Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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Day 225 (of the Pandemic)

This has been a long seven and a half months and the second wave is surging. I’m guessing next spring before we will know if we’ll be able to start resuming old activities. I know I’m in no rush.

Areas around me are having to roll back to previous restrictions due to the increase in confirmed cases. And watching the numbers around the world the wave seems to be more of a tidal wave – in Belgium for instance with over 10,000 new cases per day.

I have two classes on campus and today we were informed that as of this Thursday if we are to be on campus we have to do an online assessment to get permission to access. We have to do it every single day we have to go on campus, permission is for only that day. Three standard “self screening” questions. Are you sick? Have you travelled? Have you been in contact with a case? Then they send you an email giving you permission to enter – which you have to show to gain access.

I’m perturbed as I don’t use a smart phone and resources to print off emails daily aren’t readily available – so how am I supposed to show this permission? I’ve sent off an inquiry.

Latest art projects are progressing. Prepped 21 more canvases with the base colours for my thesis project over the last couple of weeks. Last week I started working on the subjects. I’ve finished 13 of the total 35 planned works.

First batch are all 8 x 10″, and the second has 4 x 12″, 6 x 6″ and 5 x 7″.

Did a prototype for my Fabrication project, sort of. It showed me my original idea wasn’t going to work, so I switched gears. This is a 6 x 10″ shadow box with a white rhino I made with glass seed beads. The final project is going to be 24 x 24″ and not a rhino and will use found objects. I only used the beads I had available so the contrast of the shading on the body isn’t as striking as it could be – silver outline and detail with gold fill. I quite like how it turned out.

I also did some art on leaves for one of my online classes – it was a sustainable theme so I created a surface out of dried leaves and non-toxic materials to do my illustrations. I made four “leaf paper sheets” but only used two.

I can peel off the white – it was child safe non-toxic paint, and the leaves can be used for something else. And I know it will peel off as it started doing so while I was drawing!

Halloween this year is so quiet. Very strange for me as for over 20 years it was such a big deal working flat out doing make-up for clients and events for most of the autumn, and particularly the two weeks leading up to the big day. With the virus things are very low key everywhere.

Just as a throwback – here is one of my many favourite Halloween make-ups done on a client.

Have a nice Halloween, whatever you end up doing or not doing! And stay safe.


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I’m not always a stubborn Luddite

I’ve been “working” on redesigning my website for a year at least, officially, longer if you count thinking about how I was going to do it. It was old fashioned, clunky, too much text – compared to what the norm is now.

I’ve had my site and domain for 15 years and in all that time had only done one complete overhaul. I had originally used my service provider’s “Page Builder” program, and then “Site Builder” which was a download from them, that I used on my computer, then uploaded to the net to publish.

As you can imaging (or saw if you had ever been to my website before yesterday) it was dated looking to say the least.

As I am now  concentrating more on fine art I was researching what artists’ sites look like.  Most of the ones that appealed to me were very clean with white backgrounds and minimal clutter. Successful artists know to keep it simple and focus on the art.

I was attempting to use the program I had been using but the templates, etc. weren’t really modern looking. So I had started with blank pages and manually inserting all the functionality. It was tedious.

I had some hiccups with my email accounts connected to my business page over a week back and in the process of trying to find how to fix it discovered that there were online website builders connected to my account already, that I have been paying for all along. Well, duh.

There you go. Easy peasy. So I spent some time on Monday sorting out photos to use on the new site, chose the templates I liked and got the initial site set up. Then yesterday went in and populated it. Then published it!

I’m pretty happy with it. I just can’t figure out how to get the WordPress icon added to the social media bar… the program didn’t have that icon on the options.

I’m continuing to tweak as I am catching little typos, or deciding to rearrange or add something else. I am going to keep it simple.

Check it out at www.shannonfennell.com

Website Screenshot


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And… That’s a wrap for Halloween 2016!

Another year of Halloween appointments completed.  This year was a bit rough for me as I am still struggling with my gallbladder pain (surgery is scheduled in EIGHT MORE SLEEPS!) As I wasn’t driving I was able to take my pain pills so it was reasonably tolerable (most of the time.)

