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Week Four Painting a Psalm

Hannah Dunnett Painting a Psalm featured image

Painting a Psalm

In the last 2 blog posts we have looked at a number of techniques.

In Week 2 Painting A Patchwork we thought about how to combine words, colour and patterns and in Week 3 From Scripture to A Picture we looked at how to generate ideas and images from a single Bible verse.
I hope you have enjoyed the 2 tasks from these posts – the pictures that people have sent in are fantastic and have been really encouraging to see.
If you haven’t had a chance to view them then please do have a look at the Virtual Gallery as I am sure that you will find it inspiring.

In this post we are going to build on both of the previous tasks to develop a picture using an extended extract of text.

Using Extended Text

This task is about taking words that naturally follow on from each other, such as in a song, hymn or psalm, and working them into a picture. Equally it could be a longer passage of scripture or a poem.
The aim is to create both a beautiful picture, but also manage to incorporate the words in such a way that they can be read in order and flow on from each other.

Creating a Psalm Picture

For this task we are going to be using the words from a psalm.
The words we are going to work with are the first three verses of Psalm 96.

‘Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous deeds among all peoples.’

The image I am suggesting for this picture is of a songbird, as this very much appeals to me as a colourful and attractive way of illustrating joyful song. However there will be many other images you could use and so if you have another image or idea of how to illustrate the words then please do use your own.

There are 3 ways in which you can approach this task of incorporating Psalm 96 into a picture depending on your level of artistic experience:

Approach 1 – Download and print off the template.

If you choose this approach then try to think about the topics we have covered in previous blog posts to help you.
For example, try to think about the experimenting we did in “Painting a Patchwork” with colour and patterns – this will be particularly relevant to the bird and leaves in the picture.
Also, try to build on the work we did on varying the size of words and curving words round different shapes.

Hannah Dunnett Birds Template image

As in previous posts, I have provided a template (download below) which gives a basic outline to this task which you may wish to use.
I have left the branches bare as they provide natural spaces for the wording.
Once you have worked out where the wording might go then you can sketch in more leaves or other details to fill the space.

Hannah Dunnett Birds Template

Approach 2 – Create your own image of a bird.

If you are wanting to use the idea of a bird, but want to create your own then here are a few thoughts which may help you get started.

Focal Point
I think that you will find it helpful to start with the bird and work out where you want to place it within the picture. Think about its shape and colour.
As a focal point, you ideally want it to contrast and stand out from its background.

As you are going to need to create spaces for your words to flow down the picture, think about how to break up the rest of the page into sections into which your words might fit.

Branches create natural dividers and lines along which text can follow (I have used these in my template example).

The sky can also be broken up into different shades of colour which make natural lines to follow.

Once you have sketched out the different sections of you picture, work out where you want the words to fit.
If you have lots of space and are working with small text you may want to use more words from this psalm.

Approach 3 – Design your own picture from scratch.

I am sure that there are many of you who are very capable of producing your own picture idea from this psalm I would love to encourage you to do so and be creative with it. I really look forward to seeing what you produce.

Some Examples

I have used the birds idea on a few of my pictures.
Here are a couple of examples that I hope may help.

Example 1
In this example I took the lyrics from the much loved hymn “My song is love unknown” and incorporated them into a picture for a notecard design:

Hannah Dunnett My song is love unknown notecard

Example 2
In this example I incorporated the well known verse Jeremiah 29:11 into a bag design:

Hannah Dunnett For I Know the Plans Canvas Bag front image

I hope these two examples help in the process.

As always, please do send in anything you produce as we find it so encouraging to see.