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Witch-Finder of Lilburn
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Inspired by this vintage anatomical illustration of the Milk Line, I set out to make a Witchfinder's chart of the marks of a witch.

Final:


Many of the signs discussed in the Malleus Malleficarum are esoteric, not really lending much visually, so I borrowed some of the classic signs of a werewolf. Another problem was that my original and cooler ideas were not going to be family-friendly here in the States, so I had to drape her a bit.

Drawing 1 shows the linework. I used blue-black rather than black, as true black might have been hard to come by a century or three ago. The calligraphy appears blacker than blue-black, and I don't know why exactly. So it doesn't have the look of a consistent tool or inkwell, but that's OK. I decided that the supernumery nipples should be color-only rather than delineated, and whited them out. By which I mean carefully sanded, scraped, covered with white paint, and cussed and prayed. Paper is pretty unforgiving of ink.

The colors are a combination of acrylics, gouache, watercolor, and a vivid Berol Prismacolor for the red on that banner (and the final "Devil's Marks"). Mostly drab with one vivid hue seems fair to history.

The first couple of characters on the banner are an e above the Thorn symbol, which looks like a Y but sounds like "TH," and was used for abbreviating such as "The," which is where we get "Ye Olde" from.

The signs are:
Convergent brows (unibrow-I'm proud of mine and will NEVER shave it thank you)
Bloodless wart
Inability to shed tears
Hag stone
Index finger is longest on hand
Hairy palms
Harpy feet
The Devil's Mark
The script I used is not typical of the 1700s; it's much older.

I tried some alternative aging methods, to avoid the heartbreak (and pressure to start over) of blurred calligraphy. Anyway, first I dumped out my ashcan onto it, from about 8 months of pipe smoking. I scraped it around with a feather and let it sit there for a while. Much of it was unburned, as is typical of pipe smoking, and some of the oils soaked into the paper, but not enough to notice. So, short of letting it sit for years to see if that gave an authentic aged look to it, I called this ineffective.

Tried the same thing with ashes from the fireplace. That grayed it a bit, but still not enough. So I went back to faithful old coffee, applied some on the corners and edges.

It lacked credentials. So I made a seal-type stamp from polymer clay (remember to make your letters backward) and put a few crude stamps on it from the WFG High Command, with footnotes etc. Then I folded it into thirds, forward and back, several times, lengthwise and widthwise. Nothing on paper lasts this long without folds. Everything gets folded.

The frame is at least 80 years old and falling apart. Despite this it still lacked age. I smeared vaseline onto the glass thinly, and sprinkled soot onto it to make the glass dusty. That I liked a lot at first but there was none on the wood part of the frame and there likely won't be on other stuff in the room, so why heap it onto the glass? Also it brought out the fact that there was no brownish aging at the center of my picture, closer to the figure and the text. So I cleaned it off and removed the pic.

This time I put coffee basically all over it. And of course the calligraphy smeared and blurred.
 

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Looks nice.. I assume you did some work on the frame as well.
 

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Witch-Finder of Lilburn
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Didn't touch the frame, other than replacing the glass and attaching wire. It's just really old. Looks like they hand or spray-painted gold onto it once, long ago. Whatever you call the flourishy acanthus-like stuff in the corners is just falling right off. I had to use finishing nails, at an angle, to hold it all in in back, as I didn't know any other way.
 

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I agree with SKA, I thought I was looking at the original. The frame and picture are great!!
 

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Panic time is here!
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Looks authentic to me.
Thanks for the explanations. I was wondering about the blue stamps on the picture. Now I know you made them.
 

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I love the look and as others have said, it does look original! Now I'll have to check out a few "select" neighbors to see if they have any of the signs...:eek:
 

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Amateur by definition.
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Really nice detail. It looks like early American Art you see on Antiques Roadshow.
 

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Batty Beautiful
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I lovet this prop. like everyone else said, at first I thought that was the inspiration piece!
 

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Volat cum ea suas alas.
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Can I comission a piece from you, titled Signs of PMS?? I guess it would be pretty much the same artwork...
 
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