Well as usual Spooky Season is very VERY busy with me trying to fill as many bookings as possible.
For once I change my costume and was a Star-Wars dressed (my mum adapted the skirt from a lovely dress I found) Day of the Dead sugar skull. I made the flower headdress myself and created sleeves from fancy socks…
I’d left home early for a private face paint booking in Bath, then by 12 was setting up at the ‘Big Fish Little Fish” Family Rave to offer face paint & body art to the children and parents there.
Last pic of my work is from their website
I’d been asked to do a ‘menu board’ as that is what was usually offered at their events, and loved the FAB Wipeable Boards Sarah sells for this. The light wasn’t fab & I was too busy to take many photos but it was a great and very busy event.
Once finished I packed up and drove to Mambo’s Taunton – getting held up in RTA Traffic on the motorway I dashed my kit through the town to get set up on time. I had to re-do my kiddy-friendly sugar skull face as I’d messed it up in my dash.
Mambos’ had Katie Price (once aka Jordan) DJ’ing in their VIP lounge and a huge Voodoo Party going on – the decorations were fab. The staff had gone all out with costumes and some really got into their look! Even though I was painting outside, it wasn’t actually nippy until about midnight which was great. LOADS of sugar skulls requested, I’m glad to see that culture finally overtaking the vindictive Trick or Treat styles.
I also saw a lot of the usual awful stuff smeared on (cheap paints are pointless – hard to get on, impossible to make look good, often impossible to get off too even if they don’t look bright on!) but some pretty amazing DIY efforts too.
Sunday I had another party but can’t post the pics up of course, shame as there were some fun ones!
I was delighted whenTRO, a great PR/ Experiential company I have worked with before (they hire me to paint for a week most springs at a Volvo stand at the Camping & Caravanning expo) contacted me about working for them at the Isle Of Wight Festival.
My lovely friend Jennie Roberts of Paintopia was hired to come as the 2nd artist. That was fabulous as we have hardly seen each other in months, even when at the same events, as I’m always painting and she’s hosting, etc.
The months before, with Paintopia, then IMATS and several other big events, was so busy I hadn’t really looked closely at the booking details until we had met up in Southampton to get on the IOW ferry on Thursday evening. Expecting a B&B or whatever as there weren’t many big hotels, (we knew it wasn’t a tent behind the festival stand), imagine our shock & delight when we drove down to the south of the island, up the longest private drive ever, to see we were staying in a mansion!
We didn’t need the travel kettle Jennie had packed for late night cups of tea at all – fully equipped kitchen, games room, gym, TV room, dining, sitting and play rooms…. Amazing! We met a few of the TRO & BA Staff, and a couple of the DJs, before heading off to bed quite late.
The next morning we got some more directions and headed back to the north of the island, calling in at a supermarket on the way to buy some snacks and lunch to have onsite. Sadly the rest of the crew were held up (taxis didn’t arrive) and couldn’t meet us with the electric golf cart at the staff parking, so we ended up having to haul our gear, including hot and wet weather gear, just in case, for a good 30 minutes. Very thankful we had our trolleys! We passed various parking areas, camp sites, tepee and yurt glamping zones, tent areas and then finally into the festival itself. It all seemed very clean and tidy and I loved that they had sniffer dogs on duty. Thank goodness it was dry – dust I can stand, it would have been impossible in thick mud like Download Fest had that same weekend!
Another 10+ minutes of trekking through the various festival zones and we finally found the huge, intriguing British Airways Arena tent. All you could see was a check-in desk with a queuing system in place, just like in an airport.
The idea was that at the desks, after being asked by real BA air hostesses where you were going and getting a special luggage-tag wristband, you crawled though the luggage carousel and entered a party. A uniformed customs official (a dancer) put you in the body scanner, activated by your wrist band, which took infra-red style photos and videos you could download later, then you walked in through the departures board to see a DJ on top of a pile of suitcases, surrounded by fun free activities.