This was the first year that there were no no-shows, so thank you to my clients – and the ones who called to cancel.  It made planning my day and filling open spots so much easier!

My first appointments this year were on Thursday afternoon, then all through the day Friday, solid on Saturday until 10 p.m. – thankfully Sunday was free from appointments but spent prepping for a special effects job – and then Monday, Halloween, with more bookings.

There were a lot of skulls.  Every year there are skulls. This year most of what I did was skulls… sugar skulls, half-skulls, full skulls, demonic skulls… with a few other things.  And one special effects zombie.  Five years ago it was the other way around – lots of special effects zombies and a couple skulls.  Guess tastes change.  Or overexposure on social media.

So here is a selection of what I did this year.

This first one won Scariest Costume (client emailed me to let me know!)

scariest

These next ones were a few of the ones done at at Muskoseepi Park for their annual Halloween Spooktacular.

green-zombie

fluoroskull

doll

And a sampling of the skulls done over the weekend:

skullmuzzle

kirsten

skullmask

sam

skullcouple

And some of the usual suspects…

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Vinny’s ides this year was Cruella DeVille who had been bitten by were-dalmatians and was morphing into one… LOL…

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And the last one to share today, a little raccoon ready for trick-or-treating!

raccoon


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It has begun…

My first Halloween clients of the year were tonight.

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And I put my Mummy up in the window.

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Another client dropped off his prosthetics so I can get them painted and prepped for Halloween Day.

Tomorrow my first appointment is at 7:15 a.m.

Saturday is fully booked at this moment.  That seems to be fluid though as Saturday has been fully booked about four different times since the end of September, then I’ll have a couple clients cancel, fill-up the spots, repeat… LOL.  A wait-list has now been started.

Skulls are the most popular request so far – both the Day of the Dead variety and the skeletal ones.

I acquired a great piece of artwork today – a friend is doing a drawing a day and this was her work from yesterday.  I loved it so I bought it!  Framed and hung it in my studio this afternoon so she is on the wall to supervise all the skulls I will be painting this weekend!

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My studio is all set-up and  organized, including a photo backdrop. I am ready!  Bring it on Halloween!

 

 


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Halloween is Coming – part four

HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This weekend is going to busy, busy, busy!  The party night, which is when my services are in the most demand, is Saturday.  As Halloween is actually next Monday, the bookings on that day are kids on their way to school and my regular special effects client in the early morning.

This year I have appointments booked on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  As always, it is a tiring weekend, but I look forward to it every year.

I am booked solid on Saturday but there are always cancellations at the last minute – and unfortunately no-shows.  I keep a waitlist and will call people if a spot opens up, so you can still contact me (message me through my Facebook page which is linked to on the right.)  I just can’t guarantee you will get in.

Here are some of my favourite costumes and make-up design combinations.

JamieBecki2014RomneyskullblackMandy Schroeder BVampireFamily

mandaclown

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comicconman

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I love what I do!

Next week’s post will be all about what I did this year for Halloween, so stay tuned.


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Halloween is Coming – part three

Oh oh oh… Halloween is getting closer!!

I work at a few Halloween themed events annually – I do up the haunters and staff at the Muskoseepi Park Haunted House every year; face paint at the Rotary Stompin’ Scarecrow Festival (will be there on Oct 23rd!) and have painted at the GP Museum’s Haunted Hayride for the last several years.

It is always fun to match the costumes people are wearing!  It is my favourite thing to do –   whether it is a Princess or a Death Eater!  And I love a challenge.

Here are photos of make-up/face painting done over the years for different events and Halloween.

DHTOct302014

MadScientist

kidskull

zombiecleo

Fennell-1-AG

Spurs3

Firstever
Frozen1

Littlezombie

Sprites

yellowskull

Zombiecarsmall

They can drive!!!

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Painted up for a night of clubbing!

I don’t always have an opportunity to take photos while I am working if it is busy, so it is nice when I can access those taken by the photographers from the newspaper or official event photographers.

