Like all painters I have been forever trying new ways of carrying and presenting my kit.
In the beginning (wayyy back in 2000), all that was available was the blue plastic trays for Snazaroo. Nice idea but the blue looked very kiddy, they snapped really easy and I soon had them all taped around the edges, and the lids didn’t last long either. Plus I didn’t stick with Snazaroo paints for long, and other paint brands didn’t fit in unless I gouged them out of their pots.
I went back to my art school roots and had a small black artists toolbox with everything, then when I was doing a lot of big mad music festivals, a larger upright toolbox with wheels. I rightly thought that would be tougher than the arty ones, it wheeled OK across endless fields and didn’t take up too much floor-room in a tent.
For bookings in New Zealand I cut right down to a small packable kit.
Living on a catamaran in Hong Kong, relying on boats, buses and taxis and no lifts in buildings, I learnt I had to be minimal. I reduced down to 2 laptop sized inserts in a ‘clamshell’ lidded palette box, which was carried in a rucksack or shopping trolley with all the other bits. I had a good look at the pull-about makeup kits a lot of makeup artists there had. A waste of time, too small, the larger were too heavy, too complicated, not sturdy enough and really only any use in nice flat makeup studios.
When we emigrated back to the UK, I switched to a bigger handled bigger wheeled much larger ‘trunk’ toolbox . This was fab for trundling through the Norfolk woodland theme park to my daily painty gig for several years at Bewilderwood, as originally they only gave me a platform with a dodgy parasol to work under. So everything had to be sturdy and very waterproof for the British weather all year – I could stuff everything back in it fairly fast if it rained. (Not always fast enough). I still have this, it stores all my acrylic craft paints & brushes I use when I am doing murals and urban art statues. It is fab as I can stand or sit on it to reach higher.
Bewilderwood then built my a stunning painting treehouse, in keeping with the rest of the park, but with a tiny shelf to paint on – I was in the middle with 2 stencillers and a till on either side, so I really had to downsize again.
Eventually I upgraded to a ‘DJ Hero’ Case which was a style I liked better as you could more or less open the lid and be ready to paint. However the legs were rubbish, and had to be carried separately, it was heavy and awkward to carry, and quite flimsy as it was just cardboard walls (not waterproof either).
I then converted a golf flight case which was even heavier but I also magnetised that so paints etc with magnets taped on would stick and not slide about. I liked that idea but never did have the tools to attach a salvaged suitcase extending handle, or wheels.
Eventually I bit the bullet and imported a Craft N Go, the smaller paint station specially designed with painters in mind. It’s not perfect – the handle even with the extension is a bit short for me (I’m fairly tall) and I would prefer a stiff extending handle. The attached legs are still a little wibbly if bumped, but its pretty darn good. Tough shell (I went for black as most corporate gigs ask for all black setups), OK wheels (not much ground clearance for gravel/ field gigs, but I tend to stick it all in a big trolley anyway), magnetised base and inner lid.
I’v had it for several years now and its seen a lot of use at my own bookings and demos as well as being the test kit for the Paintopia shop at events. The inner lid metal was stained – I’ve tried various cleaners and even isopropyl but no joy. Its had mirror acrylic etc magnetized on at various points but now I wanted a change. The black gloss sticky backed vinyl on the base boards was also stained and a bit nicked and dinged.
I’m doing much less work abroad now the kids are older, so I also wanted to go back to single colours in the palette inserts (minus the lidded palette box) rather than repotted doubled up paints in a tray, its easier to keep track of the dates and batch numbers of the paints for insurance purposes when they are in their original pots anyway . (But do take a photo of the base and note the date you started the paint as some labels do get worn away!).
So – Part 2 is re-doing my CraftnGo…
This was the 2nd occasion artist Mel Broom and maker Stephen Duross had hosted this event. The inaugural day last January 2018 was a huge success, with a massive queue of public waiting for hours to get in to see the artwork as it happened and then returning for the catwalk. This year the larger Glastonbury town hall was booked, and the theme was Gods & Goddesses.
