Psalm 82—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Alexander Ramsey

I am Alexander Ramsey—a husband, designer, entrepreneur, adventurer, and lover of God’s beauty.

Piece

Reclaimed canvas, glued and stitched.

PROCESS

This artwork is my interpretation and expression of Psalm 82. After reading and studying this psalm, the word “justice” stuck with me. The psalter calls us to defend, uphold and rescue those who are
weak, fatherless, poor, and oppressed. These words made me think of the homeless, immigrants and neighbors who deserve to be loved and treated justly. The word “justice” in Hebrew is צֶדֶק.

The process of creating this piece started on a mountain bike ride in Nederland, Colorado after choosing Psalm 82 for my artwork. While riding past a campground I noticed an abandoned canvas tent and really like the faded colors, stitching and textures.

I took some photos of the campsite, went home and came back a week later to see that it was still there, so I took the tent home. I washed the canvas in my bathtub, cut it into squares, painted my art board, and glued the layers of canvas layers on top. Next I cut the Hebrew symbols into the canvas layers.
During this process I realized that I was taking something that was thrown away and bringing new life to it; reminding me that God, through justice, will make all things new.

Psalm 81—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Whitney Ballinger

Hi, I’m Whitney Ballinger! I recently got my master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Denver Seminary. For as long as I can remember, art has played a significant role in my life. Through the mediums of watercolor, photography, ceramics, and acrylics, I have learned to creatively express how I see/experience the world and God.

Piece

Acrylic painting.

PROCESS

As I prayed over Psalm 81, a strong theme I noticed was pride, as God calls the Israelites to turn from their idols and stubborn desires but they do not listen (11–12). He also calls them to look back and remember His faithfulness in bringing them out of Egypt (5,10). My main takeaway from praying over this passage was the picture of God calling His people to trust Him with their needs (remembering His faithfulness to deliver them in the past) and to surrender their idols—specifically the idol of following their own stubborn hearts (12).

This piece depicts the blindness of heart that occurs when God’s faithfulness is ignored. The little girl watering a dying plant reflects Israel trying to bring life apart from God. The umbrella seems safe and necessary to the girl as it is raining (reflecting her own stubborn desire to stay dry and comfortable), but ironically it is protecting the plant from exactly what it most desperately needs… life-giving water already pouring from the sky. The broken watering can more specifically represents an idol (9)—something that is supposed to bring water or life, but is broken and unable to do so.

The rain represents God’s provision and faithfulness, and that if we would open our mouths (put down our umbrellas) he would fill it (10).

Finally, the little girl is intentionally small in comparison to the rest of the painting. Ironically, if she would just gaze behind her, she would be confronted with a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness to grow a whole forest of trees…apart from her umbrella or watering can. Not only the forest, but the grass, wildflowers, and sky dance and sing praises to their creator (1–2) and are vibrant reflections of life in Him; calling the little girl to listen to God, remember His faithfulness, put down her idols, and dance in the rain of God’s faithfulness.

Psalm 80—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person

Chase Hoffman

Piece

Photography—”Restore Us, O God”

PROCESS

Reading, re-reading, photography and a little bit of gardening.

Psalm 79—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: William Emerson

My name is William Emerson, I grew up in Colorado with a desire to explore and uncover truths about myself and God through His creation. Like many, nature has captivated me and God has used it to reflect to me deep truths about life in Him. I found the narrative of this psalm in the workings of animals in the wilderness.

Piece

Wood carving and burning.

PROCESS

In Psalm 79, Israel (The Sheep) cries out to God for salvation after Babylon (The Wolf) has conquered Jerusalem. The chosen people of God find themselves cornered and desperate for rescue from this threat. They are begging for God to remove the immediate threat in their life and it is not until near the end of the Psalm that they ask for forgiveness and humble themselves as sheep in need of a shepherd. They are so focused on a very real threat that they first enter their prayer mad at God and mourning, asking how long He will let this go on, as if to say that if He has issue with his people, He needs to let it go because they have bigger problems than a broken relationship with their God. After their expression of sorrow and plea, they recognize that a breaking has taken place between God and His chosen people.

The broken reality of sin (the toxic locoweed in the sheep’s mouth) is a deeper internal issue that goes beyond even the most pressing of present circumstance. God does eventually retrieve Israel from Babylon (the arrow through the wolf) but the herd has a deeper issue they have inflicted on themselves that only the shepherd can undo.

While creating this piece, I wanted to tell two stories of salvation: God does offer rescue from immediate and painful trials at times, but it often is not in the timing and way that we hope for and we still have our own sin to bring to Him regardless of the outcome of the immediate hurt. The narrative of a sheep hunted by a wolf captured the immediate threats we feel and the self inflicted poisoning of the sheep felt an accurate narrative to our own sin.

Burning and carving this scene required hundreds of repetitive motions and in the repetition I find there is a meditative worship that takes place, inviting the Spirit to engrain the narrative of this Psalm in me as I work through creating the scene.

