Facepaint UK Blog


Mar 15, 2017

Friday morning dawned clear and calm rather like a very naughty child trying to look innocent after wrecking the best room. Devastating storms had whipped most of the UK the day before and so it was with some trepidation that we set off from South London to North Queensferry in Scotland. Nervously we listened to radio reports of Planes delayed and Motorways closed and of course Train services disrupted (a bad case of PMT), yet the journey, a mere ten hour drive, passed completely uneventfully and we rolled off the Forth Bridge and into the hotel just in time for the FACE AGM.

Actually the idea of getting 30 odd (and I mean odd) self-employed facepainters to behave in a boardroom manner is unrealistic in the extreme. Poor old Alan Bills lost his cool and tried to tell us off for all talking at once. Caro explained that we were multi-tasking, something only women could do. Funny how he thought it was us women that needed a ticking off when the only other chap - Gary - was chatting away on his mobile at the "top table". Still, it is nice to see male bonding even when it's misplaced.

Gradually through the evening, between meeting and greeting old friends, we unpacked the car, set up the Facepaint-UK stand, and Bibi demonstrated the first of many beautiful Celtic designs.

This one was a reworking of her Celtic Witch that you have probably seen in the Grimas advertisements (small picture) but this time it was on the delightful young Megan, (on the left) so had a different feel, and was very pretty in a way that the other model , Bibi's long suffering son Daniel, would not wish to have achieved! It is very daunting to demonstrate to all these facepainters, who as FACE members are, by definition, amongst the most experienced (and critical) around!

What don't they know, and what are they expecting? Talk about pressure!






The hotel looked out over the Firth of Forth giving us a magnificent view, the bedrooms were newly decorated, large and comfortable, all the staff were tolerant and helpful, it looked like being a great weekend. Caro decided to quit while the going was good and went to bed. Of course Bibi did not, having been presented with a much needed large glass of wine at the end of her demo!

Saturday started bright and early and we all went off to Dance Our Way Into Creativity with Liz Bylett. A great start to the day and whether you believe that honouring your body (which we all attempted) is useful or not, it certainly broke the ice and it is always great fun to dance. Back in the conference rooms, there were photographs sent in by FACE members for The Face Award and Celtic Design competitions to drool over and judge. A&A Studios had sponsored the Celtic Award (they are very local!), and ended up having to use their deciding vote as it was such a close run contest. Demonstrations and more live competitions were being held and children were arriving, eager to be painted.

The press was there too, and Lorna's husband Ken was rounding up Raphaelle and Bibi and Lorna to paint for them, the resulting pictures can be seen here (put face painting in the search box) and it gave Face lots of local press coverage. It was a bit of a challenge as the photographer wanted the model and painter to be VERY local, Lorna and her model fitted the bill (only just) so Bibi and Raph painted VERY local things, like the bridges that we could see out of the window! Bibi said she was going to "go abstract"but ended up actually painting the Firth of Forth bridge in its entirety, a bit like the legend that it is an endless task, it did take some time!


During the afternoon, the all important Face Painter of The Year competition was to be held. Before it kicked off, we were all invited to write an idea for the competitors to paint, on a scrap of paper. It is worth remembering that each of the brave painters who went in for this stiff event had to make up their design on the spot, there was just 5 minutes preparation time. Bibi had no intention of entering, but a model who had been tested for allergies, and passed on Grimas, was thrust at her as she was the only one with a largely Grimas kit (she was demonstrating for them) so she had to cope with the surprise of entering, and the limitation of not being able to use any other brand - not even the addictive Wolfe black or white! The result was testimony to the usefulness of Grimas, whilst we all add bits and pieces of this and that to our kit; it seems Grimas is still the best all-rounder.

After a tense 20 minutes while the painting took place, all the members present had to mark the faces both for Technique and Design as criteria for The Face Painter of the Year. It was probably a scary experience for the models being stared at with such scrutiny, but for us facepainters it was really great to be able to study each face for the aspects that make a stunning design that is well painted too. The two don't always go together and sometimes the criteria for "well painted" may be felt to stifle creativity, but quite possibly thanks to Liz Bylett's dance class, creativity was obviously flowing well, and all the designs were inspirational.

