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IN 2010, I painted shoes on the back of a friends foot after seeing a similar idea done in a shoe campaign. I have always intended to do an entire series but got distracted with life... you know how it goes. I am now looking into how I can make a series a reality.

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the shoes especially on Facebook  My favourite part of this work is seeing peoples faces when I tell them there is ONLY PAINT... especially with the leopard skin shoe... most people think I stuck on a heel and painted around it. Nope. It's all paint. There are no secrets there and no Photoshop either... it's all using the power of light and shade. 

I am now looking into how I can make a series a reality.

I have never shown this before... here is a progress shot of the snake skin heel, the first shoe attempt which took 3 hours.

I had the model stand on a table and I marked out the outline of the shoe detail which you can see in purple pencil... then she relaxed on a matress for 3 hours whilst I painted with water based paints and eye shadow for shading. You can see the material on the left hand side I used as a stencil to start the texture then went over the shapes with a fine brush and paint for highlights and lowlights.
I had the model stand on a table and I marked out the outline of the shoe detail which you can see in purple pencil... then she relaxed on a matress for 3 hours whilst I painted with water based paints and eye shadow for shading. You can see the material on the left hand side I used as a stencil to start the texture then went over the shapes with a fine brush and paint for highlights and lowlights.

I think this was the beginning of my love for illusion. Same goes for my faux freckles beauty shoot... I love peoples screwed up noses when they wonder what I have done to 2 models with no makeup... and why are they favourites in my book. When I tell them they are all artificial freckles... the look on their face is my favourite thing!  

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A few years ago... when I first started freelancing full time... I had the opportunity to place an ad in a bridal magazine. I didn't want to do the same as everyone else, however I also didn't want it to appear like i was trying to 'be different' for the sake of being different... we all know how that turns out ha! So i decided to body paint a wedding dress as well as do the hair and makeup. My partner at the time took the photo in our back yard and we then made a print ad out of it. Easy. this is the pic before we made it into an advertisement.... ( thanks to my model Lauren who was and still is awesome ) ( oh..ps... those ear rings are by www.kezani.com.au and Anita makes the yummiest bridal accesories )

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The amount of people asking me where I got the dress from was hilarious... I can't see how you could think it was real... but there you go... I think it is a case of 'unexpected body paint'...who says you cant make body paint, some tulle and a pillow case look like a gown Ha! The following week the local paper ran a web pole - 'would you wear a body painted dress to get married in?'... I didn't see the response but they missed the point. It's art for art's sake.

People say they love when I show them my inspiration and reference pictures.. Here are some of the images I used as 'inspiration'. They were saved so long ago I can't link to the source.

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These gowns inspired the shape of the bodice at the back as well as the look and feel of the dress.

These gowns inspired the shape of the bodice at the back as well as the look and feel of the dress.

I used this image to reference the pose I wanted for the shot... in body art it is crucial to work out your poses if you are attempting the appearance of 3D... you will know where to place shadows and sometimes it determines the entire design.

I used this image to reference the pose I wanted for the shot... in body art it is crucial to work out your poses if you are attempting the appearance of 3D... you will know where to place shadows and sometimes it determines the entire design.

So following are images of the dress's progress in pictures. I wasn't taking them for the intention for step by step pics... they were to show Lauren the progress... some steps are missing but I will explain as we go.

This cake was the superstar reference for the body paint. I thought I would find my lace reference in a lace image... however this cake was amazing to reference off. You will see it in the design. I love this reference as it is clear as well as clearly showing where highlights and low lights will be.

I always like to ensure the model has a movie or TV to watch whilst I am painting. #1 because I can't hold a conversation when I am painting and #2 it helps amuse the model and keeps energy higher than if we were just listening to music. Sometimes I play a movie or two with a similar theme to the body paint. Comedies, however, are a rubbish idea as a laughing model means wobbly lines.

I always like to ensure the model has a movie or TV to watch whilst I am painting. #1 because I can't hold a conversation when I am painting and #2 it helps amuse the model and keeps energy higher than if we were just listening to music. Sometimes I play a movie or two with a similar theme to the body paint. Comedies, however, are a rubbish idea as a laughing model means wobbly lines.

STEP 1 -  I penciled out the shape of the dress lightly with a white pencil and filled in a base colour using a white water based paint with a sponge. I thought the texture of the white paint would make it interesting and also allowed me to create the appearance of a sheer material. It would be near impossible to create a sheer opacity that is flawlessly even in coverage applying by hand... I would need to airbrush for that. 