Psalm 78—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Jacques Gerber

My name is Jacques Gerber. I create content using photography, videography, and digital media for visual storytelling. I am currently finishing up my Master of Divinty at Denver Seminary. My creative background stems from my Bachelors degree from Denver University in Emergent Digital Practices.

Piece

Digital Media—Photo Manipulation

PROCESS

After reading and meditating on Psalm 78, I notice a Father who constantly chases and runs after a people who are disobedient and ungrateful. In particular, this piece distinctly reflects verses 6–8 and 38.

The blue in the photo—an earth tone—represents the ripple effect that each generation’s teachings and actions have on the next. In this case, the apathy and amnesia of Israel should be abnegated and, instead, the hope and works of YHWH should be used for instructing and remembrance. Verse 38, despite the rebellion and transgressions of God’s people, shows the character of God: a pursuant and loving Father who provides what is most necessary.

The red in the image represents the blood of Jesus who atoned for the sins of many as propitiation with His blood. In the following verses, the burning anger, wrath, and judgement can be seen by the intensity of this piece.

However, when one looks at the eye and color, you will find a silhouette of the person in the gaze of the one who gives life. The eye has a narrow, white light in the shape of a cross that represents the hope to come for Israel, and that this hope is marked by the Light that will sacrifice His life for a people who are ungrateful. This circles back to the beginning of the psalm and helped me realize that our Abba is fiercely jealous and strongly desires all generations to know of what He has done, and how we can respond faithfully knowing that we are being guided by Him (72).

Genesis Artwork

The artwork for this series was illustrated by hand by Christian Robinson, an artist from Oklahoma City.

Our Genesis series is aimed at discussing God’s foundational worldview for His people and their purpose in His world. Christian’s artwork, in three pieces, illustrates the series’ two main movements (Parts I and II) and its narrative bookends (Part III).

Part I depicts God’s creation of the world (the foliage) and its subsequent de-creation through mankind (the hand) as a result of satanic temptation (the snake) and human rebellion.

Part II depicts God’s creation of a people (the 12 stars for 12 tribes of Israel) as God (the hand) comes to Abraham and makes a covenant (the scroll) with him and his descendants.

Part III depicts the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life appears both in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis and again in the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. We are reminded that, although at the Fall we were shut out of the Garden and barred from living forever, our ultimate destination as a result of Jesus’ redeeming work is life in a re-created world, in the Holy City, where the Tree of Life is now open to us.

Lastly, each of the three pieces were printed directly on to large birch wood panels. In place of any “white” in the above artwork, the natural woodgrain shows through; a nod to creation itself.

Advent 2017 Artwork

Person

Jeremy Grant is an emerging artist and award-winning graphic designer. He was born in California in 1985. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration at John Brown University. Grant has exhibited his collage and assemblage work regularly across Colorado since 2008. An active member of local arts communities, Jeremy has been invited to participate in numerous group shows, donated art to charity, and been awarded a PPAC micro-grant. His work explores themes of destruction and creation, death and resurrection, and chaos and familiarity. Jeremy Grant currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

Piece

Isaiah 40Mark 1

Often during Advent, I contemplate the calling of John the Baptist—“to prepare the way of the LORD,” and to “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This calling feels just as relevant for us as it was for him.

The people of God had been waiting for Messiah, their Savior King, for hundreds of years. Generations upon generations had lived and died and not seen the promise fulfilled.

John’s prophetic calling took him on a difficult path through the desert to preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John was asked to clear the path for the coming Messiah, Jesus.

The scriptures that refer to this calling paint a picture where “every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low.”

The subject of the piece is a landscape that visualizes the work of John the Baptist—the transition from rough, mountainous terrain to open plains is making smooth the way of the LORD. The mountains are cut from pieces that I felt had a sense of static and a feeling of brokenness. We still live in a broken reality. Some brokenness is obvious and agonizing, and other times brokenness is characterized by the monotony of existence—the lack of joy, color, and celebration.

The extra-long proportion of the piece is meant to convey the passage of time, a sense of waiting and of a long journey still ahead. The dark to light transition hints at the coming sunrise, our current reality is dim, but the bright light of the coming messiah is a dawn on the horizon.

Click on an image below to enlarge.

The complete, final piece:

The sequential pieces, with Advent 2017 sermon series titles:

Process

Hand-cut paper collage inspired by the themes of the season of Advent.

At first, I sought to express brokenness through fragmented pieces—tiny windows into pain. Ultimately, this felt a little one-dimensional and I left it in favor of the landscape idea which had a more rich meaning (see final artwork above).

In another early concept, I envisioned cracks and a shattered pattern getting less and less cracked -the color getting brighter and brighter as the collage progressed. U;timately, I felt like it was—again—less robust of an idea, and cracks don’t really “heal themselves.” It’s difficult to express that idea, even though I liked the graphic potential of it.

Lastly, an image of the final collage in-process, before I added the pink squares. The squares sort of came to symbolize markers in the passage of time, little ebeneezers if you will.

