Painting to Listen; John Potter’s Dream

John Potter “Walking Tall in the Beartooths,” Oil 7×10″

“Painting for me is a form of communication with our Creator, and of gratitude as well; for the life and beauty brought forth on this Earth, especially in our remaining wild places. Because of this, I feel a sense of responsibility for the privilege of painting, for the gift of the craft. Many painters are out there trying to be heard – I paint to listen.” – John Potter

Stay tuned, please, for this important message.

Plein air painter John Potter doesn’t reside in Jackson Holehe’s a Montana man and an Ojibwe. But his presence here is strong. He has many deep friendships, and though he doesn’t like to be the center of attention, his clear spirit, gorgeous paintings, humor, consideration, and deep connection to Nature often make him so. He dedicates his life to celebrating the land and what it provides.

Unfortunately, all too often Nature’s voice falls on deaf ears, even when calling out to us with all its majestic power. We urgently need to practice listening. We need to hear those who Nature has chosen to pass on its messages, and messages often appear as dreams.

Recently, Potter had an apocolyptic dream; a nightmare. He’s graciously given permission to share it with you. Potter’s dream is Mother Earth (She is simply the mother; there is nothing separate from her. All things come from her, return to her, and are her.- Encyclopedia Britannica) calling us to bear witness.

Miigwetch, John.

John Potter, “Walking Among Giants.” Oil 14×48″

“I’m up at 5 a.m. – not because I want to be, but because I feel DIRECTED to be. Compelled. TOLD to do so. 

“I slept very little this night, visited by horrific dreams rife with nightmarish images of Animals (wild and domestic) being tortured in ways most abhorrent. I saw new lives ended while still blind in their dens. Saw Creatures bloodied, dragged and maimed while in the death-grip of traps…or torn to pieces by hails of relentless gunfire and left writhing, crying on the forest floor.

John Potter, Painting in Progress

And in my dream I cried too, in great heaving sobs, wracked with the pain these images gave me. But it was not so much me that was crying as it was something else, crying through me, and I only wept along with it.

And through it all a voice, palpable, filling every space within and without me, more felt than heard, which said: “When your insanity and cruelty against the Wild Things of the Earth, and against the Earth itself, becomes more than Creator can bear, you will face a moment
beyond your comprehension. Tell them….”

John Potter, “Coming Thunder.” Oil. 16 x 12″

I dragged myself from sleep, and from my bed, eyes still wet.

Believe what you will. Call all of this…the railings of a broken heart, but I’ve done what I was told to do. Thanks for reading. Try to listen to your Heart. Find Peace.

Plein air artists have always proclaimed and protected what the Creator provides. They are amongst our strongest witnesses. In Jackson, John Potter is represented by Mountain Trails Gallery.  His work is part of the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s permanent collection. In 2008 he received that museum’s Robert Kuhn Award

And we’re excited to learn Potter’s art will be featured in the July/August 2017 of Art of the West  magazine, celebrating 30 years chronicling Western art this year. That is saying something! 

Artist’s website:


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