BIBI FREEMAN ....................................................................JANET CASE

JACKIE O'GALLIGAN ......................................................RAPHAELLE FIELDHOUSE

LORNA STRACHAN .................................................................RITA CHERRY

Raph painted like a trooper as ever, painting Lauren's boyfriend as a ram! And Anne Ardern got a fantastic celtic knot 'chestlace' in super quick time. (Badge courtesy of Bibi who likes the odd pun)

That evening at the Gala dinner, with everyone dressed to the theme in Tartan, well fed and ready for more dancing, the results of the competitions were announced. As she had not even planned to enter, and had only just re-joined Face, Bibi was amazed to find that she had won Face Painter of the Year, Best Technique and Best Design. George Theurer, our friend the Grimas distributor, filled her beautiful crystal (thistle shaped) goblet with champagne and we all shared in celebrating her achievement.


The photographic entry competition for The Face Award was won by Lorna Strachan, with Mandy Lawrence and Claire Pick deservedly coming 2nd and 3rd with their submissions. We will try to get a better version of Lorna's, it was breathtakingly superb.

1. LORNA STRACHAN ...........................2. MANDY LAWRENCE ..............................3. CLAIRE PICK

Jackie O'Galligan won the Celtic Award, with Lorna coming 2nd and 3rd in this with more lovely work.

JACKIE O'GALLIGAN .....................................LORNA STRACHAN .............................LORNA STRACHAN

And here are some lovlies fron the FACE Award that got away!

LIZ BYLETT .................................................PAULINE WALTERS .................................VAL LAMPKIN

Back at the party, Highland dancing ensued in the Ceilidh, Caro and George excelled themselves in the Gay Gordons, and Gary Fieldhouse embarrassed himself in his recently acquired kilt, having had his knickers nicked! What fun!

The competitions were not the whole story; there were lots of fabulous examples of stunning facepainting throughout the weekend. On Saturday there were demonstrations on "Distorting the Face" by Paula Southern, and Bibi was called into service again to invent some Celtic Jewellery which she tackled two handed with Raphaelle Fieldhouse as it was sprung at the last minute! Both did very well in differing styles, Raph did an excellent literal interpretation that looked incredibly real (picture coming later), and Bibi complemented the face design she had already done on Lauren from A&A Studios (a terrific model again) to meet an off the cuff "thistle" idea - a premonition of the trophy later received?

There was also the ubiquitous 2 colour challenge, a monster competition and other planned challenges that may have passed us by, or maybe everyone bypassed! We managed to catch a few of the resulting creations, but completely missed who won what with what. Well, we did have a stall to run, and lunch to snatch, but if you are a Face member we're sure all the details will be in the next magazine.



As we don't have the names of who painted what yet, you too can play your own game of 'which is best' check in later to see if you were right! What a lot of great ideas everyone had.

Sunday morning hangovers dawned painfully, but we were dutifully up at 8am, then the fire alarm went off and gave EVERYONE a rude awakening due to Lynn Adgar's over-enthusiastic showering! There was a demo of what does and doesn't pass the FACE test to sober everyone up. There were 5 delegates taking theirs, who all passed, so this must have helped a bit! We would have loved to have seen it, but duty and questions about the "best brush" called. Liz Bylett did a fabulous Mardi Gras mask on Lauren, the dancing certainly seems to be working for this talented lady!

LIZ BYLETT .....................................................................RAPHAELLE FIELDHOUSE

Raph also demonstrated her Phoenix face from her award winning bodypaint, Oli Thomas "Worked with Flowers" and later Lorna Strachan, who organised the conference somehow found the energy to do a demo on UV work. There were other demos, Jams in the evening and most seemed content to get their paints out and actually use them!

FACE tends to hold competitions dear, so for the record here are the winners of the main events:
Face Painter of the Year
Best Design:
Bibi Freeman
Best Technical Ability: Bibi Freeman
Overall: Bibi Freeman

FACE Award
1st Place: Lorna Strachan
2nd Place: Mandy Lawrence
3rd Place: Claire Pick

Celtic Award (sponsored by Grimas)
1st Place: Jackie O'Galligan
2nd Place: Lorna Strachan
3rd Place: Lorna Strachan

Charles Fox Trophy: Jackie O'Galligan Monster Competition: Raphaelle Fieldhouse

Best Newcomer: Beverley Duffy Non Members' Challenge: Jackie Tilling (Ex non-member)

Best Kept Kit: Daniella Wood (Junior Member) Fancy Dress: Jayne Wilks

Every FACE Conference is different, they are held in a new location every year and organised by a member (or two) who bravely volunteers. This one welcomed non-members, which is not always the case, but we felt it added very positively to the atmosphere, there were even a couple of party animals (in the nicest possible way) from America! The next one in 2008 is in Suffolk, we'll keep you posted about it, but why not consider joining FACE (if you've not already) and find out for yourselves?

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