Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Cranky Rant, and Some Pagan Art

I love art, but I am picky.  Most art, I don't like. "Good art" is a slippery thing to try and define.  You might lay out exactly what that means to you, then a piece that defies it all will floor you and change your life.  Then another piece that meets all your criteria strikes you as just awful.  It really is best not to pin it down.  You like what you like!

When it comes to Pagan art, I am even pickier, more opinionated, and, well, cranky about it.  There are a couple of things that turn me off quicker than a light switch and one of them is pointy eared humans.  The moment I see long, pointy ears on someone other than Mr. Spock, I'm done.

Another thing I am sick of is the boobs!

In actuality, I don't mind boobs.  I swing both ways and before I met my husband, I was more a ladies' lady than not.  But it seems to me that images of witches and goddesses are as rife with unattainable and unrealistic body images as any issue of Harper's Bazaar.  Even while I was a member of a coven where most of us were young(ish) and female and slim(ish), none of us looked like that.

Sometimes it is appropriate, of course.  Aphrodite is a sex goddess.  It is great for Her to look like a sex kitten in images.  Demeter, not so much.

Okay, enough of my opinionated crankiness and on to what I have found that I think is really wonderful.

I will start with Thalia Took.

She makes these portraits of deities that are so simple, yet so expressive, and with an element of humor. It is as if the goddesses took a few minutes from their busy schedules to sit for their portraits.  I can almost hear the pregnant Artio (a Celtic Bear Goddess, according to Took) saying, "Okay, now's a good time."  For the most part, she shows a true understanding of the deities she portrays, and that is hard to find.

Be sure to explore Thalia Took's website and blog, Amused Grace.  Lots of interesting stuff.

But let us move on!  Let us consider Stuart Littlejohn, a brit from Devon, England who looks kind of like Aleister Crowley, and whose art has a ceremonial bent as well.

I like Littlejohn's work because it is kind of dark.  It is not just the style that is dark and wonderful, but the subject matter matches its darksomeness.  (It's a word now.)  Take this image of Sekhmet:

She is standing between two cliffs atop a mountain of bones and human skulls.  She is the Egyptian war goddess, and, according to Wikipedia, one of Her titles was "The Lady of Slaughter."  She was also associated with the desert and its creation, so naturally She would be a fearsome goddess of death and destruction.  I like that this work faces Her scarier aspects head on without sugar coating of any kind.

Here are a a couple more; Hekate and Brighde.

I mean, you do not mess with these women!

There are a few more artists that I want to explore and talk about, but since this post is running on a bit, I will save them for later in the week.  

Til next time, dear friends!

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