As it was just after a busy Halloween/ Christmas season, I’d really not had much time to think about what to paint. I knew I wanted to do something from the Mayan Pantheon, as I’d been fascinated by the art and ruins I saw when we lived in Belize. I was lucky as when I was a kid, my stepmother chaired the Mundo Maya coalition of governments/ tourist boards who went to visit lots of Maya ruins around Central America, deciding which to open up to tourists in what is now the very well known Mayan routes. I ended up doing my BSc thesis on Mayan medicinal plants, etc!
Then we heard the horrific news that Jocelyn Casdorph, a well known face and body artist, who worked and taught internationally, had been killed by her husband over Christmas. Her designs (and own cheerful face) inspired many and I wanted to paint a tribute to her. I’d been thinking of maybe doing IxChel, the moon goddess. As well as being patron of weaving and the moon, she looked after women and had escaped a jealous angry husband herself. So, I had a story for my paint, and a vague idea, but I designed as I painted on the day!
I used my Cricut Maker to cut feathers I had drawn out of various foils and papers, to represent Quetzal bird feathers. You can’t get them – the stunning iridescent birds are threatened so now protected in Guatemala, etc – and although similar to peacocks I decided to stick to paper.
I also designed some jaguar print stencils as that is another animal product often worn by Mayans. (As it was I forgot the largest ones I meant to use on the day so the smaller ones had to do. I also forgot half of the paper clay jaguar teeth which were still drying). Paintopia sell my #cutbycat jaguar print stencil.
It was a cold, frosty morning when I collected Izabela and drove down to Glastonbury. She’d a terrible cough so was really amazing to insist on modelling for me. We checked in with Mel, Stephen and Debs, and set up in the space we had been allocated under the lovely chandeliers. I’d bought both of the Paintopia TML Makeup Lights I look after with me, so set them up to light as many artists as I could at our end of one row. And got painting!
There were lots of breaks for teas and lovely food (thanks everyone, luxury!) and the world’s largest baked potato. The public were allowed in from lunchtime, so we then painted whilst also being filmed, photographed and chatted to. I think Izabela’s most controversial question from a child was why she was drinking coffee! As always even the kids were fascinated, it is art and nobody is naked.
Artists and models were all levels of experience, age and shape, painting together so there was a huge range of styles. You had ‘old hands’ such as myself, Liz Bylett, Jenny Marquis, Erica Wafford etc, models who have had dozens of paints a year like Izabela, and newer makeup artists/ face painters too. Then there was the famous Linda Ravenscroft who tried her 1st body painting last year at this event and created a fab Morrigan.
Jenny’s model had stepped in last minute and did amazingly on her first ever bodypaint, as did the recipient of the days’ takings who ran the Childrens World Charity.
And Sam the local Blacksmith rocked the catwalk as a cheerfully aggressive Thor! there were some fab collaborations as well, with famous armour maker Terry English lending some of his metal work to help decorate models who had no artists for whatever reason. Somehow Mel & Debs painted them and more!
I always put up a blurb about my paint for those too shy to ask, its in jade green below.
Goddess Ix Chel (rhymes with sea -shell)
All props made from paper by Cat
Ix Chel is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Rainbows, Weaving, and Childbirth.
I painted a moon over a Mayan temple (memories of visiting family friends at various ruins around MesoAmerica, and moonrises over the pyramids in Guatemala with me now-husband). Her dark blue skin was also meant to represent the night sky and constellations were added as random splatters or jaguar skin shaped patterns.
She is sometimes shown as a beautiful girl with sparkling skin sat in a crescent moon with her rabbit, brushing her shimmering hair.
I reused the amazing dread extensions I made years ago, that have been added to so many of my bodypaints and own outfits. Dark multicoloured wools, peacock feathers, shining silky ribbons…
In one tale, her amazing woven cloth attracted her love, the sun-god. Her grandfather didn’t approve of him, and accidentally killed her with lightning, but dragonflies surrounded and sang to her body for months, until she came back to life and married her sun god.
I re-used the dragonfly wings made for the Prosthetics show bodypaint in 2017 on my Cricut. This had involved scanning in a real dead dragonfly I had from when I ran Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve Education Centre, then painstakingly cleaning up he image online. I then cut it out in various sizes from all sorts of paper, card and acetate which I sprayed gold.
