Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

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living canvas – a painter’s convention

Next month I will be heading to San Jose, California to be a presenter at Living Canvas – A Painter’s Convention on September 21, 22 & 23, 2009.

More information about the convention is available on their website at

I was invited to present by the organizer, Judy Luthy, and am looking forward to it a lot.  The list of presenters is full of stunning artists who have lots to share with everyone.

I like that there are  “new” instructors with something unique to show us!  I’m looking forward to getting a look at Rebecca Tonkovich’s technique with her Arty Brush Cakes and Gen Keller’s bold use of colour.

It will also great to see the “old” faces 😉 too… Gary Cole, Jodi Carr, Arla Albers … not that they are all that “old” but… well, they’ve been around… 😉 

Gary is the world’s fastest face painter… maybe he can demonstrate for us?  216 faces in one hour… the mind boggles.

I’ll be presenting three classes – two on Monday and one on Tuesday.  Check here for the schedule 

Since I am the type of person who organizes her post-it notes by colour and keeps screws and nails separated by size… I do plan my classes in advance … 🙂    Here are more detailed descriptions of my classes than they have room for on the conference site:


Dinosaurs and Dragons – real designs for real gigs… stuff I do on the job, fast, easy and effective. 



This will be a demonstration class but feel free to bring your kits and paint along! These are all designs I paint on real face painting jobs: Side Dino, Side Dragon, Full Face Chinese Dragon, Brow Dragon, Serpent, Arm Dragon, Arm Dino, T-Rex, Over the Nose, Dino Mask…   


Not ANOTHER #*$&^%* Butterfly?!!  How to amuse yourself painting 276 pink and purple butterflies in a row.

Butterfly variation!

Butterfly variation!

This is going to be a fun session!  I’ll need volunteers to role play randomly assigned parts and then we can all get into character!  I’ll be the hard working face painter and everyone else the nasty little kids with no imagination – everyone wants a butterfly!

Hecklers welcome but you’d better be able to take it as well as give it!

As well as being fun for all I’m going to cover as many ways to paint a butterfly as humanly possible – I’ll make use of any method I can, take suggestions from the spectators and even from the “kid” who is being painted… maybe.

After this everyone should be able to go home and have a little fun themselves at the next “nothing but butterflies” birthday party they are hired for!


Face Painting for Theatre – applying your skills to theatrical work, editorial and competition design.  Designing characters and how products work on stage.

The Faeries - A Midsummer Night's Dream 2009

The Faeries - A Midsummer Night's Dream 2009

For this session I will explain the process I go through in meeting with the director/client and getting their instructions, creating a design, charting it, making notes, testing, and approval from the director/client.

There are considerations when designing for these purposes and you need to meet the requirements of each individual job.  I hope to bring examples from productions I have worked on (luggage space permitting!)
I’m planning to review how I work to come up with this type of design fairly quickly and then do some class exercises where we will have actual characters from plays or themes and “inspirational” images to use to come up with concepts and specific ideas and then, get everyone to rough out some sketches as a base for building on their ideas.  Handouts will be provided for this.


I’m really looking forward to the trip!  I’m heading down a few days early to spend time with my friend Twink is also known as Nina Dees and is also a presenter at Living Canvas)  in San Francisco.   I’ve been there before but only saw the hotel, airport… and saw the bridge from the train as we went through Oakland…

Hope to see you there!!