I’ve always had an appreciation for all things artistic. Yet, like most of our creative ventures they fell by the wayside when life got busy. So, when a friend visiting from Toronto asked me to do her face for the much-anticipated Olympic Gold medal hockey game, after years in the corporate world, it sparked energy into my creative side. She wanted a full face with wow factor that would get her into newspapers. I borrowed some left over black and white Halloween paint. I didn’t have red so I used some lipstick and got to work. Set it with some powder from my make-up kit. Viola!… Boy oh boy, did it impress. Media from around the world took her picture along with countless fans celebrating the victory along Granville and Robson Street.
That spring I was volunteering for a children’s program with an animal theme. I figured, kids like face painting, let’s do it. I bought a mini kit of proper face paints this time and started the fun. The kids loved it but what I didn’t expect was all the attention I got from their parents. The word was out, Kathleen does face painting! Shortly thereafter I had friends asking me to do their children’s birthdays and I willingly obliged as a gift to the birthday child. This went on for a little while. Then one day, after a party, a dear friend of mine shoved some cash in my hands and said “you should really be charging for this!”. I chuckled but then thought – hmm, I really would like doing this more.
I knew I was on the right track after doing a dinosaur face on a little boy. He was part of the summer program I was a teacher at. New to the city and away from all the people he knew, he had a challenging time adjusting. It took almost the whole summer to gently convince him to join us for circle time. Later that summer, he was invited to a birthday party I was painting at and sheepishly asked for a dinosaur face. When I was done, I popped out my mirror and said to him, “you know dinosaurs roar, can you roar?”. His eyes bulged out and he smiled and gave out a little raawwrrrr. He then went around the whole party and started roaring at everybody there! Big roars, little roars, sneaking up to people and doing surprise roars, he did it all. He was like a new baby chick just cracked out of his shell. It was so cute and satisfying knowing that something I thought was simple made such a difference.
So here I am 4 years later doing face painting and make-up artistry. It’s taken a lot of research and time but now I have growing professional kits. Somehow I like keeping up on techniques, products, advances in brush making, even researching ingredients. My creative ventures are slowly and happily overtaking the hours left in my day-job. I still think it’s a bit comical that it took hockey to get me started…how Canadian!