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I have found an artist business consultant, Alexis Fedor, who is offering mentoring services, and she gives some free pointers before asking for money for the classes. (She administrates the Artists in Business group on facebook). Anyway, she suggests you clarify why you create art (to hone in on what is unique to you and find your ideal customers). So she has people ask 2 questions, and find how the answers are related and then state why you create art. She asks for your first memory of creating art and your most profound artistic experience.

here is mine:

According to my mother, my passion for art began at the age of 4 when I would stay up long past bedtime, coloring in my room; however, my first vivid memory of art is sitting in church every Sunday, drawing the same picture each week: Jesus standing by a drawn back curtain and holding a gigantic ruby in His outstretched hand. I can still envision that image clearly today, though I never kept a single copy.


Similarly, my most profound artistic experience, thus far, came when I was speaking from the pulpit in Church. I was citing Helaman 5:12 from the Book of Mormon : “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build our foundation; that when the devil shall send forth His mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” As I spoke, an image flooded my mind in the form of a painting: a woman kneeling on a rock surrounded by a stormy sea. She was at the feet of the Savior. Tears streamed down her face as fiery darts assailed her from every direction, yet hope shone in her eyes. I remember thinking, “I have to paint that,” but I did not feel up to the task.


Although I still don’t feel ready, I am beginning to feel compelled to move forward regardless of whether if feel adequate  or not. In a movie called Charlie, the main character shares a piece of her art with her grandma, who asks why she is painting fruit –which is just an exercise– and advises her to find something she feels so strongly about that she is afraid she won’t be able to do it and then paint that.  I realize I have spent the last few years metaphorically “painting fruit”, honing my skills. –But what I feel so strongly about that I fear not being able to express –THAT is my real purpose! To bring people closer to Christ and the love and peace He offers them. It is time for my canvas to bring these beautiful truths to life!


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Flight of the Great Blue Heron


Flight of the Great Blue Heron by Dawna MortonView Larger ~see it framed

Watercolor on gessoed paper, 14 3/4″ x 21 3/4 “, 2007. Intellectual property of Dawna Morton. All rights reserved. Do not copy.

Like a prayer that lifts us up from our troubles to see a glimpse of the beauty and majesty of god’s plan for us, the great blue heron takes flight from the marsh towards the footbridge and the misty mountains beyond. Set at Trojan pond near Goble, Oregon.
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In process of  rephotographing my artwork with the new camera I got for Christmas, I realized I had not written a blog post about Flight of the Great Blue Heron.

There is an interesting story behind this painting:

Back in 2006 we went fishing at the pond at the site of the old Trojan nuclear facility(near Goble, Oregon). On one of my many trips escorting kids to and from the bathroom that day, this great blue heron went swooping down to the water and away again.  Unable to whip my camera out quick enough to get the shot, I kept going back hoping the bird would be there again. Finally several hours later I said a prayer in my head asking for the bird to come back so I could get some pictures. Within minutes the heron swooped down again, sticking around long enough for me to get quite a few good photographs. Amazingly enough even the dog managed not to frighten it away.

on the wing by Dawna Morton
on the wing by Dawna Morton

coy blue heron by Dawna Morton
coy blue heron by Dawna Morton

blue heron keeping an eye on me by Dawna Morton
blue heron keeping an eye on me by Dawna Morton

walk with me by Dawna Morton
walk with me by Dawna Morton

MY fish! by Dawna Morton
MY fish! by Dawna Morton

Before beginning this painting I had been hearing quite a bit about achieving interesting results by painting on Yupo paper with watercolors. I didn’t have money to buy new paper at the time, but thought maybe applying a layer of gesso to the paper and painting on top of that would create similar effects. It worked beautifully, causing the paint to slide around with a loose slippery feel, creating a light airy feel to the mountains in the distant background. As an added bonus this brought an element of fun and spontaneity back into my artwork–as opposed to the drudgery of trying to be photo-realistic.

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