I recently felt the “OCD” need to clear out some of my 24,000 photos on my hard drive and came across a load of images of when I first discovered the magical world of face painting. So, after some onerous pontificating and as we approach the end of my 6th year in business, I thought I’d be brave and share them with you!
Allow me to take you back to the spring of 2007 – a visit with friends to a local bird sanctuary, Birdworld in Farnham, and my daughter and her best buddy had their first experience of facepainting!
We queued rather tentatively for some time, as is the norm at these places; the children totally mesmerised and hardly uttering a word as they watched the lady at work.
We finally reached the front of the queue and my beautiful, pretty, girly, “pink in every way” daughter asked to be … “a COW”! All my coercing towards the butterfly and princess photos on display fell on deaf ears and a cow she was going to be!
I gulped, as a lump lodged in my throat, watching the intense concentration on her face as she tried so hard to keep still for the face painter.
And as for the expression on her face when she took her first glance in the mirror?! My heart totally melted and from that moment on I was set on the idea of recreating that reaction for her again. The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon admiring each other’s faces with delight! (If anyone has any idea who the face painter was then I’d love to know – I’ve never managed to track her down since – and I’d love to thank her for being one of my inspirations to start painting!)
The idea for Fascinating Faces was created just a few months after! It was a beginning that many professional face painters will relate to – I picked up a cheap set of paints and decided to just “have a go”. I got hold of the usual beginners books and set to work on both daughter and husband; my very first attempt being a CLOWN.
That face was to prove rather significant in the months and years to follow!
During the summer I decided to organise two summer parties for all of my daughter’s friends! Fairies and pirates were the theme and, as a wannabe make-up artist since my teens, I was in my element with brush in one hand and sponge in the other! (oh … and wings attached of course!)
By then I was hooked and as they say, the rest is history!
My first “official” party had a circus theme and was held 120 miles away in Somerset by my daughter’s Godmother, Sophie, and good friend of mine since the age of 4. The nerves kicked in big time and I spent hours surfing the net for clown face ideas, techniques for sponging and brushwork and attempting to buy the best paints I could for the job. It was way back then that I discovered the virtues of Grimas cake white and I’ve never been without it since!
With shaking hands and my heart pounding I set to work on Sophie and her daughter followed by Daddy, Granny, Granddad and the Godparents!!! They had all gone to town with their costumes and within no time the house was filled with white faces, red noses and crazy wigs and that was before any of the guests arrived!!! I was then joined, somewhat surreally, by the lady who is the voice of Bella in the Tweenies and between us we painted our way through 15 more mini clowns and the party was complete …. all except me …. after all the nerves and excitement I ran out of time to paint myself!
At the party two photos were taken of Sophie and Ellie Mae that have remained as a constant in my portfolio ever since! They were just so smiley and cute and summed up the atmosphere of the party and my initiation into the facepainting industry as a professional!!!
Five years on I had an opportunity to recreate that magical day and painted Sophie and Ellie once again!
Clowns have been an underlying (and unrealised) influence since my childhood love of Pierrot and they now represent a very important part of my life – my business – something I’m extremely proud of.
It has given me an opportunity to combine my two passions, art and children within an industry that has allowed me to use my business and creative skills to the max without compromising my most important role in life – being a mum! It has also introduced me to some incredibly talented people who I am now proud to call my friends.
I’m now going to brave sharing with you some photos that illustrate my journey in the early days and would invite you to check out my current website gallery to see the progress that is possible as a result of an investment in training; hours of practice and the support and guidance of some amazing people in this industry.
In 2008 I plucked up the courage to enter a competition! Ended up being put in the “Intermediate” category by mistake after applying as a “Beginner”! Didn’t get placed but was proud to see my work on display!
And just a few years later something happened that in 2007 I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams ….. the theme was “Heaven and Hell” and the live competition was “Face Painter of the Year”.