I have just had my annual trip up to sunny Skegness to train, refresh and enthuse their holiday entertainment staff in the art of face & bodypainting.
As usual the chalet I stayed overnight in – a flat really – was lovely, I have been in a different style/ zone each trip. (I also did the glitter weekend here for a Rave Weekender in the winter so have tried them all now).
This time we did our workshop in the rather luxurious spa which was cosy, warm and bright despite the changing weather. Although sea gulls fighting on the glass roof was a bit noisy and definitely odd to see from below!
On my advice they have added a large selection of stencils from Illusion Magazine Shop to their kits, as well as Cameleon petal brushes and some other professional essentials from the Paintopia Shop.
Their manager is impressed with how their skills have built since I started training with them so do pop in if you are there on holiday and let the ladies decorate you!
I volunteered to facepaint for The Little Haggis Hoolie Syria Medical Aid Fundriaser, as the horrible images and tales coming out of Syria have been haunting me and I wanted to donate more than clothes.
This fabulous sold-out charity event in Bristol was organised by Kathryn Jeffs & co, (an old BSc Biological Imaging University of Derby friend of mine – see her bump paint tree of life I did a few years back) and she had a host of amazing volunteers and talent there.
My mum lives in Bristol so brought along my boys – I’m not sure she will agree to that again as my youngest, 20 month Euan, is a total live wire now and never stopped running. He was in his first ‘proper’ kilt (Royal Stuart not my own green Farquharson) as he’s outgrown my baby one and isn’t into our own tartan proper kilts yet. Sadly we forgot or didn’t manage to get his cute wee sporran on – he’s loved that and stuffs it with cars all the time. Finley again wore his grandad Finlayson’s boyhood kilt with trousers…too cool for school.
Anyway the hall looked amazing decorated with fairy lights and the handmade tartan bunting. People were hard at work in the haggis dept, boiling vats of tatties for the mash and making very scrummy orange mush (usually its mashed turnips – neeps – but this actually tasted NICE I must ask what was in it – sweet potatoes and carrots maybe?). Euan, especially, stuffed it down.
Bubble art, shield-making tables, the Explorer Dome (I really want to see that!) and the fab ballon twisting skills of were also on offer. I had doodled a few quick scottish facepaints on my FAB wipeable board and ended up mainly doing the more colourful ones as there was another lovely lady called Ros there with blue & white paints who kindly did the ‘brave’ (Mel Gibson) inspired ones, saltires and saltire butterflies. I did lots of celtic foreheads, heathery crowns, Nessies etc.
Fin hiding behind his shield
Guests were piped in which did give some of them a fright but I love a good bit of bagpipes (go and see acts like the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, hearing rock and metal and pop done on them is amazing).
Later on they had a very gentle ceilidh band doing lovely simple dances with the kids – gentle as no pipes/ accordion I guess, more flute etc. Euan and the rest adored it. Skye Meredith, Storyteller looked wonderful but I couldn’t hear her from where I was.
This made me laugh – Euan’s standoff against the hordes before the 1st dance, and later threatening them with his balloons…
Fab event and my boys still have their lovely balloons from the Pick-n-Mix balloonist. And overjoyed to hear everyone raised over £9000 for the medics working in Syria. A brilliant effort, well done to all x
This was an unusual booking; the client wanted ‘walkabout’ mobile painting at an outdoor event in Bath’s Southgate Shopping Mall.
I did a few mobile gigs when I lived in Hong Kong about 11 years ago, walking up to decorate guests at dinner tables or around in bars, and they never seemed as successful (to me) as when I have my kit set up on a table with a tall client chair. But I have done a few since then, so it can be done, but I had a think on a new kit setup…
I used to have the Snazaroo walkabout ‘ kit wheel’ which you gripped in one hand, but found that too heavy and cumbersome. Plus you really need both hands free, one to work, one to steady/ rest on the customer as standing people are even more likely to wibble about than seated!
So, I created a walkabout kit that fitted into an old face paint bag I converted into an apron, with a few extra bits. Not the most stylish but handsfree and pretty comfy apart from when I dropped it all at one point! I’ll tweak it a bit before the next booking as some things I ordered to make it didn’t arrive in time…
Basically its 2 of the magnetic panels I use in my face paint kit, taped together, taped onto 2 of the Ikea pots I sometimes use as brush holders which fitted tightly into the ‘apron’ pocket.
The paints (mainly one strokes and mini black, white & skin tones) I already have with magnets on their bottoms, so they sat nicely on the panels. The new Pixie gels I’d decanted into bottles that sat tip down in a nail varnish holder inside one of the Ikea pots, with space for brushes in the middle. A bag of sponges, a ring of stencils (I didn’t use either in the end) and a facecloth clipped onto the apron and my water spray & glitter were in a side pocket.
Helen’s red snazaroo wheel & my kit as we warmed up hands with hot mochas before the start!
