Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

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Happy New Year!

Well, I’m just a barrel of fun.

It is 10:22 p.m. December 31, 2012… and here I am blogging, watching The Princess Bride on television, drinking and eating leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Put mom to bed at 9 so I’m alone… with her snoring in the background (as usual.)

I managed to get in touch with the company that did our roof repairs two years ago and the insurance company this afternoon.  Last night the water started to come through the ceiling in my office and the “repairs” are hanging off – luckily the water seems to be following the path of least resistance and is dripping off the lowest part of the hanging stuff so I was able to place a bucket under the drips…

Here is what the ceiling looks like





I cleared everything away from the walls and took down the things on the wall.   The insurance company said we may not hear from the adjuster until the 3rd, and the roofer wants me to email him details.

It got up to +2C today and the wind is gusting to 80 kph.  Considering we were one of the coldest cities on the planet just five days ago that is pretty impressive.  But the warming up is why the water is dripping through my ceiling.

2013 is not staring all that well here [sigh]…

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Year end wrap-up for 2012

Well that’s another year shot to heck and while it had some high points it really wasn’t our best year ever.  As a matter of fact some of it sucked, but we survived and hopefully things will get better in 2013.

So let’s review the major items…


Did the make-up for Snow White at Grande Prairie Live Theatre which was fun.

Painted at the Zombie Apocalypse at the College.


Face painted at a stagette at a local club.  I really enjoy painting adults as they let me get creative.


My Kermit face painting won first place in the Sesame Street Snazaroo contest.

Face painted at a 30th birthday party – it was popular and I ended up staying an hour extra.

Traded in my 2007 RAV4 for a 2012.  Took months to get rid of that new car smell… it was awful.

Face painted at the Timbits Jamboree (soccer tournament.)


Friend Lynne McKay from Scotland via Ibiza came for a visit and we took her on an overnight road trip to Jasper National Park where we saw live wild wolves up close and personal.

Painted at the Shark Club for St. Patrick’s Day with Lynne.


Painted at the grand opening of the new Grande Prairie location of Woody’s RV World.

Did the make-up for The Real Inspector Hound at GPLT.


Painted at the annual Easter Eggstravaganza at Muskoseepi Park.

Won a Facebook face painting contest “Lawn Furniture of the Cities of the World” on the Face Painting Theme of the Week page


Painted at the annual Swan Festival at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park.

Took mom to see Sir Elton John at the Crystal Centre in Grande Prairie!  Just 10 blocks down the road from our house!  Here is a photo of us at the concert!


Did the make-up for Paint Your Wagon at GPLT.

Finally got the wrap installed on my new RAV4 – exactly the same as the previous wrap (why mess with success?)


Painted at the Enerflex MS Walk.

Painted at the Shark Club for Cinco de Mayo.

Painted at Tervita’s Rodeo Lunch (the company bought Kelly Sutherland’s chuckwagon tarp for the season.)

Did make-up for a friend’s annual birthday pub crawl – this year was Pirates!


Finally planted in the Viking grave in the backyard.  Wildflowers and weeds.


Painted at the Wembley Community Day.

Painted at the Westlake Village Block Party.

Painted at the annual Baron Oilfield Golf Tournament.

Had to reduce my availability over the summer – could only take jobs where mom could come with me.


Painted up a group for GPLT for their Canada Day Parade float.

Washing machine dies… had to buy a new one and had no choice but to get a high-efficiency one.  I am NOT a fan.  At least I could still get a top-loader with an agitator.


Painted at Grizfest in Tumbler Ridge the August long weekend as usual.

Owner of the company where I worked for my day-job died from cancer.

Did age make-up using tattoo inks for  a hi-def movie shoot.  Worked really well.

Did horror make-up for a photo shoot.

Painted at the Hythe & District Agricultural Fair as usual.


Mom’s aide gives us 11 days notice.  We hire a new one who works two days then is a no-show – never heard from her again.  Hired another, who was great.

Painted at the Wembley Demolition Derby.

Mom got a bad cold that turned into a chest infection – ends up on antibiotics for almost two months.

Did demonstration body and face painting at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie’s grand re-opening.

One of my body paintings and another photo of me are featured in a body painting calendar.

Calendar Cover


Painted fairies at the GPRC President’s Ball which was themed – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oct 20 1012 Presidents Ball

Painted at a private masquerade house party with a Tudor/Renaissance theme – great fun!

