Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!

Working in the heat

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Many of you know I live in The Great White North… really north, but, we also get really hot stretches in late spring and even sometimes in the summer!

From one extreme to the other!!

From one extreme to the other!!

Usually we get a week or a weekend of extreme heat once a year… practically impossible to face paint in that heat so I often do glitter tattoos instead.
But there are those days when the wind blows steadily (actually MOST days the wind blows steadily… ) and you don’t realize how hot it actually is except for the fact that the black face paint is turning to goop… that and the 3rd degree sunburn you discover when you get home… OUCH!!
And let’s face it… don’t we all use black on practically every single design we paint?  It is a right pain in the a*s to have your essential colour become an aggravation.
Adding more water, which seems to be contra-indicated but isn’t, helps but it isn’t a perfect solution.  I always carry a new cake of black in my kit and when my black gets really gooey and I’ve added as much water as I can and it still won’t work I get out the new cake.  It works fine… until it heats up and gets gooey too!
That’s when I switch to using my bottle of Fardel liquid black… It is a wonderful product and I carry several colours, but don’t usually get them out at public events (I save them for small private parties – due to how I have to work there is too much waste of paint at large events.)
Since I only have the heat issue a couple times a year I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring alternative products such as pressed powders (such as Mehron’s Starblends.)  I do use loose “glitter powders” or “shimmer powders” as part of my usual kit.  I often use them as bases for some of the designs but I do this normally, so it isn’t just for hot days, although it is an excellent way to “lighten” the application and make the design last a bit longer if sweaty and sticky!
You can make your own “liquid” paint, it is actually very easy.  Take the cake paint in the colour you want (black probably) and place some in a small container that you know won’t leak – a small water-tight bottle or jar.  Pour boiling water on top and stir until the paint dissolves.  Then you just need to shake it before you use it.   You can control the consistency by increasing the water to paint ratio whenever you want.
I require my clients to provide shelter… and my contract states “protection from sun, wind and rain” and most do their best to provide it.  But the wind here is insidious… steady… continual… E-Z up style tents are NOT an option that is usually acceptable – they make excellent kites and most end up flying east to Saskatchewan.  I often end up in a corner of a large marquee style tent, under an overhang, in lobbies, or, use a combination of large awning and my car as a windbreak at outdoor events.
Tent provided  by client.  We had issues with the wind ripping the sides off the poles.

Tent provided by client. We had issues with the wind ripping the sides off the poles.

Some work better than others… but even with a roof I still get too much sun!  70 SPF notwithstanding sunburn still happens!  Usually my right hand and wrist up as far as the shirt covers… and what ever part of my face that is exposed!  If I know I am going to be exposed I wear my long-sleeved white Tilley shirt and my Tilley hat (one with a large bill and flap – sort of duck hunter meets the French Foreign Legion) – they both block UV as they are treated.  And I look dorky, but that’s offset by my painted face!  🙂
I take my own water – usually a liter drinking bottle filled with ice and water – and try to make sure to drink it.  Most gigs are 3-4 hours outdoors so I’m not usually in danger of dehydration.  If I’m going to be out longer I’ll take along a banana and maybe some M&Ms too and take a five minute break to have a quick snack and stretch my legs.
Sometimes if the sun has shifted and is now coming in directly at me I’ll move my table to get back into the shade – the sun in evening is intense and it still has the ability to burn.  Or it is now hitting me in the eyes, which I can’t tolerate as I get light triggered migraines, so I will switch to the other side of my table to work.
Outdoor painting season here is only about 100 days… basically mid-May to Labour Day.  And even in the summer many events are held indoors.  I know for many painters in other parts of the world painting outdoors is an all year proposition and they have their own ways of managing conditions.  Me, I’m just glad that I get to work inside for most of the year!

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