Easter Witch Watercolor Painting

Easter witch tradition in Finland and watercolor painting process.


Almost everyone knows of the egg painting Easter tradition. But if you're not from Finland or Sweden, you might not know about Easter witches. In Finland children decorate willow twigs with colorful feathers and other decorations on Sunday, one week before Easter. Then they dress up as Easter witches and go door to door kind of like trick or treating for Halloween. The children say a little poem to wish good health and then they give away the decorated willows in exchange for Easter eggs or other candy. This Easter tradition is a mix of religious and non-religious Finnish customs and there's a similar tradition in Sweden as well.

Easter witch tradition in Finland and watercolor painting process.

Watercolor Painting Process


For my Easter artwork I painted a little girl dressed up as a witch and carrying the willow twigs decorated with feathers. You can watch the painting process video here. I started by drawing a small thumbnail sketch to figure out the arrangement and the color scheme. I narrowed down the colors to mostly blue and orange, yellow and purple, which is a double complementary color scheme. I used a few reference photos mixing different things from them. One of them was of myself as a child. She's dressed colorfully and has a scarf tied around her head and freckles painted on her cheeks. There's also a little flying witch silhouette against the moon.

As usual I drew the sketch on grid paper and used the grid method to get the proportions right. And then I transferred the sketch onto watercolor paper using graphite transfer paper. I don't like to draw directly on watercolor paper, 'cause if you have to erase it, you'll break the surface of the paper and it will show through the painting. And this way I can also use the same sketch for other purposes, like ink it to make a coloring page for my Etsy shop.

I used Cotman watercolors and painted on rough, 250 gsm cold-press watercolor paper. I layered the background to get it darker. For the skin tone I mixed cadmium yellow, cadmium red, burnt sienna and white this time. I tried not to paint right beside wet parts so that the colors don't mix, when I don't want them to. I left the darkest parts for last: the witch silhouette in the moon and the willow twigs and eyelashes.

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Happy Easter!

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