Sadly he was a jealous, abusive husband, and Ix Chel transformed into an invisible jaguar to escape him and hide whenever he looked for her.
I added blue jaguar spots over strips of yellow, like the Mayan costumes shown in some carvings. Also the paper clay fangs were added as jewellery.
She continued her work, helping women, weaving the life cycle, and keeping the souls of the dead.
I drew the mayan feathered serpent, which reminds me of the world serpent legend, surrounding a skull design that poor Jocelyn was known for.
This paint contains a skull design inspired by the face & body paint artist Jocelyn Casdorph, who could not escape her husband on Christmas Eve and lost her life. Her art brought colour and joy to many, and inspired other painters. I hope her story also inspires anyone seeing signs of, or trapped in domestic abuse, to reach out.
The hall filled up for the catwalk, standing room only! I ended up jumping in to help guide/ time models, which was fun.
Its a long day for the models and as Iz had to get to a casting in Manchester the next day, we didn’t stay long after the catwalk. Models were dancing on platforms and posing for photos so we had some quick shots then packed up and de-accessorised Izabela. I handed out the Cameleon soap samples Jennie had sent from the Paintopia Shop (it cleans skin as well as brushes) and we trundled my gear back to the car.
Huge thanks to all the organisers and everyone who came, a lovely creative event and a decent amount was raised for Children’s World!
This was a lovely booking from @beyondrepair dance company. Their client had booked the roof terrace and 2nd floor of Jamie’s Italian in London Piccadilly for their own pride/ football party above the crowds.
It is actually now faster AND easier for me to get into central London from Bath Spa (my nearest train station then) than it was when I lived ‘in’ London!
I knew Pride In London and other events on that day would mean public transport would be awful, especially with my full kit box and tall makeup chair, so I took along my trusty wheeled trolley wagon.
As expected my nice taxi driver had to drop my about half way to Piccadilly, and leave me amongst the millionaires clothes shopping in New Bond Street (its the world’s most expensive shopping street, FYI) to tow my kit to the restaurant. As I was in full homemade rainbow outfit (I’ll do a blog on that) I didn’t fit in well…
All was going well until I realised I still had to cross Regent Street… which meant crossing the parade! It took about 30 minutes to get to the front of the crowd at one of the designated crossing points, and a bit longer until a gap in the parade allowed myself and some late wedding guests to dash over.
I was set up in a lovely corner looking down 1 street to the Pride crowds, and the other street to crowds watching the important football match on giant screens.
The clients were fab, sadly though they offered me some of the lovely food they were all grazing on I was too busy from start to finish to stop and eat! Some had already been DIY face painting with a rainbow stripe stick.
These designs were all freehand or using the #cutbycat stencils available from my own shop and PaintopiaBodyArtSupplies
I finished my shift and started heading back to the station; as before no taxis and still some crowds and the tail end of the Pride parade to negotiate – all very colourful! I got some Churros as my treat whilst waiting for the train home.
Angela was amazing as always, letting me stick a unicorn horn I’d made onto her rather funky feathery clip-in mohican, then going out in full punk anti-corn mood to harass the public, guests and even cars! The response was so much fun I though I’d have a go at a full body one for my next demo.
Paintopia Jenn kindly asked me to demo for her at the extremely busy Prosthetics Event, which is always hosted by the guru that is Neil Gorton. Angela was our other demo artist, painting her own model this time, and I was decorating Rachel Shar Marston for the 1st time – I’d seen her modelling at the UK FP con and nabbed her!
I love researching each bodypaint and this one was inspired by horse armour worn on medieval battle horses, with the non-rainbow unicorn twist.
One thing I had been thinking on was how to get different pale ombre effect shapes on top of dark tones, so I tried adding sticky star vinyl shapes I’d had my Cricut cut sheets of on top of each of 4 layers of darkening paints on Rachael, in different places on each layer.
