"Justice and Peace shall kiss, Truth shall spring out of the earth. Kindness and Truth shall meet, Justice shall look down from the heavens."
Each year when the verses from Psalm 85 were read in the liturgical service, I would visualize the poetry of the words, the hope they made me feel about living. The opportunity to hear and read these words each year, to revisit them, refreshes the spirit.
During the 1980s, I made many ink sketches of the images that these words sparked in me. I wanted to paint an image that conveyed the feelings I have from these verses. To share this was a challenge for me. My sketches incorporated different events into one large landscape, as there are several visual ideas in these four short verses.
In 1989 I completed an ink drawing that I felt could be the basis for a large painting. The acrylic painting, PSALM 85, was completed in 1990, and this painting was the source for a poster printed by The National Association for Hispanic Elderly, for use as a fundraiser for their work developing housing for the elderly. The printed poster gave many people an opportunity to live with the poetry of this image.
In 1998, I was able to repurchase the painting, and at that time I spent two weeks adding, changing, refining, "saturating" the painting. I became strongly attached to this image.
The dedication committee of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, in Los Angeles, chose images from my artwork to be made into processional banners carried at the dedicatory ceremony in September 2002. They chose my PSALM 85 as one of the images. I remember that, when I was a child, our family would visit and attend mass at the old Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, in downtown Los Angeles.
At the same time as the Cathedral dedication, I had been considering PSALM 85 for my next serigraph. It would be an opportunity to develop and further enhance this image. Through collaboration of artist and printer, decisions of ink color mixtures, and 51 individual drawings required for each color, I was able to see the gradual evolution of the work. The completed PSALM 85 has achieved amazing texture and color saturation.
John August Swanson April , 2003
You once favored, LORD, your land, restored the good fortune of Jacob.
You forgave the guilt of your people, pardoned all their sins. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath, turned back your burning anger.
Restore us once more, God our savior; abandon your wrath against us.
Will you be angry with us forever, drag out your anger for all generations?
Please give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you.
Show us, LORD, your love; grant us your salvation.
I will listen for the word of God; surely the LORD will proclaim peace To his people, to the faithful, to those who trust in him.
Near indeed is salvation for the loyal; prosperity will fill our land.
Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.
The LORD will surely grant abundance; our land will yield its increase.
Prosperity will march before the Lord, and good fortune will follow behind.
An original, hand-printed serigraph published by the artist with collaboration of master printer James F. Butterfield II at Aurora Serigraphic Studio, Van Nuys, California.
Completed April 22, 2003.
Edition Size: 250
Dimensions: Image: 24" x 28 3/4"
Paper: 29" x 35 3/4"
Paper: Lana Cover - White 300 GSM
Colors: 51 colors printed