Monday, April 28, 2014

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!

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