Saturday, 22 December 2012

Potty Mouth

I approached him too quickly. Given a little time, crows tend to be forgiving of my voyeurism. I was too  excited. Seeing him roadside, all slick and shining in the midday sun, he was too beautiful to resist. I grabbed my camera and charged out of the car. 
Had I contained my ardor, he probably would have allowed me closer. Instead, my proximity elicited an entire convergence of dirty words from the feathered fella. Loud and unmistakably annoyed with me, he lectured me on my manners. 

Mayberry Fine Art

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sparkle Under Her Footsteps

There is no photo of this painting. It sold before I took a photo of it. The feeling and memory of it, however, are engraved in my heart. 

Surprise surprise, there was a crow. Unlike most of 'my' others though, she was drawn, not painted. She was strong, yet sensitive. She was brave, yet cautious. She looked happy to be walking about. 

As if fulfilled by the sound of each footstep, she swayed through the crunchy snow. She didn't seem to be looking for anything. Just strolling, step by step by step. Like a shocking spill of ink upon a page of paper white, she was steadfast. As icy diamonds disappeared under her feet, I heard no other sound.

Friday, 14 December 2012


Aside from admitting that it's likely my favourite painting ever, I am, once again, not going to explain this one - well, except for the comment below. 


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Beautiful Storm

The clouds crash in quickly
Then fly on wings of rain
Leaving a torn up sky
Windows of warmth
I think of you
And I know 


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Every now and then I paint something for the wrong reason. Don't get me wrong, it's always coming from the heart. What I mean is that I involve myself in situations that I find highly emotional. While they can be an amazing source of drive, they can also infect my attitude. The sadness I feel for a fallen tree, for example, can be depicted in two different ways: The dark, deathly, clinging and desperate way - and the life-celebrating, remembering, but not holding-onto way.

Last year there was such a painting. I was proud of it then. "Here, industry - take that!" My little poke at the changing surroundings. The painting didn't sell. I don't measure my talent or success by the number of sold works, but there is something incredibly rewarding in selling a painting. Aside from the financial benefit, the knowledge that I intellectually connected with another human being feeds me beyond measure. The idea that I put my love into a painting and someone that I've never met was open to seeing it (not just looking at it), feeling it and believing in its impact enough to take it home. If I had to pick one instance when I knew I was doing what I'm destined to do, it would be a heartfelt message I received from a mom who lost her son.

I had 'that one' painting sent back to me. Seeing it again, I could hardly believe how dark and desolate it was. I almost tasted the bitterness the painting seemed to radiate. I brightened the tree. Colour. Lots of it. Every type of yellow Cadmium I could load onto my fat brush. Copper foil. Yummy! Bright bits of spicy teal for contrast. Buttery reds. Intoxicating iron oxides. I changed the title to "Everything Stills Within". Wow. Amazing! I hung it in the upstairs hallway for three months. It felt like letting go of sadness and embracing happiness. Now that I got so much sweet pleasure out of it, I'm letting it go. Let it wrap someone else with that blanket of comfort.


Canada House Gallery

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


"Some character you are!"
"Show some character!"
"He's full of class and deep character."
"This character thinks he owns the road!"

What a crow.

Canada House Gallery


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Ground Beneath Her Feet

People ask me how I know which crows are female and which are male. This is likely a result of the titles of my works - I often assign gender to "my" birds. The truth is I have no idea whatsoever how to tell and I suspect it would involve a more sophisticated observation than the one I am able to do on the side of the road.

The only explanation I can offer is that, very much like the inspiration of my work, there's less logic and more gut feeling. I discover, observe, envision, calculate, concoct and brew up stories about my beloved feathered friends. In the titles, I often cover the current weather, admit songs I'm listening to and embrace the mood with which the crows received me - or didn't.

Fifty Shades of Crow

I enjoy posting on my blog, mainly because it's a different medium from my website. It offers the opportunity to explain my work. Today however, I'm leaving this painting and its title definition-free. You go ahead.

Nikol Haskova Studio

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Here, lil' crow

I've been playing around with video on my phone, mostly shooting fragments of my son's life. Little fingers, gripping his blanket, his then tooth-less mouth grinning at me. A few years later, my much bigger boy dressed as Luke Skywalker, promising to hunt down Darth - in London :)

Lately, I've taken short clips of much loved jogging destinations. On one of these excursions, a startled crow gave me a talking to. Since then, I've recorded various types of suburban Corvid conversation. It's fun, it's great studio reference and it lets me dip into yet another medium that I admire. Here's a very shaky glimpse into how I get photos for my paintings.