We (the staff) found out that the heirs of the late owner of the company I worked for my day-job were planning to shut down the office – they were not planning to tell us until the last minute.

Did the make-up for a Haunted House at the park.

Halloween was booked solid and a great success with one of my customers winning Best Costume at the Shark Club.


Sent out dozens of resumes and attended several job interviews.  Last day at old day-job on 30th.


Mom’s latest aide had a medical appointment first thing on the 1st – was supposed to come to work after but calls later that evening to say she won’t be back for medical reasons.

Hired a another new aide who started on the 13th. (She’s still here and is wonderful!)

Painted for the Festival of Trees.

Did a full-day demonstration/workshop for local school district teachers at one of their professional development days.

Started a new day job.

Attended a CATS rehearsal to do make-up tests.

Christmas party bookings start – first one was on the 7th.


Painted at several more corporate Christmas parties.

Painted at Spurs’ (a local club) End of the World Party on Dec 21st.

My Evil Jester face paint from Halloween 2011 came second in the Snazaroo Halloween 2012 Free-for-All.

Did make-up for the Christmas show at GPLT,

Discovered a leak in the ceiling in my office on Christmas Eve – where the repairs were done two years ago… Dec 28th was the date we finally paid off the repairs/renovations done two years ago.  Now we’ll be in the hole again … owning a house is expensive.

Had two sets of guests cancel for Christmas dinner due to illness and weather/road conditions.  It was -36C on Christmas Day, -39C on Boxing Day.


As well there were lots of birthday parties and private appointments.  I am getting a lot of adults booking appointments to get masks painted for parties and other occasions.

It was a good year for the “adult” bookings – adult parties, clubs, galas, photography, demonstrations, etc.  Which I really enjoy as well as being full-rate jobs.  I also picked up a few new “annual” events that have booked for next year as well.  Many bookings are now multi-painter so I recruited some new assistants from my old day-job who are really good and quite happy to paint with me when needed.

Throughout 2012 I ran monthly excerpts from my e-book “The Business of Face Painting” and we are offering it for a special price if ordered before midnight December 31, 2012!  So you have a bit of time left if you would like to take advantage of the special offer.

Mom is not improving but holding her own.  She’s in pain pretty consistently and sleeps a lot.  I’ve been very busy the last couple months but she’s come with me to the multi-painter jobs to be our “brush washer”.   Our full-time aide and casual aide are both great.

I joke about getting old myself, but have to say that the latter part of this year has made it clear it is no longer just a joke. Feet hurt, legs hurt, back hurts, hands hurt… and that’s on a good day.

Two more sleeps and it will be 2013… and I plan to spend New Year’s Day putting away decorations, cleaning and hopefully getting some charts done.

I’ve got a busy couple of months ahead – CATS opens the first week of February and I have to do make-up tests and photos for each character, train the make-up crew as we are using different products than they are used to, and have a full body painting/photo shoot scheduled, plus the usual gigs and bookings.

I wish you well in 2013!  May it be healthy, happy and profitable for you all.

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Crazy time at the old homestead

I honestly have no idea where the time has gone… Christmas is on Tuesday and I still haven’t finished the baking for my Sister and BIL or shipped their presents.  They may be getting it late as I have no time!

I’m working full-time at the day job and then also this week I’ve had six days out of seven booked (largest corporate Christmas party on Sunday, meeting with the director of the Pantomime on Monday, CATS costume parade on Tuesday, gig painting animals for a nativity on Wednesday, gig at a club for their End of the World Party on Friday, and dress rehearsal for the Pantomime on Saturday…)  My last several weekends were booked with Christmas parties.

I have Sunday to get the house cleaned and ready for Christmas, start on dinner prep, make dessert, hopefully finish baking the cookies (and mom needs more muffins!) etc. as I have to work 8-5 on Christmas Eve so won’t have a lot of time to do anything then.  Then Boxing Day there are two performances of the Panto, then every night next week finishing with a matinée on the 30th.  I have no days off from the day job so will be going flat-out.  New Year’s Day will be my first downtime in a while.

I took photos of the CATS costumes but there is an embargo on publishing them until the show opens.  They are AMAZING!!!  I can’t wait until I get the charts done and do the test make-ups for each character.

