Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Fairy Inspiration

Feeling a little sentimental (read hormonal) today and saw the fairy design on Pinterest that I think we all have in our folders (have we figured out who painted it yet?) and I remember my struggles to paint that design at my first festival/gig. Tonight at the restaurant, I'm going to get asked tonight "How did you get so good? Were you an artist before?" Sometimes, when I'm really honest, I tell them "No, I struggled over every brush stroke!" because I did! I'm very proud of my work now, not because it's better than others...but because I worked so hard to get it there. And I got a lot of help too. I've been to tons of classes and workshops and each time I pick up something, even if it's just adding more water to the paint...but it's the quiet AM with brush, paint and arm that make all the difference.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Simplest and Most Complex Question in Face Painting

I consider this a follow-up to my "What kind of painter are you?" essay that I wrote years ago and I've just republished. This is to answer probably the most asked question of overwhelmed new painters. What kind of paint should I buy? Which paint is the best? What paint should I use for line work? It's the question that makes every experienced painter cringe because the answer is complex. There is no BEST PAINT. They all have different attributes and every painter will have a different response for the question. Here is mine...

First, you need to ask yourself, "What do I want to do with my paints?" Are you applying a base color? Do you want crisp line work? Doing One-stroke designs?

Line Work Paints
These are what I consider line work paints that work best with a brush but I consider a little too thick to sponge..YOU CAN sponge them, but it's almost like wearing a mask for the client. Those would be Wolfe, Dfx, Cameleon, TAG, Party Xplosion and regular Kryvaline. These kind of paints are very pigmented and flow well off a brush. Some of the paints are TOO pigmented and tend to stain like Lt. Green, Teal, Dark Blue. If you do use them for large areas of base work, I would suggest using them thinly like the Wolfe Brothers do. You can see that they put it on rather wet and then smooth and pat it with the back of their sponge. It's a well establish "rumor" that they are all created, with slight color variations in the same plant in China and so are called "China Paints" by some.

It is hard to blend these types of paint into each other because they dry so quickly, that's why they are actually better in pre-made rainbows or loaded in segments on a damp sponge and blended on the face. If you try to put them on the face separately, you will get lap lines where the colors meet. The pearl/metallics are a little more forgiving and can be blended a little easier without overlap.

One-strokes made of these kinds of paints are actually pretty good because they are bright and thick so it's easy to layer them over the top of bases. I generally don't like metallic/pearl one-strokes. They don't have the white base like the regular colors so are hard to get intense enough to show...same with the neons. You really have to work up the paint.

It's easy to make your own splits, one-strokes and rainbows out of these because they have almost a clay texture. The metallics, however, are soft or crumbly so take a little more work.

Interesting note, I don't use line work paints for lips because I've found that they make my own lips tingle and go numb and it happens often to children. I use Paradise or Global on lips. Paradise tastes the best.

Base Paints
These are soft glycerin based paints that are best sponged. They are usually more "oily" feeling so they keep "open" for longer and so can be blended with each other more easily without overlapping. These would be Paradise, Kryolan, Snazaroo and FAB/Superstar Shimmers. 

I haven't used Kryolan but from what I've seen from Ronnie Mena and Jocelyn, it's intended to be sponged on thinly and they like it's blendablity and that almost translucent look. They have a sponge per color and apply the colors separately and they seemlessly blend with each other. That also means that they need Mehron liquid paint added to them for line work. I tried a Kryolan neon rainbow once (the only kind of Kryolan rainbow I've seen) and hated it. I probably used way too much water for a glycerin paint and it didn't dry enough for me to put line work over. I really think it's meant to be a potted color and patted on and blended thinly. 

Paradise is creamy to touch, even when dry and blends well with itself so you can apply it separately too. The colors are a little more muted and soft. They have rainbows called Prisma that you can use as one-strokes, but they are very creamy so it's hard for newbies to have good water control with them. Paradise Prisma cakes last a really long time a lot of people love them for sponged rainbows because of the blendabilty. I like using Paradise for lips, eyes and for dragged lines (like skulls and the Joker) It smells almost like cocoa butter suntan lotion so I also like having some white for muzzles so it's pleasant for the client unlike the China paints that have a fishy smell.

Snazaroo gets a lot of guff but I think it's for a couple of reasons. You CAN'T do line work with them. Some good painters have mastered them, but I find that this is the single biggest reason new painters give up on Snaz. If they would just buy some black and white in a line work paint, they would be much happier. They also tend to dry matte so they don't seem as vibrant as other brands. I have made splits with Snaz WHEN IT'S FRESH but it tends to dry out and get crumbly over time so make your splits immediately if you are planning on it. Big bonus for Snaz is the availability. You can get it in craft stores and in most countries.

Tip: Stencils are so much easier to get right with base paints. They don't require as much water and they are creamy so they don't seep under stencils like China paints do.

Hybrid is probably an overused word but to me it means that a paint can be both a line work paint and makes a good base. I've actually been majorly happy with FAB/Superstar regular colors in this regard. I didn't try the rest of the FAB line for a long time because I was having a really hard time using gold and silver shimmers with a brush (they've since improved a bit) but they tended to stick in my brush and not flow like TAG or Wolfe. However, when I gave up trying to use the Shimmers as line work paints, I've fallen in love with them because they are so smooth and easy to work with with a SPONGE. I have a whole rainbow of shimmers now and LOVE them. 

