Painswick Art Couture BodyPaint Steampunk Victorian Magic Man

June 2013

I left for Bristol after a hot days painting at Bewilderwood, and as the A/C in my car can’t be fixed, got so hot I had to stop and buy some lighter clothes to drive in! After a night at my mum’s I met Laurence and we convoyed to Painswick Art Couture.

Laurnce start Painswick last painted signPainswick cupake

This year the body art side of things had been brilliantly organised (last year, their first time, was a bit scrambled). We were met in a beautiful building (and given cup cakes!!!!!) with areas roped off to paint in. Jill had everything sorted down to drink facilities and food runners…wow, and she was heavily pregnant too! Of course it was so scorchingly hot that we’d almost have been better off outside this year, trying to catch the breeze under the many (chilly last year in very different weather) gazebos. Huge thanks to Charlotte and the other runners who helped keep our models (and us) fed and watered.

Painswick my magic man by Tony Cook front bpcPainswick my magic man by Tony Cook bpc

The theme given was ‘Magic’ and a few weeks beforw I’d given Laurence the choice of something Celtic or Victorian, as I thought Voodoo etc was maybe a bit cheeky seeing as we’d be judged in a churchyard. He fancied Victorian, so Victorian Magic Man it was. I’d discovered whilst researching ‘magic’ that it was in that era that travelling shows started transforming into the stage magic more familiar to us now, especially with men inventing all sorts of mechanical tricks to wow their audiences and even electric lights being an amazing phenomenon.

ACP Magic Man back studio AnneMarie Randall photo bpcACP Magic Man front studio AnneMarie Randall photo bpc

Some people had ‘automatons’ that did all sorts of things, one could draw portraits of hundreds of celebrities. So, his front was my take on a steam-punk victorian robot, in a waistcoat and striped trousers and gloves with all sorts of exposed clockworks.

I’d turned up with some printed pics of lightbulbs, crows etc but hadn’t really sorted designs as is my usual way, although I’d had to send a detailed blurb in earlier for the judges! I used mainly Cameleon bodypaints, over a base (on the front upper) of Graftobian or Mehron gold powder and mixing liquid. The few bits of cog stencils were home-made, and a BAM one was used on the waistcoat.


Painswick 2013 LL kissing Petes skull971519_10201013217685510_315989307_nNic’s the grinner below Petes arm

Fab venue, beautiful stone windows open to let the music waft in from the street entertainments (and a great view of the Battle of Britain flypast later on). We were painting beside Nic who was attempting to use the airbrush we’d all clubbed together to get her as a wedding gift (early) on her fiancee Pete. Many of the usual crew were there doing their amazing stuff, including Brierly and the vast height difference of a team that is Mel Broom and Will Shave.

DSC_0078 Brierly’s stunning work

LL’s back showed the transition from ‘hedge’ magic involving animals and the moon, to electrically lit stage shows. I was really pleased with this, and the hat I had made (after tips from a really worth-while ‘Foam Headpiece’ workshop with Alex Hansen) seemed perfect.

We finished a little early so went down for photos then out into the cooler day – our building was packed with interested public and steaming! I only managed a few snaps/ quick film as we shuffled through the crowds on the quaint streets (packed with really interesting stalls selling all sorts of crafts I’m dying to see) the rest of the time LL and Pete were mobbed.

Painswick Art Couture cat n Laurence Blackadder Quennie 2012Cat's Elizbethan Man

Tony Cook stopped us in the churchyard to get our emails and sent these 2 amazing shots he edited from a snap he took of my half-finished paint on Laurence last year.

DSC_0073DSC_0072 LL, Pete and some of the great work by students waiting to be judged- in the shade

It was so hot that this year all the models were glad to literally ‘chill’ inside the church whilst we waited for judging.


Then we were treated to a cocktail in another building before going back for the results. I loved the dress made from eggshells, and another from maps.


After hearing 3rd & 2nd place body winners announced I was just turning to LL to say, ah well, thank you it was great’ when we were announced as winners!