 


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Halloween is Coming – part two

Here we are at the second week of my Halloween countdown in the form of some of my make-up and costume work.

I love Halloween and those clients who want to go all out with their ideas.  I’ve one particular client who comes every year, many years twice, who is the epitome of Halloween spirit.  He gets a full special effects make-up every Halloween day morning and goes out for the day, often completely decorating his truck as well.

He has the idea and gets his costume together, and I get the make-up figured out to his specifications – sometimes I make the pieces, sometimes he buys them, sometimes both are used.  Copious amounts of blood are usually involved.

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headsmashed

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I have such a lot of fun with my clients!

 


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Halloween is coming!

The most wonderful time of the year!

I am going to do a weekly post featuring past make-ups and costumes I have done – for fun and possible inspiration.

I am still taking appointments for Halloween make-up for this year but am filling up fast so if you are my area and want to book I suggest contacting me ASAP!  You can message me through my Facebook Page – the link is on the right of this page.

These make-ups are from one of my favourite appointments – a group of friends would come regularly for special events (not just Halloween, but birthday pub crawls and theme nights.)  This particular event was a Dead Pirates theme.

Christine4

meaghan1

vanessa1

wench3

scruffy

Ho1

naomilamp2

parrott

group2

 


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Summer thoughts and deeds

Last weekend I was face painting at Grizfest Music Festival in Tumbler Ridge, BC.  I have been there every year since 2005!  It is a nice weekend in a beautiful little town in the mountains.  We get to paint and listen to great music while we work.  We drive up there Saturday morning (three-hour drive), paint for five hours on Saturday and Sunday, and drive home on Monday.  I always enjoy the trip – even driving through blinding rain and thunderstorms, forest fires, and snow – depending on the year.

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This year Tom Cochrane was the headliner on Saturday (we ran into him in the lobby of the hotel!) and Simple Plan was the main act on Sunday.

On July 13th my crew and I face painted at Municipal Government Day at Muskoseepi Park (which had been rescheduled from June due to a massive storm!)  This photo by William Vavrek Photography is of the line-up of people waiting for face painting.  The City events at the Park are always busy!

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We were there on Canada Day too.  And so was William Vavrek Photography!  I am too busy to stop to take photos so thankfully someone is there to take some!

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Next weekend I will be face painting at the Debolt Festival & Fair on Saturday.

The weather has been really damp here – thunderstorms, massive rain.  I actually put my furnace on yesterday as the damp was making it quite chilly and I needed to warm up the air in the house.  Yesterday there were thunderstorms for 10 hours straight… one after the other rolled in.  Everything is nice and green… but too wet to mow!  On the positive side I don’t have to haul the hose around to water the garden.

In other news things are progressing – still dropping weight as a result of removing carbs and sugar from my diet, blood sugar is staying in the normal range and I am still receiving injections in my eyes to treat diabetic retinopathy (apparently it is working and once it it fixed the injections stop.)

This is of me in 2000 and me last Saturday.  The change was really gradual, and in spurts due to various things.  The big changes due to the diagnosis last December resulted in a 50 lb drop, which is continuing.  I am assuming I will plateau once my body finds it’s preferred level as I am not dieting, per se, just don’t eat things I can’t.

BW before after

I’ve reached the stage where I can actually shop in “normal” stores and buy off-the-rack large and medium clothing… and it FITS!  I’ve never done that.  When I was 10 I was wearing my mother’s clothes.

I keep ending up in the plus size areas – habit I guess.  It is hard to look at things to judge size, but I am slowly getting the hang of it as I have to shop for new things every month I am getting lots of practice.  I’m doing most of the shopping at Giant Tiger or Goodwill – no point in spending a lot when I’m going to be donating things in a month!  I was searching for heavy leggings (heavy as they need to hold things in, like loose skin) and ended up at Bootlegger. I’ve never bought anything there before!

I culled my closet again and dropped off a load at Goodwill this week.  I need to start making sure to wear all the things that fit, WHILE they fit. I get annoyed with myself when I pull out something I bought a couple months ago, never wore, and now it is too big to look nice.