Then, when I was at a workshop at the Art Factory, I got to try the regular FAB paint colors and was blown away because they were creamy, but were doing great as a line work paint. What this means is that they stay open and travel better so you can literally get more paint out of the brush and onto the client before it dries. AND...and you can blend them. Not quite as good as Paradise, but pretty close. I now have a whole set of about 30+ colors of FAB. I've also learned to mix a regular color (or Global) with a shimmer if I want to do shimmery line work. I'm considering playing with FAB for custom one-strokes. I've really liked Silly Farm's Rose and Ruby Sky and I think they are made from FAB. There are a couple of pinks that stain, but I've heard they are fixing them...and ironically, the color that stain in most other brands...the blues...don't stain. (You must get Ziva Blue)

Global is another that I would consider hybrid paint but for a different reason. Global is very hard...almost TOO hard when you first try it. It seems like it will never work up! However, this attribute also makes Global a great paint in the heat. It can take a licking (and a lot of water) and not turn into mush. I consider it a hybrid because when you do finally get it worked up, it has a creaminess to it like Paradise and so it stays open longer so you can get a lot more line work done or more one-stroke. Global Funstrokes are my favorite brand of one-strokes right now because the cakes last FOREVER! It doesn't get soft and wet like the other paints, so you aren't digging too much paint out and that also means it stays flatter on top. I am finding that I have to make my own combos though, because I only have a few of the pre-made ones that I love.

The thing I love best about Global is that they use mica powders to color the paints so they DON'T stain and most come off with a cloth and water. This means that I don't have to feel guilty when I put a green snake or a Batman on a boy or a Frozen crown on a girl. This has given me a lot of freedom that I didn't have before and almost all of my rainbows and one-strokes are Global. I have all of the dark Global colors in my kit now and they are great for line work, double dipping and the Magenta is my go-to for lips. The neons are really nice and bright and actually pretty opaque when worked up properly.

Hint: Kryvaline has a "creamy" line of paints which I was told is the same as Global.

That is my summation and opinion of the major brands on the market. I'm going to put in a separate post the kit I would make for myself, knowing what I know now.

What Kind of Painter Are You?

This was first posted on the Face Paint Forum and I've since edited it a few times to add instructors and paint brands...

"This ended up being an essay...sorry it's so long but I hope it helps you decide what type of painter you are and then you can buy paints that match your style...I often give the advice that find your favorite painter and buy the kind of paints that they use. That will be a great start and guide you in the direction you should go so you don't waste a lot of money trying everything.

Kerry Ann DePetro's Fabulous Line Work

Sponge and Line

From what I've seen at conferences and online is there are basically two types of painters. The first type are sponge and #4 round brush painters/instructors: Pashur, Wolfe Brothers, Mark Reid, Kerry Ann DePetro, Christina Davison, Ronnie Mena, Jay Bautista, Jocelyn Casdorph, etc. and they have the basic 12 single pots of colors (or monochromatic splits like Wolfe Brothers), a good black and white (usually Wolfe) and they have a limited amount of brushes...maybe 5...that they use TOTAL.  These type of painters are VERY good at line work. They are able to sponge on blobs on the face and then make them look ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS with their finishing line work. These types of painters usually like to use glycerine base colors that blend because they blend the sponge work right on the face. They have a sponge for every color and use the edges of the sponges to map out a design and the backs of the sponges to blend. They rarely use any split cakes.
If you are that type of painter you will want to use Kryolan, Paradise and FAB and other softer glycerine based paints and Wolfe or DFX black and white for line work and highlights and will have a limited brush collection.

Jenny Saunders Layered Work
Layering and Embellishments

The second type of painter/instructors are teaching a combination of sponging and one-stroke brush techniques. The instructors that teach this style are Heather Green (from Silly Farm), Marcela Murad, Lisa Joy Young, Cameron Garret, Karen Harvey, Jenny Saunders, Laura Oliver, myself and I'll count Lynne Jamison in this group. 
These types of painters will use rainbow cakes and one-stroke in combination with either brush or sponge base work to get a multi-layered type look. The actual blending comes in the sponge, not on the face. The line work in this type of painting is a supplement to the design, not necessary for the design, and in most cases you could actually stop before the line work and still have a workable product. 
 The advantage to this type of painting is sponging is kept to a minimum and there is less artistic ability required. You can add trendy things like "sparkle powders", gem clusters, liquid bling, and glitters to the designs without ruining the integrity of the design because they become part of the layering process.

Because the blending is "in the sponge" or on a brush using one-stroke cakes, new color combos and making your own cakes is part of the fun. You can have cakes for different holidays or different designs (like a dolphin cake). You can use daubers or stencils to create new shapes or add texture.

The disadvantage to this type of painting is that you, in all practicality, need a monster tool box to hold all the stuff! Instead of 12 pots of paint, sponges and a few brushes that can fit in a small bag, you have many different rainbow cakes, one-stroke cakes, stencils, glitters, jewels, and probably tons of brushes: angles, flats, filberts, round, rake, petal, flora and in a bunch of sizes too.

