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 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 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!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day Four - Mobster and McDonald's

I decided that I was going to go to one of my fellow teacher's classes and I had never trained with Svetlana Keller, so I quickly ate breakfast and went to her class. It was very full and I sat toward the back near Tineke Cloet, a Face Paint Forum friend.

Svetlana Keller
I have to describe Svetlana a bit, she is very, VERY pretty and very petite and has this soft Disney Princess voice with a wonderful accent. I just loved listening to her's like her whole demeanor compels you to want to hug her. But she's not a softy though, she also likes organization and order so her class was given that way, which I actually appreciate. It's one of the things I love about Pashur's classes...we get a lot done because there aren't so many distractions because they both maintain order.

Class Demo
Another thing you should know about her is she is a photographer, a good one. If you look at her gallery on her Kinderschminken website, you'll see her handiwork. Very bright and beautiful pictures. She took a photography course and it shows. Makes me want to take one. But what was cute about that is she knew how to POSE for the camera also. It was darling and we all got a good laugh in class because whenever a cameraman would approach her, she would adopt this serene smiling pose (like the one to the left) that was beautiful and could be in a magazine! I'm sure her "on-the-job" teaching photos are going to be fantastic! The class was good. We learn three designs and I picked up some really good ideas. I loved that she added some texture stenciling to her zombie face. She used crystals on her girl designs that really looked super and I love her use of color.

Innocent Mobster Shonna at lucheon.
After class we instructors went to lunch and there was a beautiful buffet with salmon and curry, which were great together. I sat by Christina and Shonna was across the way. Well, I mentioned that hardly any vendors were taking cards and there were so many paints that I wanted to try. Shonna said she had lots of euros that I could borrow but then she got this really serious face on and said "but if you don't pay me back I'll have to kill you." Well, I started laughing and that just got her going...she was telling me how she was going to chop me up and feed me to the gators where she lived...mobster style. She had all sorts of creative ways of exacting revenge..."No, Denise...I'm not kidding!" LOL! I'm sure the wait staff thought I was crazy! She had me laughing so much I had to put my face up to the ceiling to laugh out loud! Then Christina sweetly offered some euros to me. I know that Christina lives in Amarillo, Texas so I teased her that she would tie me to an anthill and pour honey on me if I didn't pay her back! I was laughing so hard! What fun company I get to keep! Needless to say...I never did borrow any euros!

Arjan the Zombie
My two classes went well. We had a lot of fun breaking up Starblends and repotting them. I had been painted by a student in the first class so I sprayed my face to show that the Starblend sticks even when the paint washes off. Made a mess of my face I'm sure!

I painted piggies and tigers this time on the models instead of traditional boy designs and in the second class, an EFABE helper Arjan had come to class to be a model for one of the students. I grabbed him and turned him into a zombie to show custom Starblend colors (I make Brownple and Ivory so I can do quick zombies.) He heard me bragging on how Starblends holds up to sweating and heat so he told me after class that he was going to put the Starblend to the test and work in the vendor room. I thought that was a great idea. I know they work pretty well because I've worked in the yard in them for a video tutorial I made.

Denise & Nathalie Cloet
Denise & Gonny
I let the students try the Starblends and they did great. I was painted as a Wolf in the first class by the darling Nathalie Cloet. Michelle Triepels-Verkaart did a really cute tiger on me and a nice skull on Gonny Kokee, first time using Starblend and she really seemed to get it and did great blending on the skull.

I hope that everyone in the class learned something about Starblends and tried them. I wanted the students to get a chance to see that you can get good results and even better results for some things than you can with traditional paints.

