Psalm 94—Artwork

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Person: Nikki Rasmussen

Nikki Rasmussen is a digital artist and designer who graduated with a BFA in Illustration (Children’s Book emphasis) from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in 2014. She loves getting to utilize her creativity to bring imagination to life—getting to see the look on someone’s face when they see their ideas become real, tangible things is the greatest gift of all.

Piece: Digital Artwork

Blessed is the man whom You discipline, O Lord,
and whom You teach out of Your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
(Psalm 94:12–13)

As I read through Psalm 94, I was struck by the way the writer cried out to multiple aspects of God: God the righteous Judge, God the Protector, and God the loving Father. For me, it brought to mind the image of hands cradling a heart, a picture that has always been a powerful way for me to visualize our relationship with God. It’s such a simple concept, yet it manages to incorporate so many different facets of what God does in our lives. God is righteous in His judgment, carefully and lovingly lifting up the hearts of those who know and obey Him.

The thorny vines in this piece display the other side of that judgment: the wrath that, for all intents and purposes, should have been directed at us, was instead satisfied through the work and sacrifice of Christ. In God’s hands we are blessed with His discipline and law, and given the opportunity to grow in unimaginable ways we could have never managed if not through Him. The flowers blooming from the heart in this piece represent that unique and beautiful growth, while the gilded nature of the heart itself shows the value our lives gain through God; a worth that could never have been achieved through striving on our own, but only through the grace and glory of God.

Psalm 93—Artwork

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Person: Lou Ann Summers

My name is Lou Ann Summers. Brent and I have been married going on 40 years. I am a mother of four and grandmother of six. I am a self-taught painter, in the truest sense of the word amateur—meaning “for the joy of it”. I feel God’s joy as He works through me to create artwork of many various kinds.

Piece: Watercolor on Yupo

Yupo is a synthetic “paper” which does not absorb water but lets the water simply evaporate, leaving the paint.

Psalm 93 speaks about God being robed in majesty. I thought of the fact that He Himself made a perfect picture of this in the sky—the mighty sun, firmly surrounded by a robe of many colors. The Psalm also repeats the “lifting up” of the sea; its pounding breakers mightier than thunder. I think the thing that impressed me most when painting this was the endless variety of colors God made in one drop of water, let alone the breaking waves of the sea! Overwhelmingly beautiful! It makes my heart surge with joy!

Psalm 92—Artwork

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Person: Benjamin Rogers

Benjamin Rogers is a Kentucky-born artist that has resided in the Denver area for the last four years with his wife Emma and son Everett. He studied painting and drawing at Northern Kentucky University, Louisiana State University, and Arizona State University where he completed his MFA. He teaches art full-time at Red Rocks Community College. His work has been featured on the covers of “New American Paintings” and “Fresh Paint Magazine” and his work has been exhibited throughout the country.

Piece: Oil Painting

This traditional oil painting combines a few thoughts that are captured in Psalm 92: The mandolin represents the musical worship described in the psalm. The knife represents the lethality of God and how His enemies will perish. The watermelon represents the sweetness of life and what it is to know God, but it also elicits a knowledge of the fragility of the watermelon. People have a physical understanding of the ease in which the knife can move through the watermelon, which is painted in a way that resembles flesh. This demonstrates the fruits of God’s goodness while reminding us that the fear of the Lord is wisdom.

Psalm 91—Artwork

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Person: Jennie Pitts Tucker

Originally from Austin, Texas, Jennie graduated with a BFA from Baylor University in 2012. She started her own art business in 2014, “Jennie Lou Art,” and now works as a full-time artist in Denver. She specializes in live wedding/event painting and custom pieces. Learn more at jennielouart.com or on Instagram at @jennielouart.