The Panto is The Grande Ole Phantom of the Opry… there are vampires (traditional and sparkly), the Phantom, a Dolly Parton character, etc.

The turkey I’m cooking is about 9 kilos… so I have to get it in the oven around 6 a.m. (we like it REALLY well cooked.)  Company usually arrives around 3 and we eat as soon as it is ready.

I’ll take some photos at the rehearsal and maybe tomorrow at the end of the world party, and if the world doesn’t end I’ll try to take a few minutes to post them!



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Brushes – a new find

We face painters are always on the hunt for a better brush.  I have my favourites and will tend to grab the same brush over and over when I am working.  I always have several of the particular size (#4) and shape (round) and fibre (natural sable) that I like the best out on my table.

Whenever I am in Michael’s, no matter why I actually went there, I buy more brushes.  The least expensive small liners are around $4.95 each and I usually only get a month or two out of them before they splay too much and won’t go back to a point.

Brushes wear out, that’s a fact.  And I am not going to fiddle around trying to reshape one that has given up on me.  I just toss them and grab another.  It is a cost of doing business.

So… when someone mentioned that they had seen in use and then bought a set of Wilton brushes – for cake decorating – at Michael’s and that they loved them, I made a mental note to check them out next time I was there.

So… I was there last week, I went looking.  And there were three sets on the hook of the Wilton Deluxe Brush Set.  They had purple handles (apparently there are other colour handles, but not here.)


It is a carded set of seven different brushes for $8.95.  That is a really good price, if they work.

And… they work!  As a matter of fact, I love them!  Well, I love the two rounds I’ve used so far…the centre large round and the next to the right in the photo.  They are great – hold their point, rinse out really fast and completely, make great lines and points, and are holding up well to the alcohol I rinse them in while working.  I’ve only used them this weekend so far but will update later in the month after all the parties are over and I can tell how they will hold up to constant use.

But, for the price, it is a better deal than what I have been doing.  I’ll be popping into Michael’s with a coupon each week to get another set to add to my stockpile!

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Business Tips for Face Painters, Body Artists and Make-Up Artists #12 – Incident Reports & Risk Assessments

December 1st means it is time for the twelfth, and final, excerpt from my e-book The Business of Face Painting.  Of course, if you would like to get all the information included in my book right now you can find out how here.

If you have found the twelve excerpts useful… Be sure to check out our special offer for the month of December – details at the bottom of this post.

The Business of Face Painting was published in September of 2009 and I am working on the final stages of the companion book The Art of Face Painting which we hope to have out soon.

If you are in business and dealing with the public you are at risk of a claim against you for a variety of reasons.  Documenting incidents and assessing the risks is very important – you may require the information if there is ever a claim made against you (see last month’s excerpt on Insurance) and some clients require risk assessments to be submitted for their insurance purposes.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Six of  The Business of Face Painting.


Incident Reports

If something should happen while you are working and is reported to you, document it.  Having your own record of what happened, witness names and contact information, etc. could prove to be invaluable should any claim be made against you.  An Incident Report Form is provided in the document templates [the form is available in the e-book.]  Personalize and print off a form to carry with you in case something happens.  If someone trips over your kit box and hurts themselves, or your water spills and someone slips.  Use it to record things that happen even if the person involves says “oh it is okay, never mind”… they might change their minds later and make a claim against your for damages.  Things like… a child saying the paint stings, so you wash it off with a baby wipe.  Or, you accidentally drop black paint on the rug.  Those things should be noted so that you are able to provide details from your side to the insurance company if you have to call them about a claim.

Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is part of the business plan where you note the risks involved in your business, but also, you could be asked to provide one by clients or potential clients for a specific job. That sort of Risk Assessment would list all the potential risks that could arise on the job and list the measures taken to mitigate them and the actions to be taken should something happen.  The requirement for a formal Risk Assessment tends to be more common in the United Kingdom than in North America, but larger companies and organizations that may be considering hiring you may require them.

A sample Risk Assessment form is provided with the document templates and it lists common risks and actions to take [the form is available in the e-book.] You can use this form and personalize it or design your own.  The type of risk these cover are things like tripping hazards, reactions to products you are using, staff safety, fire and emergency equipment locations, etc.

© Shannon Fennell, 2009

with material from “Designs and Templates Volume 1” © November 2007

and “Designs and Templates Volume 2” © March 2008