Best Kind?

So, if you are very artistic and love to draw in real life, I see distinct advantages to the 12 color/sponge/round brush method. It's easy to pack your materials, it's low cost, you aren't trying to keep up with trends in materials and it's easy for you to paint-to-order...if you see a picture, you can duplicate it.    If you find it hard to draw "on-the-spot" but can make a fantastic one-stroke flower and beautiful teardrops and swirls, then the layering style is good because the rainbow cakes and one-stroke are really impressive at parties and fairs. You can learn designs that can be replicated over and over again (like a butterfly) and make them different by using a different rainbow cake. You can get really fast with your designs and can make a full face tiger in just 3-5 minutes. It's also easier to work with an assistant with this style because the assistant can put in the base layer and you can add in the finishing layers without having to train them. There are also a lot of painters coming up with new ways of using one-stroke and rainbows in their designs so it evolves a little quicker than the other method.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Don't Just Pin Inspiration...Paint it!

I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic about my face painting journey so I'll share this memory with you. Katherine ask on Facebook, "please could you share 3 things that you've done in your career that has taken your painting to another level?" I actually remember that time extremely well. 

About six months after I started my face painting business I was getting really discouraged. I seem STUCK in my same bad habits, my work wasn't improving much and I was ready to quit. One night browsing, I came across this Christina Davison cat design on Facebook and instantly fell in love and had to try it.

It's obvious there were a lot of techniques I wasn't doing properly when I painted my version but it was the first time a work of mine resembled a painter's that I really admired. This made me feel that...someday...I would paint as well as she and Mark Reid and Marcela and other face painting heroes of mine.

FABAtv has since come out and you can actually watch Christina paint this beautiful design and learn it for yourself. I highly recommend her "All About the Animals" class where it is featured. I, myself, actually went to Amarillo Texas and studied with Christina. She really helped me with my teardrops, my butterfly line work, my animals...basically filled huge gaps in my techniques. I could finally do a real tiger stripe!

So, if you feel like you are in a slump and don't like your work...take on the work of another inspiring artist...even if you haven't taken a class from them, even if it looks nothing like the original, even if you aren't sure what paints they used or brush....just do it. You may find that EVENTUALLY, it will become one of your most popular designs....something you never thought you'd be able to paint.

Back to My Future

I got my first face paints from a local face painter on December 31st...just before 2010 turned to 2011. You can see what I got in the photo of the receipt. It was a 90 gm white, 90 gm black and a tiny regular rainbow one-stroke cake, a small glitter and some hydra sponges. It came in a brown paper bag like a pint of whiskey and we met in the parking lot and did the "exchange" before she went in for her New Year's Eve gig. I took a double look inside...can this tiny bag possibly be holding $56.54 worth of product?

Since that fateful night, I've spent THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of dollars on supplies and tried many new trends in the body art market. I've bought lots of different bags and cases. Tried almost every kind of brush and applicator I could find. I've bought powders and gems, glitters and glues, shirts and wings, gels and cleaners; cameras and a laminator. I've been to conferences and workshops; subscribed to FABAtv and bought magazines and books. Watched ALL THE YOUTUBES and been on forums and Facebook.

So, if I could travel back in time and do a Marty McFly and stop myself in that parking lot and give me advice on what NOT to buy or do, this is what I would tell myself...

"You cannot save money by spending money."
You know those fabulous craft store coupons that beckon you to spend simply because they exist? How can you resist their siren song? DO NOT go to Michaels and Hobby Lobby and Joanns (all within a mile of your home) and browse and feel compelled to buy, only buy if you need something and even then...do you really NEED it?

"You are not a fairy or a princess."
Play to your strengths. Just because someone else is having great success wearing a costume, wig or wings does not mean that you will. I know they are pretty and sparkly and fun but they just aren't for you.

"Do more marketing and follow-up and a little less practicing."
I want you to know that skill alone will not get you jobs so take some of that time you spend doing swirls and curls and market yourself. Marketing is what makes your phone ring, your skill is what makes them pick up your card, followup is what makes them a repeat client year after year.

"Don't buy a Fat Max or other heavy kit containers."
There are many painters that have great success with large kits because they work fairs or large events and can wheel right up and start painting. You, however, only do one fair a year and every weekend have to go up and down front stairs, down to the basements, and into back yards. One time you had to go to the top of an amphitheater. Keep your kit as simple and compact as possible.

"You can live without Glitter Tattoos."
Oh, how you will love glitter tattoos from the moment you see them. So sparkly, so fun and they last days and days. Your clients will actually like them as much as face painting at gigs. BUT...they are expensive, sticky, messy, time consuming and your daughter is going to start college soon and won't be around to help you any more.

"Don't buy cheap brushes or multiples of every brush."
Don't buy 4 of every brush. You will end up with CUPS AND CUPS of used brushes that you don't use any more because you bought too many (and HAD to use the craft store coupon!) Buy a few GREAT brushes recommended by the pros and protect them from water damage and clean them properly. Good brushes will absolutely make your work look better.

