Gettysburg National Military Park Announces Texas Painter as August Artist in Residence
— Dawn Waters Baker, NPAF Artist in Residence
For the most part, Dawn paints her landscapes in oils, painstakingly building up layers, but not merely for decorative or beautiful effects, but more as a window into more intangible things. She sees the landscapes that make up the largest portion of her work not merely as useful “subjects” but as a passage into something greater than the human perspective. Explains Waters Baker: “I am trying to hit at something of the sublime which is the mixture of nature's great beauty but also its’ danger and encompassing presence when you’re in it.” And speaking of Gettysburg’s fields and Memorials: “They show us how personal it is to our American story. And at Gettysburg we have the rare chance to enter the memory and emotion of that story.”
Dawn Waters Baker was born and raised in the Philippines as an expatriate, and only came to the United States when she was 18. This formative experience of witnessing poverty and grace has given her, in her artist’s path, a determined and searching viewpoint that does not take things for granted. Though represented at galleries in Dallas, New York, Scottsdale, and Tulsa, she takes pride in her volunteer work at ALERT, a non-profit where she coaches at-risk and trafficked girls to use art to express themselves. As well as working on new work while she is at the park, Dawn is looking forward to making a presentation or leading some painting workshops for the public during her time at the park.
Dawn will use the August 2018 residency to create artwork inspired by the open fields and woods of the Military Park. She shares with many artists of the past, like William Turner and Paul Cézanne her insight into the active ever-present mystery of nature. Comments Waters Baker, “I am interested in asking the questions of how a landscape holds the memory and emotion of war. How do the very trees, hills, fields and woods help evoke that memory and feeling? How does beauty go hand in hand with something so horrible as a Civil War? There is an awe and respect that comes with being in a place that is so deeply beautiful. I want the opportunity to be "schooled" by such a place,” and she adds, by way of summation: “…what I can bring to the park is a listening to the space.”
“Gettysburg National Military Park has offered inspiration to artists for more than 150 years,” said Christopher Gwinn, Chief of Interpretation at Gettysburg National Military Park. “The Artist-in-Residence program engages new audiences and tells Gettysburg’s stories in new and compelling ways.”
The painter will be presenting her work informally to the public during at least one public presentation, set for August 10th at 10 am at the Museum and Visitors Center, and possibly will be hosting a painting workshop at the park. Dawn Waters Baker, a gifted and perceptive landscape artist is very much on the lookout for the mysterious qualities in the landscape that may present themselves to her at America’s battlefield Park.
The Gettysburg battlefield has a long artistic tradition that includes sketches by Alfred Waud during the fighting in 1863, the iconic photography of Alexander Gardner in the immediate aftermath of battle, over a thousand memorial sculptural treasures, and commemorative works by Gutzon Borglum and many others.
NPAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. through creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by The Gettysburg Foundation and other generous benefactors. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors of all sorts ranging from corporate sponsors, small business, and art patrons and citizen-lovers of the Parks.
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Dawn Waters Baker talks about her painting process, her influences, and how that is one with her religious belief.