Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Been Confirmed!

An award-winning face painter in Canada, Shannon Fennell, heard all the talk about Reef Botanicals Purity soap and had to try it for herself.  She bought four bars, a heck of a commitment for a product she'd never tried before!

She blogged the results here, but I'll give you a hint.  These are the photos she took:

Is that cool or what?  She's another Ivory convert, as was I.  And her post precipitated another sale, to another Canadian face painter who was sold on the efficacy of Reef Botanicals soap.  Looks like Purity is the hot new thing for face painters!

The best thing?  It works just as well on faces for getting the makeup off.  It's gentle and has no allergens, so it works great.  I use it on my own face every day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Tonight was another meeting of the northern NJ Face & Body Art Guild, and I was finally able to make it again. I've missed several meetings because of the show and rehearsals.  Now that we're out of rehearsals, and in fact there's only one weekend left, I've got time.

[Subliminal message:  The show is great, and there's only one weekend left, so you should see it!  Click here to buy tickets.]

And I am now, quite literally, a card-carrying member of the guild!

How cute is that?

This month's meeting was especially valuable, as we had a guest teacher to lead our workshop, Pashur.  Yup, the same great guy whose class I took back in November.  He's really a great person in addition to being a great artist, and it was fun to see him again.

In addition to a great new parrot design, he showed us ways to really improve our sharks.  Plus, I learned this great tattoo-style rose that, when filled in and shaded, is similar to an Ed Hardy look.

Polished up, filled in, shaded, and surrounded by some tribals or thorny vines, this will be a phenomenal addition to my repertoire.

The best part of Pashur's workshops are the games that get you to push your boundaries.  One game was to fingerpaint fifteen 3-color roses with a vine, leaves, and a bumblebee... first person to finish won, so we needed to move fast and throw skill and "pretty" out the window.  The range of outcomes was hilarious.

Mine was second from the left.

I can't wait to put my new skills and ideas to good use!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bringing Smiles

Yesterday, Eric and I traveled into the Bronx for my friend's 39th birthday party. We got there several hours after the child-friendly, mid-afternoon party had started, since I had a performance yesterday afternoon.  As it started to get dark, some of the younger revelers were getting tired and getting a little sensitive with each other.

The solution?

Face painting, of course!  I keep my kit in the car except when I bring it in between gigs to clean it, and so it was right there in the back seat when I needed it.  It was perfect, and I was happy to do it.  Eric and I didn't tell them what we were doing when we went to the front of the house, and the smiles started as soon as I opened my kit and started to set up.

My friend's daughter has been face painted many times, but never before by me.  She asked for a butterfly, my most requested faced, and let me match the colors to her outfit.

A young neighbor managed to hit upon my second most requested face, the tiger.

Even the ones who didn't want to actually get painted were engrossed with the process, and just watching me paint kept them entertained for a bit.

By the time I finished, it was just getting too dark to see and the kids were happy and ready to play together again.

[All photos taken by Michael G. Curry]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Washing My Kit

Between each face painting gig, I bring my kit(s) into the house and wash each brush and sponge that I've used.  I'm sure you find this to be good news, right?

Now, as a fine artist, I'd been taught to use Ivory soap to wash my brushes when oil painting.  It makes sense as a nearly-pure soap that cuts through the oils really well.  So when I started face painting, it made sense to me to do the same with my face painting brushes.  Granted, face paints are really makup and not paint at all, and they're therefore not oily, but they are highly pigmented and can stain sponges and brushes something fierce.

I stopped that.  I've started using Purity pure Castile soap instead.  Yes, I make it myself.  When my husband and I started our soap business, Reef Botanicals, I posted it here.  Well, now it's flourishing!

Not long ago, Mark Reid espoused the virtues of cleaning his sponges and brushes in a pure Castile soap.  He bought some Purity and raved about its success.  Since then, other face painters have followed suit.

This is what Ashley Pickin had to say about it:

OMG it cleaned my brushes and sponges SO WELL!  Brushes that had been black with Wolfe black for like months came back to a light shade of gray... I couldn't believe it.  I had used all kinds of other stuff on them and they never came that clean!  My golden taklon ones turned back to their golden color! Amazing! ... STRONGLY recommend trying that stuff.  It's awesome!

And today, I heard from my friend Cindy, who tested Purity on her face painting sponges last night (and bought a new camera):

First, she hand-washed face painting sponges in a lingerie bag in an unscented liquid hand soap, and got these results:

She pointed out the overall pink tinges of the lighter-colored sponges, which were originally a very light peach, and the pink stains on the formerly white lingerie bag.  She'd spent "a good five minutes squishing, squeezing, resoaping, rinsing and rerinsing these sponges."  They were washed until the water ran clear with the last application of soap, which meant three rounds of soap.