Piece: Acrylic Painting

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (v.1)

Last year, I went through a long season of depression and anxiety. In the midst of the ever-present darkness in my mind, I often felt alone and afraid. I came across Psalm 91 in my desperation, and found the words comforting and soothing to my fears. Although it took many months (and doctors) to help me come out of depression, I always held on to a sliver of faith. I had hope that God would restore my joy and help me out of this miserable mindset. All I had to do was dwell in the shelter of my Savior, and trust I was safe in His shadow. Today, the Lord has brought me from darkness into the light again, He has restored my joy. Looking back, I can see how the Lord was with me, even when I felt so alone in the darkness. Despite what I saw and felt, He was working out my redemption and salvation, even in the dark, making me more like Himself.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways. (v.9–11)

This painting is an abstract illustration of the very real conflict that arises within us when our emotions tell us one thing and the Truth of God’s Word assures us of another. The dark parts of the painting represent how we can so often feel like we are alone in the darkness and sin consumes us as we wander in the wilderness—we feel trapped and desperate for a way out. The bright colors rising beyond the cave represent the reality that our Father is working out salvation in the depth of our darkness. Although the figure is physically in a dark space alone, praying for God’s help, there is something happening just beyond what she can see—Eden is arising out of the darkness. Life rises from the darkness, and Jesus rose to bring us life. This painting is a picture of our Savior, Jesus, and how his death assures us of life and purpose, even when we cannot see.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. (v.14–16)

Psalm 90—Artwork

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Person: Bruce Butler

I am a graphic designer and musician from the East Coast. In 2012, I moved to Denver from Buffalo, New York to be closer to family and began designing for WorldVenture, a missions organization in Littleton. Now I create brands and digital artwork as a freelancer and work in the specialty coffee industry through Sweet Bloom Coffee in Lakewood. I co-lead a Gospel Community in the Sloans Lake neighborhood and, in my free time, I enjoy playing music, cooking with friends, and spending time with my nieces and nephew. You can see more of my work on Instagram at @madebybruce or by visiting madebybruce.com.

Piece: Digital Artwork

In Psalm 90, Moses writes about the brevity of life and God’s provision therein, charging his readers to pray with him, “Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (v.12) The piece depicts a human life, starting on the far left with the silhouette of an infant, maturing progressively to become an old woman on the far right. In each increment, a different image is shown, starting coherently in the center and losing its stability as it drifts away toward the top and bottom edge of the piece, becoming almost dreamlike. Rhetorically, this first seeks to illustrate that each season of life is greatly variable from the next—more complex than “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter,” but no less diverse. Second, though it seems clear in the moment, every season is hardly discernible at its edges, and for each human life as a whole, Moses writes, “You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream…” (v.5)

Psalm 89—Artwork

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Person: Irwin Peralta

Irwin Peralta is an oil painter that mainly works with the figure.

Piece

Oil painting.

PROCESS

Psalm 89 starts with praise and the blessing of God’s covenant. However, the mood shifts as the psalmist states that God has brought His anointed low and exalted the right hand of his foes.

First, I observed and sketched from reference that I found. Then, the difficult process of sketching layouts from imagination began. I converted select sketches to digital in order to make monochrome and color thumbnails. As the actual painting began, I applied thinned down paint to get the overall placement. A few tries were needed for me to get the figure in the back to have the feel of light bending around him. The odd colors are to set the figures apart from each other, set the mood, and allow various people to identify with the characters. As always, my intent was to leave the brush strokes showing as much as possible to give the painting life and energy.

Psalm 88—Artwork

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Person: Jeremy Grant

Jeremy Grant is an emerging artist and award-winning creative director. He was born in California in 1985. He received a B.S. in Graphic Design and Illustration from John Brown University, (AR), in 2007. Grant has exhibited his collage and assemblage artwork in individual and group gallery shows since 2008. His work uses association to uncover themes of destruction and creation, death and resurrection, and chaos and familiarity. Jeremy Grant currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

Piece

Collage

PROCESS

Walking alongside Hemen through this song, I feel the pain with him. I relate to the feeling that “suffering never ends”—there’s always something else. If God cares about me, why have I continued to suffer, so repeatedly, so…pointedly? And all the theological questions about God “causing versus allowing” suffering—we know God is all-powerful, so what’s the difference? Hemen points straight at God and says “Your wrath has swept over me,” and “You have made me a horror to my companions.”

Hemen pulls no punches in this song. He is ferociously real. He brought raw and deep wounding, anger, depression and doubt to the people of God in the form of a song. There isn’t a happy resolution or moral, the song doesn’t give an answer. Psalm 88 ends with a haunting phrase, “darkness is my only friend.”

