I found this drawing, half started, still line art, in my office. I had actually started her three years ago, but there she was, unfinished. I had imagined some sort of monster, perhaps a dragon or a kraken, devouring the lady. Was she Cleolinda, St. George's princess, or perhaps Andromeda, rescued by Perseus? Both of these women weren't heroes, but rather pawns: tied, bound, sacrificed, rescued, or saved by men. But when I took the paper out to work on her again, the lightly-sketched lines identified someone else: Daphne, that tragic character from Greek myth. She was a nymph who fell on the wrong side of Cupid's game. Apollo, pierced by the gold-tipped arrow, desired Daphne, but Cupid, the God of Love, had already hardened her heart with a lead-tipped arrow, and her would-be, could-be love turned to fear, and so she ran from Apollo. She ran until she knew she'd be caught, and then she called upon her father, a river god, to save her. Her fear must have been real and terrifying: it was the God of the Sun who chased her. Did his love, and his proximity, burn her skin? Is that why she ran to her father and the water? Did she seek him out so she wouldn't burn? He obliged, but it was the end of Daphne. Caught between Apollo's desire and her father's rescue, Daphne was lost, turned into a laurel tree. Apollo tore the leaves from her body and wove them into his hair.
Jessica Marie Boehman, "Daphne" Copyright 2017. Graphite on Arches hot press paper. Please do not reproduce or repost without permission.