There was a speakeasy bar where answering destination riddles won a cocktail from that city. A spin-to-win board where prizes ranged from blow-up airplanes to free flights to CapeTown. A ‘selfie’ fuselage, Caribbean massages, a ski-lift photo booth again with downloadable videos & pics & props, and beside that, a Bedouin tent from Marrakesh with free face & body art inside by Jennie & myself.
We had been given lovely kaftan tops to wear, which whilst nice and colourful & cool in the heat, were white… not always the best choice for face painters though!
All with real flight crew in uniform, and a bunch of amazing dancers who constantly changed costume to match different Gatwick BA destinations. It seemed risky – no advertising, nothing to be seen but the check in desk but we loved it.
On Friday we took part in the ‘flight parade’ to drum up interest. All the glam air crew in matching Union Jack Hunter wellies and uniform, guided by all the dancers in ground-crew jumpsuits & high-vis with glowing plane-directing paddles, were walking in formation through the festival handing out some tickets.
Jennie & I were supposed to be quickly painting things on interested people as we passed. We soon realised that even just a stencil & puff of glitter put us miles behind the crew, so were always madly stencilling, glittering then running to catch up. Back to the arena tent and we opened at 4.
The idea was to reward the curious, and oh my goodness did we! The music was fab, we were jigging away as we painted, and the noise when someone won a set of international flights was insane. Jenn and I were flat out, sticking to 3-minute-or-less fast designs, chatting to everyone we painted and asking them to take a selfie, and they all thought the whole thing was amazing.
We were supposed to be painting to match BA destinations, but as they fly everywhere we could and did do just about anything.
Day of the dead sugar skulls for South & Central America, USA stuff (inc film/ hero faces), jungle animals, tropical flowers, snowy things….
The staff finally managed to shut down our queue so we quickly packed away and stuffed kit behind the scenes so our tent area could be used by the public.
The aircrew and dancers still looked immaculate and were working away in a huge happy crowd. We went to find a very late tea, then walked to the far end of the festival to see the last few songs by the Stereophonics.
We were going to wait to see Faithless but were so tired we gave up and started the trek back to the car. We stopped to buy churros- I love them – and for the 1st time were shocked by the giant size of the helpings – we only finished 1 portion, they are usually smaller & shorter! Faithless came on nearly an hour later when we got back to the car, exhausted, so I’m glad we didn’t hang about. As it was, by the time we’d got home, showered, cleaned brushes, stencils & sponges and got into bed, it was after 2 am! The rest of the staff started arriving then too.
Saturday morning we were quite stiff from the unusual working position – the bedouin cushions & settees had looked so nice we had put away our usual chairs for customers the day before, and we felt the difference! We breakfasted by the fish pond on the verandah (!) chatting to some of the crew, which was lovely, and had a short walk around the grounds. After debating getting a taxi in so we had less distance to walk now we didn’t have kit, we decided we might want to pack up after work tonight if we didn’t want to go back into the festival on Sunday. Realising all the bands started after our ferry left on Sunday, we had to do the long walk from staff parking again.
No flight parade this time, but word had got around, so there was an even longer queue to get in all day, as people returned or joined out of curiosity.
By the evening, staff removed one of the luggage crawl-ways so people could just walk in when tagged, which meant more were allowed in, and the party really kicked off.
They had to shut off entry to our facepainting queue a long time before we finished, but there was so much else to do people were OK with that. I also went round when we had cleared the queue with all the pre-glued bling I had made, and stuck that on people who hadn’t been painted.
The photo-booth people very kindly offered to drive myself & our kit back so they could see where to go when they had to pack at 1 a..m. so we trundled through the busy crowds at about 10pm.
By the time we returned to the BA Arena, Jennie & I went off for an amazing Thai takeaway whilst seeing a bit of The Who, after which she charmed some T-shirt sellers into a large discount on festival tops for us.
Then as we had promised, we returned to the BA tent to find the biggest party in full swing. There were even some Who fans we had painted the Who logo on there – they went to watch the band and after a couple of songs decided the BA tent was more fun so came back!!