"You don't have to body paint."
You've taken several classes on body painting. You bought an airbrush system because you felt that you had to body paint and didn't enjoy using it. There isn't really a market in Utah for it and there is a lot of other awesome artists you can refer gigs to. You are not a failure if you don't want to body paint.

"Good Henna takes time and practice."
Henna is a great business model. It's cheap, easy to pack around, fairly easy to mix up, great profit margin....BUT takes just as much time as face painting to learn properly. You don't have the time to do both well. If you are going to stain someone for two weeks, you really should know how to do it right.

"You don't have time for extra services."
You barely have time to stick a little gem on a face paint. Your fantasy of offering pamper parties with hair foils, foil jewelry, hair chalking and painted nails is just that...fantasy. Having these items in stock for the off chance that you will be called for that type of party is indulgent. You know you are just a crow and want the shiny things...RESIST!

"A camera left at home, no matter how good, cannot capture the moment."
You will love the pictures you get with your really good camera but I wish you had bought a higher end point and shoot because bringing the big, nice one along is difficult.

"Be more picky when picking pay-per-face events."

You've spent so many miserable afternoons paying to paint and not making any money. The tent takes a while to set up and tear down. It's usually hot and lacks shade. You need to follow your gut and only do PPF when
  1. It's cheap or nearly free to rent the booth space 
  2. There is a carnival planned or other entertainment that people expect to pay for 
  3. They aren't greedy organizers and letting just anybody buy booth space 
  4. People are expecting a face painter to be there. 
  5. The expected attendance is 10,000 people per day.

"Stop being late!"
Check on google maps and see how long it will take you to get there and then LEAVE ON TIME! You can stay an extra half hour to make up for it; but, chances are they will only remember that you were late.

I would give myself a big hug, tell myself "You will LOVE face painting!" and invite myself to dinner so I could tell me all the RIGHT stuff to buy and do right off the bat...but that might cause a rip in the time space continuum....so, maybe just dinner and no hug.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Breaking my Bad Olaf

I got a request for Olaf this weekend and literally failed miserably. I wiped off the first one and then at the suggestion of Lizz Daley, tried just the face and when I showed the girl in the mirror I got THAT face...the one that let's you know the child is disappointed...arrow to the heart. [thwap]

Tonight it took me until 3:00 am but I think I have a passable Olaf now and kind of discovered a cool way to do him in graffiti. I started with Youtube drawing tutorials and found a couple of good ones. This one from Disney Animation Academy is good because it shows placement with structure lines:
How to Draw Olaf from Disney's Frozen

This one is probably my most favorite from Doodle, Draw, Art because it's faster and simpler...not so artsy: Drawing: How to Draw Olaf   I like the dynamic shape of it for using in face painting. It's the same shape as the one Ronnie Mena did in his cool Olaf Design.

Ronnie Mena's Olaf face painting

What really helped push me through and get the proportions better was printing off a Disney Coloring Page and putting in a clear sheet protector and painting over it so I could get the "feel" and muscle memory of the shapes.

I finally did a nice face and then decided the round shape could actually be the "O" in Olaf so I added the rest of the letters and I love it! I can't wait to try Lea Selley's graffiti stencils with it...too hard on my own arm. :)


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day Seven - Ladies Day Out

Baby Bink & Baby Emma
One of my guilty pleasure movies (I feel guilty because it is so dumb) is Baby's Day Out. It came out about the time Emma was just a baby and Baby Bink was just like my little Emma, crawling around having all sorts of adventures. Emma was child #4 and so was right in the thick of all the fun like the dirt piles, crayons, dogs...and loving every minute. She was a very happy child and I honestly don't remember her ever having a tantrum. (Yes, this is an thinly guised excuse to show you darling baby pictures of Emma.) I call this post "Ladies Day Out" in honor of our big adventure being out and about; first to the sea and then the city, that was filled with sea shells and buses, coffee and vistas, pizza and pigeons, boats and LOTS of gift shops!

Our hosts for the day were Saskia de Graaf & Chris Meerburg-Wijgand. We decided we go to the sea first because it was so close to the hotel. I LOVE the sea so, for the second time, I got to take off my shoes and enjoy the cool sand between my toes and crunchy little shells under my feet. Of course, I was cleaning sand from between my toes the rest of the day...but I loved it.

One thing I love about Holland is the water everywhere. It's a normal part of the landscape. There were canals and bridges and lots of bike paths along the waterways. One thing about those bike paths that almost gave me a heart attack, though, is people will ride right up to the roadway on their bikes and every time we'd zoom right by I thought we would have a collision, but that is the way in Holland. The pedestrians and bikes stop for cars instead of the other way around. Makes sense when you think about it, which is easier...stopping a 4,000 lb car or stepping off your bike for a bit?...but it takes some getting used to. There were fields of green and flowers and Christina managed to snap a pic of a windmill out the window as we zoomed by on our way to Amsterdam.