We took a break to clean up the classrooms and put together a small kit for the last activity of the day. It was actually really fun and turned out better than I thought it would. We were tasked, as instructors, to demo for the students for 15 minutes in teams of two. I was paired with Christina Davison. That was fun for me because I'm a huge fan of her work. We did the traveling instead of the students moving from class to class. I decided to do one-stroke roses like I had at the jam the night before so I used that grey and teal combo that looked so pretty on Elke so I only needed the two one-stroke cakes, white and black and of course...BLING! Christina did a cute heart tiger the first class and then her signature horsey design in the other classes. We were a little behind on the first class, figuring out our groove, but then in the following classes we got too fast and had to fill in the time a bit! It was fun to paint full speed and not do much talking...more like a gig and the students would clap at the end...much better than a gig!

Shonna and Mark crackin' up!
It was funny because the courtyard doors behind us were opened and we kept hearing this uproar at the beginning of each class and laughter coming from another classroom. We were pretty sure it was Mark but we weren't sure what he was up to. Turns out that he and Shonna were just having a blast being silly with the students. I guess at some point Shonna was making sexy balloons??? Is this true? LOL! Lucky students! I would have loved to have watched that!

After class everyone changed and we were going to meet and go somewhere for dinner. I met Pashur and Sean waiting downstairs. I still had drink tokens left because I hadn't had any adult beverages all week so I thought I would try something. I pled with Pashur to help me because I didn't know "how to" drink. I've had a few drinks of wine at a friends, a plum Saki with my sushi at Red Rock and one super strong martini that I couldn't even finish but I had never ordered something from a bar. So he recommended a cider called Strongbow. It was actually good. It reminded me of Martinelli's that is a Cold family tradition at New Years but just a hard cider version. It was so nice to sit with those two wonderful guys and enjoy the last of the golden sun of the day.

Stopping at the beautiful Hyacinth fields
We didn't officially plan on dinner as a group because the conference was technically over but the EFABE team was nice enough to take us to McDonalds near the hotel. I know it doesn't sound like much but it was one of my most memorable meals of my life. We piled in a car and I had Mark, Sean, Pashur & Christina in there and me. I guess we were quite the sight when we saw a hyacinth field and pulled over to the shoulder and piled out clown-car style, like the tourists we are, and took photos of the beautiful field of flowers. Brenda Rosendahl caught this photo of us...I think there is even a video floating around somewhere of the spectacle!

 When we first got there at McDonald's we weren't sure what to do so Pashur told me I could go first so I started ordering and was right in the process of paying and Saskia de Graff dove after me and stopped me. The reason we were waiting was to gather everyone together before we ordered. I teased Pashur that he was punking the newbie and he swears he wasn't! I think many of us got the "traditional" Big Mac and fries and because they were busy the fries were nice and hot. My zombie, Arjan, showed up and looked as gruesome as ever! The paint ran a little but the Starblends tolerated the heat and worked well. He tried to get the McDonald's clerk to react by ordering BRAINS...but I guess she was too professional.

Sean Avram captured one of my best meals ever!
I can't tell you how happy this evening made me. I got to sit at the table with all of these great painters and instructors. Even the silver haired man across from me is Ferry Zeeman, a body painting pioneer in the the Netherlands. We were talking about Ferry's beautiful landscaping, Sean's funny kids, crazy stories from the trenches of face and body painting and one particular crazy story about Wiser's narrow escape from a dark "snake" infested bar in Key West! They weren't really snakes... but he'd have to tell you that story himself! I love that everyone loves to laugh as much as I do. It was also a little sentimental because the conference was over and I didn't want the fun to end. Little did I know that the next three days would be just as fabulous.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Léa Selley - Muse of the Week

Lea with a happy customer
I first met Léa in Las Vegas at my first conference ever, FPBA, before I even had my first paid gig. She was the web mistress and had done a great job designing their website. I could appreciate the work she'd done for them because I'd managed websites and programmed them back in the OLD HTML days. She gave a great class on internet marketing and gave us some great ideas on cross marketing with other painters, blogging, linking to other painting content...she had a LOT of great ideas. So she was inspiring me way back when.

