I was out in a social environment, drinking a beer, chatting. In reference to something, someone said, “Oh yes, you are a clown aren’t you?”
Having said out loud that I was retired made it true. But it has been a long time coming. First off the fact that parents started telling me that clowns were “scary” and they would prefer that I not dress up. (I think I am way more scary without my clown makeup but hey, if they don’t want clown face I don’t do clown face.)
But I also started to notice how physically demanding it was. I love talking to the kids about what they imagine they are becoming as I paint their faces, or just seeing their level of commitment as they patiently wait as I apply the paint but there are many younger people who have steadier hands and stronger backs.
And I have grandchildren now. I am so lucky to get to see them as they grow into this world. I think now I need to spend my time doing what I can to see they continue to have one.
It’s been fun.
I got to do some face-painting at a street party in the east end of the city on Friday. The first “client” was a very smart little girl of four who knew exactly what she wanted. “I want to look like a tennis ball.”
Fortunately there was a tennis ball nearby that I could work from.
I like to get people, especially kids, talking about what they have chosen, sort of expanding on their imaginations, which are generally huge, so it begged the question, “so you like playing tennis?”
“No. I just like tennis balls.”
I didn’t get any pictures that day not even of the “tennis ball” a first for me. What can I say, it got busy and no one took any pictures. Here instead is a picture from another day and another street party, just to give you an idea of the set-up. The makeup is hypoallergenic and water based, great for kids and I have a bunch of laminated pictures to get them thinking about what they would like. I often find kids are wannabe artists too so I can talk about how to mix colours and blend. It’s all good. 🙂
Got invited again this year to face paint at a street party in the East End. Took it easy this year and kept it to only two and a half hours. A sign was posted ahead of time alerting the street to the hours, a much better approach as it avoided tears and breaking my back! Still I have promised some kids to come back next year as they had SO MANY GOOD IDEAS and only one face to paint each.
I had two pumpkins this year. I never had a request for a pumpkin face before! Also the usual jungle camouflage, lots of those, several butterflies and angels. The little girl in the picture showing me the heart she made was my favorite. They had a painting station with an easel and paints and instead of freaking out when a smaller child put a mark on her page she took my advice and incorporated it in her composition! A happy happenstance!
Sometimes I have to start out by painting something on my arm to get the ball rolling. This time I had my daughter and son-in-law volunteer so that really helped. Before I knew it the line had grown and I was back to full speed again.
Fortunately there were lots of things for the kids to do at the street party so no one got too impatient. At one point my daughter pitched in by doing the prep for some of the more involved faces, blocking in the colour. (She could do it all really. She is very “crafty”.) They gave me a tent so I was out of the sun. It was a great set up. I do really enjoy it. I get in “the zone”, a sort of calm focus that I enjoy when painting just about anything.
I don’t mean to put too much importance on the whole face painting thing because it really doesn’t take much to make them happy. I try to really treat each kid as a client. I tell them that I want to come as close to what they imagine as I can and that they can be the art director. I love to see a kid really enjoy the result.
I like kids, they are, even at their worst, a positive force. One little guy came back to have his face redone after I had packed up the stuff. I could not “unpack” and I told him, I know you are disappointed. That is hard but you can handle it. I know it. You are going to feel better. He wailed a bit. I got the impression his mom would have done just about anything to get me to open up my kit. He did manage to get distracted by a water pistol that I helped him fill up from the drinking water. Soon we were both laughing as he chased me around the yard shooting at me. We were friends again.
I was there for four hours! As I said, I did get a few more breaks than usual and some help. They had a parade of bikes that the kids decorated and I was offered a hot dog and a beer at the end. I was exhausted but happier than I have been for a while! It was fun!
Cinco De Mayo was super fun! There were at lots of kids, one of them only a few weeks old!
The party was in a restaurant on College Street West. As always it took a bit of time for the kids to start lining up for face paint but I am happy to say I got to paint two green monsters, two sunsets, several flowers, a butterfly and a few princesses! I was busy enough I forgot to take pictures. This is courtesy of the owner.
I have to interrupt the scheduled POEM A DAY to announce that Sketchy the Clown has thrown his hat into the mayoral race!!!