When a new star forms and really gets going, the "pressure" of its radiance pouring forth particles forms a cosmic analogue to wind. This wind acts on the nebular gases which have up until now shrouded the new star in a cloudy cocoon. The bright new star blows away the gases around it, leaving a relatively empty space where it has cleared out the nebular material. In this illustration, a new star not only illuminates its surrounding nebula with reflected light but is causing filaments of gas to fluoresce, thus providing the would-be observer with a shining dawnscape.
The original painting of this had no glowing filaments of gas. I added them in using my newly updated Photoshop CS4. The newest photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal complex networks of gas and dust within nebulae which up until a few years ago were only diffuse glows in a telescope view.
"Nebular Dawn" is acrylic on illustration board, 7" x 10", February 1988. More detail added in Photoshop, December 2009.