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 knewPride 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.
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.
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.
I went for a sort of equestrian necklace feel, a bit vintage and slightly steampunk, (Steampunk Stallion, I think we called it) so I got to use both the horse-head and the hat I’d made for previous paints again! Louise Neal looked fab, thanks so much for modelling.
My favourite was the Professors & Apprentice Bodypaint, where an ‘experienced’ Prof like me is teamed up with a newbie (in my case, Nicky Gardener) to produce a body on a “Classic British Children’s Story’ theme. After a short facebook discusiion, Nic designed the body.
I spent ages making a paper wig, which she added a fab book-page-covered ship to. (We then had to slice into the wig to fit it to James’ head!)
We had a ball, asking our last-minute model James (we had booked and planned to paint a girl) to turn every 20 minutes or so and each continuing painting what the other person had started. All whilst madly singing “everything is awesome!”
The last minute panic to tit-tape the many ‘blackbeard’ plaits she’d made onto his shorts was insane, thanks to Michelle for dispensing the tape!
After another buzzing catwalk show (with public watching too as Sunday was the ‘open’ day) our Treasure Island came 2nd! James really worked the paint, as always.
This time atFab Mega JamJennie was launching her business as Cameleon (Face & Body paint) UK supplier so we didn’t have time to bodypaint. We left her home at a horribly early hour to get to Cambridge in time to set up in the vendors lounge.
I tried to help sell things but also did a few face-paints to test out the new Brierley Thorpe colour-block one-stroke cakes – FAB – and the new petal and one stroke brushes. Those I ADORE – short fat stubby lime-green handles which make it easier for me to hang onto them (butterfingers and bad wrist). The petal brush in several sizes has already replaced my old favourites, and the smaller flats are firmly into my 1-stroke brush collection.
AND they had the 1st of the new Cameleon glitetr gels, here I was testing the gold. Everyone else liked it too – I think jennie sold most of her brushes and a fair bit of paint!
All the usual suspects were there and Dan was wowing everyone with his balloon creations – recognise this?
Hayley contacted me; she was one of the dancers I painted and Samm did the latex heads on for the elaborate dance show at Gilgamesh last year.
Hayley was applying to be a performer at a rather nice cabaret club in Soho, as a snake dancer with her own real pet snake and wanted to wow them. So, we ordered a snake face prosthetic & stencils, and I quickly glued that on and painted her up. Then I glitter tattooed on the scales in patches all ver her and over a glued-on thong to give her the most reptilian look possible.
It was icy outside so we had to keep her Burmese Python toasty, and she did get a bit inquisitive when finally let out of her box!
I have edited the videos to avoid boob views as Hayley was topless under the paint, which is why they are short and clipped.
Jennie & I wanted to do a promo paint forPaintopia’s Sci Fi & Superhero theme, so agreed with the lovely KJ we would do a demo-paint at her event, the face paint & balloon Fab Mega Jam. Also, it was to intro the Isnap Events boys to what one of our industry gatherings was like, before they got thrown into the deep end with Paintopia!
As several models we’d asked had to cancel for one reason or other, we met Louise at Dunstan Hall to drive her to Cambridge. She’d never been painted before but was brilliant and looked so cute in the bald cap (our 1st go at a proper bald cap). Poor Jennie had to do all the driving – I was pregnant so not allowed to as well as being very sick:/ (So hair etc worse mess than usual!)
We were painting in a cosy room so had Jam go-ers popping in & out as we worked to watch and question. Lou coming to lunch in her dressing gown caused a bit of a giggle!
We used Cameleon pink with some of their darker shades and white, Superstar silver, then stencilled on some purple. After that it was lots of highlights, lowlights and ‘circuit board’ dots and lines in freehand glitter tattoos.
Despite James’ hate of glitter the boys took some amazing shots and even persuaded Lou to pose outdoors. In February!!
Then Lee of Amrkandi made this rather awesome graphic
and the Illusion Magazine team transformed the front cover of Paintopia’s brochure/ time-table with this:
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!