Wiser painting Lea at FPBA
Photo: Kim Millen
Fast forward a couple of years and Léa has put out some AMAZING Youtube tutorials, has taught a great class on FABAtv and is now taking the world by storm teaching her graffiti eyes around the world. Oh, and then there was that marriage thing to WISER ONER, the graffiti body painter, in an amazing sugar skull extravaganza at last year's FABAIC! Wow! I guess they had met at that same FPBA conference too!

Great Youtube Tutorials
Léa is not only a painting muse for me, but she's also an instructor muse. I love her high energy enthusiasm approach to teaching. I also love her Youtube channel and she's given me a high standard to shoot for in the future. She's also come up with a stenciling system that makes her graffiti design style more adaptable to all painters. She's making it easier for painters to get her great design results with her great teaching style and tools.

She's also got a great personal way about her that exudes peace and love. She seems very comfortable with herself and with others and wants to bring happiness to the world. So in this way, she's also a personal muse. Kerry Ann DePetro just did an interview with Léa on her Face Paint Podcast (and gave me a shout out too!) and I was so taken by her positive attitude about teaching and painting and getting to meet painters from all over. I was thrilled when I got to meet both her and Wiser (again) at EFABE. What a fun couple and great huggers too! Can't wait to see them at FABAIC.

I just got my Ultimate Graffiti Eyes Stencil Kit in the mail and did my first eye design. I'm getting ready for Comic Con here in Salt Lake City and I'm excited to match graffiti eyes to customer's t-shirts and outfits. I think they will be a great fit for superhero designs. That's one of the beautiful things about graffiti eyes. There are endless combinations of colors and designs that you can do so that each one is unique.

Here's where to find Léa:
Kerry Ann's interview of Léa : Face Paint Podcast
Blog: The Tattooed Lady Blog
Facebook: TheTattooedLadyCA
Graffiti Eyes Group: The Tattoo Lady's Crib
Buy the Stencils: Ultimate Graffiti Eyes Stencil Kit

Day Three - First Class and Flowers

Saturday morning after breakfast I went to the classroom area but classes had started at 9:30 am so I just missed them starting. I didn't have to teach my first class until after lunch. I should have gone into Sean's robot class. I was really impressed with the work I saw on his student's arms later. The cyborg design is always a really popular one at parties but I need more depth...maybe I'll pin him down at FABAIC and have him help me out...anyway...

Sean Avram student's work
I say "should" because I ended up going up stairs to my room and made myself nervous. I had to choose the paints and Starblend colors the night before and I had decided, since Saskia had to open the colors, to only use red, white & black for the students to try. Those are the colors that I suggest people buy first to see if they like Starblends so it made sense; but, this meant I started second guessing the designs I had wanted to demo. Should I only demo designs that they can do with these colors? But then I can't show custom color combos. I can demo using white Starblends on top of paint...but then the students would need red paint and I only have black and white. Arrggh. In the end, after sketching and re-planning, I decided to stick with my plan and just demo designs using all of my paint colors and then let students play with the colors provided...but I had kind of scared myself by doing that little flip flop.

I finished packing everything I needed for the class and headed downstairs at the end of the first session. I started cleaning up and prepping the tables for my class. I had the FAQ about Starblends, three lollipop applicators for the students, little jars to have students experience repotting and each table had a red, white, and black Starblend with a black and white split of Paradise. I was about half-way through and Saskia wanted me to meet the instructors for know that feeling before a big gig when you just can't eat? It didn't help that I'd had a good breakfast that was sitting in my stomach still because I was nervous....but I did want to see everyone.

I went to the lunch area and it was a nice set-up and I even got a plate but only got down a few bites before I couldn't eat anymore. I felt so badly because I filled my plate and had to leave so much of it behind. I mentioned that I was nervous and Svetlana Keller was so sweet and gave me a pep talk about teaching and how everyone that was in my class had requested it and I had something to share that no one else was a very nice gesture and helped quite a bit.

