Paints, glitter, alcohol wipes, foam applicators, water dishes, paper towels, hand mirrors, signage, sun screen, hairbands, design sheets, sign up lists. Reminding teenage volunteers that they committed to volunteer…finding replacement volunteers for the kids who “just realized” they will be on vacation. Notifying festival staff about needed tables, tents, and chairs…to arrive at festival to a plot of grass…no tables, chairs, or tents. It all works out, and it is joyous.
Face painting at the Pleasantville Music Festival. Swoon. In 7 glorious hours, we paint hundreds…and hundreds…of body parts.
Human canvases ignoring the perspiration dripping down our faces as we get up close and personal to wipe them down…removing their sunscreen, sweat, and food bits in order to turn them into Spiderman or a walking sugar skull. Butterflies, flaming soccer balls, devils, and flowers…personalities on display. They wait on line, watching the painters, passing on their turn in order to “get” certain artists. They come back for seconds, for retouching, for a new look. Friends get matching designs, making it clear their click is strong. They are listened to, pampered, and doted on. The invasion into their personal space worth it… they are the most special person in the world.
A dad, so overwhelmed with the full-face butterfly on his child with sensory issues that he drops a 50. in the “donate to the non-profit of the year” bucket. Every year, people are amazed at what we do for free, every year we are more than happy to do it. A dear friend managing the line, redirecting the woman who wants us to paint her heaving and extremely exposed cleavage…to a female artist…instead of my husband or son. The little girl who just wanted a dot. Literally a dot on her hand, a pink dot. The year of the Minion, so so many Minions, each sporting different outfits and eye quantities. The one time I was delivered a kid…instead of Greg (who usually has his own line because he is annoyingly amazing)…to paint the Nintendo logo, years of letterform classes paying off. Score. Watching my art school grad son paint Star Wars creatures on the arm of a bestie from Kindergarten, listening to my daughter convince a less than sober woman she should probably refrain from putting glitter tattoos on her eyelids. The yearly drama of closing off the line, hours later than planned, then allowing kids to paint themselves as we clean up, keeping the masses happy.
Sheer exhaustion from a day painting in the sun, rotating under the tent to avoid direct rays, no food, little water…to avoid the need for breaks. Finally rehydrating, bless the clean staff potties, ice is magical, festival food tastes so good. Catching a second wind.
In front of the stage, covered in paint and glitter, swaying in the arms of my guy, sun going down, a cool breeze…we can finally hear the music. Swoon.
Pleasantville Music Festival…you are missed.
2 thoughts on “Human Canvases”
Some of my favorite photos y’all post every year are from the face painting booth. Let’s hope our communities can get it together (without the non-help from the Feds) and knock COVID-19 out, so our festivals can return next summer. 🙂
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Thank you… and yes yes yes!!!