28 May

I’ve spent years in study and research of the flying witch. Though I’ve encountered what I believe to be more than my share of the species, I thought they were unable to actually fly with a broom. What I learned was most could fly, but preferred to use more conventional means of transport such as public transportation or personal vehicles; the latter resulting in most of my encounters. Anyway, the broom is traditional, but only used on Halloween. Hence, without regular practice, this carving depicts what occurs on October 30, practicing the night before Halloween to get ready for the big event.

While there are many old wives tales about witches, modern witches do not dress in the traditional black hat and robes for everyday wear. Many of them are actually quite fashionable. However, at Halloween, the dress code is strict; black hat and robes are the rule. This witch, however, has taken some liberties with her undergarments and shoes to be more stylish.

1. Prepare the blank. Cut out the side profile with a band saw. Sketch in the centerline and major landmarks. The left arm and leg are different from the ones on the right. Drill a 3/i6"-diameter hole for the broomstick. The hole is slightly off center to allow for the hat.

2. Block out the basic shapes. Use a variety of knives and carving gouges. As you carve away a section, redraw the centerline and landmarks. You can change a pencil line, but once you carve it, you're stuck with it. Separate the legs but leave them thick for strength until the rest of the carving is finished.

3. Rough shape the face. The carving depends on capturing  the witch's terrified expression. The cheekbone is the widest part of the face. The face narrows at the hairline, near the eyes, and as you approach the nose.

4. Block out the features. Narrow the nose to the eye line and angle the bottom of the nostrils. Draw in the eye mounds and the smile lines. Use a veinerto undercut the eye mounds.

5. Refine the features. Use a knife to cut across the cheek-bones and sweep up the sides of the nose, further narrowing the nose mass and defining the eye mounds. Smooth the eye mounds. Use a V-tool to carve the smile lines. Narrow the mouth area.

6. Carve the eyes. Draw the upper eyelids with a sharp pencil. Wrap the upper lids around the sides of the eye mounds. Cut the upper lids (only the thickness of an eyelid) and trim the eyeballs to the lids. Draw in the lower lids and trim the lower lids in with a thin cut. Draw in the mouth.

7. Carve the mouth. Open up the mouth, leaving teeth under the upper lip. Draw in the hair along the lower edge of the hat brim and relieve the hat back to define the hair. Draw the chin and use a gouge to define the chin and lower lip.

8. Carve the upper body. Block in the hands, thumbs, and fingers around the hole for the broomstick. Angle the forearms from the elbows to the wrists. 

9. Carve the lower body. Open up the dress behind the legs. You may need to approach the wood at an odd angle to clear the legs and still cut with the grain. Outline the legs, bloomers, and dress with a V-tool. The cuts made against the grain require a sharp tool and shallow cuts. Round and shape the legs.

10. Refine the dress. Use a V-tool to create the neckline. Separate the shoulders from the hair and dress, and narrow the neck. Use a gouge to carve a series of grooves in the dress. Make a few deeper cuts in the folds with a smaller gouge. Use the same gouge to add a visible slip to the lower edge of the dress

11. Add the details. Draw circles for the ankle bones, knees, elbows, and wrists. Then carve around the circles with a gouge. Thin the legs and arms, further defining the protruding bones. Detail the shoes and bloomers. Roll up the front and sides of the hat brim. Detail the hair and hands. Carve the broom.

12. Seal the carving. Apply boiled linseed oil to the entire carving with a l"-wide foam brush. Wipe off the excess oil with paper towels. Properly dispose of the used paper towels.

13. Prepare your palette. Put a line of small dots of acrylic paint on a paper palette. Load your brush with water and blend the water with the paint on the palette.

14. Shade with burnt sienna. Side load the brush with burn sienna mixed with water. Shade the areas of the exposed flesh, hair, and broom straw that would be naturally darker.

15. Paint the dress, hat, and bloomers. Load the brush with water and a small amount of soft black. Apply it to the dress, hat, and bloomers. Do not paint the hat band or bloomer ruffle. Gradually build the color with several light coats.

16. Base coat the hair and broom straw. Use a thin wash of primary yellow. The burnt sienna shading should still be visible.

17. Base coat the shoes, slip, and hat band. Use a thin wash of cherry red. Remember to gradually build the color with light layers. Paint the ruffle of the bloomers with light buttermilk.

18. Add the polka dots. Use a stylus orthe tip of a small paintbrush to add dots of undiluted light buttermilk to the slip, shoes, and hat band. Add dots of cherry red to the bloomer ruffle.

19. Shade the clothing. Side load the brush with black plum and shade the clothing. This adds depth to the shadows and richness to the color.

20. Highlight the hair. Add streaks of thinned cherry red to highlight the flowing texture of the hair. Paint the eyeballs and teeth with a thin wash of light buttermilk.

21. Paint the face. Paint the irises with forest green. Paint th center of the irises with hauser light green, leaving a ring of forest green. Paint the pupils with soft black and add highlights next to the pupils with light buttermilk. Shade the cheeks, lips, hands, and legs with a light wash of blush flesh.

22.  Seal the caring. Spray the entire carving with two to three light coats of matte acrylic sealer spray. 

MATERIALS:•    23A" x 5%" x 7" basswood (witch)•    V/2 x I1//' x 10" basswood (broom)•    2 each !4" x %" x 14" basswood(optional mobile)•    20-pound-test clear fishing line•    Paper towels•    Paper palette pad•    Boiled linseed oil•    Disposable 1"-widefoam brush•    Americana DecoArt acrylic paint: soft black, black plum, burnt sienna, cherry red, blush flesh, primary yellow, forest green, hauser light green, light buttermilk

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