Now I know it is summer

We’ve had a warm spell and the flowers are doing well.

First let me introduce you to my oldest Prairie Mallow – seeded by itself from the neighbour’s yard to the west when she was trying to eradicate them from her yard!  They self-seed aggressively and we have them popping up all over.  I’m encouraging them to spread in my west flower bed as it is very dry and takes a lot of effort to get annuals to do well.  These plants have massive taproots and are pretty self-sufficient.


Here are close-ups of the flowers… I think they are quite similar to hibiscus – five petals, prominent stamen…


DSC09523It will continue to bloom all summer!

And my clematis and petunia planter.  The clematis have just started to bloom. They will continue all summer as well.  I really want to get a big arch trellis to put over those stairs – we don’t use that door at all.



And here is my mom’s lily.  My uncle brought her a single lily in a pot when she came home from the hospital in Spring 2010.  I planted it outside right away as we are allergic.  This first photo is the plant in 2011.


And this is what we have right now!!



I plan to split up the bulbs and spread them out a bit more to fill up that corner.  Oh and just for reference this is the same spot in the winter…  You can see the piece of driftwood peeking out.

DSC08983 (600x800)



Some Dinosaurs from Canada Day

I painted a small group that were going to be riding on the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum‘s float in the Canada Day Parade on Tuesday morning.

In preparation I had printed off some examples for them to have a look at.  One of the kids had brought along a large dinosaur book, just in case I didn’t know dinosaurs.  We did end up using one of the book illustrations to base the Velociraptor design on.

DinoCollage (605x800)

The Museum is currently under construction and I think it will be open for December.  They are holding a Grand Opening on August 9th with an Amber Ball with lots of celebrities and performers, a mass motorcycle ride out to the museum led by Dan Ackroyd and family, and other events.

I will be doing a body painting for the Ball with multiple models which should be fun!



What we did on our summer vacation

Sorry I’ve not posted in June so far… it has been a very busy month, and mom and I took a week to drive down to Calgary to see Cher with Cyndi Lauper, shop and be tourists and just got back today.

As I can’t drive longer than approximately four hours without my eyes starting to close, we broke the trip into two days of driving both ways.  We stopped in Edson to visit my uncle on the way down, stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (they had a roll-in shower in the wheelchair room!)  We then drove to Calgary the next day down Albert Highway 22 – it is a shorter route in kilometers but about a half-hour longer due to slower speeds on the roads… it was a very nice drive.

Here is the road ahead of us somewhere between Drayton Valley and Rocky Mountain House


And this is later on…


And… still later…


As part of the reason for taking Hwy 22 was to avoid traffic… I think it was a successful choice!

And this next one shows the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.  The smudges are dead bugs on the windshield.  Speaking of which… YUCK!


This is my “art shot” – once we got through Rocky Mountain House we eventually turned east on Hwy 587 with the Rockies behind us:

DSC09500 (1024x768)

It was a really gorgeous day for a close to  five-hour drive.  We saw maybe three deer the whole trip and lots of hawks/falcons.

The older I get the fewer photos I take… I even forget to take the camera sometimes.  I almost didn’t take it this time.

We spent all morning on Tuesday at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and the camera was in mom’s bag on the back of her wheelchair but I never took it out. And there were some very cool things there!

We spent most of Wednesday relaxing (we both had some tummy problems) and then went to see Cher with Cyndi Lauper at the Saddledome which was excellent.

Right next to the hotel was a Toyota/Scion dealer and they had these two cars in the lot…

Spider-Car, Spider-Car, does whatever a Spider-Car can…

DSC09506 (1024x768)

DSC09507 (1024x768)

And na na na na na na na na na na …

DSC09504 (1024x768)

DSC09503 (1024x768)

If I had to choose…. Spider-Car!!

The weather in Calgary kept changing… we watched the hail beat down on the RAV4 from our hotel room window.

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On the plus side… it washed off all the bugs, moths, butterflies and various other things that dove into it as we drove.