Saskia thought it would be easier to take a bus ride into the heart of the city so we parked at a parking station and got tickets to park and ride downtown. There was a neat little tent market set up at the station with fresh vegetables, clothes, curtains, spices...a little bit of everything. It took a bit to find where we were supposed to stand for the bus but we caught it and were headed to town. The first thing you could see from the drop off was a three story bike park. There must have been a thousand bikes just in that structure. Another thing you'd never see in America.

SkyLounge Amsterdam
Our first stop downtown was a really fancy outdoor patio called the Sky Lounge on top of the Double Tree Hotel not far from the bus drop off. Saskia said it was a little expensive, but was worth it. Well, it was! What a view and all for the price of a gorgeous little platter of treats and really good coffee or tea. There was a little block of divinity, a crispy cookie, truffle all on a little white tray. The tea was presented in a lined box and you could choose your favorite and then a personal tea pot was brought with hot water...all brought by a very cute waiter I must add.

While we were there I brought out my new friend Tulip. I've always loved stuffed animals and she was trying to get my attention in the hotel every time I passed the gift shop so I finally gave in and adopted her. I brought her along in my white crocheted sling purse and had to bring her out to enjoy the view. I think I will be bringing her along on my adventures in face painting. She's a good companion...quiet and doesn't take up much room.

Hop On Hop Off Tour
We decided to do a combo "Hop On, Hop Off" package where we could ride the bus around the city and see the sights and then do a tour by boat. There was a recording in different languages that would talk about the highlights of the city. Our first stop was at the Royal Palace Square. We were getting hungry and so we went to a pizza place right off the square. They did the pizza in an odd way. Instead of mixing all the toppings together all over the pizza, they put the ingredients in wedges. Christina figured out a way to split ours so we'd each get a taste of all the different ones. I saved my crust and we went out to try and feed the pigeons. I guess you aren't supposed to feed the pigeons bread because they'll keel over...or that was just a tale told to Svetlana from a guy selling bird seed, I'm not sure which....but it was fun! Christina was the bird whisperer in the bunch and had a good conversation with one particular very brave fat pigeon.

Pizza, pigeons and Indonesian
We got on the bus and did the rest of the city, the only problem was, the pizza was the first bread I'd had in long while and with the cool breeze coming in and sitting down listening to the narration, I was having a hard time staying awake!

We hopped on the boat portion of our excursion and they took us all around Amsterdam through the canals. It was amazing how many houseboats there were. The recording said that there were 2500 docked permanently throughout the city. Some had gardens growing on top. I saw one that had been turned into a tiny cafe. Another entrepreneur had posted a sign "See a real houseboat" and was selling tours of his boat.

The old world look of Amsterdam is like nothing I've seen in America. I'm from the west and everything is relatively new here. It's so fairy tale that there was even a "crooked house" from the Mother Goose rhyme. I guess older Amsterdam is built on wooden piles driven into the ground because the earth is not stable so you don't see buildings more than 3 stories high and some of the older ones are sagging. But everything is beautiful in a way. Even new construction matches the old world feel of Amsterdam. We did finally find some tulips in bloom as we got off the boat and had some girls take our picture, my favorite picture of the day, the one with us all peeking over the flowers. We had to say goodbye at this point to Sylvie because Saskia had to get her to the airport to catch her flight.

Well, the rest of the day was spent ducking into gift shops, trying to find the perfect gift for family. (Be warned, regular stores close at 6:00 pm, even in a tourist town like Amsterdam.)  I wanted some more of the seashell type candy that Ferry had gifted we instructors. Chris was a good detective and finally found me some in a little grocery store downtown. We did find a little shop that was different from the rest and had interesting imports like seashell necklaces and blown glass and skeleton art. I ended up getting a tiny glass cow for myself and a sea shell hair comb for Emma.

Christina had mentioned that she had wanted to try Indonesian food earlier and we finally found an Asian restaurant that served it. It was called Restaurant Mandarijn. It was on the second story and small but nicely decorated in black lacquer and Asian prints. We noticed that a lot of locals were there having dinner and animated conversation which we took as a good sign. I was brave and shared an Indonesian dinner with Christina. It wasn't bad but I was jealous of Svetlana's stirfry. The waiter didn't even know the term "stirfry" but we described it to him and he came back with a great dish for her. We got some ice cream with our dinner and even that was pretty with cream and caramel drizzle.

Before we left for the night to go back to our hotel, Svetlana treated us to admission to a very interesting museum that you would only find in Amsterdam. Let's just say that I have now had the full Amsterdam experience!

I can truly say that this whole EFABE experience was one of the best of my life. To be able to mix my love of face painting with such a beautiful place and make friends with such wonderful people as the organizers and the instructors and students...it still fills me with sunshine to think of it to this day.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Muse of the Week - My Little Esther

I was invited to paint at a Jewish Community Center for Israel Independence Day this Sunday and as my time there was winding down, husband put bracelets on the last remaining children in line to be painted.

I soon heard a commotion. A father was INSISTING that his daughter come out of the line because they were going home. She protested. She had been waiting at least the 15 minutes since my husband put the bracelets on and was only one or two away from getting to the painter. He insisted again and said they were going right now. She stuck to her guns and wouldn't budge. I offered to paint on her arm because he kept mentioning how he didn't want it on her face, but she shook her head at me. He now said "I don't LIKE face painting, let's go!" She resisted...only one more before her!

