July 25th through July 31st
The Kitchen Witch Aesthetic involves a fine balance of hanging flowers and herbs, owning a mortar and pestle, knowing every spice by heart, “have you eaten yet?” and endless tea at the perfect temperature. It's a relatively popular type of witch.
Yet these concepts overlapped with other challenges, and that made me hesitant to go a traditional route. My Death Witch from last week had a sort of kitchen feel to it with the boiling cauldron and mortar and pestle on the counter. And I’ll be taking on a Tea Witch in a couple of weeks that could have a similar vibe. So I took a lot of time to think about how I wanted to represent my version of a Kitchen Witch.
While brainstorming, I remembered a scene from a movie I love: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Queenie magically prepares a meal for Newt and Jacob. With a wave of her wand, there are ingredients floating to their predetermined destination, and assembling themselves, a knife chops a carrot in mid-air. “You prefer strudel, huh honey,” Queenie says and pastry crust cooks to a crisp gold brown color.
And so, this sketch came into existence. A Kitchen Witch reading her recipe while she uses her magic to prepare the ingredients for her meal. It was a touch on the Disney Princess side, in my opinion. Which, you know, is not a bad thing, it just is not the style I prefer working in. And I am honestly not sure if I pulled it off in a way that isn’t Disney Princess-y but that’s okay. Not every piece can be an exact representation of my style.
Here is a brief insight into how I work in the studio; I almost never know the color pallet I am going to use until I paint. Even then, a lot of decisions are made spontaneously. This can lead to some not great choices occasionally but I find that planning out my color scheme can actually be detrimental to a piece, more so than spontaneity. I let my pieces speak to me. It is sort of an intuition I tap into when I am in the studio that guides me in the right direction.
Purple is the color of magic and mystery and I believe that is the reason I was compelled to have purple as the dominant color of this piece. The skin tone went alright this week but I definitely need some more practice with darker skin tones. I have faith that I will get there soon. The eyes and the hair are my favorite parts of this witch. Even though I struggled with the eyelashes, I just love the goddess vibes that the lack of pupils gives.
The food aspect of this piece was pretty difficult for me. I have very little experience painting or even drawing food, so I was only working with instinct here. Mostly, I think they turned out pretty okay. I also find my choice of recipe rather entertaining. I just knew when I sketched that I wanted to have a line of sliced, floating vegetables and so the first recipe that came to mind was Ratatouille. In a weird sort of way, it makes sense. I have a fascination with France and also the movie with the little rat chef is one of my favorites.
My instincts do not always serve me as well as I hope they will. The background of this piece is the perfect example of that. I thought I could execute the purple swirling magic after all the other aspects of this piece were complete but this lead to bleeding, over-painting, and the need for touch-ups. I should have used my masking fluid to protect the floating food before I began painting. Hopefully, this is something I will remember in the future.
Everything worked out pretty okay in the end though. This extra virgin olive oil is one of my favorite parts.
As you can see, the bleeding was terrible for the thyme, which is unfortunate because it looked amazing prior to me trying to add the background.
These teaspoons are adorable, if a little wobbly.
This group of veggies turned out much better than I thought they would. At first, the tomatoes and onion were a bit of struggle, but they pulled through in the end.
The cutting board looks so good with the woodgrain pattern drawn on. It is a touch difficult to tell if this veggie is a zucchini or a cucumber, but isn’t that how it is in real life too? Spoiler: it’s a zucchini.
Looking up reference photos of the inside of an eggplant gave me a merry laugh. The image search results are pretty funny; picture men in eggplant costumes. Anyway, the eggplant needed a lot of touching up after my background attempt because they were slightly over-painted and bled a little. The touch-ups seem to have done the trick though because I think they look great.
I love the recipe book has such a worn feel to it. Makes it appear as though it was passed down from generation to generation. That or this Kitchen Witch is hundreds of years old and maintains her youthful appearance with the blood of her enemies. She must be friends with last week’s Death Witch.
The final touches were to outline everything. I have to say, micron pens are probably one of the best investments I have made in the last year. I should buy a set of color ones I think.
Despite the Disney Princess vibes, I totally adore this piece. I think it would make an excellent addition to anyone’s kitchen décor.