Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration

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I hugely admire the rare artists out there who can conjour up the most incredible, unique pieces of art totally from their minds – be it on canvas, skin, walls, fabric, paper …

Sadly that is not where my strength lies personally and I have to draw inspiration from many sources and resources. I am never comfortable “winging it” especially with larger projects like bump art and body art – I spend endless, frustrating, often fruitless, hours researching images, testing out ideas and practicing my designs on canvas before transferring them to my models.

I keep my eyes peeled constantly when I’m out and about – ideas are out there everywhere – in nature, on wallpaper, wrapping paper, fabric, advertising, flooring etc etc. I often get rather odd looks from strangers when I stop in the middle of a shop to photograph some obscure piece of objet d’art or an intricate pattern hidden in the swathes of gift wrap draped on display in a corner.

Other artists that I admire are an obvious constant source of stimulus. I have a “muse” file set up on my computer full of designs that amaze me and encourage me to stretch myself.   Take a look at some amazing face and body painters from the UK and all over the world at earlier blogs here. Inspirational Artists from Overseas and Home Grown Talent

My phone memory is bursting at the seams with reference photos for the more unusual requests we get at busy jobs and wherever possible I check wifi access at bookings before I start so, if time permits, I can look up anything I’m asked for that I’m not familiar with.

Thought I’d share some examples with you of images that have inspired some of my more recent designs.

Tiger

Clown

 

Purple

Excepting an occasional “light bulb” moment, I have recently hit a bit of a brick wall with my own work – a sort of plateau where I feel stuck in an artistic rut – churning out variations of the same designs over and over; not having time to experiment with really new fresh options. I am regularly reassured by the whoops of delight from the children and parents during their mirror moments that I am still managing to deliver what I need to for my customers but I feel the need to challenge myself and have a monstrous, fat, hairy, audacious action point on my to do list (some of my old Prudential colleagues will recognise that reference!) to come up with a whole new portfolio of designs! I want a new tiger, a new fairy, a new princess, a new pirate … a new EVERYTHING. Not an easy task but I would LOVE to come up with a profusion of fresh, original designs that are fast but effective!

I thought by putting this in my blog it’ll commit me to delivering on this goal and whilst I’m not going to give myself a finite deadline, it will be a continuing work in progress and I’ll keep you all posted as things develop!

So enough blogging for now – I’m off to lose myself on my iPad in the deepest darkest artistic corners of Pinterest,   Google images Getty Images  and anywhere else they may lead me!

See you on the other side!

 

 

 

 

Friday Favourites – HOME GROWN TALENT

A couple of weeks ago I did a feature on my favourite artists from around the world.  This week I’m going to bring things closer to home and want to share with you the work of some amazing artists here in the UK.

Our little island is brimming with incredible artistic talent and here’s an insight into just a few of my favourites.

BRIERLEY THORPE  Brierley Thorpe Face and Body Art 

I first became aware of Brierley at the FACE Conference in Hertfordshire in 2011 when she won the FACE Award and the Best Kept Kit award.  I’d not had a chance to speak to her during the conference nor see her working but I quickly became much more familiar with her artistic talent.   To say her designs are instantly recognizable is an understatement!  Her strong and dynamic style stands out immediately and the vibrancy takes your breath away.

Her body painting is equally awe inspiring each one set off brilliantly with exquisite hand-made headpieces; hairpieces and jewels adorning the beautiful models.

BRIERLEY

Each design is the result of extensive research and inspiration from a profusion of sources.   Brierley explains here in her blog  how her recent design painted at the 2014 Paradise Jam came about.

You can see more of her resplendent work on her Facebook page here.

Brierley also offers training workshops in her studio in Walthamstow.

KJ (KELLY-JANE ERKIN)  KJ Entertainments

The 2011 FACE Conference also resulted in my first meeting with Kelly-Jane – known fondly to most as KJ.  I’ll never forget setting up my kit beside her for my first attempt at the Face Painter of the Year competition (and my first ever live competition) trembling with nerves.  On striking up a conversation, I was relieved to hear that she was as anxious as me and we both egged each other on to avoid bottling it all together!