I continued painting and didn't really get involved but didn't know whether to be shocked or amused (but did turn around for sure) when Dad said "Face painting is against the TORAH!"...now mind you, I was HIRED by the community center. He was not attired as an Hasidic Jew and I KNOW there are many a talented face painters in Israel who paint for Jewish holidays....so.....

My Little "Esther" insisted that Father go get her Mother. Now she was right behind me and I was finishing the last child before it was her turn. Mother was trying, but I could tell she was softening...so I turned and said "She has been waiting for quite awhile." She relented and said "Now you will enjoy this all day, right?" and the girl nodded and got in my chair.

She wanted a tiger eye I had on my eye design board, only on two eyes...and maybe a black nose. What a great choice for such a fierce opponent. Well, I got out my brilliant bling cake and I was determined that this little queen was going to get the best face painting of the day. I said "Good thing there is a long history of strong Jewish women in history." and smiled.

I started hearing "Oh, that's really good" from adults who I soon realized were none other than the parents. "That's really first class face painting!" Dad said. "Wow!...oh, you look so beautiful!" I did my pointiest tiger lines, added dots, a nose and then to finish it off brought out the gold bling (the only time that day) and added it in celebration of her victory.

She was already smiling from all of the comments she was hearing and gasps from the little audience left in line. She was thrilled when I showed her in the mirror. I almost cried when I realized that Jeff had captured this moment for me...her peaceful, proud, pleased smile as she received her well deserved prize. Priceless.

Little Esther

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day Six - Playing Princess

I wasn't able to arrange any post classes so Tuesday was a free day for me as the other instructors were hauled to different locations and classes around the area. I felt very spoiled because it was an opportunity to enjoy my beautiful surroundings; both the hotel and the acres of flowers in bloom.

I had a country grandma & a city grandma

Hollyhock ballerina
I grew up as the only girl with two brothers 9 & 7 years older and a younger brother 7 years younger so I used to spend a lot of time playing alone in one grandmother's big old house with all sorts of cubbies, closets and extra rooms and the other grandmother's ditches, fields and pastures.  I would spend hours pretending to iron washcloths with one of those old irons (that were really iron) my city grandma kept by the fireplace, swinging on the swing set or lining up nicknacks on the shelf. At my country grandmas I would be picking mint by the ditch for mint tea or rubbing the noses of the horses or making holly hock ballerinas. I feel lucky that, as a child, I got to enjoy the wonder of being present in the moment and experiencing "old fashioned" entertainment that seems to be extinct in these days of video games and 24 hour television programming.

Beautiful NH_Leeuwenhorst
This day of my EFABE experience was a gift for me that made me feel a child again; completely relaxed with no time table. I woke up JUST in time for breakfast and while I ate I read emails and saw in my inbox that Kerry Ann DePetro had uploaded a new Face Paint Podcast. I went back up to the room and packed my swimming suit and changed into my workout clothes and went to the exercise room and listened to her interview the crazy good Ezia Leach about her experience at LaFete while I did the elliptical machine and lifted weights.

I went in the locker room and changed into my swimming suit and went to the pool where they were holding an in-pool exercise class. I decided to check out Facebook while they were finishing and found a pool-side chair. I guess I was there too long because long after the class left, a young man decided I'd surfed the internet long enough so he got of out the pool and chastised me in Dutch, and then English when he realized I didn't understand, for being at a pool and not getting in the water. He was right, in a way, although his companions apologized for him...but it got me in the water. I got in the spa and someone took mercy on me and turned on the bubbles (I couldn't find the switch and couldn't read the signs) The spa was actually only lukewarm but it was good because American spas are so hot that you can only stay 15 minutes...so I had a good time floating around in the bubbles for a long time.

I went up to the room and showered and, like our American forefather Ben Franklin, took an airbath in the cool air coming in through my hotel window that was open to the nature surrounding the hotel. I could hear the birds singing and a few trucks coming and going but the cool sheets and sounds soon had me fast asleep. I had a big breakfast so there was no need for lunch so when I woke up in the late afternoon I checked with Saskia Timmermans to see if they happened to be coming back to the hotel for dinner or would be dining out. She texted back that she didn't think they were going to make it back but I might check with Pashur and Sean who were coming back to the hotel. I tried to text Pashur but I guess they were working on a body paint so I decided that I should go explore the hedgerow around the hotel before I got dark. I could always eat later...sooo glad I did!

As I rounded the corner of the hotel the smell of hyacinths was heavy all around. It was dusk and the warmth of the earth was helping the flowers release a strong fragrance into the air. I followed the paths around the hotel and there were acres and acres of daffodils and hyacinths before me....right behind the hotel! I could see a plowed field from my hotel window but I hadn't seen these fields on the other side. The sun was just setting and giving the flowers a halo of light and enhancing the colors and it was beautiful! I took pictures to remember but I know that a picture won't express the whole experience of colors, smells and peace. Even the weeds had crowns of purple. There were volunteer bulbs everywhere sprouting along roadsides and ditches.

