Dead French People, the Great Flood, and Ninja Turtles

Finally.  Some down-time to relax – Les Miserables is over and the big February multi-painter face painting jobs are done. I now have a couple of clear weekends to get the house sorted out after a water main break in the basement last week, clean all of the kit and equipment and hair goods used in the show, as well as do some housework which has been woefully neglected over the last three months.

Les Mis was AWESOME!!  I got a chance to watch the show myself the last Friday, which was, coincidentally, last Friday.  I listened to the whole show every night from the make-up room, loved the music but it didn’t make me cry.  Watching the performances… That made me cry.  Several times.  I used three… THREE… tissues.  Did you know… EVERYBODY DIES?!?!???  Well, except the evil Thenardiers.

The Wedding

There was a cast of 60 which made the big numbers quite spectacular.

Can you Hear left

I cried here – Eponine died.  Sniff.

Eponine dies

And here are my Lovely Ladies.  Such a lovely bunch they were – all of them got right into it and it was great to see how disgusting we could make them every night.  The last night one had the pox.  It was gross.

Lovely Ladies

The production broke all the theatre records for bums in seats and gross sales.  And had nothing but rave reviews.


While working on Les Mis I also had two large Face Painting jobs – Family Day at Muskoseepi Park with six painters and the Timbits Jamboree with four painters last Sunday.  I thought I had it all under control but had one person who had committed to do both of those events bail on me.  Then I was scrambling to replace her.  Luckily I was able to get all the spots filled.

Ninja Turtles were very very popular.  And Skulls.  And Tigers.  And the lines of people waiting to be painted were never-ending.  Both events required the line be cut-off and people turned away.  But we painted soooo many people.

Next big job is the Easter Eggstravaganza with eight painters – and one design!

And in other news… I woke up at 2 a.m. last Wednesday (Feb 18th), suddenly, not knowing why.  I don’t usually wake up at that time of night.  I actually felt nauseous as I had been deeply asleep.  I got up assuming I had to “go”… and as I stood up I heard, what can best be described as… Niagara Falls.

My stomach hit the floor…  NOT AGAIN! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY NOT AGAIN??????????!!!!

I opened the basement door to the site of a soaking wet carpet at the foot of the stairs and the roar of rushing water… I, carefully, as I was still groggy from sleep, went downstairs to see…. THIS!






I tried to turn off the water main… which, of course, was directly in the flow of the water… wasn’t able to budge it, got completely drenched.  So back upstairs to call 24/7  Emergency Plumber (I had the number for the one I called back in November!)  At least this time I didn’t run around screaming and wake mom up.  She did wake-up when the plumber called back though.  He was there in about 20 minutes… meanwhile the water kept spewing.

At least it was the main line in and CLEAN water.

What had happened is an old water softener coupling, which had been capped off, broke.  Part of the “control” valve broke off and blew out.  The plumber told me he had never seen one of those things break before.  He cut it off and replace with pipe.  By 3:30 he was done and gone, I’d thrown all my towels down, pushed what water I could into the floor drain, plugged in my dehumidifier and turned it on high, moved racks and things out of the laundry room into the dry part of the basement and went back to bed.  After sending an email to my boss – letting her know I might be “late.”

In the morning I called a restoration company to come and suck up the water from the carpet.  It hadn’t reached the interior walls on the opposite side of the hallway thank goodness, but soaked the same drywall as the November hot water tank flood did.  Way more carpet was way wetter than the last time too.  Nothing was damaged content wise, just wet carpet.  The carpet at the doorway/foot of the stairs was completely saturated.  Luckily the insulation on the outside wall was dry.

I got two fans going, the dehumidifier emptied, and space heaters on to get the carpet dried out.  Got laundry going (trying to be careful not to overload my breakers!)  I discovered all my appliances have grounded plugs and my extension cords don’t… had to get my heavy-duty outdoor -40 rated 1000 foot (okay, that is an exaggeration, it isn’t a 1000 feet) cord from the garage just to plug-in the fan – it only had ONE plug of course.  Then made a run to Canadian Tire for more extension cords.

My space heater wasn’t on when I went down so I picked it up to check, turned it on and off a couple of times… wouldn’t turn on.  Then I dropped it!  Argh.  When I picked it up it rattled.  Sigh.  It was garbage day so off it went.  While at Canadian Tire I bought two new space heaters.  One super-duper one for drying out the carpet. It works really well!  Makes the carpet all nice and toasty.

The carpet seems to have dried out pretty well but I am leaving everything on until at least the end of the weekend to make sure it is dry as possible.

All the bins from Les Mis are stacked in a corner of the basement, and all the gear from the face painting jobs is sitting in my dining room awaiting cleaning… I have to sort, clean, and put away everything.  I have about 30 wigs and 20 sets of beards/mustaches to clean… and I really can’t start until I get the flood mess cleared away.

