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Last spring I got some “snow in summer” flowers for free on clearance at Greg’s Garden’s over in Longview, and promptly took some close up shots with my new-to-me macro lens through my front window screen because the light on them was so lovely. I had read (on the canon website I think) that there is a way to take photos through obstacles like that and have the camera focus them out, So I was experimenting with trying it out.  It’s a bit tricky to do and I don’t think I quite have the knack down,  but it sure would be convenient to not have to take out the screen every time I want to snap a shot of a beautiful sunrise or sunset through the window.

Around the same time I learned about  and started experimenting with using my macro lens to take texture shots for use in my photo editing process. This really yields some dramatically beautiful results. While I was in the process of applying layers of my texture photos to my snow in summer close up shots I came across a video on twitter about artist James C. Christensen. I wish I could find it now to include here because it was really good and influenced the development of this piece.

One of the things that got me thinking during the video is when he talks about how he had all these sketches he “did for fun,” but never thought of selling, of these comical figures and one day a fellow professor said to him why don’t you paint those and sell them? He replied, they’d never sell, there’s no market for it, nobody else is doing anything like them . ..and then it hit him  like an epiphany that THAT was his niche. Once he started painting those subjects in that style that were unique to him, that’s when his art sales really started taking off.

So I got to thinking about “what is it that makes my work unique? what is my niche?” In doing several of my digital works of art/photo-manipulations I have had a lot of fun putting in and discovering “faces” that are kind of semi there with forest lore/fairy/nymph/ mythology symbolism and I thought “maybe that could be my niche?” So I went through my texture photographs and tried out several different ones with faces in them and started over several times because it just didn’t have the right feel.

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If you want to see some other works like his I have other blog posts about them here:
marriage of Titania; Salmon berry floral duet   Aeriel’s Gift
snowflakes and a bit about textures  Midsummer Daydream, water soluble oil painting

Once  it got to the point where one of the flowers resembled a blue star or nebula it called to mind something I had read recently about a group of stars anciently that were named after the Hyades who wept when their brother died. However, somehow I got it mixed up in my mind with the story of Hercules and the Garden of the Hesperides with the apples that were supposed to give eternal life, but which were guarded by a dragon (which is interestingly enough “serpent” in Greek.) I also liked the name Hesperia and found fascinating how similar the thematic and symbolic elements in the story are to those in the Garden of Eden. Even though I was a bit mixed up at first, the star bit still fits in since the father of the Hesperides is supposed to be the god of the evening star in some stories, and even without that there were stars named after them.

Also, part of what I was thinking about during the creation of this piece is how so many cultures have similar stories or story elements that repeat across cultures. and I was thinking about how oral history changes and alters as it gets passed down and retold, but all the variations started with the same story.

Honestly I’m still not sure  if this is my niche or not. For one thing, I got tired of working on this one several times and set it aside for months and months at a time –although that might have more to do with my frustration with the tedious process of blending the edges of the dragon on the computer (yeah I know I should really get one of those Correl paint tablet things for my computer), and for another thing I only put these transparent layers,  with “faces” created out of abstract textures and shapes, into my digital art rather than any of my more traditional artwork. Perhaps it is just too early in my artistic career to tell what is going to be the best niche for me. For now I am going to keep experimenting, learning, and having fun along the way.

What do you think?

garden of the Hesperides by Dawna Morton
garden of the Hesperides by Dawna Morton
~see it framed

In this work of digital art, a semitransparent dragon –like a fiery furnace of hot molten glass–curls around fiercely, menacing and breathing fire, and poised to strike the warrior Hercules who dares to approach Hesperia’s garden in search of the precious apples there. Multiple layers of abstract semi-transparent, translucent shapes and textures overlaid on a floral photograph create an ethereal milky-way like scene in which  a starlit night merges with a garden where a larger than life profile of Hesperia’s face is overlaid on the apple tree in such a way that she appears to weep.  Beyond her, one of her sisters gazes in wonder at a blue flower, nebula-like in the glorious process of creation.

Although vastly different in scope and meaning, similar symbols, elements, and themes in the story from Greek mythology echo those of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. This calls to mind the idea that history tends to repeat itself,  and much like our predecessors we have our own ‘dragons’ to vanquish, sorrows to overcome, and quests to undertake, and victory to be won all while finding moments to create or discover “joy in the journey.”

Archival inks and papers, canvas prints,custom framing available on imagekind Fine Art Prints from $10.44 and up. Prices subject to change.
garden of the Hesperides on RedBubble cards starting at US $2.40, photographic prints US$6.60+, matted, mounted, canvas, framed, posters, shirts, stickers, iPhone & iPod cases prices subject to change.
garden of the Hesperides on western Posters and art starting at $9.95, prices subject to change

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Any other artists out there have anything you can share about what you have done to develop your style, discover your niche, and make an income from your art business?

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