Our work experience makeup student, Steve, (he was brilliant, had his first try at body painting on Rachaels legs too and is hopefully now addicted) had the fiddly job of finding and peeling off all these stars after I’d added the black final layer, to reveal different shades under each.
It worked, I’ll use that method again. Paints used were Paradise white, Superstar Blue and Snow petrol, Cameleon Teal, Inkheart and Gothic black from the Paintopia Shop.
I wanted to try some different techniques, so has been talking to Cricut Uk re their new Cricut Maker machines which can cut my custom designs in much thicker materials than my current Cricut Air (which is 3 versions older). The plan was to do thick foam armour, cut on a Maker. Amazingly, they lent me a Cricut Maker to try all my ideas on! Typically I spent so long fiddling (making my mock-ups, so I could scan them to be cut in the foam etc) that I when I hit a fault with the special tool I had I didn’t have time to get it sorted by their helpful team in the USA. Not a problem: I switched back to thinner material and ended up with a much prettier less tough and scary ‘armour’.
I’ve a fab giant foam horse head ‘hat’ I made on an EVA foam course with Alex Hansen, and wanted to do a variation on that. Preferable one I could easily recreate by scanning into my Cricut. I sketched and made mini versions, then scanned in my design, to make it cut out and then be tweaked again. Eventually I had a mini version of a 3D horse head which I planned to make in thick foam.
I drew a curly baroque engraving inspired doodle, scanned it in and then added shapes and patterns in Cricut Design Space until I ended up with a unicorn horned, spiky, shape. This I cut in various sizes and formations (sticking it to itself, elongating it, etc) from Hobbycraft Glitter card, metallic green textured card, Cricut faux leather, etc. I also cut and mirrored it to make ‘spikes’.
Pro photos by Ben Bentley
These shapes were layered into Rachels hair and glued onto her body with cosmetic adhesive (I sell the fine tipped cosmetic glitter tattoo application kits). I also had the Cricut cut thin foam ‘hooves’ for all four of her limbs which we glued to her wrists and shoes. We decided the smaller horse head looked better as a protective shoulder pauldron and glued it on there.
The wool and feather dreads on elastic I bough years ago on Ebay and have added to, they have been in so many bodypaints! One was tied into her hair under the horse-neck armour, the other was tied round her waist as a ‘tail’
Some one stroke leather strapping, gluing on and painting the dozens of assorted sized unicorn horns I’d made form paper clay (I sell them too), some fine glitter tattoo work and Rachel was finished, all whilst answering questions from the curious crowds.
She swaggered off in appropriately punk-ish mood, swinging the original giant foam horse head, sneering with attitude which was perfect for her character, and posed for photos until the stage show.
Thanks to everyone involved, brilliant, busy event as always and I hope to see you all there next year!
My final official Cricut Uk Crafter of the Month project is based on a holiday that was very popular over the border from Belize where I used to live – the Day of the Dead celebrations. They seemed very joyful with families cleaning and decorating their ancestral graves and alters to welcome back their ghosts. Papal picado (colourful intricately cut paper flags / banners) decorate everything, and the too-pretty-to eat compressed sugar skull or coffin decorations are left out.
I was really glad when Day of the Dead style face paint started getting popular in the UK. I get fed up of being asked for blood and gore all the time, especially at Halloween, and the Sugar Skull genre gives so many creative possibilities as well as a kinder, happier, more colourful vibe. Now its all anyone wants in October (and many other months too).
Looking at the lovely materials Cricut UK sent me to try, I decided that the red and orange pearl papers, glitter sparkle card, black cardstock and some Hobbycraft white glitter card needed to be used.
I set up the Cricut Design Space (CDS) using the same flower shapes I’d made for my Once Upon A Time demo, and cut them in different sizes and materials.
Again in CDS, using the simple shapes, I built an upright headdress shape in several layers, and added flowers and sugar skull shapes to be cut out of it. I hoped this would give a stiffened lace mantilla effect.
I curled and then glued the flowers together to look like marigolds and other blossoms.
Rhyana was able to come over early one Saturday (squeezing this in before I had a 10 hour UV paint booking in an immersive rave!) and I started painting in the giant eye sockets and shading her to look more hollowed out.
