In partnership with the Department of Art, Design and Creative Innovation, the Office of Spiritual Formation hosted an Art Competition with reflections on Psalm 118:24. Students were encouraged to reflect on gratitude and create a work of art as a form of worship. Three winners were selected and their work is featured below with 11 other artists and their statements.
First Place: Paulina Lazaro Aleman I focused on the beauty of nature. This idea was inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien because just recently, I have read The Fellowship of the Ring. Through Tolkien’s novel, I began to see how much he cherishes nature, for it is the creation of the Lord. I too wish to connect with God through nature, whilst also seeking internal peace and tranquility in my busy life. The concept of nature is to enjoy its beauty and appreciate it enough that the mind starts to slow down, and one becomes thankful for the present moment, for it is a blessing to be where we are today. Another concept that I explored was the idea that God has a much bigger plan for us than expected. The initial idea for this art project was to draw an eyeball, but as the days passed, new creative ideas popped up in my mind. The idea kept evolving overtime to the final product, which is far different from what I had planned. I really like to share that idea of believing that God will make things work out, and until then, have faith and relish in the moment.
Second Place: Hope Erwin Acrylic on canvas This piece was centered around the verse, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” (Psalm 118:24). I chose to depict my mother riding her horse along the Morro Bay beach, showing gratitude for the beauty of our world and the days we are given. During COVID, we were unable to make contact with others, staying inside with our families and avoiding outside family and friends. It made us look back and be grateful for the times we have spent together and grateful for the little moments we have to ourselves and the connections we have made with our peers and pets. This piece shows a woman enjoying the world God has given us, to be able to share it with her beloved horse. It shows our ability to cope with change and to embrace peace in times of hardship. Now that we are slowly regaining aspects of normalcy, we are able to see and connect with people outside of our immediate family, and finally, understand that we should have gratitude for what God has given us and the wonderful people and places he has put in our lives.
Third Place: Jaiden Coronado As we listen to the first part of Psalm 118, “This is the day the Lord has made;” we think of how his first beautiful creation was the Garden of Eden. We may not know what the actual Garden of Eden looks like, so we leave it up to our imaginations, to which I provided an image of how I see the Garden of Eden in a modern-like way. Regarding the second part of the Bible verse, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it”, we think of the term ‘gratitude’. The first thing that came to my mind, and that I’m thankful for, is the gift of art. In further explanation, I found God to have created the Garden of Eden as though it was a painting he created on a pitch black canvas. The symbolism behind the blackness is that the Bible has once stated that before God’s creation, everything was nothing but of darkness and emptiness. God brought light and color to the darkness like a splatter of paint, which can be a bit messy from an artist’s perspective, hence the paint on the arm. The paint on the arm then leads to God’s most beautiful creation in his image, the creation of humans, to which we should rejoice and be glad for being brought into his creation.
Blanca Sanchez Pencil & Charcoal The meaning behind my subject matter is that sometimes we are going through and faced with so many thought situations that we hide behind a mask. We try to be happy and not let anyone see our pain and suffering. As someone with anxiety this represents me well for years I hid my feelings (signifies the mask) and it’s so liberating to finally get the help I needed. For this piece I used art pencils and charcoal and my fingers to blend in the charcoal and give it that smoother look.
Tyler Hikida Pencil The word I hear when reading Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” is “gratefulness”. This picture is a drawing of my Grandpas house and is where I currently live at. This house represents my family. This is the house where we would all celebrate and come together every summer and every holiday. This house contains history and many memories that I am grateful for and look forward for more to come as well. This verse is a reminder for me to always remain grateful for what God has given me and to rejoice and be glad in it, no matter how big or small.
