Haunted Holidays: Ghost of the Past

Haunted Holidays: Ghost of the Past

Posted by Robyn Wall on

Week Twelve
December 19th through the 25th

The Ghost of the Past challenge was meant as a nod to The Ghost of Christmas Past, but as I hold no specific faith, the added challenge of creating something festive without a specific denomination seemed like a good one. You may remember that Ghost Witch was the first challenge I took on almost seven months ago. I wanted to ensure I went in a different direction than I did the first time.

The amount that has been learned since then is shocking. 

Getting past the Christmas-y aspect of this prompt was a bit of a challenge at first, and it was all I thought about for almost two days. The night of the second day of pondering, I had a vision. Well, it was just a dream, but still.

In this dream, I saw a Ghost of the Past present herself to me, candles jutting from her shoulders like strange armor. She hovered toward me, and the flames flickered a little. 

I scarcely even remembered this dream when I woke, but I began sketching like a madwoman as soon as I did. 


I asked my lovely little community what they thought of this week’s sketch, and this is what you had to say:


“The symmetry and the eyes are visually arresting.”

“Love the candles.”

“Absolutely gorgeous!” 


But no one, including me, could ever have predicted how this piece would turn out.

Things that went well with this week’s art piece:

~ Surreal Vibes

~ Use of color

On the not so great end of things:

~ Painting backward (ugh)

~ One eyebrow is lopsided

Now, the thing about this piece is that I knew she needed to be completed with white paint on black paper. Not a big deal if you think about it in simple terms. I’ve worked with black watercolor paper in the past. No problem. 

But with past paintings, I have always painted a negative image. Meaning, all the shadows were painted with white, and all the highlights were translucent, letting the black paper show through. This doesn't take any particular talent outside the box, as you can use all the same techniques you would if you were using black paint on white paper.

I was not satisfied with that, though. I just knew painting negative wouldn’t bring this piece to its full potential. 

This meant that all of the hard work I put in and all the skill I accumulated over the last six months of practice were essentially useless to me because I was going to have to turn everything I knew on its head!

For this piece, instead of letting the paper show through to be the highlights, I was building up layers and layers of paint for the lightest parts of the composition. It was complicated. 

So, for a long time, I wasn’t sure this piece would turn out okay. And in my hesitant state of mind, I failed to take proper process photos for you. But here is what I have. 

Well, what do you think?

Really ended this challenge with a bang, I think. It's funny; some of my best pieces may be the ones I was the most skeptical or nervous about. I suppose that will encourage me to do the riskier things with my work outside of these challenges.  


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