So you can understand why I am looking forward to a some “free” weekends over the next little while.


Les Miserables

First week of Les Miserables is now history here in Grande Prairie… FOUR standing ovations!

This is an amazing production full of stunning talent and absolutely phenomenal performances.  If you are local, and enjoy music, you do NOT want to miss seeing this show.  Tickets are still available for some performances through Grande Prairie Live Theatre.

I am the Make-Up and Hair Coordinator/Designer for the production and with my crew of nine we are doing the hair and make-up for 60 cast members.  Cast members are also helping out when necessary – and I thank them all!

With a production of this size there are many changes throughout the show – chorus members play multiple roles that require make-up, hair and costume changes.  Beards on, dirty, then beards off, clean them up, then pretty them up, put on a wig, take off a wig, etc.  We have to keep some hair and make-up crew members available right to the end, and wait to get all the wigs back before we can leave.  Once the initial rush is over some of the make-up crew leaves and others take turns staying to the end (except me, I’m always there and Marg who takes care of hair and wigs.)

Here are some photos from the show taken by the producer at dress rehearsal (not in any particular order):








And these were taken by Beauchamp Photography:

This one is the set as viewed from the balcony – way, way up.


Master of the House…


And these are my shots of make-up as we’ve been working – I have charts so the crew can follow what each actor needs done, so I take photos of each time so I can choose the best looks.

This is my initial make-up for Javert – I’ve since darkened up the aging to read better on stage (the lighting is “atmospheric” and we need more contrast for it to show):

javert progression

One of the convicts from the opening number… he has to quick change to be the Factory Foreman:


Madame Thenardier – she doesn’t like having her teeth stained, that’s what that expression is about!


Madame Thenardier all dolled up for the Wedding.  Her moles move about, never the same place twice.


Some “lovely” ladies (I have to admit this is loads of fun…):







Someone made a comment that the Lovely Ladies could be zombies too.  Yeah, I can see that.

The show runs until February 21st!


Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too!

This is the final weekend for The House at Pooh Corner at Grande Prairie Live Theatre.  The show is really excellent – great set, great actors, great costumes, and ahem, great make-up, of course.



Piglet, Pooh, Kanga, Tigger, Eeyore and Owl.



Kanga, Roo and Tigger.

Still time to get tickets for the three remaining matinees!

Monday night is first dress rehearsal for Les Miserables… stay tuned for photos!


So tragic

I just realized… if Target is closing all their Canadian stores and slinking off with its tail between its legs… where the hell am I going to get the white chocolate peppermint M&Ms next Christmas?  They are, apparently, a Target exclusive.  Damn.


I’m recruiting!

I have a couple of productions coming up for Grande Prairie Live Theatre and I need people for the make-up/hair crew.  These are volunteer roles, but great for learning about theatre and make-up/face painting.

The first production is “The House at Pooh Corner” which will be at Second Street Theatre and runs Jan 16 to Feb 1.  Dress rehearsals are usually the Mon/Tues of opening week so that would be Jan 12/13 but needs to be confirmed.  The make-up for this show will be face painting.  There are two shows on Saturdays and one show on Sunday, as well as Friday evening.  On Saturdays we usually do full application for the first show and then one person sticks around to touch-up for the second show.

I am also recruiting make-up crew for “Les Miserables” which will be running at the College theatre Feb 5-21 (Thur/Fri/Sat evenings), with rehearsal and timing test for crew on Jan 18, and dress rehearsals on Feb 2 & 3. It is a huge cast, with lots of changes (beards, moustaches, wigs, and multiple role playing). Call time is to be determined based on the Jan 18 timing test – estimate at this point it could be 5 p.m.

If you are interested contact me by comment or via Facebook ShannonFennell.MakeUp

Feel free to share if you know people who might be interested. No professional experience or training is required (but it is helpful!) just an interest and good attitude.


Well, 2014, it’s been swell…

Let’s have a look at the major highlights in my world, of 2014:

January 2014

We had a massive amount of snow to deal with last winter – had to pay a guy to clear the roof, and it kept coming.

DSC08979 (800x600)

I was hired to do some body painting for a couple of club servers for a theme night at their club – the theme was “Safari.”


Private customers for Mardi Gras themed fundraisers too.

February 2014

The body painting continued with painting a statue for a play at GPLT, “The Shape of Things.”  It was a great gig as painting the same thing so many times usually doesn’t happen.  Each night was a little different.

Statue Mar 2014-page-001

Also face painted at Family Day at Muskoseepi Park, and at the Timbits Jambouree.

March 2014

I took a henna workshop with Michelle Forrester of Fairie Girl Henna in Beaverlodge.  It was fun, but I won’t be adding it to my own business.