Brooke Barham “Fourth Day“ Watercolor On the fourth day of creation, God made the sun, the moon, and the stars. My artwork relates to Psalm 118:24 because it shows a woman rejoicing in the beauty of what the Lord has made. I have always been fascinated by the mesmerizing beauty of the sky. I love to look at sunsets, the moon, and the stars. Psalm 118:24 reminds me of how grateful I am that God has blessed us with the separation between night and day. I believe that the moon and stars are a representation of how God’s light can shine even in the darkest of nights. Jesus’ sacrifice has saved us from darkness and moved us into the light, which is why I painted the North Star shining above the cross. My idea of gratefulness is not only thanking God for sending his son to die for us, but also for the blessings that we often take for granted such as nature, light, and the sky. This painting is a visual representation of how grateful I am for both the day and the night. I hope it helps people appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.
Diane Vang “ Rays of Hope“ Psalm 118:24 says, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” When I read this verse, I almost instantly thought about how the Lord is a guiding light for us all that shines down onto us and blesses us every single day. The Holy Lord is like the light that shines in the darkness, like the rays of sunlight beaming through the clouds in the sky, like the rays of hope. The rays of hope that remind us to stay strong and persevere because anything is possible with God’s guidance and blessing. Like the verse says, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” The Lord has given us light, yet again, today, and we shall gladly rejoice in honor of thanks to his benevolence.
Anna Yotsuuye My inspiration for Psalm 118:24 drew from my thoughts about the world we live in. It mentions to be glad and celebrate the gift that God has created today and every day. Our day starts from where we currently live on, planet earth. On top of the earth there are some of the elements of life including fire, water, air and nature. God created this life for us, with elements that we can physically and visibly experience. These elements are important for our lives and lay over the earth like a crown, and should not be taken for granted. There is a basic illustration of the Lord’s hands beneath the earth, holding it up for all of us to take in and enjoy. The Lord created this world, and in it we show our gratitude for his creation.
Ramon Martinez “Purity of Life” Digital illustration Called Purity of Life, this illustration tries to reflect on the feeling of life in its raw and vast state of deep emotions that mark the course of our time. As human beings and children of God, we have the opportunity to experience the wonders that the creator has done for us and understand that there is a future, hope, and light around and ready for us. We are a reflection of the fruit of God, and we coexist with the life that subsists in the flowers, the heavens, and the creatures. Therefore, despite our differences and designations, we are directed to loving and caring for each other like the fruits that rejoice in the day that the Lord has made.
Felicity Marquez “A Bouquet for the Lord “ The painting I created represents Psalms 118:2, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”, by showing someone’s hands lifted up holding a bouquet of flowers to the Lord. The bouquet itself is made up of a variety of different types of flowers that represent feelings of love, joy, and more. The bouquet consists of Crocus flowers which mean cheerfulness, and youthful gladness, Lilacs representing Joy of Youth, a Yellow Lilly meaning Happy, gay, walking on air, Marjoram Flowers showing Joy and Happiness, Yarrows representing Everlasting Love, a Red Rose, a Red Chrysanthemum and Asters to be symbols of Love, a Red Camellia meaning a Flame in my heart, Iris’s to show Faith, Trust, Wisdom, Hope, Valor, and Violets to show faithfulness. All these flowers together show the joy within the people’s hearts for the day and blessings that the Lord has given, as well as show how good God is with an everlasting love for us.
Nayeli Ignacio Reyes “Faceless Woman“ Media: Strathmore Paper, vine charcoal, graphite pencil, pastel colors. The faceless woman is a visual representation of the belief and thankfulness we have towards god’s grace and compassion. She carries flowers and bread in her arms, the flowers are meant to represent all that of nature and its beauty, the concept of the bread is meant to represent the word of Christ which is something that I am grateful for along with nature as it is something we need in order to be sustained. With the light that shines from the moon, a pigeon is descending with a gift for the woman and God’s people which are represented as the sheep. The gift of nature and bread is overall meant to represent the grace of God.
Yessenia Avila This drawing represents a spot I have currently found at Fresno Pacific where I can enjoy and focus. It is a spot in the library where I am able to concentrate peacefully. Its a quiet place that reminds me of a dessert so silent. This drawing represents the gratitude of having an education have a place to study and work comfortably. Thankful to have a place that gives resources of technology, books, privacy, and a quiet place to focus. This image is under a staircase with a beanbag usually sitting down and relaxing my body on it but also the ability to concentrate on work also, great for naps.
