Have you ever been to a children’s party, or attended a festival, where there’s a facepainter and wished you had the courage to have your face decorated in some way?
I first plucked up the courage a few days before my husband Barry and I got married in Gisborne, in December 2009. A friend of mine had arrived from England, and we were in the Gisborne countryside enjoying fine food and wine at a local winery. There was a face painter doing xmas themed designs – so we both had a little christmas tree on our cheek! I was thrilled, and felt my inner child giggling happily at my bravery to not care what others thought.
Another memory for me is every New Year’s Day evening in Gisborne, when there’s an evening of entertainment and fireworks by the riverside. There’s always a face painter there to brighten up the children’s faces, and they’d wait in line for an hour or more, patiently, just to be colourfully adorned for a few hours.
So when Barry and I were planning on returning to England to live aboard a narrowboat and travel the boating festivals with ‘The Home Brew Boat‘, I thought how magical it would be if I could also do something at such events. I’d been a nurse and midwife in a variety of roles in UK and NZ since 1981, and I knew I wanted to change direction to something that would work living on the Inland Waterways.
The inaugural event
‘Funtastic Facepainting by Sandra’ was born in April 2014. I had my first ‘gig’ at The Spring Market, The Bond, Digbeth.
Following that event, I’ve spent many days painting children and the occasional adult (female AND male), and added glitter and ink temporary tattoos to my business. I’ve travelled around the country to dozens of canal related festivals, painted at land based events and fairs, children’s parties and a wedding.
I love watching children’s (and teenagers and adults!) faces light up when they see themselves in the mirror, after being transformed into their favourite character or animal – or just magically glittered, patterned or flowered.
Facepainting training and development
I did a beginner’s face painting workshop with Janet Case in Ormskirk, Lancashire in February 2014, and am an active member of a number of Facebook Facepainters support groups.
I subscribed to ‘FABAtv’ for six months, which provided me with amazing opportunities to watch and learn from the best face and body painters in the world, and expand my repertoire. I’m about to subscribe for another month to see if there’s any new skills or techniques I can develop.
In October 2014 and September/October 2016, I attended the bi-annual UK Face and Body Art convention in Dudley, West Midlands. Professional face and body artists from around the world gather here to teach, to paint, and to learn.