Cat after winning Painswick 2013All3

The top 3 – Laurence by me, Will by Mel Broom and Claire by Helen Eyre

Brilliant event, so many talented people, and huge thanks to the sponsors, Brewers Dolphin. I used their cheque to pay for the hotel rooms Laurence & I had booked for Nic & Petes wedding!

Mr Darcy Body-Painted Vintage Suit for Paintopia

Jan 2013

I’m a bit late putting this up as its another paint we did early on and had to keep quiet until it was launched at Paintopia.

We needed an image to promo the date & theme – ‘Vintage’ – of Paintopia 2014. As we’d used girls for 2012 &2013, it only seemed fair to get a boy on, and of course Laurence is at the top of our model list. After lots of discussions a ‘Mr Darcy’ look to suit the look of Dunston Hall, the location, seemed best. 


Laurence kindly drove up from Bristol to meet us there one very old and snowy day in January. Snuggly in our painty room (with friendly staff popping in with drinks all the time), Jennie, Di (of Frozen Photography) and I nattered away whilst painting LL.

Jenn & I used Cameleon colours- browns and golds mainly – for the jacket and trousers. Gold overlaid with a deep red did the waistcoat and I used a BAM stencil for the patterning.

Darcy vintage Paintopia LL side waist close bpcDarcy vintage Paintopia LL nipples bpc

Jennie then added a tiny gold dot of Glitzer gel to each segment of the ‘brocade’. LL was wearing flip-lops, so we painted his feet and shins to look like black boots, again with Cameleon. Jenn was a wee bit nervous as she’d never got to paint LL before.

Darcy vintage Paintopia LL nipple bpcDarcy vintage Paintopia LL mirror stairs bpc

Sadly whilst sewing on the ‘tails’ to his outer set of pants she got a bit shaky and is still living down having poked his rear with a needle!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADarcy vintage Paintopia LL close torso-001 bpc

One of the best moments was taking LL down to hotel reception to ask if they would mind us closing the original old front door (one of the main entrances) to have LL photo’d outside against it.

paintopia2014-a5_v1-1paintopia2014-a5_v1-2Darcy vintage Paintopia LL door tint bpc

The manageress said yes, of course, but when we painted him could we please be aware of other guests so as not to shock them. Silence as we all turned to look at LL… and she realised he WAS painted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADarcy vintage Paintopia LL window chest bright bpc

That was a bit of a draw-back of painting even half-decent clothes on to people, actually, as we realised later its too easy to fool people into thinking he was in a real suit – they missed seeing the bodypaint!

Darcy vintage Paintopia LL us 3 cheeky bpcDarcy vintage Paintopia LL us 3 bpc

This got onto some Steampunk page and went a bit viral. Some of the comments were very silly – people refusing to believe it was all paint, saying he was wearing trousers and boots (nope just knickers and flipflops and a hat!) and others wanting to know how we painted on the hat. DUH people, really??? :)))

Darcy vintage Paintopia LL snow wall bpcDarcy vintage Paintopia LL smile tip hat bpcDarcy vintage Paintopia LL face hid bpc

Darcy vintage Paintopia LL brown face hid bpc

Glitter tattoos at Masked Wedding Steampunk Ball

At the beautiful Lansdown Club in London, the lovely Siobhan and Chris Ridley (yes the fab photographer I nabbed for the Butterfly Bling shoot in HK) invited wedding guests to a masked ball.


I turned up with all my kit to realise I had left my posh dress, shoes and mask at home in Norfolk so had a quick emergency shop (thank goodness for Monsoon!) and a spare mask with me in my kit to decorate in the ladies.

Glitter tatt cat mask for chris wedding

Not bad if I say so myself, considering it took me ALL DAY in Norwich to find a dress I even remotely liked and could work in the 1st time round. OK so this 1 cost more (rats) but how jammy I found it AND shoes in the 50 minutes I had spare!!! And much as I loved the shoes (surprisingly – the lovely lady in Monsoon was right) they were NOT comfy to work in so I was mainly barefoot. I have never tried to glitter tattoo my own chest before (jewellery left behind with original dress of course) so that was messy!

