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Expressions in Worship: Art & Nature

I am an artist. Ever since I was a little girl, paper and a pencil have been the tools that guarantee my happiness. I was constantly drawing as a child, adored my art classes each year in grades K – 12, and chose art as my major at the University of Sioux Falls. I graduated with a BFA in 2012, and have been looking for ways to use my artwork each day since then.

I am a Christian. My parents raised me in the church and have encouraged me in my personal relationship with Christ since I chose to believe in Jesus as my Savior at AWANA one evening. My father teaches Greek and New Testament at the Sioux Falls Seminary, my mother went to Bible College and has a strong faith. I am thankful for the way they raised me, especially as I deeply explored the (often) secular avenues of modern art during and after my college years.

It took me quite awhile to find my identity as an artist, to find a style I could consistently work in, feel comfortable with, and enjoy. As I searched, I came to see that being in nature, which is the heaviest influence and deepest inspiration in my work, was its own form of worship. For our Lord is an incredibly creative and passionate God. He has made more beauty and glory in our world, in our flora and fauna and night sky and expansive South Dakota scenery, than any human artist could ever imagine in our own flawed brains. I often feel closer to God in nature than anywhere else. I never run out of inspiration, even here in the Midwest, where so many people complain about a lack of aesthetically pleasing or awe-inspiring scenery. A simple walk through a field on the outskirts of Sioux Falls provides me with enough ideas for several pieces.

I try to stick as close to nature as possible in my artwork. I use birch wood instead of paper or canvas, and each of my pieces is created out of earth tones (mostly black ink). I almost always draw a bird or some sort of foliage. It is my small way of worshipping God’s beautiful creation. In each piece, I am praising our Lord’s incredible handiwork, paying homage, even though His work is and always will be so much greater than mine.

Our world is beautiful. It is imperfect, it is broken, but it is all the more beautiful for that. The cycle of life, death, and rebirth, both in humans and nature, in our plants and seasons, is so stunning, so intriguing. This cycle allows us to hope, to see progress, to cherish growth. In my work, I attempt to capture the magic of this never-ending process, in nature, specifically. Recreating God’s creation through the lens and filter he himself has placed inside my brain is my most satisfying and fulfilling form of worship. It brings me great joy and (I hope) gives him glory, and I can ask for no more than that.

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