Demonstrating Spiderman
I left lunch early and finished setting the tables and setting up my own kit. I wasn't completely ready when everyone started walking in but pretty close. It was funny that, once I started teaching, the stomach problems went away. I was still nervous and probably talking way too fast ( I KNOW I was painting too fast) but I really do enjoy teaching so I actually liked that part. I also helped that Pashur and Sean teased me a bit as they passed by the classroom and got me laughing.

I did feel sorry for my models though. Here I am painting Spiderman and Hulk on these gorgeous girls. They were probably thinking "I could have been a sugar skull in Mark Reid's class!" What good sports they were. I ended up having them use glycerin, ironically, because they had washed their faces from the previous classes. Usually with teens and adults you don't need glycerin. As I was showing the designs, I talked about the properties of Starblends and the advantages to using them. My favorite is still the piggy design. I talked the model into making grunting noises, she was reluctant but finally gave a little oink and made me so happy.

I let everyone break up brand new flesh toned Starblend makeup that Saskia had provided and pack them in the little jars. They were take home gifts too. We used these tiny little spoons I "stole" from the coffee station and they worked pretty well. We were chopping and smashing and making little piles of makeup to press. I hope the students had fun doing it.

At the end of class I encouraged everyone to come look at and test my colors. I also let them look at my birthday book at designs I liked using with powders. Many of us tried designs on each other. I think it was this first class that had two giraffes in it, they looked so cute I think they ended up going to the photographer. I'm hoping that pictures surface from that. I wanted students to try the Starblends because I think that's the biggest barrier for painters to try them. They either don't know what to expect, or when they get them they aren't sure how to get a good result.

After class was over I cleaned up but I was lucky that I would be coming back to this same classroom the next day so I just packed my kit up and went upstairs, did a little shopping in the vending room and then for a rest and to wash up for dinner.

That night was the jam. I took my whole kit downstairs. Of course, I took up a whole little table with it so it made it so that no one could set up by me. A bunch of students started getting smart and moving tables close together so we did that too so Sean and I could be together on a table and still have some room for others.

I had so much fun. It was flattering to meet new people and they wanted to get painted BY ME! What fun to have a bunch of canvases to paint. I ended up doing a bunch of roses and flowers. I don't get to do big full-fledged roses very often because most of my business are children's birthdays so it was a treat. I got to try all different color combos and pull out my bling and make sparkly pretty designs. One darling girl, Marieke, painted the pretty pansies you see on me! After she was done with me, she ended up doing her own demo of the flower.

Graffiti Eye by Lea Selley
Wiser Graffiti
It was also fun to see what the other instructors were up to. Lea Selley was doing really cool eye designs, my table mate Sean was making these fabulous dragons from serious to the cutest baby dragon ever. Wiser was rocking out graffiti arms and Pashur was making tribals and fabulous glitter decolletage master pieces. I saw this cool free-form tiger design from Christina and Mark was doing beautiful designs...amazing.
Sean's Baby Dragon

Pashur Tribal
Mark Reid Tiger
Christina's Fantasy Cat
Something I missed while I was painting was a hilarious boob painting...and not the kind of boobs you think. Richard and Sean have been mistaken for each other on Facebook when they were fully painted, so they were going to get painted the same design for a picture. Saskia even gave them shirts labeled "Not Richard" and "Not Sean" to wear at dinner on Friday as a joke. Well, what Christina ended up painting was a very realistic boob on each shaved head...and then I guess they posed...together...with the artist. LOL! And I missed it! I don't know if THAT picture will ever show up but I'm glad I got to see it later. I was WONDERING what that was on Sean's head when he came back to the table! What a great night.

Monique's Hairstyling Class
I would suggest that even if you can't attend the whole EFABE next year, that you come for the jam and see the artists at work...and the workshops were great too. There was a class on free-hand glitter tattoos from Sabine Vogel, Shonna demonstrated balloons, Monique Lily showed how to do party hair, Danielle Visser showed foam latex prosthetics, Frans Hanneman showed airbrush tattoos and Michelle Triepels_Verkaart showed one-stroke designs...see! Now you know why I wanted to go to these!