I’d got the lovely Helen hired too, (she ended up with a tired arm from her Snazaroo wheel) so we arrived to find that it was outside and a bit chilly… a special Student Shopping Night promo in the Southgate Shopping Precinct. Its funny as I do lots of student club body art/ face painting bookings but sober, ready-to-shop students were very different! We started by working down the huge entry queue and did eventually have our own little queues going.
I stuck to using the new Pixie Cosmetic glitter gels around simple eye abstract or flowers as that is what most people wanted. All the stencils and extra paints I had squeezed in were not needed! Various acts and stalls were set up and the Scare crew from Avon Valley Wildlife & Adventure Park kept making clients jump, but we wanted to follow around their evil clown as he had a real flamethrower which was cosy!
The kit worked reasonably well but I need to re-think the brush holder being under the paints – my fingers got horribly messy as I kept having to grab the brushes by their painty tips to reach them. I have an idea for a brush holder for next time…
Not many photos as we were so busy & it was dark, but an interesting evening!
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!
Hope you all had a fab time!
I’d just moved to Bath (boo – bad timing with Paintopia coming up!) so drove back to Norfolk on Monday night in torrential rain and crashed in Jennies’ office on her very comfy Tim Burton sheets.
The next morning, still in rain, I drove to Kings Lynn to take a booking I’d managed to squeeze in whilst I was up. The WWF-UK had contacted asking if I could create Guido Danielle or Emma Cammack style hand-art on a school they loved working with.
They had hired Anna Lingis to do studio shots of some hand-imals, and I was to do my own launch examples on kids. We agreed on simpler faster designs as I know the exquisite examples they sent me took hours, and didn’t think I or the children would have the patience/ time.
The school was amazing, all decorated throughout with various themes, from Bewilderwood stairs mural to a Hogwarts library – and the headmasters’ hall was entered via a Tardis then became a Dr Who homage!
In the hopes it would brighten we decided to set up under their outdoor eco pod, a sort of large wooden open gazebo (sadly it rained harder). I had a small group of Year 3s to decorate and they set to on their ipads (every pupil gets one) to look up images of their favourite animal, preferably from the endangered list WWF-UK had sent.
I began with a panda on the back of a hand, and was able to chat about the pandas I saw every week with my youngest son when we lived in Hong Kong and had a season ticket for Ocean Park there.
A lot of the time it was so warm that keepers had rigged up ‘refriger-rocks’ that the pandas lay on or hugged to cool off. The kids googled to find out what pandas ate when they couldn’t answer that one.
Next came a snow leopard.
Colin, who was on my Biological Imaging Bsc with me many years ago, became a wildlife film-maker who shot a stunning episode on them, so we chatted about those too. I couldn’t quite recall what eye colour they had& the photos I had varied, so we went yellowish but now I’m thinking blue….
After that I did a mountain gorilla. I knew a bit about them from researching an unused design for the Norwich GoGoGorillas statues I painted for Break Charity/ Wild in Art.
Then a jaguar. I was lucky enough to grow up in Belize near the worlds 1st Jaguar reserve and had read Alan’s book on it. I’ve never seen one wild, just a fresh footprint so new it was still filling with water on a soggy jungle path.
The dolphin was harder; it was an awkward pose to fold in fingers and open the ‘mouth’ but it just about worked. I didn’t want all the pics to be of the back of hands so was trying to be a bit more creative! Again we’d played with wild dolphins in Belize so I could talk about them.
Then I had daft stories about tigers ….
…. and giraffes from when I was the Education officer for Banham Zoo & Africa Alive.
A quick elephant finished off the designs.
By that time we were all wet and frozen as the weather hadn’t improved, so the kids went off to their late lunch.
But very happy to do something so creative and fun that would also be used to help save species.
#WearItWild is on Friday 27th May and we’re challenging you to get creative and #GiveAHandToWidlife.
The photos on here were taken by myself, assorted press and the lovely ladies from WWF-UK.
More press here
This was an idea for something a publication asked for that didn’t get used in the end, and I forgot to put it up until now.
The tiny paper eyelashes inspired me as well as all the awful warnings about bee deaths due to pesticides etc – without bees so many crops won’t get pollinated, its a huge problem.
This was mainly done with Cameleon paints,
by brush & sponge application.
Then using the glitter tattoo glue & freehand application bottles I sell, I added some details and outlines,
and coated them in Kryolan & Facade cosmetic glitters.
With the same cosmetic adhesive,
I glued small flat-backed pearls into the flower centres.
Lastly I added black pearls for the bee eyes.
Huge thanks to Model Mel, and to DR Cook Photography
Bees are so important!
Look up tips on plants you can grow to help them, don’t buy or use pesticides and check how fruit/ veg you buy has been grown.
Several months ago I started seeing more and more about painters creating ‘face bling’.
This is clusters of sequins, gems, feathers etc, arranged into shapes like intricate bindis and usually stuck together on a base of pet-grade silicone. This cluster can be dried and added to face paints with cosmetic adhesive.