I also had complete hair and makeup before I started painting. I find this important as if you are painting for hours... the last thing you want to do once you have finished painting is complete a hair and makeup. Anyway... it's easier to touch up makeup than touch up body paint.

I applied some good 'ol Napoleon Perdis Whipped Dream Tan Enhancer to Lauren's skin after painting the base. Don't be tempted to apply skin products underneath your paint job... I have never seen that go so well especially if the body product has an oily texture or a pigment in it. The pigment and/oil will blend with you paint and often results in a muddy finish. You will get cranky pants.

I painted the buttons and added a slight shadow underneath using an eye shadow brush and my matte black eye shadow. Apply your shadows lightly at first then build up... much easier to build a shadow than take away an ugly black splodge.

You can use art brushes from an art store for body art. I love synthetic brushes when working with paints... and I use my regular eye shadow brushes for body art with powders.

You can use art brushes from an art store for body art. I love synthetic brushes when working with paints... and I use my regular eye shadow brushes for body art with powders.

STEP 2 - well... not really a step 2 but a closer look at step #1. Here you can see the slight shadows under the buttons and I have used a fine synthetic brush to begin a lace edge on the dress. 

Close up of lace edge in the beginning stages.

Close up of lace edge in the beginning stages.

STEP 3 - making it up as I go... I started with the loops... then added the three little lines to the peak of the circle... I remembered that detail from doilies my Mum had in the house when I was growing up. On a whim I decided a floating dot would look good inside the loop. If I didn't like the dot... I could have removed them with makeup remover on a cotton tip. 

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STEP 4 - The lace edge is complete! I continued the loops all the way around the edge of the dress... then with the same fine but short bristled brush...I applied tiny dots the entire way around the inner side of the edge as well as the outer edge nearer the arms to finish that off too.  

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STEP 5 - using a thicker synthetic brush... from memory it was similar to a regular lip brush... I free handed some detail in using the cake image as inspiration. I also used a thin synthetic brush to add the thin line detail. 

The risk here is it's bloody hard to erase mistakes as I would have to apply the sheer base again... so at the time I was thanking my idea of a white wash look that wasn't perfect as if any mistakes I made... the inconsistent base would be easy to repair.

You can see in this pic I have also painted some roses and 'circular' details and they are starting to look like holes in the lace. All I did here was paint the design, and with a cotton tip with makeup remover (non oily) just clean the paint away on the inside of the hole.

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In this side pic you can see the roses clearer... you can also see that I have continued the dress onto her breasts as I am not sure how much will be seen in the final picture. Better to paint a little more than needed than not enough.

I once painted the front of a model with a slight wrap around the shoulders and sides... and on the shoot (it was a hair shoot) the Photographer got inspired and had the model pose on the side. You could see clearly the paint had ended and I was horrified. To make matters worse the hairdresser loved that shot and so that one went to print. Luckily it just looked creative and not out of place... but a piece of my died inside. If I knew they would bust out a side shot... I would have painted the full torso. I now ask if there is ANY possibility of breaking the set angle (with a hair shot you can usually tell as the hairdresser styles for either a front or side shot)

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STEP 6 - I spent some time adding the final detail for the roses... added some more 'holes'. You can't see it in the picture... but there are also stitches painted over the top of the roses to make them look like embroidery roses like my Mum does so fabulously. www.immyandme.com

I carefully added shadows under the details to give the appearance they are sitting up on the dress.

That's about it! Essentially I used three products... White Body Paint, Black Matte Eye shadow and Napoleon Whipped Dream Tan Enhancer.

final pose check and ready to shoot!

final pose check and ready to shoot!

All up I think it took about 4 hours to paint not including hair and makeup.

I am not allowed to publish it yet... but wait until you see what I created with just Black Body paint, a non toxic pen and some silver leafing for Italian Vogue online!

I posted this on instagram late last year... The waiting for a shoot to come out is the worst part!

I posted this on instagram late last year... The waiting for a shoot to come out is the worst part!

Body art doesn't have to be a career change... as makeup artists, body art can (and is brilliant) to use as an exercise to build your confidence and precision as a makeup artist. I spoke about this concept at the last Sydney IMATS and had a huge response. Alot of 'AH -HA moments apparently.

I am shortly going to publish details on the course on this very topic I am teaching in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. 

I don't know ANY artist who wouldn't get complete value out of doing this course. You don't have to want to do any kind of body art in your makeup career... but the training is invaluable... and it will take a couple of days for me to show you how and why.

Info coming over the next couple of days.

** NEW EDIT! **

Look what I found! I found the behind the scenes pic of the second heel as well as the newspaper article about the dress.

proof the heel isn't stuck on.

proof the heel isn't stuck on.

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