Revamping my face paint kit again…(Craft n Go) Part 1

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…

Glastonbury Body Art Festival Jan 2019, Maya Ix Chel Jocelyn Paint

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!

 

 

PRIDE London eco glitter face & body art

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.

Feb 2018 Once Upon A time Makeup Bodypaint Demo Look

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:

 https://youtu.be/4gpMXtj7YO4

Easter Face Paints & Cancer Charity face painting for Tesco

This was a lovely booking, over 2 different weekends for Mel’s face paint company.

We were set up (Claudia and myself) in the foyer of Poole Tesco, with 2 other ladies doing related crafts beside us.

It was sometimes a bit difficult to encourage customers to stop and be painted (for donations into the cancer charity bucket) but everyone that did was lovely.

And the staff really joined in.

Body Painting for FIP @ Elfia Day 1 Galaxy Girl

FIP (Face Painting In Progress)  had invited me over to teach at their EU JamVention a few years back which was amazing. Willy & Jacklyn Suiskens, the hosts/ owners were lovely, so I was really excited when they asked if I would be interested in coming to Europe’s biggest Cosplay Event with them and their international team.
I arrived late due to a delayed plane and then train troubles, but was happy to find that although my dutch had vanished (I couldn’t locate my phrase book which I usually read on the plane to get my dutch head on) my school girl german was fine and managed to get me through a few hours of chatting. I knew most of the artists already from various painting events so it was great to see them and meet the ‘new’ ones.
We were all staying in caravans on a huge campsite but were up extremely early so everyone could get showered and ready for the drive.
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Elfia Arcen is held at Kasteeltuinen in Holland, http://www.kasteeltuinen.nl/nl/ which is an amazing array of themed gardens set up around a castle and its buildings.
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The event itself has 1000’s of people coming along in costumes from scifi films& tv, manga, cartoon, steampunk, victorian, historical… the kids, prams, dogs have outfits too!  
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The stalls were in keeping with interesting tents and unusual contents – corsets, armour, weapons, skulls, unusual headdresses…
And the musicians and bands! Even the staff and security wore medieval tabards and all the security panels and tape were harlequin too. I was half sad I was painting all day as there was so much to see.
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Anyway, on the Saturday we arrived in the lovely FIP marquee as the stalls were opening. The FIP team had a stage at the back with a spacey backdrop as the theme for us this years was ‘Space & Time”. On the left of our main entrance was the brilliant stall Willy had built, selling all sorts of cosmetic props and prosthetics and with the price lists for the face & body painter menu as some of the artists did shifts decorating customers.
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On the right hand side were all the ‘show’ body painters. They had photo banners up outside and inside the tent with the artists names, work and country (I’m Scotland!) on them, as well as a lovely enlarged photo of a favourite paint on each of our tables.
I had Jacklyn Suiskens from Belgium on one side of me,  on the other Udo Schurr of Germany
Other artists were:
Dani Bekiersch Germany 
Josje Wolters Holland          Joyce Ramakers Holland 
 
Marieke Crone & Phoebe Maas            Richard van der Laan Holland 
  
Silvie Vissers Holland                 Tineke Menalda Holland
 
Viola Simons Germany 
Saturday I was painting the fabulous Anna and as she liked purple, went for a Nebula-inspired alien. We named her Galaxy Girl rather than Nebula Nymph as there is already a famous Nebula girl in the Guardians of the Galaxy world. I wanted to have her sort of camouflaged and was determined NOT to use black as so many galaxy paints/ makeups are so dark or grimy with black.
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All day we painted, with some breaks and lots of snacks from FIP, as crowds of cosplayers walked past and assorted bands came in to perform on our stage – LOVED the pirates!
As usual when I have no specific plan, Galaxy Girl changed as I painted and became a sort of cracked ‘skin’ like a mandala glittered shell, with a star/ nebula being born from paraben her chest and deep space exposed wherever the skin was ‘broken’.
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I used mainly Cameleon, my fave vegan, cruelty & parabene free cosmetic paint, with freehand glitter tattoo over the top using the kids I sell and Facade or Kryolan glitters. I also shaded her face in particular with the Kryolan iridescent powders in silver and purple.
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Then there was a display onstage of all the artwork to a packed marquee,
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 before a quick tidy-up and a few hours following Anna around as she was mobbed by photographers.
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We took some pics in the rose garden area and I was wowed by the ingenious costumes parading by, from Sci Fi and Manga to historical, from Dr Who themed tardis dresses to a girl with a walking centaur.
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We got back late to wash and get ready for the next paint…
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Professional Beauty North USA Bodypaint demo Sept 2016 by Bath/ Bristol body artist

Sept 2016

This is the 3rd? time Paintopia has been to Professional Beauty North Manchester, and the 7th? Professional Beauty/ Warpaint Magazine event we have been honoured to work at. It is a huge show full of stalls promoting all sorts of beauty and spa products and courses, from nail art to fake tan, teeth whitening, uniforms and massage. This year it also included a hair expo, all held in the lovely converted Manchester Central convention venue.

I’d changed my mind on the train up so did my usual awful scribble (made worse by the train I say!) to text to Jennie & Grace. They had no idea what I was on about so after my annual cocktail at the PBNorth welcoming party, I sat down slightly tipsy with one of the wipeable bodyboards Jennie & I designed that she sells and painted it properly. 

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The 2 day event always runs from a Sunday. That first day Jennie & I usually bodypaint a demo model, following the same theme as the competition that we will judge on the Monday. We also do an onstage demo/ workshop. This time as the theme was USA, we decorated Gracie Bodypaint Model as our ‘American Pride’.

I had borrowed the amazing headpiece Jenny Marquis built for Gracie when they came 2nd in the Professional BodyPainter of the Year Category at Paintopia this year (her Gangs of New York paint for Paintopia’s Urban Jungle weekend).