Using a lacy stencil I’d cut, I added colour to make it seem as if Rhyana had a lacy carved or decorated surface to her skull.
Then we pinned in the various Cricut accessories and voila…
I hope this might help some of you with Halloween costume inspiration.
So that’s the last of my 3 official Cricut Crafter of the Month projects, but I’ve several more I’ll be posting as I do use it all the time, not just for face & body paints.
Thanks for looking and thanks to Cricut UK and all the models involved with this – and Mark for the amazing coral body paint photos!
As said in the Chasing Coral post, I’m delighted to have been asked by Cricut UK to demo what I do with their machine – I own a Cricut Explore Air and am saving for a Cricut Maker.
This time model Izabela fancied something pink and pretty. She likes insects and I thought a butterfly look might be more interesting for people who have kids or need fancy dress/ festival ideas etc.
I’d an idea of a flapper-festival-fairy sort of thing so that is what I created.
All photos taken by myself on my phone this time so do excuse the quality!
Short timelapse and final photos:
I found several free clipart jpegs of butterfly wings online, and I played around with them in Cricut Design Space (CDS). I strengthened veins and added cut out shapes as well as joining up any ‘loose’ ends.
I arranged my chosen wing on the CDS matt as single wings (mirroring it so I could do symmetrical headgear), as pairs like a real butterfly, and welded into strips like butterfly lace.
I positioned as many as possible into the size & shape of the material I wanted to cut them from and attached them before cutting with my Cricut Explore Air in assorted sizes and materials.
This time I added in cuts from the Vellum Cricut sent: I loved the translucent effect. I need to play with my settings a little as it didn’t always weed out as neatly as I liked, but it did take the intricate design fairly well, even the tiny wings.
My new fave material is the Cricut sparkle paper which is like a heavy glitter cardstock. The glitter card I usually use (the A4 glitter card packs from Hobbycraft) has a granular finish, but this has a thick smooth glossy top layer over the glitter. It makes it seem very strong and is another great texture, which took the wing cuts amazingly well.
Cricut Sparkle card in dark pink & Hobbycraft white glitter card
The Cricut corrugated pastel cardboard did look fab with its striped pattern, but again I will fiddle with my settings a bit, as I found that when weeding (Ok I wasn’t being incredibly careful as I had a deadline), tiny uncut areas would peel off the back colour revealing the white underneath which was a bit annoying. I am sure you can’t see it in the photos, but it meant those wings were not truly double-sided colour, which would have been better.
The Cricut opal sticky back vinyl as well – ooooh I love it! Pinky-blue pearly almost neon flashes in some lights, stunning. It took even the tiniest wing details too, but urgh weeding that small is a faff. Worth it though I think. As it was stuck onto other layers and over paint, its fine on the skin but not something I would adhere directly as it is not a cosmetic product. So pretty!
I repeated the single wing and butterfly chain patterns as stencils cut from mylar.
After basing Izabela with Cameleon face paint reds blended through pinks to whites, I stencilled the butterfly chain along her upper chest using a darker burgundy.
Then loading my sponge with a home-made ‘rainbow’ split cake in pinks and golds, I stencilled the large wing patterns onto her face and smaller butterflies all over her neck.
Most of my time was then spent pinning and gluing the Cricut cut-outs onto her. Any bits glued onto her skin I used cosmetic water based adhesive, which we remove with baby oil or rubbing alcohol when it has dried and we are finished with the look.
And there we have it; I love the layered wing headband/ bunches look and will be using the Cricut leathers etc to make myself a more permanent set for working at festivals, I think!
Thanks to Izabela, the Cricut UK team, and my youngest, who was unexpectedly home and was really good. He sat like an angel for his 1st ever face paint after watching the whole shoot, and begged to be a dinosaur…
I’ve a 10 hour booking in an ‘immersive rave wonderland’ this weekend and I may wear the headwings in the hope I’ll fit in more with the youngsters I’m decorating!
Over the last year I’ve been creating more intricate, mainly paper (it’s more eco-friendly & I can store it in smaller spaces!) accessories for my body paint models.