We drove to Edmonton on Friday – I do not enjoy driving on the QE II Hwy,  too much traffic and it is a boring drive.  We got into Edmonton way too early for checking into the hotel so hit West Edmonton Mall – got a few things at T&T Supermarket, roamed around, bought a couple of things.  Went to check in and the room wasn’t ready so they gave us a discount on the rate which was cool.

We decided to check out this morning.  I had booked the hotel for two nights but we had no reason to stay as we did the MAC shopping in Calgary at Chinook Centre.  I had been planning to do it at West Edmonton Mall before I realized there was a MAC Store at Chinook.  And we picked up the stuff at T&T yesterday.

On the way out on the Yellowhead Hwy we hit the most awful rainstorm.  There was a gorgeous complete double rainbow arching right over the highway and as we drove towards it the heavens opened up and it was practically zero visibility… but again, the silver lining – it washed off  the bugs!

But I have way more bugs to clean off of the RAV now… [sigh]

It was a nice trip. All three hotels were great – very clean and nice staff.  We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Edson and Edmonton and the Best Western in Calgary.




Photos from the show

As promised here are some photos of the make-up from The Wind in the Willows.  Five more shows – tickets are still available!


Auntie Hedgehog

Aunt Hedgehog




Mrs. Churchmouse




Judge Owl

Judge Owl



Pack Rat (two photos from different performances – there are slight differences…)

Pack Rat Packrat

And Ratty.


I was able to watch last Sunday’s matinee with mom.  It is a very well done and cute show – the kids in the audience really enjoyed it.



The Wind In The Willows

I’ve been working on The Wind In The Willows which opens tomorrow night.  All animals in people clothes, no ears or animal costumes.  So only indication of their animal characters is the make-up.

And I really was having a time trying to decide how to do the make-up designs.  All those rodents… How to make them different looking?

I googled images of all of the real animals and picked some that were nice and clear examples then used them to create the designs on the actors’ faces at the last rehearsal before dress and had the director check them and approve my ideas.  Then I took photos to use for the charts for my crew.

Another challenge is making all the weasels, rats, mice, hedgehogs, etc. look different, yet still the same.

I decided to go with a mask style painting which is mean that the designs are finished and outlined leaving bare skin around it – it is working well.

Mole was rough… I think I finally figured out a workable version last night.

Another issue was that when I went to my inventory of make-up to sort out what I needed for the show I discovered that I only had TWO cakes of mid-brown.  ACK!!!  I don’t use a lot of brown, except when doing lots of animals on a show, and I’ve also been filling up lots of palettes… I wasn’t paying attention to how much brown was left.

So I contacted my usual supplier in Edmonton and she only had some browns in the small 9 ml cakes!  Luckily she did have several different shades so I think we will be okay.

There are four of us on the make-up crew and we are getting done in just in time for curtain.

I’ll post some photos on the weekend after the show opens.




The Old Man and the Beauty

I had a couple of private appointments yesterday which were great fun.

The first one was at 7:30 in the morning!  Michael wanted to be aged as a disguise.  He was going to be speaking at a high school graduation and didn’t want any of his former students to recognize him.  Seeing as he was going to be up close and interacting with people I decided that using my Reel Creations tattoo inks would be the best way to do the make-up.  Using regular make-up would be obvious to anyone that might be close.  I’ve used the inks before for HD film make-up and it worked very well.

Unfortunately, as I am wont to do, I forgot to take a before photo… but here is the end product!

old michael med watermark

When he stopped by to return my mustache and beard he said no one recognized him and that a senior gentleman engaged him in conversation as a peer.

My other appointment yesterday was for a repeat client.  Kim volunteers as a model in charity fashion shows and I did her make-up last November for one, here is a shot of that (photo by Prairie Ranger Photography)

Kim Tremblay Sean Trostem Photo

This time the designer wanted a matte look apparently based on Marlene Dietrich so I asked Kim if she was up for an extreme contouring make-up – as all those movie stars were done with that technique.  She was.

