This is the most unusual set of dolls I’ve yet to paint, as the first one is actually a mushroom! I’ve had this set in my possession for months before an idea hits me, quite unfortunately, right before bedtime. There goes the night’s sleep—and the rest of the weekend. A sore back, a neglected Anthony, and three days later, it’s finally finished.

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As far as I’m concerned, the tale of Hansel and Gretel has it all: Cruel parents, child labor, binge eating, cannibalism…who can ask for anything more?

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I always find the illustration of the witch in most “Hansel and Gretel” unrealistic. If you’re going to lure children into your candy-coated house, its interior ordinary in every way and perhaps even dusty, you’re going to want to look like a walking treat yourself, not some nasty old hag whose very appearance promises an unhappily ever after.

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I want my witch to look like she’s been dipped in chocolate and decorated with mouth-watering candies.

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I forgo the usual reindeer and snowflakes motif in favor of Viking helmets on Hansel’s Fair Isle sweater and cupcakes on Gretel’s.

Like most of the sets I’ve painted, this one was a trial and a delight to paint. I’m glad it’s finished and my muse is momentarily pacified, giving me a day off to leave the house and see a movie.

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