I can also now custom-cut my own stencils without risking hot-pen burns, as well as create the #cutbycat stencil range for Paintopia Jenn.
This is due to my Cricut Explore Air; a big investment but a big love of mine. I had been eyeing them up since they launched in America years back but only got one last summer. Well worth it!
(This Cricut-accessorised selection is all on Izabela – a fab local model who is often available for me)
I was amazed when Cricut UK started talking to me on social media and asked if I’d be their #CricutCrafteroftheMonth for June. Yes please!
They kindly sent some of their materials for me to create projects showing why I like the machine.
Please note; I don’t use nudes, in all my work on social media models wear knickers, with large breast covers as a minimum on females.
My first artwork for Cricut is based on a something I adore; the ocean.
Connel beach towards Mull; fishing in Belize; life on Hong Kong catamaran
I went to school in the highlands of Scotland with its pristine beaches, but spent holidays in Belize on the world’s 2nd longest barrier reef. Later I ran underwater nature trails in Dorset. We also lived on a catamaran in Hong Kong after sailing it there from Palau, so I’ve admired sea-life world-wide. I hope to take my kids to see reefs when they are older.
Recently I watched the Chasing Coral documentary on Netflix, and the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series (well done my old uni mate Kathryn & co!). I no longer teach field studies (I’m an artist and now work part-time in a craft chain store too) but wanted to do something to raise interest in ocean issues. Plus I always loved the patterns and textures underwater and thought that would work well on a Cricut project – I adore layers that reveal more layers!
So, I tried to visualise coral bleaching. This is when corals get stressed due to warming seas and pollution, and expel their algae, turning white. Some starve without their algae providing food from photosynthesis, so rot and die. Just the ‘bones’ are left; all the colour goes from the corals, the bright fish and other creatures soon dying or leaving too. (There is hope and it can recover, but we need to help it now.)
To create this effect I scanned in corals I collected on Belize beaches as a kid, and uploaded photos and copyright-free images found online. I altered and thickened them in Cricut Design Space (CDS), so I had intricate but hopefully strong patterns to cut. Other shapes I made from scratch in CDS, welding together then slicing basic circles.
I hate wasted material, so in CDS often attach many shapes together into the size of the material I will be cutting to maximise the amount I can fit on a sheet. Cuts this many, this large and so intricate meant I was on my Cricut several hours every evening for over a week, with a whole day spent on it the day before the shoot. I am saving to upgrade to a newer, faster Cricut Maker but even so my older Explore Air is fabulous.
Weeding the distressed foam cuts.
Using the correct settings, mats and blades, I cut different corals in all the materials, in varying sizes. That is why I love Cricut Explore Air; once I have the shape I want, I can make multiple copies in any size for crafting, or convert them into stencils.
I cut lots of each shape from Cricut UK’s pearl, sparkle, glitter and corrugated papers and cardstock in blues, greys, blacks and silvers. I especially liked the distressed foam for coral cutouts and the plush foam for the intricate brain coral pattern covering the top of my headpiece, they had perfect textures and took the patterns really well.
Izabela Kowalewska arranged the shoot at Mark Pickethalls‘ lovely photo studio; he got creative painting glass lenses for background effects whilst I prepped her.
The following snaps are from my time-lapse, but give an idea of what went on.
I started with a simple blue body paint base, slightly patchy, to represent beams and streaks of light reaching down from the surface, and different water currents. I pinned the wire frame I’d made and partially covered with coral shapes onto Iz’s hair, and started pinning and gluing on the other materials I’d cut.
On her headpiece and breast covers I used tacky craft glue or hair grips, but anything touching skin was attached with cosmetic adhesive.
More shapes were added and then I started gluing them onto the large bikini insert triangles which were body-glued onto Izabela’s chest too.
Next I stencilled in some of the same patterns as I had cut to give more depth and detail.
As I wanted to focus on the cut coral patterns and textures this is probably the most minimal body paint I have ever done. Iz was ombre blues/ green – all cosmetic Cameleon bodypaints – with touches of black and white stencilled on too.