Before I lost the last of the evening light I came back to the footpath and walked around the hotel. There were benches and little viewing areas scattered all through the hedgerow but I bet that only a handful of the occupants of the hotel would ever come out here. They would be too busy studying graphs and charts and getting coffee to look. I know I would have missed it and only had my view from the window to remember if I hadn't had my "Princess" day.

After my walk I went back to the buffet and had a great Asian dinner accompanied by my husband as we text back and forth across thousands of miles about our individual days; he at home fixing dinner and doing a few loads of laundry and finishing the last tasks of his university classes, me...playing princess. I still owe him many homemade meals!

Saskia & Youri
I made my way to the bar at 8:00 waiting for the other instructors to make it back from their adventures. Saskia de Graaf came along and I told her about my day of playing princess and how grateful I was for my time there. I told her about Lissette and my classes, how fun the jam was...things I've talked about here on T&TS. I was nice to have some quiet time with her before everyone arrived. I didn't know until then that her son was the handsome young man, Youri, that had helped me earlier at the Mehron booth!

Colab body paint with
Pashur, Sean & Richard
When everyone got there we gathered at the big table near the bar and chatted. I noticed that something was off with Pashur and even Sean seemed a little down. Well, it turns out that they hadn't eaten yet because of the body painting and were both running on fumes, ARTISTS! :) Saskia caught the kitchen before they closed and ordered them a pizza and poor Sean waited at the busy bar for a long while trying to get a drink and gave up. So while they were eating, I bought those poor guys something to drink. Between a little food and something to drink they were feeling better in no time and we were all snapping selfies and joking and enjoying the rest of our evening. We had to say goodbyes to some that were going back home or to other places to teach and this would be last day we were all together. Lots of hugs and kisses on the cheeks for all.

I retired around 11:30, a modern day Cinderella leaving the ball before midnight to Skype her prince of a husband back home.

Christina & Denise making
 a Sean sandwich

How does she do it? We're all in the shot!

Lea broke the previous record of the
most people in an EFABE selfie.

Day Five - The Most Fan-tabulous, Fraîche Face Painting Day

This day couldn't have been any better if I'd made a dream board and tried to apply "The Secret" to brew up the best painting day of my life. I was just expecting a workshop with Mark Reid...what I got was a fabulous experience that I will never forget. It was like all three years of my face painting life coalesced into the manifestation of this...the perfect day. Perfect class, perfect venue, perfect hostess, perfect chef, perfect painter, perfect city....JUST....

Inspiration of Mark Reid
Anyone that knows me knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of Mark Reid's art. I've joked often that I'm not in competition with my local artists, I'm in "competition" with Mark Reid because his work is the perfection that I strive for in face painting. I love that he and his Texas State Fair partner Christina Davison (another of my favorite painters) work together create face painting designs are are simple yet perfect; I don't know how else to describe them (Brace yourself, I'll be using that word a lot!) Perfect placement, perfect thick to thin line work, flattering to the wearer and quick enough that I have used many of the designs in my business to wow my clients. When I found out that I wouldn't be teaching Monday, I jumped at the opportunity to take an intensive workshop with Mr. Reid while I was there in Holland. I honestly didn't know how perfect my day would turn out.

We met down at the breakfast room of the hotel before heading out and Richard Nijboer was going to take myself, Mark & Sylvie Ghidalia to class. When I got in the car I was a bit worried because there were no seatbelts in the back my Mark assured me that Richard had driven him all over Europe safely. It was a little bit of a drive to Amsterdam but it was fun to listen to Mark's painting adventures...one even temporarily landed him in jail! He's so full of fun an humor that I could listen and laugh with him all day!

Restuarant Fraîche in Amsterdam
Our hostess Jon
We made it to Amsterdam and found this darling restaurant where the class was to be held. It was called Fraîche. It was super small compared to the large chain restaurants you see here in America, but it was very quaint...nah, that's not a good word for it, it's cooler than that. It was like you were being invited into the very large cozy kitchen of a friend who happened to be a fabulous chef! There was Jon (pronounced Yon) of Face Paint Stuff to greet us. She had introduced herself to me in the hallway at the hotel a few days before and told me she was hosting the Mark Reid workshop and she also attended my class so it was nice to see a familiar face there. What I hadn't realized before is that her husband, Tony, was the owner/chef of Fraîche. She was the perfect hostess. She made sure that everyone had tea or coffee or whatever they needed and that we were all settled in.

Class was really fun for me. I'd never taken an official hands-on workshop from Mark...only quick classes at conference, FABAtv and he'd come through Utah for a demo class...but I'd never painted and been critiqued by him before. I believe that criticism is always better than praise if you are trying to learn a craft. We covered painting the perfect teardrops (of course!) and flames so that it would help us understand the blending we would be doing later. Then we got into the good girly stuff! We started with a simple butterfly and then Mark showed us how to pump it up by adding shading and bling.
Jon & I painted cats

He did a darling quick tiger cat type design that I plan on adding to my boards this year. Then he did a Bat Mask on Richard but instead of tear drops added a Glittermark filigree. (I actually ended up painting that on myself for Comic Con.) He challenged us to paint one of those designs on each other. This is Jon & I in our attempts to paint the kitty design...needs a bit of practice to match his perfect line work.

