Hope Stayed in the Box

By Loel Kathmann | January 24, 2021

My paintings are my diary. And my diary is part therapy, part meditation, part practice in gratitude. Far less Pollyanna and far more survivalist, this brand of gratitude is simply the art of drawing attention to something lovely—an especially useful practice when immersed in an experience that is anything but.

The pandemic experience lends itself to this sort of light-in-the-dark storytelling and has sparked and helped me bring into focus a steady stream of concepts, the Pandora series being the most recent.


Loel Kathmann, Pandora (Hope stayed in the box) no. 2, watercolor and 23K gold on paper, 8”x10” 2020


Thanks for this series belongs to my husband who was inspired by and shared with me an article, “Pandora’s Box: Hope in the Time of COVID-19.” At first a reminder of the story of Pandora—the first woman on Earth, created as punishment for Prometheus who stole fire and gave it to men, gifted a box by Zeus she was told to never open, and overcome by a curiosity that led her to unwittingly unleash a host of evils in the world—the article adds depth to the mythology with an intriguing cogitation on hope.

Yes, Pandora opened the box. But. She snapped it shut in time to preserve the hope within. And here we are left with a choice. Some interpret this hope as tinged with darkness, feeding a vicious cycle of uplift and suffering. Some see the hope lit by the pure light of comfort.

I think that right now it is important to make that hope the comfort kind. In my Pandora piece published here, hope is gilded. And the rest of the story is told with a loose floral in fiery smoky colors, a nod to Prometheus’ thieving ways and an acknowledgement that evil is often cloaked in pretty.


Copyright © 2021 Loel Kathmann
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  1. C. J. Lori on February 5, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    An apt metaphor and a lovely piece of art!

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