I’m a little sad my Spider-Man and Hulk shirts are too big now.  I’d inherited them from my brother Neil when he died.  I’ve only been able to wear them lately.  The Hulk is just hanging off of me and Spidey probably will only be wearable until the end of this month.  I really love those shirts.  I’ve been looking for similar ones but just don’t see them anywhere.

Oh, and this is exciting – I bought cheap sports bras (two for $12) in large, and they fit!  OMG, they are so comfortable!  There are some things you NEED a bra under and the only one I own is black – and that just doesn’t work for light summer tops!  As I am less than an A-cup I don’t need much.  One of the first things to disappear was whatever bosom I had (which wasn’t much to start with.)

This is 2013 vs this week … anyone interested in a medieval reversible bodice and blouse?

2013 vs 2016

 

 

 

 

 


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Summer is going by

It has been hot here, but this last week has cooled down considerably – I’m back to sleeping under the covers without the fan blowing directly at me.  It is a nice change.

I’ve been dealing with getting the household under control without mom around.  And have the occasional breakdown, particularly when people bring up mom without warning in conversation.

I’m starting a new day job on Monday which I am really looking forward to!  I needed a change of everything to get my mind occupied learning new things and changing routines.

I am thinking about renting out my house so decided to get some cracks in the foundation checked again (I had them looked at a few years ago).  So I booked a company to come and check for me – I decided to move the shelves in the basement bedroom against the wall that had cracks showing.  The shelves had mould on them against the wall – the question of whether the cracks were leaking was answered even before they were professionally checked.

Long story short – massive amount of cracks in the west wall of the foundation, only a couple along the south.  Repairs now done.  But they will have to come back to possibly do more once I get the utility room clear as I had to store most of my stuff in there while they did the work.  But luckily no mould problem in the walls, thank god.

I had no idea how much staff/crap I have.  When I started having to empty shelves so they could be moved I filled up about 9 paper boxes with books, 20 large plastic bins with photo albums and ornaments, small bins with make-up supplies, etc. etc.  I am planning a garage sale, maybe two, in August to get rid of so much stuff – appliances (a dryer and a dishwasher), small appliances (blenders, deep fryer, panini press, electric frying pan, etc.), kitchen stuff (dishes, pans, baking pans, cutlery), ornaments and decorative things like cookie jars and glass canisters, framed things, craft and art supplies, some furniture… there is so much of it.  And the thing is, it wasn’t cluttered or piled up.  I have 18 bookcases in this house… and they all were full.

Just so you know, this is what the repaired foundation looks like before the wall is rebuilt – cracks filled with epoxy and Kevlar strapping attached to hold it all together.

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Now I am awaiting the quote from a contractor to rebuild my walls, gut and rebuild the basement bathroom (it is very wet and needs ripping out and fixing of the problem which we think is the shower drain), replace all the flooring (the carpet has to go as it has been wet and there is some mould), paint, trim, etc.

I am going to be counting every penny in order to pay for the repairs, but they have to be done to ensure the house is sound.  Once this is finished we will have completely replaced everything – I am pretty sure we spent more fixing and replacing things than we paid for it 10 years ago.  Last fall the roof was replaced.  The main floor was completely redone 2010-11.  First month we were in the house the sewer line had to be replaced, then all the windows, every appliance, hot water tank… well, you get the idea.

Canada Day was busy and hot as always!  My crew of ten (eight painters and two cleaning crew) worked steady at the big event at Muskoseepi Park.  As always we limited the choices and colours were red, white, and black.  And rainbow.

I did a My Little Pony themed birthday party – my first one – last month.  After some research (and sharing by fellow painters) came up with these two designs:

MLP

Only two ponies got painted – both were Rainbow Dash.  There are sure a lot of them to choose from.

On June 20th I taught a workshop in Tumbler Ridge, and will be back there on the long weekend for Grizfest.  And I will be at the Debolt Fair on August 15 and the Hythe Fair on August 16 too.  Along with other events and birthday parties to keep me busy and earning money to pay for my basement repairs!