KJ and her partner (in love and business) Dan run KJ Entertainments in Cambridgeshire offering everything you could need for a party from KJ’s painting to Dan’s awesome balloon modelling with a little bit of fabulous singing thrown in too!

KJ’s painting designs are quite simply the epitome of prettiness!   Her style is uncomplicated and seemingly effortless.  She has a natural ability for one stroke painting – producing such delicate work with flamboyant brush strokes.

KJ

What I love most about KJ’s work is that she is a fabulous example of an extremely talented “jobbing” face painter – someone who can turn out endless, original, rapid designs with a bit of an edge keeping impatient children and parents happy whilst still turning heads with the results.   I often look to KJ’s photos for inspiration when my creative genes are waning!

WENDY HOLROYD (The Paintertainer)

Another artist with an immediately identifiable style.  Wendy, from St Albans, has been painting since 2007.

Wendy is renowned in our industry for her beautifully delicate, lifelike butterflies.  Many an artist strives to perfect a “Wendy Butterfly” much in the same way that we aspire to emulate  a “Mark Reid tiger”!

WENDY

Her talent is magical to watch – effortless brush strokes and often unexpected colour blend choices come together to produce flawless, ethereal designs.

I’m particularly grateful to Wendy for saving me from my design nemesis – Spidey.  It is a pet hate of mine when I see beginner face painters (myself in the early days included) smother entire faces with layer upon layer of red paint followed by heavy black linework – you can see the parents shudder at the thought of removing it all at bedtime!  Wendy’s delicate interpretation of this popular boys’ request inspired me (and many others) to come up with my own version that wows the children; beats the queues and pleases the nervous parents.

WENDY 1

Thanks Wendy!

NAOMI GAYE “NAMS”  (Nam Nam’s Face Painting and Body Art)  

Bizarrely, I’ve just realized that Nams is yet another artist who I first met at what seems to be becoming a rather significant FACE Conference in 2011!!

She has won many awards during her ten year painting career including three times winner of the FACE Association” Face Painter of the Year – I managed to pinch it off her in 2012 but she stole it right back again in 2013!!!  Well deserved I hasten to add!

NAMS

Based in Brighton, Nams has been face painting for 10 years and is a fabulous all round face and body artist but is particularly known for her intricate eye designs.   She is always a massive hit at festivals and frequently shares her expertise with fellow painters touring the country offering training workshops.

A huge thank you to all of the above artists and many many more that inspire me every day.  We have so many talented people the length and breadth of the UK.

Please please please non-painty people, if you are looking for a face painter for your event please don’t compromise and pick the cheapest you can find.  There are SO many wonderful, professional artists to choose from who may not be “cheap” but you really do get what you pay for in terms of experience, quality of products; customer service and professionalism.   Fascinating Faces covers Surrey and the surrounding counties but we can always recommend people to you all over the country so please get in touch wherever you may be!  We’re always happy to help you find the best.

Notes 

FACE” The Face Painting Association was formed 20 years ago so that like-minded people could get together to share ideas and professional problems in order to improve standards and raise the profile of face painting.  You can find out more about joining or find a professional face painter local to you by visiting http://www.facepaintingassociation.com/

Credits to all the artists mentioned can be found by clicking on the pink text within the article.

Friday Favourites ….. INSPIRATIONAL ARTISTS

Oh my goodness, where do I start … I am inspired every day by artists from all over the globe … many close to home who I have the pleasure of working with week by week and some further afield – this week I’m going to focus on my favourite international artists.

My top five change regularly depending on what I’m working on and what mood I’m in; but these guys are always at or close to the top, week in week out!

