a wedding gift for someone this summer. I think they are kind of romantic.

Quiet Is The Day
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available at Darrell Bell Gallery
sold

Delicate Balance
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blue II

Blue II
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

I've been sick. It was a long week, but I am on the mend now. I feel like I have to catch you up on a lot! I still have paintings to show of the ones I delivered to Darrell Bell Gallery just over a week ago - this one and another. Plus I have to tell you about the group show I was just in, "Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice" and show you those paintings. Also, there is a little news to share!

Stay tuned as I get back on track this week!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pea Soup Swamp (Painting Makeover)

Pea Soup Swamp
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Wowzie! This new version makes me sooooo happy. I am all about that reflection. The original (below) just seems so basic; so unfinished. I think the "after" scene is much more sophisticated. Growth. That is what I am seeing in myself with these makeover Mondays. And it feels good.

Pea Soup Swamp
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2015


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hot Pink Finale

Hot Pink Finale
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This one has a little kick to it. That hot pink, or in painting terms, Quinacridone Magenta, packs a punch. I love that colour, so I kind of made up this sunset, replacing oranges and yellows with pinks and a little soft purple.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wheat Field

Wheat Field
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
sold

This one might make a great Father's Day Gift! I've revisited this scene/photo reference of mine several times. I love it... but it may be time for it to retire.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Farmer's Field In Spring

Farmer's Field In Spring
8 x 8"
oil on cradled panel
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery (main level)

Today I delivered five new paintings to Darrell Bell Gallery and they were all still a smidge wet. Not ideal, but I really wanted to get them to the gallery in time for the days before Father's Day, so I took a chance on transporting them in this sort-of-fragile state. I was extra paranoid because I actually had six paintings done, but yesterday I knocked one over face down at the studio and it very well might be ruined. Artist troubles.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Funky, Fresh and Full of Spice



Oh boy!!! What have I done? What. Have. I. Done?

I said yes to this. Literally I said yes to this on May 27. See my post on June 7 about how nutty June is. And yet, I said yes to this show.

I was approached by a friend and colleague, Mike Remando, who was putting together a show of fun work, work that would allow the artist to be out of their wheel house and play and experiment and be crazy and wild. He asked me to be one of the ten artists in the show and after a brief moment of contemplation I threw caution to the wind and said YES! Basically I have no idea how the work I have in my head will translate on paper (or in this case, board), but I am going for it! I am just going to have fun and be free. Be free to be me... a me you haven't seen. A me that tries to give no effs. And the commitment is only one to three pieces so why not just do it! So I am!!! Come if you can! Details above. And wish me luck!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Heavy Sky At Dusk (Painting Makeover)

Heavy Sky At Dusk
(after)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2017
available

Here it is... the doozy I mentioned last week.

I consider myself a person of reasonable taste. Good taste even. So what the bleep was I thinking with the original version of this painting in 2014?! Honestly, it is brutal! Three years ago I apparently thought the "before" was good enough to post it on my blog and in my Daily Paintworks gallery. I'm not even saying the "after" painting above is the best thing I have ever done, but I will say that it is miles better than what I did three years ago.

Heavy Sky At Dusk
(before)
6 x 6"
oil on board
© Nicki Ault, 2014

What this says to me, thankfully, is that I am growing and learning and refining my taste. It means I am not stagnant and I am moving forward. This growth is at my pace which could be slower or faster than that of others, but it really doesn't matter in the end, what matters is the progress is there. And I do feel I am progressing. If nothing else these painting makeovers are revealing this to me and that is a valuable thing.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Two Commissions and June Sucks

two commissions underway
© Nicki Ault, 2017

I have two commissions on the go and I want them to be done by the end of June.

I am just going to take a moment to state the obvious. June is hellish. June is a panic. June is crunch time.

It is the time of the year when I always think, "Why don't I ever remember how intense June is?" I swear June is worse than December. By far. And I never remember.

The school year is winding down and there are field trips and assignments and concerts and assemblies and activities and projects and tests and no time to do it all and my husband always goes away to a conference in June and summer is coming and the kids will be home all the time and so I won't be able to get to the studio as much as I should and I have a thousand things to do but I am lucky because I will have my kids home all summer although they will suck up all my time but I love them and the time goes so fast but it goes so slow and they are teenagers so they will sleep in every day and I will feel like my time is being wasted because I could be painting but I won't be painting because I will be waiting for them to wake up and in the meantime I will be doing something stupid like the dishes and cleaning and flipping channels and getting stuck on CNN and worrying about Trump but eventually I might get to the studio for a sliver of the day but then I will have to leave because I will have to drive the kids to wherever they need to be but I love them so much that ultimately I don't mind doing it but I should have gotten more accomplished when school was in but I didn't because I always forget about June being hellish.

To be continued...