I made it upstairs about midnight, just in time for a nightly Skype with hubby but I was so tired I almost fell asleep on the spot. The day started out a little nerve racking but ended up being a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Day Two - Good Friends and Foul Ups

I really wanted to use THE SWEAR WORD for the title but I was afraid of an email from my mom warning me to keep my blog family we'll call it "foul up" for now...but that isn't where day two started so let's 2012....

Towards the end of summer of 2012, I received a amazing private message on the Face Paint Forum from Lizzie (Lisette Huinck), the artist behind the wonderful Wuppies below and owner of Kwant Face Painting in the Tegelen. She had won a contest on the forum and was gifting me her $25.00 certificate. She said that the shipping goods to the Netherlands was expensive and she'd rather give it to me so that I could paint, create and share as I had been doing. It was such a touching and kind letter, so typical of Lizzie who is always so positive and upbeat on the forum (I wish I had saved the letter, it evaporated off the server sadly.) But I wasn't prepared for what she shared next. She'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so saddened by the news. She didn't want me to tell anyone yet but I was so touched by her kind note and that she would share the news with me.

All of us on the forum rooted and cried for Lizzie as she went through the treatment for her cancer. Chemo treatment after chemo treatment was tough on her, as it would be on anyone..but all through it she kept her sense of humor and her trademark positive attitude...and kept making Wuppies for all of us to love. It was the only painting she could do at the time through the treatments.

Just a small portion of  Lizzie's Wonderful Wuppies 
Fast forward to 2014 when I found out that I was going to Holland; I was so excited that I might be close enough to Lisette that she could come to EFABE, or at least the jam, because she was ONLY two hours away (that's a long way in the Netherlands though!)  Unfortunately, she discovered that it was the same weekend she was registered for a breast cancer survivor 25 km walk and she couldn't miss that (I just LOVE that she's a survivor!)

We finally found a day that we would both be available, Friday. She asked her husband, Roger, if he would drive down with her and they would come and see me. I was very excited to finally meet my online friend for the first time. She told me she was going to spoil me with Dutch treats...boy did she!

She called up to my room and I recognized her voice right away. I rushed down and saw she and Roger in the lobby. She was so tall! She had these fabulous boots on so she seemed to tower over me and she was gorgeous with beautiful blue eyes and chic short hair. I just grabbed her and we had a nice big cuddly hug. What a joy to meet someone for the first time that you know so well! This is what I love about the forum and Facebook and our lovely face painting community. We found a table in the cafe behind the front desk.

Lisette wasn't kidding about spoiling me! She had made an entire gift bag full of wrapped gifts! Each one with a note attached that explained the meaning behind each gift. There were microfiber cloths because I'd made a removal video that recommended them, there was two bags of wuppie eyes, dutch cookies and treats, bling bling and more bling. It was like Christmas Day! I gave Lisette my crazy Wuppie hat, the one that wore to the airport. She's the reason I had it in Holland. I hope that she'll wear it when she teaches her Wuppie workshops!

Lisette and Roger were about to leave and I protested. I almost begged them (well, I think I did beg a bit) to take me with them to the beach. I was planning on spending some time with them but they weren't sure I could go with them. Oh, I'm so glad they gave in and took me...what a beautiful afternoon it was!

We found a nice parking space near the beach and we immediately saw a mermaid. What a fitting thing for a couple of face painters. We found our way down to the beach and just walked and talked for what seemed like a mile. I commend them for being able to communicate so well with me in English. My family all knows how much I love the beach. I loved crunching the bitty shells littering the beach, hearing about the sand shifting ships, feeling the breeze and soaking up the sun. What a treat!

