Salamander by Paracelsus

A mythological salamander, as imagined by Paracelsus, an alchemist and physician from the 16th Century.

The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation. Auguste Rodin

I have been working on a new painting for the past two weeks. But it might be more accurate to say that for the past two weeks I have been working on several paintings as this canvas has been re-painted numerous times. Underneath the surface image there resides a lily pond, an aspen grove, a field of gold and black. Right now the painting is about a salamander and I believe that is the image which needed to emerge.

So why a salamander? Not sure -- but this is what I found in my research.

In some spiritual traditions, salamanders represent the soul which is purified by fire but cannot be destroyed. This metaphor arises from a piece of ancient folklore that asserts: if a salamander is thrown into the fire, it will emerge unharmed. This tradition has its origins in the habits of the salamandra salamandra. A forest native, the salamandra salamandra tends to hide in fallen leaves, rotting limbs and tree trunks. In earlier times, when human beings gathered fuel for their fires and added these materials to the hearth, quite often salamanders would emerge, seeming to arise from the heart of the flames.