We met the Dickson Brothers from Kiss FM who were lovely, (and huge heroes of Jennies eldest daughter), and the off-duty staff were all joining in too. We bounced around to their fantastic set with the public & staff until the brilliant ‘shut down‘ (click that for a vid clip) with air hostesses, DJ’s etc showing everyone the exits, emergency safety talk style, and had a lovely lock-in with the large crew for a while. Jennie was even allowed to try on a real air stewardess hat.
By the time we got home and into bed, 1 wee bird started singing. As I mentioned it to Jennie, the whole lot started… been a while since anything except the baby had me still up at dawn!
Anyway we visited my brother-in-law on the way back to the ferry, and filled up with coffee for our drives to different sides of the country.
A totally amazing 3 days… bookings like this are what makes the hard slog ones worthwhile. An amazing event with a brilliant team, we can’t say enough about how good the experience was and are so glad it was so well received, and got into the press.
Annoyingly I’d had no bookings as far in advance as I usually do for this event, so had arranged to fly up to the family wedding in Edinburgh a day early (to show Finley the sights) and would miss the last day of the show.
I trialled the new trolley/ seat/ stepladder…. very handy for trekking from the parking fields to the show stand (even gave a ‘lift’ to 2 new painters I met) but its too small/ short to use as a chair for me to work with.
Of course, then a nice last minute booking for Hoseasons Holidays came in so I could only work the first day! It was a great stand and I think they liked having paint on it – I made it into their national brochure!
Finley helped me make dozens of “P&F Line” (aka P&O line) multicoloured paper boats in asstd sizes, to fill with sweets as part of their desert display. I also decorated a model yacht with pen & ink and gold leaf as a centre-piece/ gift, with the date & their initials.
From extreme gentility last weekend, to working at a fundraiser for my husbands’ Nancy Oldfield Trust (sailing and water-sports for those with learning difficulties etc) to … quite cheeky!
After a day painting kids, Morris Dancers & sailors by the Broads I had fish & chips for tea(local speciality but not my fave, I hate chippy food!).
Then I was asked to decorate a hen party at a private holiday house in Happisburgh (turned out they knew my MIL).
And ended up painting the nealry-naked butlers too! Fairly amusing as they had to perch rather carefully so as not to reveal too much. Congrats & a fun night (though I ended up giving them a lift to the station as they had no idea how far out in the country we were!)
I was booked as part of the entertainment at this fundraiser, held at the stunning Oxnead Hallin Norfolk. The Air Ambulance is close to my family’s hearts after it saved cousin Tom’s life last year – he got his arm ripped off in some farm equipment – but thanks partly to them, now has a working arm again!
The river valley the hall nestles in looks magical, as they breed those stunning ‘Barbie’ horses there – the Haflingers my friend Kate of Mini Monsters has. Anyway, for the people who turned up it was like having their own stately home! (I think it belongs to the manager of Harvey Nicholls and they let it out for events).
I’d glammed up, swapping my usual fairy attire for one of my (shh- many but they were cheap!) Monsoon vintage-style dresses I’d bagged from ebay the last few years. And attempted the hairdo Flamingo Amy tried to teach me.
Guests could get painted, get their hair done, dance to the swing band, row on the lake, play lawn games etc, get yummy nibbles form the beautiful orangery cafe or the mobile bar, or browse the stalls. Huge stunning flower arrangements were dotted about (auctioned off at the end) and quirky wild art was on show.
I also tried out my new table/ chair banners….
After spending far too much on raffle tickets I also won an AMAZING chocolate cake I could hardly lift (whoops , I’m diabetic) and had to call the Paintopia crew round to help eat it!
Really stunning event, a proper taste of english Country House life, for a worthwhile cause and I hope his HRH Prince william becoming a pilot helps them loads.
I’ve been lucky enough to get asked to teach and/ or demo at this convention every year for Rosie (not that I have always been able to go – babies, living in Hong Kong etc), since I won it in 2007 with my Jungle-themed Tree Frog paint.