Was getting ready for “Macbeth” – I got to create the head for the final scene.






And do the make-up and hair – I concentrated on the Witches and my crew handled the rest.


April 2014

Macbeth wrapped up at the theatre and I was busy with Easter face painting and the Swan Festival.

Marilyns granddaughter

crying bfly

She’s crying because she wanted mustard on her hotdog.

DHTPhoto Apr 19 2014

May 2014

At GPLT we were doing “The Wind in the Willows” so designs were created and painted for each performance.



Mrs. Churchmouse




Also did some fashion make-up, contouring and age make-up for a disguise for private clients.

old michael med watermark

KimB4 medium

June 2014

In June mom and I drove down to Calgary for a week to see Cher & Cyndi Lauper.  It was a nice trip, fairly straight line too.


These two theme cars were at the dealership next to our hotel in Calgary.  I am partial to the Spider-car.

DSC09503 (1024x768) DSC09507 (1024x768)

July 2014

Painted some dinosaurs for the Canada Day Parade, then spent a lot of the month building a dinosaur myself.  Even booked a week off from the day-job to get it built.

DinoCollage (605x800)

It was a long hot summer so the garden looked nice.



Painted at Muskoseepi Park for Canada Day with a crew of ten.

August 2014

Finished building my Pachyrhinosaurus, and body painted for the Amber Ball.

Got my photo with Dan Aykroyd!

Dan Ackroyd

And with Philip J. Currie!

Maj Photography (49 of 220)

Amber Ball 2014 C-6

September 2014

Painted at the Wembley Demolition Derby. Then built a Tyrannosaurus Rex to match with my Pachyrhinosaurus for the Wearable Art Show at the Centre for Creative Arts.

They were left on display at the Centre for Creative Arts.


October 2014

Ah, October… my favourite month.

This year I had back-to-back Frozen themed birthday parties.  I don’t mind the princesses but I never, ever, ever want to see that snowman again!


And, of course, Halloween!

Becki2014 Raptor2014 MonsterHi2014 Chad2014 Chris2014 Witch2014

Always fun!  This year my clients won three contests: Scariest Costume, Best Male Costume and Sexiest Costume.

I face painted at Muskoseepi Park’s Halloween Spooktacular, and the GP Museum’s Spooks and Stooks.


November 2014

The weekend of the 9th our hot water tank flooded our basement – as of today, STILL waiting for the restoration company to show-up to assess the damages.


Christmas party bookings started up and planning for upcoming shows.

Encana Nov 29 crew

December 2014

Christmas parties, and more Christmas parties. And getting ready ourselves.




And for the first time I will be face painting on New Year’s Eve down at the First Footings Celebration at Muskoseepi Park.

As usual there were lots of birthday parties and events booked throughout – by this time of year it is all a blur.  I enjoy all of them a great deal – I am very lucky to be able to do what I love do and get paid for it!

On the home front lots of frustration – we have had to replace mom’s full time aide repeatedly.  We are on full timer number six in 2014 right now.  Things are good so we hope this one will stay.  Our part timer is coming up on a year with us in January.

In the new year mom is having cataract surgery on both eyes and she hopes to be reading Stephen King to herself soon, again.

I’m planning to get a store set-up online to sell my e-book and other items – there is a learning curve so it may take a bit of time for me to figure it out.  I’ve got the site but need to populate it and figure out the processing side of it.

Happy New Year to everyone – all the best for 2015!




I’ve gone a little snowflake crazy this winter (and by “winter” I mean Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec… and it will continue until probably April…)

I’ve always done snowflake designs in the winter – when you have snow on the ground, typically, six months of the year it is a common motif.

I’ve usually done them freehand which can be a bit time-consuming, or done the cheater type with just flicks of the brush so they are more of a six pointed star.  This year I got smart – with inspiration from a friend (well, more like completely copied her idea with her help, I might add) I made stamps for snowflakes.

The actual reason for this was Frozen.

All of those little girls wanting “Frozen” or “Elsa” designs… which in face painting circles means a blue base and white swirls and snowflakes.  I was booked, back-to-back, in October for Frozen themed birthday parties… the snowflake stamp saved my life.


And we will NEVER mention “Olaf” again…. EVER!

My crew loves the snowflake stamps too!

Using the stamps also guarantees all snowflakes are PROPER snowflakes with SIX arms… not eight, not four, not ten… SIX!  As shown here in this gorgeous photo a friend and local photographer, Marilyn Grubb, took and captioned:


I got stuck in the rut myself when painting myself for jobs – it is just so easy.  Just vary the base colour, change the layout…





This is one of my winter masks with my “old” snowflakes – I’ve been doing it lots with the stamps instead.


And I have several different snowflake shapes – I just have the one in my stash that I paint myself with – I should probably change it out for some variety.





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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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