My response, in the form of this collage, is to acknowledge and honor the pain—to visualize it without rescue or resolution. I get the image of someone screaming in the dark. Struggling to stay lucid through waves of pain. Gasping and sobbing.

“Can you hear me? Are you there?
You are the only one who can save me, God…
Why don’t you answer?
Have you left me alone here? In Sheol?”

A dark figure is at the center, covered in raw red streaks, eyes puffed closed, darkness and fire all around. Sheol, the background, is visualized as ambiguous, formless darkness, creation reverting back to chaos, absent of anything but pain.

The only comfort offered here is the assurance that our pain is real, and our only hope is to be honest about it with each other, and with God. Real relationships will weather the difficult conversations, the anger and the pain. God can handle our honest emotions.

Psalm 87—Artwork

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Person: Anna Spickard

My name is Anna Spickard. I’ve been in Denver for a little over three years, enjoying everything the outdoors has to offer. I have always loved art, and my high school art teacher instilled a true passion and confidence in me to embrace my style. I have not formally studied art, but enjoy painting and photography as a hobby, often paired with my love for outdoor adventures.

Piece

Oil painting.

PROCESS

I chose the color palette to mimic the desert tones of Zion National Park, with blues and greens sprinkled in to insinuate abundance, growth, and life in the midst of destitution. Crimson shadows add depth to the painting and remember Jesus’ death, resurrection, and redemption.

I began my creative process began by reading and studying Psalm 87 and other places in scripture where the holy city of Zion is described. My anchor verses include Psalm 87:1,3, and 7, and Ezekiel 47:12.

Oil paint has always been my preferred paint type because of the texture it provides. It can be smoothed into silky lines with a brush or layered with a palette knife to create a rough texture. I used both techniques in the composition of this piece. As I began painting, I referenced a photo of a lush valley in Zion National Park, using this visual to frame the piece. As I continued, I found myself getting stuck as I referenced the photo. I took a few days to reset, and came back with fresh perspective. I chose to stop looking at the photo and let my imagination take hold. It was during this iteration that loose strokes and fresh colors appeared to create the free-flowing and bright piece that you see today.

Psalm 86—Artwork

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Person: Benjamin Rogers

Benjamin Rogers is a full-time instructor of art at Red Rocks Community College. He has an MFA in painting from Arizona State University and his work has been exhibited across the country.

Piece

Acrylic and oil painting.

PROCESS

This painting exhibits the goodness of God in his protection from the surrounding chaos.  In this piece I have used a hippopotamus as a symbol for David, painting him in a manner that demonstrates how he is outside of the danger of the attacking lion. In this way, it shows that God is faithful and merciful to David. The scene in the background is difficult to discern at first, but when viewed at a distance, it becomes more obvious that it is a lion attacking a water buffalo in an African savanna. It is further obscured by the arcing lines throughout the painting which create a more chaotic scene and make the imagery more confusing. I used this device to communicate the natural world of the flesh, which is juxtaposed with the clearer and calmer hippo which peacefully grazes away from danger.

To create this piece I made a quick monochromatic acrylic painting of the lion attacking the buffalo. Next, I covered the entire surface of the painting with masking tape and drew out the designs of the arcing lines.  Once I had the shapes drawn out, I cut out the shapes with a razor blade and removed the negative shapes, leaving a masking tape stencil on the surface. Then I painted the lion attack in a very gestural manner so that it would only be visible from a distance. Finally, I painted the hippo on top as the final layer in oil paint.

Psalm 85—Artwork

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Person: Hannah Wood

I am a student at Colorado Christian University, a team leader for Intermountain Young Life, and a backpacking guide for
RMR Backcountry.

Piece

Painting, Poured art.

PROCESS

This piece describes the crux of Psalm 85— the harmony and restoration that manifests in God’s peace and righteousness colliding.

When I read through Psalm 85, I knew instantly what I was going to paint. I usually paint portraits or abstract poured art, so I decided to combine those for the first time in this piece. I am honing in my painting style and that combination just worked so well with the message of Psalm 85. As I made this painting, I became increasingly more aware of what a small, manageable reflection of God’s character this painting represents, and that His mystery is far more beautiful than I could attempt to capture.