This year was the 1st time I went with a buddy – my lovely Jennie Roberts of Paintopia. As usual we blathered non-stop on the way to my dad’s hotel (The Garden House Hotel, Stamford). I had a nasty feeling I was coming down with something and sure enough, had to stop off the next day to stock up with flu pills.
But we kept talking – and arrived at the convention on Thursday with sore throats. Jo called me up to check I was coming to the VIP & instructor opening evening (which I didn’t know about!) so I went along and met the bubbly Margi Kanter of Pick Your Nose face paint book fame. And BecStar Anthonywho’s work I adore. There was a fab spread of sweetie-themed snack (I had to avoid most of it as I am diabetic and wasn’t having a hypo at that point) and some daft games which we all joined in with. Amazing balloon sculptures too.
Friday; As Juliet Eve was running glitter tattoo classes (shes’ attached to Facade Glitter where I get all my glitters from) I ran my own workshop one on ‘ glittering non skin’. I’d taken wings, t-shirts etc but most of the class decided they’d like me to show them how to make and decorate a mini top hat topper on a headband.
So that’s what we did! Friday night was a bunch of competitions – the instructor’s challenge was TERRIFYING – pick 3 randomn colour cards out of a lucky dip bag- not black or white unless you’d got that card – and a theme of Paint & Powder. I was stumped! Lynn Jamieson breezed it of course!:)
I started a glitter tattoo on the lovely Annie, who had been my face model, but I was really feeling woozy by then, so left to go to bed early after Claire from Illusion Magazine got worried at how ill I looked and made me realise I really did need bed. I think it was that night that poor Simon Smithfell asleep on one of the sofas and got ‘face painted’ by a bunch of merry people.
Nic & Justine’s work on Pete
Paul from Facade Glitters was selling a new paint,Cameleon Face & Body Paint, designed by the lovely Eugenie whom I knew when she worked with Diamond FX. I’d not planned to buy any paints as I was still using up all the DFX I’d won at Phizzog that year, but then Paul demo’d it. He painted his arm, let it dry, rubbed his hand over and had a clean palm!!! – then wiped it off with a wet finger. I was impressed and bought 4 colours from them to try the next day.
I went to watch Becstar and Margi’s workshops on Sat. Then I set up (beside the amazing Lynn Jameison – eeek!) to start a bodypaint demo. Using a bunch of discontinued toadstool statues from Bewilderwood, plastic bags and tissue, I’d made a headband and decided to go for a ‘Toadstool Fool’ look. The theme we’d been given was Alice in Wonderland (the party thme for the night) so I thought it fitted.
I checked with model Zoe if she minded possibly being stanined, as 1 of the new Cameleon colours I’d picked up was a greeny-blue (my fave shade!)named Celadon. She had nothing on the next day so was OK if the colour lingered – many brands do stain a bit with that sort of colours, it must be some pigment they all have to use in green/ blues that does it.
Anyway I used that Celadon, Grimas white and Cameleon Banana Yellow with big kabukis for the bases, and a large flat brush with and Cameleon Cotton Candy pink for the neck. I used Body FX toadstool boob covers and prosthetic bracket fungus, and outlined/ shaded it all in gorgeous dark metallic aubergine colour from Cameleon called Plum Fairy. More Celadon through a home-made dotty stencil to add details and I was done. I have to say I really like the paint and will be buying it when I use up my current kit! Best news was that Zoe turned up lean as a whistle the next day, the teal shade Celadon didn’t stain her – if it’s that way on most people I’m sold on it!
Lynn’s stunning, soft Wonderland paint with the cutest Cheshire Cat EVER was awesome – Roger wore it to the party! And I loved the intricate, vintage looking book pieceNic & Justine created. Sadly Pete washed it off as he had another costume for the night! It was great to catch up with Mark Greenawaltfrom the USA – I’d not seen him since the 2 week international event we were both invited to in Shanghai. He was creating a Tudor portrait on one of the first models I ever painted, Stacey – nice to see her too!
