Saturday, 23 November 2013

Baba Jaga

Here's my second entry from this year's Rotten Harvest - Baba Jaga. I entered her into the "Witches and Warlocks" category but the competition there was quite strong and in the end she didn't get to top 3. I painted her as a gift for my father's birthday who used to read and make up his own tales to me and my brothers when we were kids. He has a fantastic, deep voice and does a really good job of creating a unique atmosphere while reading/telling tales. Those stories are some of my fondest memories from the childhood.


 Baba Jaga is a mythical creature that is common for Slavic folklore. She is usually presented as an old, disgusting woman who lives deep in the forest. Her only companions are wild animals and other, often supernatural beings. She is almost always accompanied by a black cat, a crow or a snake. There are some tales in which Baba Jaga is kind to honest and brave heroes but mostly she is a malevolent being who enjoys making other people's lives miserable. In some stories she even captures people (mostly children), only to kill and devour them. Despite all her flaws, she is also an ancient creature who is strongly attached to nature and, if pushed, will do everything to protect it. This twisted character can also be seen in modern literature. Rhea of Coos from Stephen King's "Dark Tower" is a good example. Not to mention Zoraida from the Bayou...

I've always enjoyed these folklore tales. Seeing how how various artists portray Baba Jaga has always been fascinating for me. I knew that I would eventually try to paint a miniature that is close to my vision of Baba Jaga. Wyrd's Cauldron Witch fit perfectly. An old woman wearing worn out rags and holding a black cat by its tail. I'd probably like it even more if she was on a broom but a cauldron suits her just as well. After choosing the proper miniature I knew that I would try to emphasize the fact that she is flying. In order to do that, I prepared tall rocks and placed two trees made of wire and plenty of green stuff on top of them. 

Attaching the Autumn foliage took forever as I had to glue every small bit separately. I also painted the base so that it would look like a swamp and finished it off by adding two small tufts of grass and covering it with a few layers of Vallejo still water. I also used a special paint to make the contents of her cauldron glow in the dark. And that's pretty much it, my Baba Jaga is ready to leave her forest. She's most likely up to no good.

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