Psalm 23

An original, hand-printed serigraph published by John August Swanson with the collaboration of Aurora Serigraphics Studio, Van Nuys, CA.

Edition Size: 180
Completed: November 27, 2010
Image Size: 15.25″ x 24.25″
Paper: 100% cotton rag, acid free
Colors: 47 Color Stencils



With the completion of MADONNA OF THE HARVEST, John August Swanson immediately set to work in creating new drawings, and refining early sketches first conceived of as embellishments for his 1994 serigraph, PEACEABLE KINGDOM.


(Original Pencil and Ink Drawing)
Incorporating elements of the mighty laying down with the meek, and the innocent and peaceful overcoming deceit and hypocrisy, Swanson began work on his newest luxuriantly composed, and intricately detailed serigraph, his passage into David’s PSALM 23.       

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

King James Version

After Eight months, PSALM 23 is now available. John August Swanson drew Forty-seven overlays on Dura-Lar™ sheets with opaque black ink. These sheets were then directly used, using a direct exposure film transfer method, to make forty-seven separate silk screens, which ink and paint were run through to print the edition.

One must face many challenges, and make decisions and compromises. ‘Too dark? Too transparent? Is it the right shade?’

There are risks involved in this long process of building, with the layering of printed inks, and in creating depth and texture. The process is difficult, but through it I have found that the story has become a part of me.

-John August Swanson


(2-Color Proof with colors
#9-Transparent Paynes Grey Asphaltum, and
#11-Transparent Oxide Indian Yellow)

(2-Color Proof with colors
#6-Translucent Green Gold, and
#10-Transparent Shiva Blue Deep)

(1-Color Proof with color
#15-Cadmium Yellow Light)

(8-Color State Proof
with color testing)

There is no moon in my image of the night, but the stars create a luminescence to help those who are taking a journey. My vision contains the wonder and awe found in star-filled night skies. Our earliest ancestors may have gazed up to ponder the brilliance of these lights. They looked for order in the heavens, and could marvel at the many wondrous and spectacular sights held within the glowing clusters of stars.


“You, darkness, that I come from, I love you more than all the fires that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light for everyone and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything- shapes and fires, animals and myself, how easily it gathers them!
– powers and people-
and it is possible a great presence is moving near me. I have faith in nights.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, You, Darkness

The forest, with deep shadows and darkness, is a place filled with hidden sights and creatures. Since times long past, families and communities have sat around campfires, and fireplaces to tell their legends. My mother told us stories of the forests and mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico. My father’s family in Sweden spoke about the wild wolves in their local forest, as well as fabled myths of forest people and ancient creatures. People understood the dangers of the wilderness. Travelers would seek to find shelter before the darkness of the night.   



Moving forward barefoot and without fear, two figures travel through a valley transformed by their own beliefs; a world where lions and lambs can lie together in peaceful harmony. The language of Psalm 23 has a message of strength – …Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… This story connects with our own lives, as we listen to those who encourage and empower others to speak out and stand against death, violence, and hate.