Monday, 5 March 2012

Psalm 139 canvases

I have finally completed some of my own artwork - hurray! It was my scrapbooking group's day to meet up at the weekend but I didn't feel in a scrapbooking mood. I picked up a pack of three blank canvases and a selection of materials and headed out to spend the day with my creative friends. I was so pleased to have completed this series in one day. I've had the idea in my head for while and I often find that when I've been considering a piece of art for a while it can come together fairly quickly.

I decided to go for it with these canvases partly because we have a 12 hour prayer day coming up at church and a friend asked if she could borrow some artwork to decorate the space. The piece we used in the past is (finally) screwed to the wall in my kitchen so it was a good motive to create some new pieces.

The three canvases are all based on Psalm 139. This psalm was read at our wedding, and has been important to me at lots of different times.

Psalm 139 v 5 "You hem me in behind and before
You have laid your hand upon me"

I found some ledger type paper and some text paper that looks like an ancient law which I used in the background. My bible explains the verse "hem me in" as "to keep under scrutiny" and so i thought those papers represented that.

For me, knowing God hems me in is about freedom to live fully, so I included a travel ticket and a bicycle advert.

Frames seemed an obvious choice about being hemmed in, but I also think these rub-ons are pretty. There are aesthetic choices made here too.

Psalm 139 v 7- 10 - "If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast".

Here is an old map page under the painting of the bird's wings.

There is a bird silhouette here, along with an aeroplane motif and a postmark.

Psalm 139 v 14 - "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In a pile of old papers I found a girls notebook from working in a laundry at the turn of the 20th century. In the back of the book is a prayer written in her handwriting. This canvas is about identity and handwriting is such a unique, personal trait, just like a fingerprint.

I included a piece of a sewing pattern here too in the background to represent our bodies.

One of my favourite Christian bands were called Eden Burning and they wrote a couple of songs which I have found myself humming while working on these canvases, "Hem Me In" and "If I Go Up"


  1. These are gorgeous! I love the visual symbolism.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous...I think I might have been to see Eden Burning! Love that verse and all the bits you have used to develop it on the pictures.

  3. Amazing I love these pslam 139 is my favourite !! I would love to be able to create a canvas. May I ask how do you do the print of the pslam ?
    Bless you

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Queen Bee. I stamped the Psalm straight onto the canvas with little rubber alphabet stamps. On other canvases I have stamped onto tissue and then glued it onto the canvas, which is a bit less scary if the stamping goes wrong!