At the beginning of this year, when I did my first "Bodies in Color" shoot, I set a goal of doing at least one bodypainting shoot per month. However, between switching careers and moving apartments, I stayed busier than expected, and ended up well short of my original goal of twelve shoots. But with this shoot, I did manage to make it to six-- one every other month-- and I'm fine with that. It's still far more than I've done in any previous year.
For this particular shoot, I originally wanted to do a Harley Quinn theme, but with Christmas coming up, I decided to put Harley on hold and do something a little more seasonally appropriate.
My model was Kebechet, who I also painted green earlier this year. She came up from Portland for the shoot, but thanks to avalanches on the highway, wasn't actually able to make it to Seattle until the following day. That meant instead of starting at noon, we actually started at 5 pm the next day, because of my work schedule.
I'd gotten some new Kryolan makeup that I was looking forward to trying out-- I've used Kryolan before to good effect, and was hoping it would be a bit more even and stay on better than the Mehron liquid paint I've used in the past. However, as it turns out, I had a great deal of difficulty with the white liquid paint-- I couldn't get any decent flow rate through my airbrush, despite cutting it with more and more barrier spray and water.
It's possible that my airbrush was having issues, but after trying two different airbrushes, I gave up and used a regular ol' brush with white Mehron paint for the white. As a result, the white doesn't look as good up close as I'd hoped.
The red, on the other hand, worked well-- I had palettes of Kryolan Aquacolor which I brushed on with a sponge, and that went on very well-- to the point where Kryolan Aquacolor palettes may end up being my go-to makeup in all future bodypainting. I'm kind of fed up with airbrushes in general-- I feel like I'm getting worse, not better, at using them. Maybe with brushing and sponging I can actually concentrate more on the painting than on getting the damn airbrush to work and the paint to flow.
Anyway, airbrush complaints aside, the late start time also meant that by the time the bodypainting was done, we were all getting tired, and couldn't quite spend as much time on the fine details and face makeup as I'd originally hoped. I had gotten some false red eyelashes that I thought would go well with the theme, but those had their own issues, and after about ten minutes we gave up on those. I had also gotten some pink blush for cheeks and facial highlights, but I completely forgot about it while trying to get the real experiment to stick-- the tinsel.
I'm actually really happy with how the tinsel turned out in the end. It stuck easily on her arms-- not quite as easily to her legs, probably because the sections of tinsel were larger. I used prosthetic adhesive-- Spirit Gum is another product that I've pretty much given up on-- and that's okay, because the prosthetic adhesive worked quite well. With a little more time, I might have liked trying to use more tinsel, but ultimately I just went with small bands on the arms and legs, and used silver paint to highlight the rest of the borders of the painted costume.
One other lesson learned: if you're going to do bodypainting in the winter, get a space heater. (Sorry about that, Kebechet.)
Despite all the difficulties, and the bad luck with the scheduling, I'm pretty happy with the results, especially the tinsel, and the candy cane stripes on Kebechet's legs. I wasn't sure about the yarn wig at first, but after trying a few shots with her natural dark brown hair, we decided to go with the wig, and I'm pleased with the way the red wig ties everything together.
You can see more of the results below. (I may add a few more pictures to this gallery over the next couple weeks.)