Kylyn Dirks For my art project the whole message or concept I was going for was to show things I am grateful for based on the scripture we had to use. So in the art you see the two hands pointing up to give that praise and glory effect in the art. Then for the first two items you can see I put money and food. Those are two things I appreciate. Next ones are a house because it’s always a blessing to have a roof over my head and something I will never take for granted. Now the “SOAT” is me and my brother’s clothing brand we started recently and it is just another thing I appreciate and am grateful for. It means “Stay On All Ten ” in which the whole concept behind the brand is we all go through things as people but at the end of the day we just have to stay solid and have hope for sure that things will get better in whatever the situation may be. Then the other ones I have a basketball in there and I added family because those are also two more important things that have shaped me into the individual that I am today. So I had to put those on there without a doubt. Other two would be a cross to resemble Christianity and then I had nature on there because I appreciate the weather rainy or hot , it is just a sight to see and be able to experience everyday. That’s pretty much the drawing in a nutshell, just little things I am appreciative for or that relate and have deep meaning to me I would say.
Eryca Goldsborough Pastel, Ink, Acrylic This artwork explores the relationship between light and darkness as emotions. Two weeks before the artwork was done, I lost my second (and last biological) grandparent this year. A week later I was injured by a cooking accident. These two weeks would have been enough to put most people in a depressive state, and this is representative of the darkness in the artwork. The art is a literal display of emotion I was feeling in the moment. I was reminded that light will always win out against darkness. The joy of the Lord does not need to “fight” the darkness, but rather if it’s harnessed, it wins without competition. It does not mean that we won’t have depressive days or moments, but with God’s help, he restores us.
Joshua Tacchino When I was making this piece I actively worked to embody the verse by interpreting it through having fun and going with the flow. Making this brought joy to me in the days it was made.
Holly Bridges “Imperfection” When I read the verse Psalm 118:24, I instantly took it literally. In my artwork there is a bunch of hands doing various task to create the day. These hands are supposed to represent God’s hands and him creating/planning a new day. While creating this piece I realized that for it to actually demonstrate God creating the day it would have to be perfect, which would be nearly impossible. So I decided to create the piece with the intent of capturing our perspective where we don’t always see the good in a “bad” day and purposely didn’t try to hide any mistakes I made. In addition, I made a few mistakes on purpose to add to the effect. Finally, although it seems we have get a mixture of good and bad days through out our life, we should still praise God for the days we do get to experience. This is represented by silhouettes of people cheering and praising God for the day he has made.
Ysalane Trevino My art piece was inspired by Psalms 118:240 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This verse tells us to be grateful for every day we are on earth and to celebrate the simple miracle that we are all still alive. I think along with being grateful for a new day this quote also tells us to be grateful for the people in our lives. I illustrated digitally a drawing of several people laughing and enjoying a meal together which is how life is meant to be spent. In order to be grateful for this life, I believe it is important to spend it surrounded by the people we love. I tried to illustrate the energy of the cheer, joy, the warmth of the room, and the feelings that are elicited when you share a meal with people you love.
Hope Erwin Pastel This piece was centered around the verse, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” (Psalm 118:24). I chose to depict two friends holding hands, expressing their bond and gratitude for each other. One is wearing a mask and one is not, this is to show the significance of COVID during our last year. During COVID, we were unable to make contact with others, staying inside with our families and avoiding outside family and friends. This was a hard time for everyone, but especially those who thrive by seeing whom they care about. In the time where we were sanctioned to our houses, not only me, but most felt depressed and empty without social contact. It made us look back and be grateful for the times we have spent together and grateful for the relationships we have made. Now that we are slowly regaining aspects of normalcy, we are able to see and connect with people outside of our immediate family, and finally, understand that we should have gratitude for what God has given us and the wonderful people he has put in our live