NICK AND BRIAN WOLFE – Orlando, USA I had the great pleasure of meeting Nick a couple of years ago and took part in an awesome training workshop with him.  Sadly, I never got to meet his equally amazing brother, Brian before he lost his battle with cancer last year, but was fortunate to receive messages of advice and support from both of them over the years.

Nick and Brian Wolfe

I adore watching them work; I could watch for hours – their style is unique; the speed with which the designs come together is awe-inspiring and their repertoire endless!

I feel hugely privileged to have been painted by Nick on his last visit to the UK (shouldn’t really have grinned in this shot as it ruins the mouth effect but couldn’t help myself!!)

WOLFE3

NICK WOLFE GALLERY

Check out their tutorial videos on FabaTV – as well as learning loads; you’ll laugh throughout too – the glint in their eyes is never far away!   I am very precise with my style of work and Nick and Brian both inspire and help me to “loosen up” with my painting and go with the flow a bit more.   If body painting is more your thing; then you can’t go far wrong checking out their work – many designs are like “magic eye pictures” the more you look the more you see – designs within designs within designs!

Wolfe

LYNNE JAMIESON – Werribee, Australia.  Lynne is the magical talent behind Face Magic.  LYNNE 1

I have admired Lynne’s work from my first days of face painting and whilst I’ve not yet had an opportunity to participate in face to face training; I have relished the tutorials she has filmed for FabaTV.  Her application style is highly individual and it is fascinating to watch her effortlessly work her magic in front of your eyes.   Her humble and modest persona makes you warm to her immediately and she has a wonderfully calm and relaxed style of teaching.

LYNNE'S FACE MAGIC

Whilst her manner may be gentle; her artwork is flamboyant and dynamic – each design pops off the face and exudes character and charm.

LYNNE 2

JENNY SAUNDERS – Melbourne, Australia.   Another antipodean inspiration; I have been a fan of Jenny’s work for some time; seeing photos appearing on various websites/social media sites over the years but it was an article in Illusion Magazine (Issue 18)  that really raised my interest and admiration.  Her work oozes with personality and character and is so vivid and vibrant.

JENNY

Each face instantly identifiable with its rainbow of hues and meticulous line-work and blending.   Her photographs clearly illustrate the joy and excitement in each child’s eyes and, in my mind, totally epitomise the wonder of our craft.

GENEVIEVE HOULE “JINNY” – Quebec, Canada.  An exquisite face and body painting artist whose seamless shading and decorative line work have always been a great influence on my work.    Her style of painting, particularly her blending, is more akin to make up application – beautifully smooth and totally precise.   She has produced a couple of fantastic training DVDs which are somewhat pricey and I’m not sure that they are still available in the UK – but if you can get hold of a copy – they’re fantastic.  

Alternatively, she has produced some wonderful youtube tutorials for beginner painters which can be found on her website  or directly at her youtube channel.  And, of course, you can also find her on FabaTV!

(I wasn’t able to make contact with Jinny before publishing the article to get her approval to share some photos but there are plenty to be seen on her website if you’d like to take a look!)

MARK REID – New Mexico.  How could I finish my top faves without including the inimitable “King of Cats”, Mark Reid.   Another amazeballs artist that I’ve also missed several opportunities to meet over the years!  There are very few tiger faces that I see painted that don’t scream out a hint of Mark in some form or another!  His brush technique and symmetry are exemplary and I understand from friends that he is a fabulous teacher – with, unsurprisingly, a huge emphasis in his workshops on linework, linework, linework!  He even has his own range of brushes and glitter gels!

MARK REID

Like all of the artists I’ve mentioned today, you can get access to his training through FabaTV and Mark has also produced several books and DVDs which should have pride of place on every face/body painter’s shelf!   In the UK you can purchase these from Illusion Magazine, The Face Painting Shop, Facepaint UK, Dauphines and probably others too!

MARK REID 2

So that’s my top five – I’d love to know who inspires you … please feel free to comment below!

(Links to all the artists websites can be accessed by clicking on their names!  I urge you to take a look and be inspired too!)