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  • Writer's pictureAllie Sherron

Illuming the Sun Turns Collection

"Those who look to Him are radiant."

My Inspiration: Psalm 34

(verses 1-10 transcribed below; read entire Psalm here)
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt His name together!
I sought the Lord, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints,
for those who fear Him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

The nine pieces that belong to the Sun Turns charcoal drawing collection are my impressions of the radiant ones who look to the LORD in the thirty-fourth Psalm. And just like those radiant ones who look to Him, each of these flowers that make up the Sun Turns collection are heliotropes. Heliotropism is the term that describes the way a flower turns her face toward the sun, moving throughout the day to keep her gaze fixed on that beautiful light. The word heliotropism comes from two Greek words: helios, meaning sun; and tropos, meaning turn. This is where the collection derives its name, the Sun Turns.

My Method

When I felt the yearning to illustrate Psalm 34, and especially verses 4-5, I made an intentional decision that each piece would be made using one, long, complex line, with curves and turns and sometimes sharp corners to demonstrate the ups and downs, the many life experiences, the “all times” (verse 1) of the believer.

After determining to do this, panic immediately swept over me. How on earth am I going to accomplish this? You can’t erase charcoal, and it smudges extremely easily. Even if I designed the piece ahead of time to ensure one continuous line, how would I perfectly replicate it using this very temperamental medium?

Why did I choose to use such a fickle medium? So many of the references in Psalm 34 reminded me of the way a parent comforts a dear child. References to "crying out" are spread throughout the psalm (verses 6, 15, 17). Comfort or deliverance from fears, troubles, and affliction is mentioned from beginning to end (verses 4, 6, 7, 17, 18, 19, 22). And most significantly, terms such as "children" and "young" are sprinkled here and there (verses 10 and 11). So I wanted the medium to portray a childlike artistic freedom, almost that of a scribbling crayon. I landed on charcoal sticks.

So, I took a few days to sit on the concept. And then one night on my evening walk, it hit me. LIGHT needed to play a role in getting the charcoal onto the paper. I could design the piece…tape a rough copy to my window…and use the light to guide my charcoal stick, revealing beautifully that when we seek the LORD, HIS light, He will answer us and deliver us from all our fears (verse 4). Sometimes the lines I drew started out looking like they were going nowhere or creating a scribbly mess, just as life circumstances can sometimes appear. But as I trusted the light-guided line I was tracing, a beautiful (might I say radiant) picture always and eventually unfolded. And such is how the Lord often works, at least He does in my own life. "Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed," (verse 5). In other words, those who seek His face, His will, His beauty...they will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31), they will be greatly encouraged (Hebrews 6:18), they will overwhelmingly conquer (Romans 8:37), they will find Him waiting there (Jeremiah 29:13; Psalm 9:10).

My Heart for You

Hang a sun turn on the wall of your home or office to remind yourself throughout the day that the eyes of the Lord are always lovingly on you, that His ears are always joyfully hearing you, that His presence is always faithfully near you, and that you, the sun turn, no matter how far away your face might turn can always return your gaze back to Christ, and He will meet you there. He will satisfy you, He will deliver you, and He will make you radiant.

Hang a sun turn on the wall of your home or office to spark conversations with those who see it about Christ, the blessed redeemer, and the deliverance, life, and hope available to them through Him.

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