The freshest ingredients cooked perfectly
Beautiful table setting
One of the things that made this day so perfect was the food we were served for lunch. I'm glad Mark took photos so I could show you here. Just as the restaurant says, everything was FRESH! We had arugula salad (my personal favorite), beet salad, pea pods with baby green beans, sliced prosciutto, tomatoes with fennel (or some licorice type herb), crispy fried potatoes that were fluffy as clouds on the inside, homemade bread...Tony even took time to de-bone the chicken before frying it so it was all meat and juicy and tender. I guess they have a pretty famous Sunday brunch that I wish I could go to every Sunday. They buy food in season and modify their menu to reflect the produce and meats they are able to get fresh. We are a culinary family of sorts and my son, Adam, is chef at From Scratch in Salt Lake City; so I appreciate the talent that goes into having these perfect ingredients AND cooking them in such a way to enhance the flavor and not cover it up.

Getting painted in class
Perfect Model
I was so thrilled that I got to model for Mark as he demonstrated a gorgeous half butterfly design. He attempted to have all in the class, if we wanted, to leave with a design on our faces. It's amazing to watch how he can take a little pat of paint, some glitter & a liner brush and make these fabulous designs. A little after 5:00 pm Tony brought their beautiful children to the restaurant. Mark painted Jon's little girl and she looked amazing. What was cute is she KNEW she looked beautiful and was posing like a professional in no time. Around 5:30 pm it was getting time for Tony to close up shop. Everyone had to go their separate ways except our little group that we had started the day with. I wish they had stayed and gone to dinner with us because they would have experienced the adventure that Sylvie and I got to have.

It took us quite awhile to park, walk and try and find somewhere to get a drink and something to eat. As we were walking the streets of Amsterdam, people would notice my fabulous face painting and one time even got stopped for pictures. It was such a treat to be walking along the streets of Amsterdam with one of my face painting heroes, wearing his creation and I felt beautiful and sooo lucky to be there in that moment.

We had packed a bit of paint in the white Mehron bag I had with me and had plans to paint Sylvie because we ran out of time at Fraîche. We finally hit upon a pub that had umbrella tables on the sidewalk and so we plopped down and got some drinks. I felt badly for Mark because he's been on his feet all day painting and we'd just been sitting in class.

As tired as he was, he set up the paints right there and started painting a gorgeous eye design set on Sylvie. If you thought walking down the street got attention, you should have seen the people stopping to watch the actual painting happening! I recorded the whole thing on Sylvie's phone so she'd have proof that it actually happened. We were losing light and so Mark took us both across the street and used his photography posing magic to take a picture of us. I'm happy just thinking about it. You can just tell by watching Mark paint and take photos that he LOVES his craft and making his subjects as beautiful as they can be.
Sylvie & Denise on the streets of Amsterdam

Mark painting Richard at the pub
We decided that Richard needed something to match us now so in the last minutes of light Mark painted Richard with a flame & tribal design that swooped across his entire head. I think Richard got stopped for his design even more than we did!

We were all starting to get tired and hungry. We left the pub to find somewhere to eat and stopped at a little corner pizza shop. It was surprisingly pretty good and I definitely felt re-charged after that.

Richard was our tour guide and took us for a walk around the city on our way back to the car. The city is interesting and eclectic. There are some weird places like smoking shops and sex toy shops and yes, we did a quick tour of the Red Light district but what struck me was the age of everything. It was an interesting juxtaposition of beautiful old architecture and modern age marketing.

We ran into a bit of trouble when our cola hit our bladders and it was getting late and places were closed. Luckily, we found this little closet of an English pub on a corner and the bar keep was nice enough to let me use his restroom. One of my mottos, from when I had kids and as I've gotten older, is "never pass up a perfectly good bathroom"...I was so grateful for that tiny little WC in the middle of Amsterdam. I wish I'd had some change to put in his jar but all I had was 100 euro note and even though I was grateful, wasn't quite THAT grateful so I just had to thank him enthusiastically.

In addition to Mark being a great painter, he's also a gentleman. He told me not to tell anyone this because they might get the wrong impression of him! LOL! He was making sure that we all traveled together and he and Richard were making sure that we didn't fall into the canal or step in horse droppings. He carried my little Mehron bag for me and in general, just made sure that we were taken care of. It was very nice, especially walking in the dark in a strange and foreign land.

Amsterdam at Night
The city was just beautiful at night. Twinkling lights falling on the canal and lighted buildings made it seem more magical that ever before. I snagged this photo from Sylvie's facebook. We were passing a canal and trying to take photos of the beautiful scene and she handed the camera to Mark and he snapped a really nice photo for her. Doesn't it look just like a painting?

We made it to the car and Richard drove us home in the dark. After a full day of teaching, painting and walking all over Amsterdam, Mark was so tired he was falling asleep on the way. We were all worn out and as soon as we got back I hugged everyone and made my way up to my hotel room and Skyped my husband about my fabulous day. I had just as hard of a time expressing how cool it was as I am you now. I just kept saying "Hun, it was perfect" and it was!