SAM_1217 bpc

The NeoClassical/ Vintage/ Steampunk wedding was GORGEOUS as expected from 2 such creatives, check out the official photos. The wedding cake was tiers of beautifully lit unusual jellies!

Their blog on it (more stunning photos) is here.

I was then lucky enough to get to decorate a lot of the guests, mainly with glitter body tattoos, to match their outfits.

Lovely people lovely event – thanks so much for letting me be part of it!

Steampunk Skeleton Corset Body Paint

This was another  shoot on my favourite model in Hong Kong, Symone of Pole Paradise Studios.

Cat painting STeampunk corset back

We tried a non-glitter tattoo for once, so I used body paint, based on an amazing corset I covet that I spotted online.

 Cat painting STeampunk corset

Bill posed her around the furniture in her beautiful dance studio.

Boned corset lie divan bpc

Boned corset fram lean clse 6333-2

It’s all hand-painted over big triangular boob overs that are glued on with the same glitter tattoo glue I used to do the glittery seams and details.

Boned corset stood side up bpc

FACE Conference Competition – Steampunk Princess of Atlantis

March 2010 –

I’m one of the few Advanced certificate members of FACE. Its an organisation started in the UK to raise standards etc in the face-art industry, and now has many international members too.

I like it for the fact it is often a way to get people thinking about speed, skill, hygiene, insurance etc and its also handy to point clients at when I am unable to paint for them. Members have to pass an entrance ‘test’, have proper PLI insurance (FACE gets a good deal on that) and are MOT’d annually. I write for their magazine too.

2 Cat at Fairy Ball pic closer 2 Cat at Fairy Ball pic

(Me coming top in the Fancy Dress Comp there in, um, 2006?)

And of course as well as regular ‘jams’ around the UK, FACE has an annual Conference with games, competitions, demo’s and a big fancy dress ball. I have only managed to get to one as I am always abroad! A few of the competitions you can enter by post; but I often forget to do that. Luckily this year they kindly emailed everyone a reminder, so I tried to get models & ideas sorted…one theme was ‘Myths & Legends’ and you were encouraged to make props to decorate the head of your face.

I arranged to paint a young model who’d contacted me wanting a body paint for her portfolio – I said she had to be at least 18 but I’d love to paint her face instead. Then she got ill and cancelled. Then my baby Fin got ill so I cancelled. Then I got ill and we moved the paint AGAIN to the day of the entry deadline (they said I could email!). I was trying to be different and do an alternative fairy face.

Cat Fin Fairy undereye side bpc

Generally the majority of the art is above the eyes; so this is what I came up with, painted and photographed in the cubicle that was her mum’s ‘beauty stall’ in a basement mall in Kowloon. But wow Kristy is pretty – think she’ll get modelling work OK!

I was walking through Jardine’s Market in HK a few days before and 1 stall had the strangest metallic beads, necklaces etc, got me thinking steam punk and cyborg, both of which I want to paint.(but  aren’t myths/ legends). I bought some, sewed them onto a cheap tiara and came up with a weird sort of tribal goth headdress. After deliberating I decided it belonged to a Princess (or Priestess) of Atlantis.

I went round to paint my lovely mate Pat. I had a vaguely Geiger idea in my head which totally did NOT happen but with the cyborg etc ideas became a definitely different take on a princess!

Cat Fin Princess of Atlantis sad bpc
And a few weeks later Glynn, the Chair of FACE, emailed to say I had won the Myths & Legends Comp!! I think its voted by members who attend the conference, which is so wow for me. As most of the artists I admire the most are in FACE and may have entered…. Bet she heard my squealing down the internet:) It seems I also won a lovely trophy & a voucher for a face/ makeup shop, which she’ll hand over when we meet up in Norfolk in May! Thanks so much FACE guys! Woohoo!

P.S. Got to love the way Pat’s differing expressions change the art every time:)