We found a restaurant with open air dining and found a table in the sun. I got this amazing salad with a cup of warm, fresh goat cheese in the middle. It was different but very yummy. I insisted that I needed to buy the meal (and I think you will agree with me!) because they had driven TWO HOURS, brought me presents, taken me to the beach AND...let's not forget the $25.00 gift certificate...but they would not hear of it. What a perfect afternoon that they had given me.

There was one last thing that I HAD to impose on Lisette. I wanted her to paint me a wuppie. She and Roger came up to my room when we got back to the hotel and she she painted this sweet EFABE wuppie on my cheek. How cool is that! I was so sorry to see them go. It was getting late and they needed to get back to their family and hopefully avoid traffic! I do hope they get that REAL trip to the beach this summer.

After waking up all perky at 6:00 am and exercising and then walking the beach, I needed a nap. I set my phone alarm for 4:30 pm and now...THE FOUL UP portion of our story.

Notice that I DID set my alarm for the proper time. I figured 4:30 was just enough for a good nap and plenty of time to get ready for dinner. I lay down and was soon asleep. The alarm went off and I walked over to the desk and got the agenda that Chris had so thoughtfully provided for us (AND verbally told us the day before when dinner was) and read that dinner was at 18:00 hours....I don't know if I was in a sleepy stupor (I'll blame it on jet lag...yeah, that's it...jet lag) or what but I read 8 O'CLOCK!!!! I mean, people, I SET MY ALARM!!! And guess who worked for police dispatch for almost 4 years total? I pushed the little arrow making the "4" a "7" and lay down and.....

RING! RING! It was Chris on the phone wondering where I was! Dinner was nearly over and the other instructors were waiting for pictures! Well, I was saying THE SWEAR WORD over and over as I got dressed and rushed downstairs. Poor Chris. She kept her composure as I came to the desk for my shirt (I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!) and got me my ticket for dinner...I don't know HOW she kept from beaning me with the closest stapler! I went over and apologized to the poor bored instructors (MY FAVORITE INSTRUCTORS ON PLANET EARTH)

From Mirjam Boxem
I've got to hand it to them for teasing me because if they hadn't and had given me the silent treatment, I think I would have turned into a puddle of goo on the floor. They were kind enough to let the photographer take a couple of shots with us all together and I'm not sure if there will be an official photo with me in it but THIS will be MY official EFABE photo because it's the true picture of what was happening in the moment. Pashur teasing me, Sean being all nice with the thumbs up, Christina and Mark showing the universal sign of peace (LOL!), Shonna talking, Wiser being cool and Lea checking out all the fun. THIS is the image of my horrible embarrassment and also the beginning of new friendships with these crazy wonderful people.

I have to thank both Christina Davison and Richard Nijboer. They each came to me that evening; Christina while I was eating the few cold leftovers I was able to snatch from the buffet and giving me her drink token so I could have a little sparkling drink and making me feel not so alone and to Richard giving me a pep talk about getting over the foul up and having fun that night. Just as he finished, Nancy Veefkind, another FPF friend, came over and introduced herself and and we chatted and I felt more at home as we all gathered for the evening meet and greet.

We went into a large double room where a very enthusiastic and exciting emcee said some very enthusiastic and exciting things....none of which I understood as they were all in Dutch! We were all introduced one-by-one and then they had some giveaways and then Pashur started the painting games. He would give us all a challenge to paint and then a winner from the group was chosen and would come to the front to pick the over-all winner. It was very fun. There was a "draw Richard riding a goat" challenge. My team thought they had missed something in the translation..."No, that's what he said...RIDING a goat." There was octopus in a cage in honor of Alex Hansen's fabulous body painting, Wiser graffiti challenge, earrings and the last was a tag-team challenge where each painter got a few minutes on the face and had to pass off to the next painter to continue the design. We ended up with three sugar skulls, including my team! It had been a day of ups and a very big downer so I'm glad it ended on such a fun note so I could get some sleep and get ready for my first big day of teaching!