I loved the sheen of the midnight blue pearl paper, but it was a bit fragile for building props with of course, so was mainly glued on as a bottom texture layer over her paint.
This took me several hours; towards the end Mark set up his photo studio, and we switched off the time-lapse before I finished to move equipment around.
Mark was inspired and had been painting glass panels for his lighting with Hobbycraft glass paints too, which created the amazing patterns and effects on the backgrounds in his photos.
Then Iz threw her graceful poses (with a serious face as this was not really a smiley look – see her next time for her lovely grins!) and together we created these end results which I LOVE.
I’m hoping you are inspired to try layering up Cricut makes into a headpiece, or try stencilling…
Too many pics I know, but I couldn’t choose a favourite!
Huge thanks to everyone at Cricut UK, Mark and Izabela.
I was able to attend the annual Paradise Wildlife Face Painting Jam, which this year had a ‘Once Upon A time’ theme. Organiser Juliet Eve asked if I’d do a freehand glitter tattoo demo, and I decided the demo could be part of a bodypaint I did there. AND there was a head-piece competition so I thought I’d enter that at the same time.
I always like to push myself to try new things, and immediately thought; story books – writing on skin! I hated graphics (the lettering side) when I was at college and have rarely seen well-executed wording on faces so tried to work out how to do that. I didn’t have the time or skills as yet (I really need to do a hairdressing course!) so was also trying to think what I could put on my models’ hair to go with the theme. Then I suddenly thought – a paper wig!
The last #paperwig I made was in 2014 for the Paintopia Professor’s Apprentice Competition in which Nicky Gardener & I placed 2nd. That theme was Vintage Children’s books – not dissimilar – and we chose Treasure Island. I’d designed a wig made from paper quilling strips, which on the day it turned out we had to slice open, as our model was sick and she was replaced by the much larger James. Who rocked it and completed our awesome team!
Anyway, I decided this time vintage paper would look best, and bought some post-war story books from a charity shop. Lots of slicing later I had a sort of Rapunzel wig. I made lots of paper flowers on my crciut to adorn it, a bit like the Tangled Princess look.
I’m now designing and making stencils (and can do custom stencils too) which Jennie planned to launch as #CutByCat at the Jam as part of her Paintopia Face & Body Painting Supplies shop. So, I made a bunch of custom stencils of fairytale phrases, and also cut them out of glitter card to form part of the wig, and a crown on Izabella.
Izabella was free to be my model, and kindly said she’d meet us there Monday morning. My mum agreed to wrangle my 2 boys at the Paradise Wildlife Park (a zoo that hosts the event) so we drove down through snowy gales the night before to meet up with Paintopia Jenn in nearby hotel. I did try to start assembling my wig before bed, but luckily realised I actually had to have it bare so I could firmly attach it to Iz’s hair before I assembled all the other bits! Euan refused to let Jennie leave our room, so with that and loud music from other rooms it was a loooong night…
The snow had stopped but we collected a very chilly Iz from the station before arriving at the bright but freezing marquee that always contains the Jam. After greeting lots of familiar faces, I set up and started getting the paper wig onto Izabela. It was shallower than my previous attempt (I’d built up the bouffant bit of the ships figurehead wig with plastic bags which I guess we just ripped out to fit James’ head). Luckily, all the paper flowers I had made to decorate the Rapunzel paper plait filled in the forhead space perfectly.
Arranging and attaching all the glittery words took a lot longer than I expected, plus I was chatting and answering questions, so by the time the judging for the headpiece competition started I’d only managed a hint of colour over the white base on Izabella. We were really happy to place 2nd and win some fantastic brushes from the Bodycraft Festival team, thanks so much!
Suzanna Forrister-Beer had the most amazing prosthetic Special FX horns on her husband and came first, just beautiful. Also lovely was the kids entertainment, my youngest was boogying on down…
I continued adding mainly Cameleon Bodypaint from the Paintopia shop, layering lettering and stencils and blending with Kryolan powders. I stuck to white, blues and black as I wanted an almost monochrome book-like feel to it.