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So, we did Gracie’s face and neck as the Statue, mainly in Cameleon Celadon and Inkheart, which Jennie had to spend ages blending whenever I added or changed wrinkles on it.

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Then I went on with a (very grumpy looking, sorry!) American Bald eagle over her chest. Its feathers I mainly one-stroked with Cameleon “Buzz” colorblock. I stencilled a hint of Native American dreamcatchers behind the eagle to denote the original americans who so revered wildlife.

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On her lower half we went for a simple but sometimes badly-done and often requested paint; fake jeans. Jenny based in a pearly blue and then one-stroked on seams which I creased, highlighted and shaded. We thought the audience might like to see that as part of our demo, so didn’t finish off the legs to be able to continue them onstage.

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I dyed my finger tips their usual blue by outlining everything in Cameleon Inkheart (my fave bluey-purple) whilst Jennie did clever things with lashes and the headpiece. A quick advert for the bodypaint stage shows on her back, and off we went. Some cabuchons for eagle eyeballs and Kryolan gems for jean-studs, then a few little freehand glitter tattoo highlights using the fine-tipped glue bottles and cosmetic adhesive I sell were the finishing touches.

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Onstage I have no recollection of what we talked about; I know I made several ‘rips’ on the jeans to be a bit like the stars & stripes, but we didn’t finish off Gracie’s legs. By the end of our slot  it was getting towards the close of day 1 so we went to get photos in the sales hall and outside. I have to say it is the best reaction to any of our paints we have had.

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Everyone thought the ‘top’ was fab but didn’t realise the jeans were fake – Gracie had to keep moving the waistband of her knickers to show the paint line. One lady actually welled up which was a first.

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It was also the warmest PBNorth we have been to, so after we packed up Gracie decided to walk back to our Melia Innside hotel in her paint, which gave us some fab photo ops!

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We saw several cars circled back so they could film her, and a coach-load of oriental tourists were overjoyed and waving/ snapping pics like mad.

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We headed to a location with interesting architecture we had found last year to get pics, and were lucky enough to be approached by a bunch of Instagram Photographers having a meeting!

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 Result!… headshot  mikeycolebourne, blurred background  JS_Spring, archway AndrewYee

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Monday we had an interesting time judging the student  and professional bodypaint categories. We were delighted that out of a large number of other competitors in assorted makeup and special FX genres, our winning Professional Artist, Cheryl Howes, won the overall top Professional award with her elegant Art Deco USA work on Debbie. Plus our winning student Emily Smith won the ‘Rising Star’ award as one to watch! She was amazing and so was her lovely dad who’d let her glue him into a fantastic home-made beak to be a bald eagle as part of her USA paint.

Timelapse video here

Huge thanks to Emma, Ali and Debs of Warpaint and all the lovely judges, we need to meet up more often!

Paintopia 2016 UV bodypaint by Bath facepainter Bristol body artist

I’d got to Paintopia by Tuesday evening to help Jennie & the rest set up.

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Wednesday was helping host the Pre-Paintopia workshops with the amazing Madelyn Greco (headdresses) and Maria Malone Guerbaa (animal transformations).

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Thursday I was the runner for the brilliant Kryolan masterclass whilst typing up the running order for festival announcements.

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Thursday evening, more and more artists and models were arriving for the first ever Paintopia UV Jam.  I’ve worked in UV clubs a lot doing small bits on the faces & bodies of clubbers, and done a couple of UV backs on clients, but had never had the chance to do a full UV body before.

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The lovely Grace had asked if I would paint her, and then arranged a vague collaboration with a Dutch artist Tanya Hommes and her local model. I’d already thought we’d maybe do something on a Tim Burton theme as grace & I loved his work, and set the Oogie Boogie UV scenes from a Nightmare Before Christmas as our idea.

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I’d not had time to sketch and hadn’t done more than print off some reference photos, so started with a giant Oogie Boogie on her front. Her hair was already slicked back with clay from the look by Gemma Horner at the Masterclass, so I decided to attempt a Jack/ moon look on her face.

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I kept stopping to do announcements or find things for people, and soon realised I wouldn’t have time to do a full body. I drafted in the fab Jade to fill in the black around my outlines, and cut back my vague plans to get a finished paint on Graces front and legs.

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David Cook and the crew had set up the stage Mik painted and it looked amazing.

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The UV lighting was super-bright when it came on and the artwork was brilliant. Everyone whooped it up and had a great time, a super way to kick off the festival.

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I shot a small timelapse and some videos of it here

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Isle Of Wight Festival British Airways Bodypaint

I was delighted when TRO, 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We were supposed to be painting to match BA destinations, but as they fly everywhere we could and did do just about anything.

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Day of the dead sugar skulls for South & Central America, USA stuff (inc film/ hero faces),  jungle animals, tropical flowers, snowy things….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

http://www.reveal.co.uk/showbiz-celeb-gossip/news/a688333/isle-of-wight-festival-2016-our-10-highlights-from-an-amazing-weekend.html

 

Selling face and body paint gems / bling

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. 

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(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 😦

Christmas swirl facepaint with green ehart bling

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.

Quick angel facepaint with facet heart bling

Faceted heart

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):

Face paint gems snow hearts handFace paint gems snow circles hand

Snowflakes with irridescent shades overlaid with silver metallic patterns – helloooo all you Christmas/ Frozen type designs 

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Shells –  finely detailed in unusual AB mixed colours for all sorts of mermaid, flower and abstract designs

  • round

  • teardtop

  • double pointed 

Face paint gems mixed hearts hand no logoBling for face n bodies by cat facet hearts

 

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

Bling for face n bodies by cat teardrops all on hand

Teardrops

  • 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.