Behold the Beauty: ‘Daybreak at River’s Edge’

July 18, 2020 Updated: July 20, 2020

As a new dawn breaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we walk, almost enveloped in darkness, down to the New River’s edge to take in the fresh morning air. Fresh mist moves across the dark water, dancing alongside the reflections made by the magical golden light of an awakening sun. The silence of these early hours is shattered as our presence startles an egret-like bird; the sound of its wings beating for takeoff disturbs our peace for just a moment as our attention goes skyward to watch the grace that comes with flight.  

The Art Renewal Center
“Daybreak at River’s Edge,” 2019, by Jason Drake. Oil on linen; 27 inches by 48 inches. Recipient of the Animal Award (second place) at the “14th International ARC Salon (2019–2020).” (ARC)

This is the moment captured in “Daybreak at River’s Edge,” by American realist painter Jason Drake. The painting won him the second-place Animal Award at the Art Renewal Center’s 14th international salon exhibition, 2019–2020. 

In the virtual salon exhibition catalog, Drake takes us right down to the New River’s edge in his artist’s video statement, as he recounts how that river inspired him. He painted the piece to bring attention not just to that moment, but also to the importance of preserving the natural habitat of the birds “not only for our future, but for theirs.”   

According to his website, Drake aims to “reflect the glory of God and the dignity of Man” in his paintings. Through his art, Drake hopes to encourage us to be uplifted, hold a higher viewpoint, and “hold onto things that have meaning.”

To see Jason Drake’s award-winning painting alongside the work of 98 other international realist artists, visit the “14th International Virtual ARC Salon Exhibition” on the ARC website through July 31, and click on the exhibition banner at