You may have noticed a few new pieces of artwork up for our “Christ in the Psalms” series over the last few weeks. Meagan Tidwell is a calligraphist & artist at our church (see her work here). She created the logo for the series, the 2 scrolls hung along the back of the stage and the abstract mixed media piece hung in the hallway next to the foyer. We posted some photos of the work below, but we asked Meagan to share some of her thoughts regarding her creative process:
Spending time in the Psalms, you realize it’s not difficult to resonate with the cries of the psalmist — the rejoicing, the lamenting, the laughing, the crying — sometimes all in the same moment. The breadth of David’s emotional experience is tangible and relatable. One moment he’s up, the next he’s down…and isn’t that true of us all?
Yet, woven throughout these poems and songs, there’s an undercurrent of peace. Deep peace. David experiences such an intimacy with God — such a profound knowledge of who God is — that it creates this freedom to openly pour out the depths of his soul, without fear of reproach or rejection. It’s that liberty that enables him to trust God even in the midst of death, anxiety and depression.
I suppose that is the best way to sum up where I started as I approached the artwork for this Psalms series. I wanted to display the tension of the emotional pull, but also incorporate the anchor of God’s peace in the midst of it all.
So there are two pieces of art that were created.
First, there is an abstract piece that sits in the hallway behind the sanctuary. Conceptually, this encompasses my observations of the Psalms. The jagged collage of songs and poetry represents the inconsistent range of emotions that we experience as we walk through life — ever-changing and dependent upon our circumstances. But, behind and throughout that collage there is a wash of cool, harmonious color. It speaks to the peace that we experience as we walk through life being hemmed in — behind and before — by our Shepherd. For this I used strips out of an old hymnal, acrylic paint, and layers upon layers of texture paste mixed with thin layers of paper towels. Most of the paint was applied by hand, as I can’t seem to get a paintbrush to ever do exactly what I would like it to do : )
Second are the scrolls that sit on each side of the stage. These are more of an explicit proclamation of the bookends to the Psalms — beginning with chapter one and ending with chapter one fifty. The verses were written out using ink and brush onto large rolls of brown kraft paper. My desire with this is that these book ends would serve to solidify the Psalmist’s and, subsequently, our need to be anchored by the peace of God no matter the circumstance—our need to be “like a tree planted by rivers of water” as we praise the Lord with all the breath that we have.
While we all wade through the various ups and downs of the struggles of life, I hope these pieces can somehow point you to the peace that comes through intimacy and closeness with God.