Back when I first started painting (2004? or earlier) I added dyed craft feathers, sequins etc to my work with spirit gum. I soon learnt that many of those either have layers that detach (leaving a clear plastic disc behind whilst the brighter metallic sequin layer falls off) or the dye leaked out onto the skin from the damp object. I stopped using them and haven’t been impressed with the pre-sticky gems available since (although Kryolan launched a nice range recently) – many either don’t adhere to skin or paint well, or won’t peel off the paper backing they come on.
I’d been sent a few samples of flat-backed acrylic gems when I ordered some cabuchons for bodypaint projects last year (in cream, pearl and black AB – I use them SO MUCH!) and had meant to look into it. I paid for some more samples to be sent from China and picked my favourites to order in bulk.
(I haven’t as yet got a good cabuchon supplier but will add them when I do – I use them for bubbles, rivets, buttons, jewellery, eyeballs….)
Due to language problems (they spoke English well enough to take my money but now have none to reply when I ask why I only got 100 not 1000 of a range of gems I paid for!!) I’ve had to change suppliers, but I finally have a good selection in stock on this shop page.
I don’t have time (new baby, kid, moving house etc) to sit and make bling clusters myself, so I chose gems which are much more striking than the usual ones available in the UK, and can be used alone OR added to clusters.
I will get time to paint & photo them in use soon, most of my recent bookings have been massive speed-painting events in Malls & I don’t get a chance to get my camera out. I only have these 2 from a street party event last week and my camera was not behaving 😦
Green snowflake heart (camera acting up so not great shot sorry)
As a centrepiece to crowns, an accent at the outer corner of an eye, etc, they are fabulous. I tend to do most of my paint, add a blob of the cosmetic adhesive (which I sell here on my freehand glitter tattoo page) and then finish off adding white or whatever final details whilst the blob dries. the finale is adding the gem and a poof of aurora glitter (from Funtime Faces). it always gets a huge wow and the lovely best bit is, the kids then have something to ‘keep’ (aside from any photos) of their facepaint.
The range I sell in my shop on here are all lightweight flat-back acrylic gems.
They include (click teal coloured words for video link):
Snowflakes with irridescent shades overlaid with silver metallic patterns – helloooo all you Christmas/ Frozen type designs
Shells – finely detailed in unusual AB mixed colours for all sorts of mermaid, flower and abstract designs
Hearts – princesses, abstracts, butterfly etc designs
small faceted AB hearts (in glitter or plain AB in mixed shades)
slightly larger aurora hearts with pyramid/dot textured AB surface
‘Sugar’ glittery hearts in mixed colours
large ‘crystal’ hearts with the same textured AB surface as the smaller aurora hearts but in mixed colours
Small clear faceted teardops in mixed colours
Medium bling drops in the same surface pattern/ AB as the crystal hearts, mixed colours
Large bling drops in the same surface pattern/ AB as the crystal hearts, mixed colours
I have seen people doing Pay-Per-Face at events charge extra for add-ons such as gems and these will definitely add value to your work.
I’ve already had parents and adult clients commenting on these and of course anything that makes your work stand out and be memorable is good!
Enjoy and do please tag me/ send in any designs you do with them.
So for the second paint of this Wednesday (seeing as Paintopia Jennie & I were all set up already), we’d been lucky to get Emily Quantrill. She rushed straight over after managing to leave work early. Whilst her partner David Smith (who joined our world after booking me to paint him as a Na’vi from Avatar a few years back and he’s a very popular bodypaint model in his spare moments now) let my mum feed him with lots of home baking, I did a fast simple line sketch on Emily.
As it’s getting near to Hallowe’en we fancied doing something spooky-ish but pretty (Horribly Pretty) and I decided to use the Sugar Skull celebrations popular in Mexico as inspiration. (I lived in Belize over the border from Mexico for several years and loved the colour and happiness of their festival).
Using my fave BodyFX NZ foam latex breast shields, we started a blue-shaded underlayer. I stencilled and overpainted in white and then began free hand glitter tattooing accents using the cosmetic water based adhesive and fine-tipped bottles I sell.
Jennie added in lots of double-dipped flowers to represent the chrysanthemums which are the traditional flowers for the event. I’d also made some for her hair.
Jennie had to leave so I finished off adding multicoloured layers of cosmetic glitter (Kryolan, JT glitters & Facade glitters).
Then as it was getting late & I’m rubbish with hair, we put on some amazing lashes, put her hair up simply and left David C (not the beardy body builder boyf) to his photo shoot with Emily. I sadly realised then the time-lapse camera hadn’t worked again, doh we are jinxed…
Anyway I adore the colours in this – thanks so much to all involved!
Just found some videos I missed of my (and the other artists!) work for GogoDragons / Break Charity’s trail 2015 in Norwich. Mine are the gold/tuxedo-d 00Mustard James Bond themed one and Flambeau with her yellow/red spotted skin, flaming wings and emerald scales. Well worth a look to get a feel for the event and the charity running it. Plus I’m the insane painted lady in the last one at the auction with the lovely Jennie!