Sun July 17th 2016
Much sooner than I hoped it was time for Art Couture Painswick (ACP) again- I’d been busy away painting nearly every day for 8 days, and with a sick toddler hasn’t finished the props I wanted to make for it.
ACP is a stunning biennial event in the scenic Cotswold town of Painswick. Streets are closed for the day and filled with food and craft stalls, whilst competitors in a range of categories wander the 10,000 crowds in the clothing and headgear they made from unusual objects.
Angela Youngs in her 2016 creation
The main stage catwalk and judging (by celebrity/ industry experts etc) is set up in the historic churchyard with its 99 yew trees.
Photo by Tony Cook
I have been lucky enough to paint in the body art category every year since that was included. In 2012 I placed 3rd with my “Comedy Queen’ about UK TV comedies for the ‘Celebrating Britain’ theme.
The following year, again on model Laurence Caird, my Victorian Magic Man depicting stage magic & automatons from the 1800’s, won the Body Art 1st place!
This year the Body Paint Category’s theme was ‘Food For Thought’, so I based my design on plastic pollution in the ocean and how if affects sea-life which in turn affects our food-chain. I planned a huge neck ruff of recycled bottles, etc, but it wasn’t looking quite as I wanted. Its a bit tough to design things like that without the actual model to fit it too, and as the lovely Grace (god-mum of my toddler) was based in Norwich & I’m now in Bath, I wasn’t seeing her before the event. Or I needed the shop dummy to fit my props to that I typically sold when we moved to Bath as we didn’t have the space! But I liked the bottle-jellyfish I’d made.
We had to send in a statement about the artwork in advance, so this was mine – actually sent in a few weeks before, unusually for me, so I had a brief to paint to if not an actual design plan!:
“Plastic Soup/ All the Fish in the Sea
Only 5% of plastic is recycled, 1/3 escapes into oceans, a lorry full per minute. By 2050 plastic will outweigh any fish in the sea.
Marine creatures starve as it fills them, or strangle in netting and 6-pack rings. Bags look like jellyfish underwater, so if turtles catch one, their special throats, evolved to stop jellyfish escaping, mean they have to keep eating it.
Albatross eat fish eggs on floating objects. Toothbrushes, lighters, sanitary waste – all stuffed dead albatross chicks.
Ocean currents collect ‘plastic soups’ millions of kilometres wide, 5 swirling rubbish patches twice the size of Texas. The sea bed, Earth’s last frontier, is coated in tiny plastic particles.
Boyan Slat’s cleanup system, a floating barrier passively collecting rubbish for recycling, launches in 2020. But we need to stop plastic ending up in our oceans if we want to keep our seas and ourselves alive.”
Grace & Jennie stayed overnight at my mums’, then followed me over to Painswick far to early on a lovely sunny morning. One of the kind ACP volunteers jumped into my car to direct me to the competitors carpark, and luckily I bumped into a bunch of other painters who had already dropped off their kit who helped cart my stuff to the hall beside the Art Couture Gallery.
We had so much space to set up in- luxury! And ladies offering cups of tea etc.
I set up my kit, and as the briefing went on started attempting to add rollers and plastic flotsam to Gracie’s hair, which was allowed before the official start. The rules are only professional cosmetic products, only a small % of stencilling or prosthetics, and 6 hours with a compulsory break in the middle.
At 9.30 we started painting and I began to kabuki on colours in Cameleon white, yellow and celadon. I hate yellow so am trying to use it for once! I shaded the white neck / face with the Kryolan lustre powders in white & blue, dry (as they can be used wet).
We were closed to the public for the 1st few hours, out of respect for the models and to let artwork cover over underwear etc (even though all models wear underwear and female models have breast covers on) but I made sure I had blended colours on Gracies back too before the doors opened.
The turtle in yellow, orange, bollywood pink, purple & inkheart blue, I based on several photos I found on the internet and a bit of memory from living in Belize. From then until the lunch break we chatted to extremely interested public as I painted.
