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Marc Potts Art

December, 04, 2004

The Critical Edge will introduce important Artists within the Pagan Community.

Each month I shall introduce an artist whose work is essential to the pagan arts community. If you would like earthwizard to review an artist please feel free to contact him at: eartwizard@earthwisdom.info

Current Artist of the Month

Sharon George: Visions of Fantasy and Goddesses

Previous Artists of the Month

Marc Potts: The Elemental Visions of Nature

Sabrina: The Art of the Ink Witch


Marc Potts: The Elemental Visions of Nature

Coming upon Marc Potts art for the first time I felt an awakening, a deep sense that here was an artist who truly was in touch with deep elemental spirits of nature. As one gazes upon a singular work, such as Beltaine - The Great Rite, one i 190 mmediately senses both the dark and light aspects of the natural worlds come alive in all their power and mystery. One can feel the deep sexual energies stirring below the surface of the brimming earth rising out of the hidden depths and shadows of the forest and glen that surround the armored worlds of our cities and villages. One is reminded once again of the wild untamed force of Mother Nat faf ure: a force that is sometimes inimical to humans; yet, abides by its own laws and ethics of wildness that we would be wise to follow and understand if we would survive on the planet to outlive the present catastrophe of Civilization.

Artist (c) Marc Potts: Beltaine: - The Great Rite

Gary Snyder in, The Practice of the Wild, once spoke of the "etiquette of the wild world" as the ability to show forth both a generosity of spirit and a good-humored toughness "that cheerfully tolerates discomfort, an appreciation of everyone's fragility, and a certain modesty (p. 22)." Marc Potts shows forth both qualities within his artistic portrayals of the faŽrie realms: generosity of spirit and a good-humored toughness that allows the wild wood elementals of his faŽrie realms to have their way without the human intervention or filtering agency of a civilized culture to make judgments on the mysteries of these elementals and their dark wooded wilds.

Marc Potts lives in London where he was born in 1963, and describes himself as "a self-taught artist, choosing to take biology at university instead of anything artistic. After years of working in the computer industry, I left a fairly lucrative line of work to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator/artist. Three years on, I am slowly building a reputation, mainly in pagan/new-age circles." Marc has always been a little suspicious of religion and prefers to work alone or in small groups for his ritual enactments. He follows a solitary path of the Hedgewitch, a term used by the Hedge Witch, Rae Beth, which made a deep impact back in the 80's on the feminist movement with her elegant poetry, meditations, and invocations. The idea of the Hedgewitch grew out of the old "hagazussa", the Hag on the Hedge separated the village from the wilderness... According to Hans Peter Duerr, Dreamtime, she was a being who participated in both the world of the living and the dead... a half divine, half daemonic being, a sorceress who practiced ancient sejdr (seething) ... she was the arbitrator between the wild world and the safe world of the village and the hearth. In early times she was considered the "Ijakel" , the animal mother of shamans, shapeshifter and rider of the tree of life into both the realms of light and darkness... she became whole by knowing the wildness at the heart of nature, thereby finding the true power of her humanity.

Marc is deeply influenced by the "likes of Brian Froud, Arthur Rackham, Alan Lee, and the Pre-Raphaelites. I work mainly in gouache or acrylics, but use watercolor pencils & pastels to obtain certain effects, and to experiment. I paint on line and washboard or primed hardboard."

Artist (c) Marc Potts: Lost? in the Woods

Marc's view of the faŽrie is not all "light and gossamer wings" he sees "these things as raw forces of elemental nature. Nature can be stunningly beautiful, but in the next instant, it can be grotesque or even terrifying. It's the same with the spirits that represent it." And, how true that is we can see as we begin to drift from image to image in his pantheon of elemental sprites and spirits that make up his unique world of visionary art. In the "Lost? in the Woods" we see a young girl running toward us, her eyes filled with a dreaminess that is half-mystic, half wonder. We see surrounding her fullness, denizens of the wild wood tribes in all their variety and diversity of size and shape, hue and color: there are - and, oh, my, I must catch myself here; for to name a faŽrie is a dangerous thing... So we will let the viewer decide for her/himself what names to apply to this myriad of wooded creatures. Each of the creatures in this scene takes on both a deep 190 knowledge and wisdom, as well as a certain playful mischievousness as they watch the young girl moving through their demesne. I get the distinct feeling that these creatures know something that we do not: maybe, the knowledge that this young girl is not lost at all, but has suddenly stumbled onto an old truth: that the wild woods are her true home, that her inner nature is at oneness with the very body elemental nature of these spirits of the forest.

Artist (c) Marc Potts: The Rapture

One of my personal favorites is "The Rapture", which gives us hint of a dimension of elegance and pleasure that is at once beyond our capacity to appreciate; and, yet, is the very essence of what we are. But now we come close to the center of Marc Potts as an artist and cartographer of the realms of faŽrie: like the shamans of old he guides us through the myriad worlds of his unique vision quests as he explores the Otherworlds of earth's deepest mysteries. Joseph Campbell, the greatest cartagropher of mythology in our century, once said that mythology should "waken and maintain in the individual a sense of wonder and participation in the mystery of this finallly inscrutable universe (Joseph Campbell, Historical Atlas of World Mythology)." I believe that Marc Potts is one of our modern shaman artists leading the way toward freeing us from our blinkered perceptions of reality: thereby, leading us back toward an understanding and appreciation of the deeper roots and connections we all have within the continumn of the natural world. We feel the wonder that he feels, we see the worlds that he sees, we begin to know with a deeper knowing the plenitude of the hidden worlds that surround us on all sides, which - if we would only, as William Blake once put it: "cleanse the doors of perception", and see through the eyes, not with, then we would come to know the "mysterium tremendum et fascinans", which "is the ground at once of the whole spectacle and of onself(Campbell, p. 8).

My favorite, is, Hedgewitch II. In this painting above all others, Marc has captured the essence of high magick: the ancient hierophantic appeal of ritual and ceremony; the empowerment of a deep commitment to an order of religious feeling that takes on the minute particulars of every refined nuance of art and craft available. In this painting we see the Lady, herself imaged forth: the goddess of witches in her guise as Queen of Elphame, the Lady of the Forest. She holds one under her spell by the power of her light filled eyes and the somber truculence of the brown toned colors of her world: the juxtaposition of the wild growth that she is, and the refined and elegant crafting of the runes on her breast plate and bowl she carries shifts us into a keen awareness of the dark mystery that is at the heart of nature. One knows that this is a woman of power and vision: a being who has penetrated the very veil of the divine that surrounds us and now can channel its powers for good or ill; yet, knows she holds the keys to the mysteries and will only reveal those secrets to one who is worthy of her esteem.

And, maybe, this too, is the truth behind Marc Potts paintings of the elemental: that for all our human knowledge and culture, we too were once members of the elements, spirits of the wild forests; and, that, until we begin to renew our knowledge and awareness of this kindred sprit we will forever remain sundered, cut off in a world of darkness surrounded by hostile forces which are none other than our own mirrored pain and hate. Let us hope we follow Marc Potts into the wild woods a begin learning to see, listen and know again the powers of the wood, streams, and trees that inhabit our wilderness.

Visit Marc Potts at www.marcpotts.com

essay by Earthwizard ©December 10, 2003

enjoy the ride: eartwizard@earthwisdom.info

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