The party that night was the best fun I’d had at one of these things – mainly as all my fave painty people were there – Laurence Caird, Jennie, the Cornish Crew, etc. Madness. I went as a Cheshire Cat and so did quite a few others! We dragged the lovely, quiet Flavio into it as well – apologies for the rowdy table you had Flavio!
We knew (Nic’s) Pete could dance but wow, he blew us away at the dance-off – he trained in hiphop/ street think – just amazing. Possibly he & Nic showing me the Inbetweeners dance wasn’t their finest moment but this must be the sort of thing engaged people practise together:))) Poor BecStar was getting coated in british beer too but seemed to enjoy it.
Becstars sugar skull on Mona & Sophia’s work on Jennie
Sunday I was really feeling rotten and totally dosed up on flu pills. Luckily, Illusion had asked if I’d do my demo paint on Laurence by their stand – perfect ! He cheered me up and let me hide behind him when I felt really bad. I started a chest-piece using the new floppy vinyl Illusion name stencil the ladies had got.
I can’t say I like the floppy style stencils, they are very difficult to use compared to mylar/ stiffer ones. And then I noticed his bare tummy button looked like a cute wee mouth…I stole a rolly from a smoker and that had its own paint too!
Sophia was painting beautiful things beside us, as was Sophia Leadill Taylor. Nic and Justine did a comic-strip paint on her Pete that was perfect and very fiddly.
So, we eventually left tired, covered in paint/ glitter and very happy. Laurence later sent me a photo of his chest piece (again done in Cameleon paints) which he wore all day before getting dressed, packing and lugging crates of Illusion books etc up the stairs into their van, and driving home to Bristol from Birmingham. It stayed put well enough for him to use that as his profile pic for a while! OOoo I love new products that work better:)
Oh I LOVE getting to do the more imaginative stuff, especially to go with people’s outfits so the whole costume is completed! Tis the busiest season of my year – Bewilderwood and kids events/ parties most days, and clubs/ private party bookings in the evenings!
First up we have Di of Frozen Photography who wanted a scary dead doll. When asked if cute scary or really scary she chose the latter… and on seeing herself in the mirror decided she would get changed at her mates so as not to freak out her boys at home!
Then a truly gruesome flayed werewolf for lovely Joe the wood worker/ tree person from Bewilderwood.
A nightclub booking gave me a randomn array from cowboys to ghouls – and a tiny tiny spider…
Then I did a lovely bunch at a party I do regularly – zombies mainly. This year the hostess went for an evil meduse look, with glitter tattoo scale effects and face by me and freaky contact lenses.
Host Josh had asked for some elaborate prosthetics and a bald cap which I ordered from Ebay, and glued on with cosmetic adhesive. Then we painted him… he decided not to use the slip-on black prosthetic forked tongue!
Yet more gold living statues – aka gold bond girls, for a nightclub in Norwich. This is always a crowd pleaser and the most requested fancy dress paint I get asked for.
I use Mehron or Graftobian metallic powder with the matching mixer. It looks best on smooth tight hairless areas (foreheads, shins etc) but a flash photo really makes it shine. For REAL liquid-metal effects I’d need to mix it with cosmetic oil but that stays wet all the time so its no use apart from for posed statues/ photo shoots.
This was followed by decorating clubbers with mainly gold face and body art designs.
When I was contacted by this club, I had expected to be decorating the dancers. After a long trip down there, I was ushered into the changing rooms and met the bar staff, many of whom were not used to baring quite so much and were understandably nervous although all gorgeous.
We did not have much time for each lady, and I had prepared special breast covers for each one that I glued on (safer than bikini tops – can’t be untied or slip off!) before sketching in designs with paint.
The theme, of course, was the Stars & Stripes. Using large flake glitter on top of the cosmetic glue (as it was not near the face) as well as some finer Facade cosmetic glitters, variations on the theme were completed following discussions with each lady about what she did or didn’t want exposed.
It all looked amazing when I left, and I hope they had a good night. The advantage of glitter tattoo tops (although I had to ‘glue’ larger areas than I like as it would be harder for the girls to remove with oil afterwards) is that as they worked serving drinks, any spillages would just run off – its all waterproof!