A New Angle on Prometheus

Breaking Ground on a New Painting

Zeus was outraged. He decreed that Prometheus be punished by being bound to Mount Caucasus, where a vulture was to come each morning and eat away his liver which would grow again at night. This element in the myth, incidentally, is a vivid symbol of the creative process. All artists have at some time had the experience at the end of the day of feeling tired, spent, and so certain they can never express their vision that they vow to forget it and start all over again on something else the next morning. But during the night their “liver grows back again.” They arise full of energy and go back with renewed hope to their task, again to strive in the smithy of their soul.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

In today’s reading Rollo May has astonished me yet again. From my youth, I’ve heard heard the myth of Prometheus, but with no interpretation, only the gory details. May’s interpretation of this myth as the nightly restoration of the artist to begin again the following morning has suddenly become medicine for my soul. This last week at the university tired me out, and the knowledge of a new class made me crumple a little more. But thanks to a weekend in the Redlands Hotel, I feel renewed, and eager to begin the next painting as well as the next lecture.

Yesterday I broke ground on a new watercolor, drawing in a few essential details, then masquing a myriad of objects that needed protection from the initial washes. Early this morning I laid in the sky, then masqued some more on the landscape elements. Now I’m ready to plunge up to my elbows into the forest behind the pair of mounted mules. I’m anticipating as much fun as a kid in a sandbox as I work with pencils, brushes, Xacto knife, stale bread crumbs, salt, spritzing bottle, and plenty of surprises. Hopefully by the time I’m finished playing, a forest will have emerged. Then I’ll move on to the pair of mounted mules in the creek below.

As the watercolor goes through its series of drying stages, I’ll move to the desk and work on next Wednesday’s ethics lecture (university will be closed for Labor Day). I love this old feel of moving back and forth between making a piece of art and reading/writing in preparation of a new lecture. Always, the dual aspects of art and scholarship have fed each other, nurtured each other. I’m expecting this to continue throughout the semester. Not only do I hope to continue creating art worth looking at (and purchasing, of course), but I also hope to steal fire from the gods and give it to the university students. And every time I experience fatigue, I hope a decent night’s sleep will yield a fresh morning after, my liver restored, and a readiness to face the new day of possibilities. Thanks to Rollo May, The Courage to Create has been creating new fire within my soul along with a procreant urge to create new material for the gallery and the university.

Back to work now . . . Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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3 Responses to “A New Angle on Prometheus”

  1. Jasrameshen Says:



  2. Dian Darr Says:

    Love this interpretation! I need a nightly renewal!


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