Facepaint UK Blog

Festival of Colours

Mar 15, 2017

Festival Of Colours - sounds like magic, fun and art - and this is what the organizer René Reiche (known as the publisher of "Creative Facepainting" and "Funky Faces" and his team provided. On June 17th and 18th the first of his facepainting events took place in one of the most scenic towns of Germany - Freiburg. Artists from the Netherlands and Germany competed in two special contests, and proved that facepainting can be art. On Saturday international artists like Bibi Freeman and Bruce Collins invited experienced painters as well as beginners to workshops where they shared their tricks and helped people benefit from their experience.


But René Reiche did not only invite professionals. Importantly he also wanted to support young artists. That's why he sponsored make-up kits to school kids, who built teams and worked hard to take part in 10(!) different contests. "On the one hand we want to spread facepainting in the world and make the people aware of the differences in quality, on the other hand we are always looking for new ideas and we learn from their fresh, innocent approach to facepainting." says René. And indeed they had a basket full of ideas for themes like "Jungle", "Microcosm", "Comic" or "Hands up" where they had to complete their face with a hand design. The biggest supporter of the festival, GRIMAS, generously donated more than 5.000 Euros in theatrical make-up supplies for the winners and their teams. It's good to see them encouraging future artists.


In the professional contests established painters like Bert Verstappen in the category "Flower Power" and Petra Tronser in the category "Extraterrestrial" were the first winners of this new festival,

BERT VERSTAPPEN (1ST PLACE FOR FLOWER POWER) PETRA TRONSER (1ST PLACE FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL)taking away the cup, the honour, lots of make-up and free tickets for the Telford convention in November, so we'll get a chance to see them there! "We learned a lot this year, next year it will be even better" René smiles and does not want to talk about the changes. If you are curious, (and you should be) find details about next year's festival when it is announced at www.festivalofcolours.com.

Bibi was there to check it out for Facepaint UK, our 'roving reporter' filed the following:

By the time we got there I was pretty wiped out! It was certainly the wrong time of year for a working facepainter, and I guess that's why there were so few who finally committed to going from the UK after so much interest had been expressed. René has promised it will be in May next year, so much better, so much cooler! I went with my old mate Linda Ireneschild (sorry 'bout the 'old' Linda, but it has been a long time), always guaranteed to make a trip eventful and fun! I'd had to turn down painting at Jamie Oliver's 30th Birthday party (by personal request) on Friday, so was really hoping it would be worth it! The flights are so cheap I admit I was tempted to fly out on Saturday morning and miss the pre-festival warm-up, but really couldn't face EasyJet's website one more time!

René was right, Freiburg is a lovely city in a beautiful area of the Black Forest. We took a train to lakeside Titisee, (yes we sniggered about the name lots) home of the famous cuckoo clocks (in scary quantities) to acclimatise on Friday, and suddenly felt like holidaymakers! Boy was it hot?! The ice creams were to die for. England was playing Trinidad and Tobago (World Cup, in Germany, remember) in the evening. As I have a foot in both camps that was awkward. The chaps in the bar where we watched it couldn't understand why we weren't 100% behind the boys in white.

I was pretty nervous about my workshop on Saturday, but thought, hey, how bad can it be? Well the fact that only one of the delegates spoke or understood English well was a challenge, thank goodness what we do is so visual. Of course I ended up speaking Pidgin English in an attempt to be understood, then couldn't remember the simplest words, like black or blue! René had kindly set me a theme of Flying Beauties, which would have been fine, but for that he put birds first on the list! I mean, who likes doing birds? Hands up, c'mon! I had done my research (thank goodness for the Snaz site) but ended up 'busking it' as I had left my carefully prepared ideas at the hotel. I think this was a good thing actually as what came out was probably better for its free expression than nervously reproducing what I had imagined I would do.

The other subject was a butterfly, which of course flies off the brush with ease, and I had decided to explore the effects of colour and shape of this well established design. It was gratifying to hear "wow, I've never thought of using those colours before", and "I don't paint like that, but this works!" (from the one that could speak English, thanks for translating Michaela). The time passed so quickly, (people paint soooo slowly when there isn't a queue, and on each other) so there was only time to do a demonstration of a fairy (another Flying Beauty in my book) and we were done.

I did manage to catch most of Bruce Collins' workshop before mine (such a lovely guy) which really was an education. He has taught art for about 20 years and it shows. He has a way of passing on tips and tricks without the need to necessarily understand why you do it that way. I've always needed to know everything (to a fault) but it's not really necessary for general facepainting. He showed us how to make easy character faces with different expressions from a simple circle, and is the master of the 'cute round' face (just like him). Think Disney, think Bruce! He does scary really well too, so not like him! If you ever get the chance to learn from him, grab it! Linda went to his other workshop (he did work hard) and gleaned a lot of useful tips on form and shading that she put into practice as soon as we got back.


I also saw some lovely designs coming out of Janja Grossmann's workshop, Beautiful Nothings abounded.


Unfortunately my camera had disappeared (on my birthday :( ) and the replacement had not arrived as expected before I left, or I would have taken hundreds of photos. I tried to eke out the tiny memory card on a borrowed camera, but by mid-Saturday it was full!

I have a problem with competitive facepainting (those who know me will know this!) but I do understand that it gets people painting! Boy did they paint. Sunday was a hotbed (literally) of activity. I never got my head round all the competition categories, but saw lots of fantastic, different styles, and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. Linda started painting a Tiger Lily inspired by the Flower Power subject, not intending to enter it for judging as she feels much like me, but was so pleased with the result thought - why not? Unfortunately we discovered that you had to enter both professional categories so it wasn't judged, but she had a fine time painting, the model was a delight, and we felt that some contribution had at least been made to a day otherwise devoted to competing. I certainly felt it was unfair to compete against people that had, the day before, been my students!


Meanwhile dear Bruce was on the Grimas stand painting his big little heart out in full searing sun, and I (rather selfishly) was glad I hadn't volunteered! His poor red hairless head!!!! It was great to see the full range of Grimas products, and their new display system in action again, they now have a clear version for make-up make-up, as opposed to face paint make-up, (and new clear packaging) which looks really snazzy. The Grimas crew (all 21 of them) kept themselves to themselves; I guess they have a real problem with speaking another language! But I applaud them being there, it's so important for a manufacturer to connect with the end users, don't you think?

I was very pleased to meet Bert and his family from Maskerade Festival in Holland, and overjoyed that he won 1st prize for his colourful flower creation, and 2nd for his fantastic alien 'secretary'!(See top picture with child, all his work). His lovely wife looks so like my mum (a very long time ago of course) that I was quite thrown. Perhaps we are related?

It was also good to meet up again with Carmel Bloxom and Johannes Blumrich (of Creative Facepainting / Enjoy Your Face fame) and connect with his sweet, long suffering girlfriend Eileen!


They are so obviously passionate about facepainting and new ideas, where would we be without them? And René Reiche of course. All hats must be taken off to him for having the balls to organise this exceptional event, not only is it another fantastic addition to our calendar of 'must be there' festivals, his ethos of seriously encouraging facepainting in schools is to be applauded, and could be adopted in every country, not just Germany!

See you there next year?

There were two big galleries of pictures on the Festival website which gave an authentic view of the event. The 2007 event happened on July 14th and 15th, and Raphaelle and Gary Fieldhouse was very present! There is still a gallery of nice photos on their website to look through. The festival will be repeated in 2008 on 5th and 6th July, so is now an established event on the European calendar, and we wish René and his team every success.


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