Nikol Haskova Studio

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Four Petals, Anchored In Strength

Four petals, belonging to chakra one
Four beautiful beings

Forever connected by love
Fitting into a life full of wonder
Falling into a precious destiny

Nikol Haskova Studio

Thursday, 26 July 2012

arts for the arts

"Horizon of New Promises" was part of a stunning gala at the amazing Banff Art Centre. It raised $2,200, which was more than its value. The event raised over $800,000, up from last year's three quarters of a million. It was supported by galleries across Canada as well as the press, including full page coverage in the Globe & Mail.

I am proud and thankful for the connection I have with Canada House Gallery and The Banff Centre. Together we help fund arts scholarships at a truly incredible facility.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Auspicious Or Infinite?

I love experimenting. Much like switching up the ingredients in my kitchen, adding something previously odd sounding can result in a yummy surprise on a panel in the studio.

I've had some industrial application signs and letters sitting around for a while. At first attracted to their colour and unsure of how to blend them into my acrylics, I put them aside for future use. They sat on the shelf that mainly houses my varnishes. On another shelf, I've had mirror bits keeping company to various types of fine metal foil. Beautifully sanded, thick and scratch-free, they also sat there, patiently waiting for their turn. I had very specific plans for the mirror which will come into play at a later date.

What I did not plan for was a visual feast of mixed company. Can you have too much of a good thing? Can you combine mirror, plastic AND metal foil? Wow, that seems so crazy I may just have to try it, I thought one morning. A motley crew of textures, finishes and reflections. Did it work? A resounding yes. For me, yes. 

My favourite part? The thin strip of mirror left exposed on the right, letting the viewer add reflection of the background - or, for the adventurous soul, of themselves, willingly becoming a part of the painting. Countless possibilities. An eye next to the 8. An extended pinkie finger, coming into contact. Or?


Nikol Haskova Studio

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

As Long As You Stay Close

As long as you stay close, I'll feel safe 
As long as you stay close, I'll walk with you
As long as you stay close, I will soar


The Guardian

An evergreen giant towers over the surrounding fields. Anchored in plush grass and neighboured by berry bushes, small seedlings, young rabbits, crickets, bird nests and an occasional dog crawling through wildflowers, this enormous tree looks like a watchful guardian. 

In the morning, you can hear the birds waking. At night, if you're lucky, you'll hear bat wings swishing by and maybe an owl reciting poetry in the distance.


Friday, 6 July 2012


The day is almost over. I should go home, but I linger. One more minute, one more breath, one last look. The horizon is bathed in Red Iron Oxide. A little above, at the highest tree tops, it turns to Nickel Azo Gold. Still higher, the Cerulean infinity promises another beautiful day after we sleep. 

In the distance, I can hear that border collie I met last week. She's probably getting the sheep together. I slowly begin the walk back to my vehicle. Back to the veins of this rural land. The grey ones that carry the metal transportation machines much like the ones within a human body carry blood and oxygen. An artificial life line, but an essential one nevertheless.

One foot in my pewter coloured machine and an inner whisper tells me to stop. Right where Iron Oxide meets Nickel Azo, two soul mates are flying off to their nest.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

An honour

Since I became a full time artist six years ago, I've had the pleasure of working with various charities. There have been few occasions that have filled me with as much gratitude, pride in my work and the sheer, simple joy of giving as the charity events that I have been invited to have. 

I create a painting out of love and with love. I give it to an organization that raises more money than the work is appraised at. I know where the money goes. I watch it do amazing things for people who really need it.

After helping Vancouver for three years in a row, I have an opportunity to do the same in Banff. I  am honoured to be one of the artists raising funds for an incredible cause close to my heart. Last year, this unique event raised over three quarters of a million dollars. It is one of the most respected art foundations in Canada. People from around the world can study at the centre because of funding generated there. I hope that in August, my donation will be part of another successful evening. Wishing The Banff Centre all the best in the upcoming season!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Radiant Stillness

Come, sit under the canopy, for the storm has passed. 
We'll watch the trickle of goodbye raindrops 
and invitation blossoms, falling to our feet. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Trust in good intentions

Sometimes you don't know what you're walking into. You push on, full of excitement, eager to discover. Leaving concerns behind you, you just jump in. One foot at a time, you step slowly at first, but quickly realize you happily sped up.

Mayberry Fine Art Winnipeg

An Invitation

A whisper
To come closer
To linger
To sit and stop thinking

An invitation
To simply be
To watch
To melt away

Nikol Haskova Studio

Effervescing Merriment, or how to happily capture water for a fish to swim

Continuing my exploration of multi-media and multi-level works, I decided the next fish painting should portray the joy of - well - simply being. Watching bubbles rise in my glass of cucumber water at lunch one day, I knew I wanted to really push the idea of bubbling. The beauty of the light, reflected in different levels of depth and clarity was captivating. So, so simple - yet hard to capture.

I knew I didn't want to paint it with straight acrylic. While achieving a realistic effect, that medium alone would not look industrial enough for me. I ended up creating bubbles on thick, flame polished plexi. This garage experiment was addictive, scary and liberating at the same time. In the end, it worked out beautifully. I love it. It's been hanging on my wall. Certain pieces tend to, before I let them find a new home full of love.