After snacks / lunch we started again but sadly I’d not switched on the plug so my camera ran out of battery & stopped taking time-lapse pics. I had planned to paint or make paper netting strangling the turtle but Gracie held a poll with the public and they decided I wasn’t allowed to! I did love the turtle too so I left that out.
On the back I painted a whale & baby and a colourful, healthy reef. I added freehand glitter tattoos over the abstract bobbly layer I had painted around her shoulders (to represent the layer of plastic shapes) and decorated that with glitters from Facade and Kryolan.
Her face I re-used some zombie paste prosthetics I had sculpted when Gracie was being Sc’Ariel at the Prosthetic Event last year. I added flat-back pearls and some heat fused film and then added more pearls and recycled plastic to her hair
I stopped painting about an hour early, after the public were ushered out, as I knew I would be a while sorting out the not-quite finished props.
After a lot of messing about we decided the bottle-ruff was too bridal if worn over Gracies head, and too awkward if worn on her shoulders. I also ended up ditching the isis wings, and stuck to the jellyfish, gems and beads, all made of plastic bottles or recycled from ornaments etc. It gave a slightly netted/ dancer effect tangled around Gracies arms and neck, but I loved it. Sadly (?) it was so sunny the glowsticks inside the jellyfish weren’t visible outside the hall though.
We all trooped out into bright sunshine to applause from the waiting public which was fantastic.
Following Paul who was once again our charming cheeky Town Crier, all body artists took their models through the streets and across the churchyard to the photo rooms for official shots. Grace & I then took a few photos and she posed for the public in the churchyard.
The models were then presented onstage whilst our design statements were read out.
Whilst judges deliberated, and the other category awards were given, Paul took most of the models (some couldn’t walk too far due to the heat or uncomfy shoes or props) on a tour of the churchyard, streets, and finally the main road.
I really loved this paint and was a bit over-excited through the whole day. I’m so happy that it turned out like I had imagined (and that now it is out of my head I will sleep a bit better!).
Huge thanks to all the staff, sponsors, volunteers, organisers, the hugely appreciative public, and of course my genius model Gracie! Also my mum who wrangle my 2 boys (the toddler being hot & sticky & awkward!) all day….
I will add a timelapse etc video when I finish it…
I’d been invited up to do a quick demo body paint at Art Couture Painswick as the BBC wanted to film a time-lapse to promo the vent on their social media. None of the usual models were available at such short notice mid-week, but luckily Sally the ACP Body Art Co-ordinator had the details of a member of the public who’d been so impressed by the photos in the ACP gallery he volunteered his body!
I drove up on the 1st sunny day we had had in ages, and met Libby (the director, who rather marvellously had the winning paint I did on Laurence at ACP 2013 on her business cards ), Sally, Bob the model and Hayley from the BBC.
As I’d only had a couple of days notice and was painting every day that week, I had made a quick stencil of the ACP name & date, and that was about it.
I wanted to depict all the themes for the different categories as well as advertise ACP so designed a slightly circus/ festival themed ‘poster’ on Bob’s torso, with rainbow rays coming out behind it. Clouds blended the white poster into this colourful background to represent ‘flight’, areas of cogs and machinery were for ‘Moving Parts’, green leaves meant ‘Food For Thought’, the body art category, orange brickwork and ‘splats’ for ‘Graffiti’, and Blue bubbly splooshes for ‘Underwater’.
Bobs neck was bright pink and had the stylised ACP face on it. I finished this off with a circus top hat I made for Grace at the Professional Beauty London Excel paint, but removed the flowers etc to add a colourful ACP flyer to.
Hayley edited it all into this video, and not only was it on BBC Gloucester’s sites,
but national BBC picked it up! Great for ACP and thank you to everyone involved.
My video clip is here.
