Tuesday, 31 March 2015

no, I don't

A talented student of mine asked me today if I request a deposit for commissioned works. It's an interesting question with no right answer. The points I can offer are based on my past experience and current practice in my studio.

I worked in commercial galleries from my 18th birthday to past my 34th. Every single time I had arranged a commission for a customer during that time, a substantial deposit was taken, at times up to the full amount. This was for several reasons. First, it was to secure the client's commitment. Second, it was to give the artist a go ahead, something a gallery would not likely do without such a commitment from the interested party. Third, it was to avoid a client backing out upon completion. Of course he/she still could, but would honour a paid agreement more easily. Most of the time, these transactions worked beautifully, resulting in the collector's happiness and sometimes emotionally moving acceptance of the painting. The artist benefited as well, often able to charge a premium for such a personal, particular kind of work. The only hiccup was when the client had a vision dominated by their own hopes for the final look. In these cases, the artist essentially became an extension of the buyer's hand, only without the understanding of skills and interpretation necessary for a great piece of art. In one fantastic gallery I had worked in, even an obstacle such as this was overcome by wonderful communication between the buyer, the gallery owner and the artist. Usually this only ended up strengthening all of the relationships.

As a professional artist, I have never taken a deposit. This is because I only take on commissions I'm interested in. There have been opportunities I turned down. I did not 'feel it'. It would have been a poor painting, if only in my opinion. I take requests for growth. If the subject matter sets me afire, I'm in. The option for the recipient to turn down the finished creation is always available. When I make something, I dig it or it doesn't leave the studio. My thought is if the person isn't tickled pink, the painting will easily sell to someone else. I've never had to do that. Happy creating!

Nikol Haskova Studio

Thursday, 26 March 2015

inside, he was just a big softie

A friend had an exhibition. She is an art teacher and I have the utmost respect for her craft. Her photography is fantastic because of her technical skills, but more importantly, her beautiful mind invites engaging themes to spill into her work. In the recent show, she explored the theme of her son playing a knight and a ninja. With the costumes somewhat obscuring his little body, the boy took on the roles of someone much bigger, stronger, braver and simply, someone a 5 year old much admires.

We had a great conversation about raising boys. Many questions came up, not the least of which was: "How do we nurture the sweet, gentle spirit our sons so freely share with us right now, while letting them grow into confident, competent men?" There are so many pressures girls feel while growing up. What I didn't witness until I became a mom was that boys have a lot of the same pressures, with the disadvantage to openly talk about them among their peers. The expectancy to grow fast and be tough seems prominent in western society. I think some of that is changing and I'm happy to participate.

This painting was done a few years ago. I loved it then. As I saw it again last week, I realized it was ready to morph into something more current for me. I added the blooms and a soft pink trickle spill on the side. The title "South of the Cut" has become "Inside, He Was Just A Big Softie".

Nikol Haskova Studio

Tuesday, 24 March 2015



swoon over the light
take big gulps of air
drown in greenness
shimmer with passion


get swept into a current
let go of it and yourself
like an opening lotus
play play play play play

Thursday, 12 March 2015


The overworked painting is familiar to many painters.
If you're committed to your practice, it is likely that you'll meet this beast yourself. 
My question is: knowing that I've already gone too far, is there a way to return to the simplicity and wonder that once was?

I'm going with a loud yes. 
Perhaps I needed the complexity to lead me back to the elementary. 

I'm where I'm supposed to be. 
The  challenge is to radiate the feeling that ignited this painting. 
It's that simple, pun intended.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

lovely gentle flowers

Doing the body of work I've been wanting to dig into is so satisfying. 
For the first time, I'm plunging into a luring pool of unknowing. 
No idea of how it will be received, visually and philosophically. 
Potential sales are a pure question mark. 
The curiosity factor is barely tipping the scales up, 
predictably starring opposite fear. 
Since I've told fear that I will not be its slave, 
curiosity has happily bloomed. 
I've finished projects I loved, 
only to never see them take off in public. 
Back then, I was devastated. 
This time, the yearning to run straight 
into a blurry wall is undeniable. 
There is no choice, yet I don't feel I have to. 
I just want to. 
It's already been set in motion in my subconscious. 
And that is a great place to be born.