Then, she tested dishwashing liquid, and got this:

They're better and brighter, but the bag is still stained and there's still a good amount of face paint staining the sponges.  She had again washed and rinsed until the water ran clear, which took two applications of the dishwashing liquid.

And then she tried again, with Purity Castile soap, and got this:

It took two rounds of soap and they're still a bit stained, but the sponges themselves have returned to their original pale peach color!  They are bright and not nearly so embarrassing for a face painter to pull out of her kit.  And did you notice...?  No stains on the lingerie bag!

Even better, since you know that Purity is safe for use on the face, if there's any residue on the sponges or brushes, it won't hurt anyone if transferred to a face during face painting.  There are no allergens here, since it's completely color-, fragrance-, and additive-free!

This would work for any cleanup, though.  Even though face paint is really makeup and not paint, this would work just as well for oils, acrylics, watercolors... after all, in my many years of art classes I was taught to wash my oil paint brushes with a bar of Ivory.  What could be better than that?  Purity!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Made Their Day, They Made Mine

I must admit I questioned the sanity of taking on a gig in the late afternoon on a day when I had to be on stage that night.  Yeah, yeah, this was nowhere near as crazy as taking on the Tribeca Film Festival gig the day of my opening night, but this was booked even before that.

It was so worth it.

The kids, the adults, they were all great!  There weren't that many kids, so they were actually getting their faces washed and coming back for second helpings of face paint!  Like this cutie, a natural model, who first wanted a cupcake on one cheek and an ice cream cone on the other.

But then this young man wanted a green and blue tiger.  Once the dessert fan saw that, she wanted a tiger too!  So she washed her face, and came on back.

Meanwhile, my tiger then decided he wanted to be a panda!  Off he was to wash his face, and a panda he became.

Meanwhile, the party boy - he'd received his first communion today - decided that he'd had enough of being good for one day and it was time to be a monster.

And of course, we had our requisite superhero, to save us all from said monster.

Then the bigger kids (read:  adults) got into the act too.  Mom got flowers on her arm, and some others requested shamrocks.  The best sport, though, was grandma, who let her granddaughter pick her face design, and agreed to match the kiddo, except in pink.

Yup, this was my original cupcake & ice cream girl!  I really do love it when the adults get in on the action!  I left the party with a smile on my face while they dug into their cake.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What an experience!


Friday night was opening night of the show I'm in, and everyone went out after, so I got home late.  And then of course I was wide awake and couldn't sleep right away.

I got up on Saturday at around 9 a.m., leaving for Tribeca at 10, to get to the Film Fesival

I found my place in Washington Market Park, and set up while Eric went to find parking - it took him an hour!  Tha'ts how crazy and huge the fetival was. It makes sense on such a gorgeous day.  The high was 88, and it was just partly cloudy.  Perfect for this sort of thing, really, and I was in an area shaded by trees, so it was even more attractive.

Well, on the first trip, people saw me put stuff by the table with the "face painting" sign, and started to line up.  As usual, people started getting on line for painting while I was still setting up.  I set up fast, and got going... and going... and going.

I painted nonstop for 5 hours, barely taking a break for a swig of SmartWater.

The kids were freakin' awesome, EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE. Not exaggerating.  Polite, sweet, fun.  Laughed at my bad jokes, and I did a zillion butterflies but most let me match colors to their outfits!  And most of the parents and guardians were also freakin' awesome. Seriously, I was thanked for doing the painting, thanked for making the kids happy, repeatedly told what a great artist I was, and thanked some more. They thanked me for even just being a face painter!

It feels so grear to be appreciated, it really does.  This is the kind of event that makes the heat, the lugging and carrying, the practice, the investment, the shore shoulders and backs - all of it - worthwhile.

I heard that people were waiting on line for me for TWO HOURS and were STILL nice to me.  I'm pretty sure that says something about their character.

People were so disappointed when I had to leave at 4; next year I will definitely not audition for the May show at the theater so I can spend the whole day painting.  It's worth it.

While there, though, I got to do my second ever panda!  And third, but I didn't get a photo of that one.

I loved this brother and sister too, a kitty that originally wanted to be a bird, and a robot!  My robot requests are very infrequent, but a challenge is always welcome.

I also got to design my first mouse!  This girl was such a cutie, and luckily, we got video and a photo of the final result.

That night, I was back on stage for a great show, as was I on Sunday afternoon!

After that, I came home to an email from the project manager of the Festival, letting me know that the "official" estimate was that they had over 300,000 attendees and thanking me for "helping to make it such a very special day for everyone who attended."

She commented that she'd wanted to say hi as she passed a few times, but didn’t want to interrupt me "while [I was] busy transforming faces into artistic beauty," that everyone seemed so pleased with my work, and that it was a pleasure to have me with them.  It was definitely mutual!


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