Paintopia 2012 Patronus Pixie for Bodypaint Comp

 May 2012

My fab buddy Jennie had never been to any of the big face/ body paint conferences, as they are usually from Norfolk (she has 2 daughters and a day job), and cost lots. She arranged a ‘jam’, a day where local (ish) painters come and try stuff, play with paints etc, and that whet her appetite. So, she decided to create Paintopia, (partially helped by her friend Kerry), a body art festival in Norfolk!


The aim was to raise the profile of good face & body art and let us all have some fun too. Even though it was its first year, she attracted entrants from all over Europe and even further as well as UK!

This first year Jennie chose a magical theme, loosely based on Harry potter, partially because we were hosted at the historic Dunston Hall.

Unlike many events, painters were able to set up on their own tables in the wedding marquee, and leave their kit there the whole weekend.

Many retailers were set up in a room in the hotel, and official photographers were in another. The first day, Saturday, we were creating mystical creatures in the main body paint event. Hotel staff were really helpful and intrigued (highly unusual compared to many events I have been to) bt did warn us that a famous football team and a lavish wedding were sharing the hotel, and could we be cautious.

 Paintopia Patronus cat paints eyes Victoria pic wm bpcPaintopia Patronus dragonflies photo tree grasp crop bpc

I had designed a Patronus Pixie on the amazing Stephanie, in my favourite teal and blue shades.

Paintopia Patronus dragonflies studio photo head bpc

I added prosthetic horns, and tried to draw Harry Potter casting the spell beside the lake on her leg, so his stag Patronus rose up her front, surrounded by wispy Dementors.

Paintopia Patronus dragonflies studio photo kneel bpc

Voldemort on the back I was not happy with, but I finished in time and managed to fix the giant fibre-optic-and-fused fibre headpiece I had made to her wig.

Paintopia Patronus dragonflies studio photo classic bpc

A few wedding guests noticed what was going on and asked to come in; by the afternoon we had most of the wedding in watching us work. 

Laurence painted wizard old by juliet I loved this – Juliet Eve aged out lovely Laurence by decades, changing him into an ancient wizard.

Whilst queuing to be judged, and photographed, th footballers (Aston Villa!) spotted the models and started papping them!

Paintopia Patronus judging wings Victoria pic wmIMG_1009 Nic Shilson with her Pheonix on Pete

The wedding couple also sent their official photographer to ask if the models would pose, so the whole crew grinned behind the happy couple with me trying to remind them all NOT to hug the bride!



 Helen won for her unusual brown and cream flowery creation, lovely. We came 2nd ! Woohoo!!!!!

Paintopia Patronus dragonflies studio photo crouch bpc

The party that night was beautifully set up to look all magical and potter-esque, with the Isnap guys offering green-screen shots of us in various famous locations from the films. I’m afraid that like many I was knackered and still needed to clean kit and set up hings for the next day, so I went back to bed fairly soon after eating. I had to abandon poor Laurence (whi was wearing my leafy home-made tiara) to the female hordes:)




Body Factory Cornwall Bodmin Gaol Bodypaint 2012

March 2012

Nic Shilson is a face & body artists I’m great friends with, and I adore her fiancée Pete too. He is often her model. She started Body Factory Cornwall last year as a gathering of local body-painters, painting whatever they wanted and getting decent photos of it.

That rapidly expanded and this year she was hosting a bunch of painters from across the country.

Jennie & I travelled down together, and talked non-stop the whole way. The journey was fine, notably helped by us squeaking through as they were putting up barriers to close the road alongside Stonehenge for nighttime road works! It was bit scary us hurtling along the deserted road as a huge column of road vehicles came towards us, but we got to Jennie’s lovely cousin Johnny in the small hours.


Johnny was fab – took me on a tour of Cornwall and made sure I got to eat pasties (and fudge – sorry about the hypo scare, guys, but at least it meant I could eat sugary things!!!).


We met up with a bunch of painters near the venue that evening for a pub dinner, then went back to Johnnie’s to fret. I still had only a vague clue – the venue Nic had found was the atmospheric Bodmin Gaol, site of the last hangings in the UK. As usual I did a lot of research as it seemed daft to not take advantage of the history of the place as all photos would be there to.


I eventually found the story of Selina Wadge, an unmarried mother of two. She had a hard life, often having to ask entry into the workhouse to keep them fed, but kept her boys well even though the youngest, 2-year-old Henry, was partially crippled. It seemed she took up with a former soldier and got the idea (whether his or hers) that he would marry her if she got rid of her sickly son. The security that marriage would bring maybe caused her to drown the lad down a well in 1868, although she said her boyfriend did it. Her 6 year-old son John told the poorhouse staff what she had done, and she was eventually condemned and waiting to die in Bodmin. ‘Luckily’ for her the executioner there was experimenting with the ‘long drop’ method, which snapped the criminal’s necks as they dropped, killing them much more humanely than the usual slow strangulation did. She was one of the first to die that way, and the first private execution, but is said to haunt the Gaol still.

Johnny was rather worried, watching me as I cut a stencil to suit the vague ideas I had…. I wasn’t I prefer making it up as I meet the model!

Jenn & I bodyfactory apronsIMG_0828

We were painting in the pub which has been built into the centre of the old building, warm and cosy but not much natural light. It was a great day, with lots of idea swapping, shared problem-solving, and giggles. The food we ordered months ago was fab too!

Body Factory 8 eternity paint chair n LL

I was painting the stunning Hayley Lanyon, and we had Claire Pick of Illusion decorating the notorious favourite model of mine, Laurence, beside us. I’d finally made him his Superman-inspired ‘LL’ t-shirt (for lovely Laurence as whenever I paint him people seeing the pics just say, oo who’s he? Laurence? Lovely!). But I changed it to “LL BodyModeL. Jennie was trying her first solo body paint, on her soon-to be sister-in-law, a Tim Burton theme, and did really well.


I had cut a stencil of the main parts of a few words in elegant script, as I am rubbish at neat handwriting, and I used that to help create the words “1878, 8 feet into eternity’ on Hayley’s chest.

Sean Hurlock my winning Body Factory bodmin paint 2012 bpc

This was to symbolise the date of her death, and the height of the drop on the rope that killed Selina. I added the uneven stone block walls beneath it, over hand-cut breast covers, leading down to a devilish mask and flaming subterranean underworld on her knickers and legs. I stuck to a few colours, mainly reds and yellow, using mostly Grimas and Diamond FX paints.

Bodmin Body in prison hall bpcAndrea Michele pic of my Bodmin Goal bodypaint bpc Darren SHilson pic my win Bodyfactory elbow up bpc

On her back I only had time to do a fast impression of the poor son staring up at sunlight from his well. I added dripped black eye makeup and a rope around her neck, then embellished everything with some fine lines of glitter tattoo ‘blood’ to show the gruesome history soaked into the walls, using the bottles and tip I sell. A vaguely Victorian hairdo with a bird wing, and done!


We were supposed to find the 4 official photographers who were each set up in different locations around the site. Some artists had even ordered in amazing props – check out the spiked Harley!


We did find 3 photographers, but whilst waiting for the 4th, the very brave & patient Hayley got the shivers. We were down in a dungeon-like part of the building underneath where we had painted. I got chills too so we gave up and didn’t get those shots – only to find out later we’d been stood by Selina’s last cell!

Bodmin Body out wall bpc

 We had to clear up fast as there was a private party setting up, and all retired to the main bar to relax. To my amazement, I won! Huge thanks to Nic, the sponsors and everyone involved.