So Jennie Roberts, myself & Gracie BodypaintModel just did our first youtube bodypaint tutorial (edited by Jade Roberts)…
Approx 30 mins tutorial on different methods of painting a Gold Living Statue
I’m putting this up as we are obviously heading into Hallowe’en planning season, as I’ve just had my 4th email in 3 days asking how to do the James Bond Goldfinger girl look. I get a LOT of people asking me to do this/ how to do it, so many that its saved as an auto response in my Gmail.
10/08/14PH: Hannah McKayPictured: Jason SmythCaption: Paralympian Jason Smyth supports the children’s cancer charity, Clic Sargent by being painted in gold body paint
So; officially, here it is. This is THE most requested, most DIY’d bodypaint (-that usually looks OK unlike many DIY bodypaints-) and usually looks good though possibly not as shiny as some expect (read on for various finishes/ methods).
For gold statues (or silver, bronze, copper, etc – there is a range of colours!)
I always use Graftobian metallic powder and Liquiset (has urea in it), or
Mehron metallic powder and mixing liquid (alcohol based). To be safe get the liquid that matches the brand of powder you buy.
Each part is usually sold separately, and for most looks you need both – the powder AND the liquid. Both brands sell the powders in 1 size only (bottles all the same size but some have less weight in as some metals are heavier than other shades), but the liquids come in small and large.
Graftobian also sell ‘Metal Mania‘ kits which they say contains all you will need. Personally I think there isn’t enough liquid for a body in it (and I don’t agree with their sponging application methods though – slow & messy, see my tips later).
When living in Hong Kong I also used a very similar product (had the same packaging as Mehron) called Eastman but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.
Yes, I have tried all the cosmetic pre-mixed liquids, regular ‘hard’ cakes, sprays, mousse paints etc on the market (as of October last year anyway). Trust me (and most pro body-artists), these 2 brands win by far for speed, end look, toughness, and ease of use/ removal.
There are other brands – Kryolan do a liquid paint in a range of metallic colours called Kryolan Liquid Brightness but that’s more sort of a pearly effect really. It is OK to look at and maybe easier for a non-professional to use, but not that shiny – I used it for this statue though she was then ‘aged’ with other shades over the top.
I generally get the larger liquid as it keeps in the bottle. 1 pot of powder is usually more than enough for 1 whole body, provided its not got to paint more than underwear too. I get at least 1 body per pot of powder, with mixing liquid left over.
Neither brand is really meant to be used on a face on/ around the eyes & mouth, so best to use the powder dry there.
Or you can get a gold eyeshadow or similar if you don’t have proper gold facepaint. This is because both brands of mixing liquid have a substance (either alcohol or urea) which evaporates and can irritate eyes etc. (Also this means the mix degrades fast so don’t make it until you are ready to use it). But it is all cosmetic, safe for skin, and although staying on very well (non smudge), it washes off.
My Red Nose Day photos by Michelle Workman, Models Carla Finlayson & Rachel
This Mr Freeze was done completely with metallic powder brushed/ polished on with a large fluffy paintbrush and powder pad, dry. It seemed to last pretty well but you could always use a cosmetic fixing spray like Kryolan Fixier (much as I hate fixing anything – use sparingly and avoid eyes/ follow instructions). I wouldn’t advise a whole body this way purely as it seems to use more powder than the liquid methods, and was less sturdy.
A little of the powder goes a long way, so DO NOT mix up the entire contents of both bottles! In a desert-sized bowl pour a little liquid, add spoonfuls of powder, and mix. Everything says 1/2 the amount of powder to liquid but that is hard to judge – by weight? by volume? -so it really is trial and error.
This is the slow bit – keep adding powder, mixing until all dust/ lumps are gone, and when the mix looks like liquid metal in the bowl when fully mixed, test it on your arm. If it dries looking shiny enough for you from all angles, it’s probably ready to use, but you do need to keep adding powder and stirring it as you work.
There is no exact guide to how much of each to add to the mix – it gets shinier up to a point then goes slightly solid/dull when it is over-saturated, it is hard to describe. And always try a little more powder than you think even if it looks gold – many beginners get dull looking models as they don’t have enough powder added.