Chinese brocade fabric seemed a perfect tiny mirror of the colour and happiness I wanted to reflect. Connected by a heavy string, it was made to be. Well - almost. I dyed it in bronze and visually joined with hardware.

All that was missing was a little piece of electricity. It had to be blue. Pretty, but sharp blue. Once I mixed it, I didn't want to just paint it onto the plexi. Too literal. I wanted more texture and clarity. So I handmade a clear plastic shape. It delayed the process for a couple of days, but it was worth it. I'm tickled pink.

Little fish, little fish, little fish
Swim, float and slide
Tiny pieces of happiness
Releasing to the sky

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The absence of doubt

Living peacefully. Not wondering which way to fly because it's clear. Instinctually following your heart. Knowing that you have all you need. Not fearing the next season. Not being worried about anything at all. The beautiful, liberating, intoxicating absence of doubt.  


Straight line to self esteem

Looking confident, she turned her head away from me. "You are not going to disturb me", her posture seemed to suggest. "Not only will I not get closer to you, I am not planning on any kind of interaction with you whatsoever. But, stay for all I care, for it would not make a difference if you broke out in a song." 

I giggled as silently as I could. Knowing that the slightest movement on my part would send her flying off to the branches above us, I lingered and watched. Her strut was remarkably proud. Almost appearing arrogant, she made her way further down the yellow line. Straight to self awareness, pride and foolish young conviction. Her healthy self esteem was almost enviable. Or was it just one of life's little performances? 


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Happiness is a fish you can catch

Or can you? Raine Maida didn't think so, but I disagree. I managed to capture mine, hook, line and sinker. 

The hook being a thin piece of glass, the line the medium to encase it, the sinker the sweltering heat to seal it. I desperately wanted to catch this little fish. So beautiful, shiny, full of New Year's Promise. Chinese chocolate wrappers. I could not discard them. The brilliant shine, the sultry contrast of the 'prosperous' gold and the 'happy' red. The conversation between the satiny finish of the cadmium painting and the slick, look-at-me naphthol foil. It was meant to be. 

Maybe, just maybe, you can catch happiness. I can only hope that it's contagious. 

The heated debate, west of the marsh

They gathered as quickly as the assembly calls were shouted out. Flying in from all directions, they settled on their favourite tree. Wrapping their delicate feet around the tree's arms, the crows soon resembled tiny pieces of onyx sprinkled on a veil of branches. Once settled in, the debate broke out. Cawing. Soft and loud, sharp voices as well as mellow ones, shy bits and outrageous accusations. I closed my eyes. As shadows of a few stragglers passed over my tilted head, I indulged and imagined what they were discussing. 

Was the dialogue human-like? 

"Where did you go? I was waiting for you!", an anxious inquiry. 
"I'm sorry - I got distracted by the river.", a sheepish reply.

I suppose it was not human-like at all. My best guess is something not just more animalistic, but more importantly, more instinctual. Removed from reactionary exchanges and rather of the moment. 


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The story behind the black boots

She came over from her rural spot on the island. Wearing jean shorts, a thin black veil of a pretty top and a beautiful bra peeking through, she seemed happy to be back in the city. We had lunch by the train tracks, laughed our butts off and shot hundreds of pictures of each other. 

She's stunning. There are so many ways to describe her shine. Here are just some words I'd have to include, if I had to choose this way to tell you about her: young, slender-limbed, black haired, sensual, confident, self-aware, breathtakingly beautiful, life loving.

I painted her three times. My favourite was a piece called "Black Boots". I kept it for a long time for myself. I try not to get attached to my paintings, choosing to send them out to brighten someone else's life instead. This one I loved dearly. In the end, I gave it away. No money, a pure donation. It raised more than its value for an amazing charity. Cancer research, in honour of my grandmother. 

Combine the power of a well run foundation, publicity generated by a media savvy young crowd, generosity of a live auction bidder and the appeal of a sexy woman and you get a benefit far beyond the enjoyment of a painting hanging on my wall.


Monday, 30 April 2012


I met her roadside, the way I meet most crows. I choose to think it was a girl, because she was covered in house paint. I likened her appearance to mine, so often smeared with some colour or other on my limbs or my face. Quirky. Wait - I am talking about her again, just to be clear.

I watched her. She was afraid of me, but not enough to resist the crumbly temptation I tossed beside my tire. There was an intensity to her stride, probably because of her fear, but she managed to make it look like an overconfident strut. 

There was so much paint on her head feathers that she hardly resembled her crow self, but princess was certain of her identity regardless. The way she walked, picked up the crackers and then flew off - everything she did proudly pronounced: I AM A CROW. You may be confused by my current attire, but rest assured it is just a temporary costume.