Last of all I added some quick hand painted swirls, then some freehand glitter tattoos using the waterbased Mouldlife Aquafix in the bottles with fine tips I sell. Finishing touches were flat backed pearls and tiny accent flowers from Hobbycraft.
These 4 photos by www.apheadshotphotgraphy.co.uk
And finally the image in my head of Izabella peerg throught the ‘O’ on Once Upon A time was out in reality.
Paintopia Jenn put together a fab vlog on it too.
(Yes my hair is a mess I kept stuffing on a hat when going out to check my snowy kids!)
Huge thanks to all involved, the organisers and everyone who came to talk to me or shop with Paintopia. I had a great time chatting (though not as much chat as usual as I was full of cold) and my family loved the zoo and entertainment as usual!
My final clip of Izabella is here:
This was an interesting booking that Juliet Eve contacted me with. The client wanted 4 models blended into 4 different rooms of a house. We discussed how this would be done and what problems usually arose, and they later got back with 4 samples of the walls we would have.
The pinky-purple wallpaper was OK, the bathroom a bit fiddly due to the tiling, the kitchen a headache as it was so plain and unforgiving; the brick garage wall of course is a popular /favourite paint.
They wanted all of this in one day using only 2 models which was a big restriction; this is the most time consuming and technical kind of bodypaint. The client decided that shoulders up for the female model would solve any problems with what breast covers to use and offending anyone, and waist up for the male. This also helped with time constraints as it cut down the area we had to paint. Still, we had only a few hours per wall if all went to plan.
As we had a very early call-time, we were put up in a lovely apartment in the centre of Bristol even though I live about 45 minutes away. Juliet arranged to meet old friends of hers she sees whenever she visits the west, and we had a lovely meal with a freakily heavy snow and hail shower in the middle of it, next to the Thekla floating ship nightclub where I spent many rock club visits when I had my first job in Bristol painting coats of arms back in the ’90s.
The adverts were being shot for a building company called Siniat, who were highlighting different types of plasterboard that can solve various normal household problems – cold rooms, damp or mouldy rooms, noisy neighbours etc.
We used all Cameleon paints with Mouldlife Aquafix and facade glitters for the bathroom tiles.
We were all set up in the studio waiting for our first model to shave after someone went on an emergency shaving shop (he’d not realised he couldn’t have a hairy chest), chatting to the lovely crew and enjoying the largest bacon butty breakfast ever (did me for 3 meals!).
Then we started with the pink/ purple wallpaper covering a wall with noise issues. The shade we could match easily on a flat surface, but humans are not flat and we ended up ‘anti-contouring or ‘non-touring’ with 6 different shades to try to vanish model Ed Loboda into the backdrop. Then we started adding in the swirls of plant/ flowers.
As Juliet finished that look on Ed and waited to do touch-ups and corrections as the cameras started rolling, I was basing out Alice Offley as a damp bathroom wall.
The shapes I had to draw on her to make it look like she was tiled were really surprising, no matter how often I do it – random curving blobby lines with spikes and protrusions look like a straight flat line on camera. Juliet came over to help glitter the pink tiles etc as we rushed to finish that look on time.
As soon as Ed was back from showering and had some lunch and a break, we started painting him as a slightly mouldy kitchen wall. The pale pastel duck egg painted wall was very unforgiving, and the slightly bevelled slightly shiny tiles were difficult even after their set designer dulled them down; I had to do many retouches before that worked on camera.
Our last paint, started by Juliet as I stayed with the kitchen cameras, was the cold garage brick wall. I’ve done bricks so many times I knew this would look the best – they are less precise and can have a lot more non-specific patterns and dots that really help hide a body more easily.
All 4 could have been more ‘invisible’ if we had had more time or more artists per model, or more models each with an artist etc, but within the limits we had – 1.5 artist each look, a couple of hours each look, they really worked and I’m so pleased.
Thermal brick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGepT2sUj2Y
Moisture resist kitchens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v50vgTHgP7M
Water resist Bathroom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUrwem49Ysg
Accoustic pink wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFXC0-3iwUg
Acoustic main wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7MHSIZsUdI
So, a long day for everyone but the clients loved it and the whole crew nailed it.