Or you can mix the powders with baby oil for a super shiny look. The drawback is that this oil mix doesn’t dry, so is only really good for photoshoots where the model doesn’t have to touch anything (and doesn’t mind a tough messy clean up afterwards). Even resting fingers/ leaning against things leaves marks on the finish which are easily re-painted or even just smoothed over but a pain if you want them moving about/ touching stuff.
Make it up in small batches as you work, you can always re-coat areas.
Use a bowl/ pot that you don’t mind getting ruined as it can be hard to wash off utensils.
Don’t keep the mixed powder & liquid or make it up in advance as it goes ‘off’.
It paints over most fabrics that are not too cotton rich (try it on undies to see which type/ fabric/ colour is best). But fabric does soak it up a lot so always take extra/ pre-paint material if you can.
DO NOT spray clothes etc before hand with a gold car-spray as 1 agent did – we had to cut the newly-gold sweatbands with tin-snips and put them on him like handcuffs. Either find gold fabric/ undies or a gold fabric paint/ spray.
For the liquid methods, once mixed the best (and fastest) way to get the paint on is with a wide, flat, thin, short-bristled, very soft, brush. I think they are called wash brushes, I usually use a 3 inch wide version with bristles less than 1 cm long. They used to sell cheap 3 packs (3, 2 and 1 inch) in those discount bookshops like the Works. Similar to this anyway – don’t get expensive ones as this tend to ruin them.
Keep turning the model so thin patches show up as the light changes. Once dry (almost instantly) it stays on really well, I did models in it for events in HK and after working all day they still looked fine – just as well as I don’t use fixing sprays if I can help it! Make sure at any breaks they don’t wrap up in fluffy clothes or towels though as that takes off the shine – I use silky make-up dressing gowns etc.
For the oil method, models can often DIY it and pretty much massage it into their skin. Or you can use a brush of the type I mention above.
This mix can be put onto hair though as usual I’d be careful of recently dyed/ pale/ blonde hair incase of staining. Get the hair as smooth and flat as possible first if you want a solid gold look, which will use a lot of the mix. I find that sort of ‘dry-brushing’ the hair so prominent locks/ strands pick up the gold rather than saturating the whole head works well whilst saving mix. Or use gold or glittery hairspray.
With cakes its generally too expensive and takes a very long time. Cameleon and Kryolan are my fave solid-cake golds.
If you buy Kryolan in ‘cake’ form, for either face or body, generally buy Kryolan Aquacolour, NOT SupraColor- that is oil based and a pain to fix/ get get off (although it looks fab). The only difference is the word on the lid so watch out. The other thing you is the Kryolan AqC gold doesn’t look gold – I think its their copper that looks more gold!
I’ve always advised soap/ shower gel & a body scrubber (wipe off as much of the oil method with paper towels or a scarficial cloth first). But we recently discovered that the usually magical Cameleon solid brush & body soap didn’t budge some application methods of the mix, but the Cameleon brush & body foam soap pump took it easily off AND cleaned the bath too!
Powder & matching liquid method – as you can see no transferring onto white dress!
Make sure your model hasn’t used anything on her skin that day – fake tans etc can react, and moisturiser or oils make it hard to stay on.
It looks best on smooth, tight hairless skin – i.e. shins and foreheads. And always looks better with bright sharp lighting e.g. in flash photos.
AND the Gold Bond Girl ‘death’ due to suffocation in the paint is a MYTH. We are mammals, with lungs – we do not breathe through our skin or need a small bare patch at the base of our backs to breathe through! And if you use good safe cosmetic stuff like this, you can still sweat so won’t be overheating any more than a non-painted person.
And don’t get me started on the eejit who replied to my ‘how to’ email that it was hurting his girlfriend and he couldn’t get it off – he’s used a well-known brand of garage-door-type paint. I told him they were idiots and to go to A&E…
ALSO TRY LOOKING AT Facepaint-UK‘s blog years back for ideas