This is Kim at stage one of the transformation:


Looks like bad Kabuki make-up!

Here is a before and after comparison.  I am really happy with the whole effect.  Kim has great eyes and cheekbones… this really brings them out.

KimB4 medium

I am planning to play around with the heavy-duty contouring make-up.  It really can transform people.  It is what the drag queens do and always fascinates me how some dark brown make-up along the jaw and forehead can transform people.  Stay tuned for some selfies as I plan to be experimenting on myself.







April… one of my busiest months ever

It has been crazy and I haven’t had time to blog.  Aside from working on MacBeth at Grande Prairie Live Theatre, the usually face painting jobs (Easter Eggstravaganza at Muskoseepi Park, Swan Festival at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, birthdays, etc.), I was coordinating a conference at the day-job.

I’ve been putting in 14 hour days at the office working on the conference – which was held last week (April 23, 24 & 25), then this Saturday was closing night for Macbeth, Sunday was the Swan Festival and today was back to the office.  I am planning to take off some banked time this week to recover… well, I won’t be at the office – that is a break.

Mom wants to go shopping and get a haircut on Wednesday, Thursday is earmarked for cleaning kits and putting away my gear from MacBeth (including washing all the blood off the head), getting my face painting kit ready for a big job on Saturday, and Friday I have a nail appointment and need to deal with paperwork I’ve been stockpiling.

I also need to get designs worked out for The Wind and the Willows which opens May 23.  I’ve had one discussion with the director about how to do it… trying to make all those pointy-faced rodents look different is a challenge – but I have a cunning plan!

The theatre announced the shows for next season last week and I’ve been booked, so far, for Les Miserables (YA!!), The House on Pooh Corner, and Cards on the Table.  I might audition for Cards on the Table – it is an Agatha Christie.

Here are some shots from MacBeth (I’ve posted lots more on Facebook – and links to the Theatre’s photos) – this was the last night and I did each witch differently and we added things to their hair (First Witch was teased up like Bride of Frankenstein with bats and spiders in it; Second Witch had a rodent lair complete with a rat; and Third Witch had a birds nest with a bird and lots of flies.)


The photo is hazy because of the smoke they had been using on stage.


This one above shows the bird’s nest.


And above is the rat’s nest.


And there is the bat, some spiders and a big moth in the First Witches’ hair.

It was a lot of fun doing up the witches.  They were the most shared photos and made the local paper too.

DHT Macbeth 04 14

I made the paper’s online photo gallery as well this month – face painting at the Easter Eggstravaganza at Muskoseepi Park. I have no idea why the photo is sideways – that’s how they posted it.

DHTPhoto Apr 19 2014

And a local photographer, Marilyn Grubb of Chipabirdee Images, has shared photos from yesterday on Facebook – These photos are priceless!  The pink butterfly is apparently crying because she didn’t have mustard on her hotdog.  No clue why the rainbow butterfly was sticking out her tongue!  Marilyn gets the BEST photos of face painting, in my opinion, and I really appreciate that she shares them with me!

crying bfly

Marilyns granddaughter

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Shannon Fennell

Shannon Fennell

International Award Winnning Make-Up Artist, Face & Body Painter

I am a professional make-up artist with credits in film, television, theatre and editorial.  My face painting book YOUR FACE OR MINE was published in 2007 by Snazaroo USA Inc. is widely available worldwide and I offer a multitude of make-up related services and retail instructional products for face painters.

Some of my awards include 2005 International Face Painter of the Year, 2006 Winner of Fantasy Worldwide Face Painting Contest in Putte, Belgium, Second Place at the 2007 US Body Painting Festival, as well as over 50 other awards and prizes. 

I love creative projects and can do everything from wedding make-up to custom SFX appliances, large scale international sporting events to individual appointments at Halloween, birthday parties to trade shows.  No job too big or too small.


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