Psalm 77—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Jeremy Grant

Jeremy Grant is an emerging artist and award-winning graphic designer. He was born in California in 1985. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration at John Brown University. Grant has exhibited his collage and assemblage work regularly across Colorado since 2008. An active member of local arts communities, Jeremy has been invited to participate in numerous group shows, donated art to charity, and been awarded a PPAC micro-grant. His work explores themes of destruction and creation, death and resurrection, and chaos and familiarity. Jeremy Grant currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

Piece

Collage

PROCESS

You will drown. Fall headlong into the tempest. Arms reach, strain. There is nothing to grasp. You will drown. Your last sputtering breaths will be witnessed by no one. Your eyes water against the rush of wind. And pain. Drown.

Hot crackle of lightening snakes around your body.
A cradle of fire that stunts your fall.
Return the embrace of pain. Your salvation.

Feeling abandoned by God, and achingly alone, the writer of the 77th Psalm is lead to consider God’s “miracles of long ago.” Israel was pursued by Pharaoh, and their slaughter was eminent, when God performed a dramatic miracle and parted the sea, unveiling an unlikely escape route.

And yet that provision was immensely terrifying—the sea a symbol of chaos and terror in the ancient world. “Walk through the terror,” it seems God told them. But where was God in the middle, when the sea could, seemingly, crash down at any moment, crushing all beneath? God’s footprints were not seen, yet it was His hand at work.

Psalm 76—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Taylor Powers

I’m a portrait photographer who grew up in Colorado. I live in Denver with my husband Alex.

Piece

Photography

PROCESS

As I read through Psalm 76, two words stuck with me every time: humbled and stunned. The people mentioned in the Psalm seem to be the greatest of mankind: kings, princes, and men of war. The greatest of men, the greatest of us, were humbled and stunned, unable to stand in the presence of God. I really wanted to create an image that captured the feeling of being both fearful and reverent at once. I could relate to being humbled and stunned, because it reminded me of spending time in prayer while in the mountains. Whenever I spend time in the mountains, I feel small. Not small in a bad or insignificant way, but in a way that puts me in my place, so to speak. It’s scary and comforting. It reminds me of how incredible and wonderful God’s creation is, and it’s always given me clarity and perspective.

The title of Psalm 76, “Who Can Stand Before You,” became the literal idea behind this image. With my image, I wanted to capture that feeling of being stunned and humbled by something much greater than yourself, to the point that you can’t even stand before it. I wanted to capture a surrender. My goal was to put a physical sense of scale of the mountains being that much greater than man, and God being that much greater than “the mountains of prey”. I hope that this image is seen as a man not praying to or worshiping a mountain, but instead being overcome by his smallness in its midst. If the mountains are this much greater than the greatest of mankind, and God is that much greater than the mountains, how can we not be humbled? How can we even stand before Him?

I knew I wanted to get as close to the mountains as possible, preferably at sunrise. My husband (the man in the photo, who was a trooper) and I camped in Rocky Mountain National Park so we would get to this spot for the sunrise. The color and the light of sunrise in the mountains always seems much more jarring and harsh than the softness of a sunset. We hiked around and tried a few different spots, which didn’t work as well. On our way back to the car I found this spot and this was the last photo I took of the series.

Psalm 75—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: LouAnn Summers

My name is LouAnn Summers. I grew up in Littleton, Colorado and have since lived in Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah. I have now been in Arvada, Colorado for five years. I’ve been married to Brent going on 38 years and am a mother of four and a grandmother of six. I come from a very artistic family, a few of whom are professionals. It was not until adulthood that I discovered a knack for painting. I am an amateur artist and make art for the sheer joy of it. I was fortunate to have the chance to teach art to 6th graders for five years in public school.

Piece

Watercolor

PROCESS

This piece was inspired by Psalm 75:8 (NIV):

In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; He pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.
(Psalm 75:8 NIV)

Upon my first reading of this scripture, I immediately saw an image of this foaming cup of wine spilling over the earth—liquid and crimson like blood. I imagined God “lavishing” grace upon us (Ephesians 1:8) because “He so loved the world…” (John 3:16). These images reminded me of Jesus saying about the cup of wine, “This is my blood…which is poured out for many…” (Matt 26:28). I then imagined this precious, crimson flow and its effects on our world. I see in this picture the blood cleansing the earth (turning from red to yellow) and from that cleansing life grows (green and blue).

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
(From John 7:37–38 NIV)

As I formed the stars I was reminded of Psalm 8:3–4 (NIV):

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?
(Psalm 8:3–4 NIV)

I experienced a most awesome time of worship feeling God’s joy as He created the heavens! Praise be to the majesty and glory of His name!

This project is watercolor on Yupo, a special kind of paper that is synthetic and does not absorb liquid. This is what enabled such a glowing effect. It also came with great challenges which emphasized my tendencies to struggle. God graciously saw me through with the patience to continue. Then He did this most surprising thing! This “lightning burst” was a completely unintended surprise. I watched wide eyed as the paint and paper formed this awesome display of its own accord! I now view it as God’s motion.