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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: “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!

 

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
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Butterfly at the Veil by Dawna Morton

Butterfly at the Veil, watercolor painting on gessoed canvas-board, by Dawna Morton, 2013.

I originally started this painting so I would have an entry for the local art associations art contest this summer, however life with 6 kids isn’t always conducive to having enough time to paint–and the kids come first 😉 I think I managed to get it done within about a month of the deadline. I had a photo of some ‘snow in summer’ flowers that I had taken through my front window as a photographic experiment after I got my new camera, and I loved the feel of the one this painting is based on –although the photo itself turned out a little blurry. I had a couple of small canvas boards a friend gave me for Christmas, and decided to use those to experiment with different media and effects for the background. Click here to see it as a work in progress, and to see some of the other background ideas I played with…

In order to quickly see how which background type looked best with the flowers, I printed out a copy of my reference photo and just cut them out of it so I could lay them over each of the canvases in turn. This worked extraordinarily well since the canvases weren’t much bigger than my printout. I ended up going with this purple watercolor because it more closely mimicked the feel I was looking for. with the deadline looming I decided to trace the paper cut out onto the canvas to save time. Hopefully nobody feels like that was cheating. I ten drew in the details and made some alterations–such as changing which direction the main blossom was facing. I also moved the flowers on this side of the window and suggested a curtain with light coming through it instead of a screen and the edge of the windowsill with the flowers outside. Then I added a butterfly to balance everything out and add some additions interest.

Everything was coming along nicely until the three-year-old got a hold of it. One of those moments where the house was suspiciously quiet for entirely too long prompted me to figure out what she was up to. She had managed to get herself into the art room and nabbed the paints and was happily painting away in a bold red. Thankfully She had laid a few pieces of paper across the top first–which caught the worst of it; however, there was still the problem of bright red splotches on a very simple all purple palette.

Luckily the red lifted off of the gessoed surface beautifully, and I did not have to go with plan b — adding a bunch of red flowers to the right hand corner.

As I was working on the composition and painting a symbolic meaning to everything came into play. The three sections of curtain across the window is a sort of representation of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost–united yet separate and distinct at the same time as they are one. Then there is the light coming through the curtain –which represents  inspiration, revelation and those moments when we feel that heaven is near. Truly the veil is thin sometimes. This is also a reference to the temple and going there for additional revelation, inspiration, peace and to be spiritual uplifted. The butterfly is a representation of being visited by the Holy Ghost, which was inspired by an article I read to my children many years ago in the Friend magazine about how being reverent is like sitting quiet and still so you can catch a butterfly, or feel the Holy Ghost. The flowers are a representation of each of us, as we grow and blossom in readiness to hear, inspiration is more frequent and clear, and easier to understand– and in turn spiritual light nourishes us so we can grow and blossom. And of course: God is the source of all light (revelation inspiration, and so on) and we are completely dependent on them. The overall feel and tranquility in this painting is symbolic of how we feel when we commune with God and the peace and comfort He sends us through the Holy Ghost.

You can find “Butterfly at the Veil” for sale as a print at FineArtAmerica, imagekind, Redbubble, zazzle , and Amazon. So far the original is not for sale. The family loves it too much 😉

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton (unless otherwise stated).

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not COPY, but feel free to hit the share button 😉

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See Dawna’s art on Amazon!

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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.

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 zazzle.com western Posters and art starting at $9.95, prices subject to change

*NEW* now on fineartamerica.com

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?

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
Dawna’s Buy               my art Gallery of Greeting Cards, Matted Prints, and T-shirts at RedBubble Buy               art

Dawna’s Fine Art Prints at imagekind.com

Dawna’s Zazzle Gallery of items featuring her Art and Photography

Dawna’s art on FineArtAmerica

Dawna’s art on Amazon

Visit Dawna’s fan page and become a fan on facebook!

see Dawna’s art & photography with the poetry of Glennis Roper
http://PoemsProseAndArtistry.imagekind.com/
http://www.zazzle.com/poemsproseartistry*
http://www.redbubble.com/people/poemsproseart

Buy my t-shirts

 

You can also find Dawna on flickr

 

This week I made a T-shirt design on Redbubble of my water-soluble oil painting, Midsummer Daydream.

Water soluble oils on gessoed paper. 14 3/4″ x 11 1/4″ 2007.
The wood sprite creates ripples in his refection as he daydreams. Fairies dance on the lily pads and skate across the water while his leaf boat floats away to dreamland.

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
Dawna’s Buy               my art Gallery of Greeting Cards, Matted Prints, and T-shirts at RedBubble Buy               art

Dawna’s Fine Art Prints at imagekind.com

Dawna’s Zazzle Gallery of items featuring her Art and Photography

Dawna’s art on FineArtAmerica

Dawna’s art on Amazon

Visit Dawna’s fan page and become a fan on facebook!

see Dawna’s art & photography with the poetry of Glennis Roper
http://PoemsProseAndArtistry.imagekind.com/
http://www.zazzle.com/poemsproseartistry*
http://www.redbubble.com/people/poemsproseart

Buy my t-shirts

 

You can also find Dawna on flickr

 

 

 

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