Put on a happy face | PostIndependent.com

Put on a happy face

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood
ALL |

If there’s one act that exemplifies how the simplest of actions can bring a surplus of joy, try face painting at a birthday party.

It’s the gift that’s better to both give and receive.

Last Sunday, I attended a birthday party for my friend Olivia that had everything good in life: homemade food, local music, funny hats, kids on scavenger hunts, and of course, face painting.

Somehow I went from the receiving end of face painting to giving. Before I knew it, I had a line of kids waiting to have their faces, and arms, painted. The best part is the kids didn’t seem to mind that I’m no Picasso.

No one was really looking for the Cubist look anyway.

The most popular requests were for puppy and kitten faces, and flames painted on arms. I’m not sure why the arm flames were so popular, but their popularity spread well, like wildfire. This gave me the chance to talk fire safety and firefighters, a favorite topic of mine. While trying to explain the concept of stop, drop and roll, one kiddo thought I said stop, drop and rock ‘n roll.

That’s one way to remember it.

What I loved most about the face, and arm, painting was that for 10 or 15 minutes the kids sat still, said funny stuff, then left the chair with smiles on their faces. Such a basic idea, to dip a paintbrush in water, then in paint, and apply to a face or arm and allow a child that form of simple self-expression only found through art.

Face painting is so underappreciated.

I know I’ve always been a fan of face painting. The best of my Halloween costumes have involved face paint application, especially when I went as Smurfette. Of course, putting it on was much more fun than taking it off.

I can’t imagine what the Blue Man Group goes through every night.

My favorite face painting story is one I tell often involving my friend Taryne and a dare to have her face painted as Gene Simmons from KISS at Carbondale’s annual Mountain Fair. The bet started with $20 and ended at somewhere around 40 bucks.

The catch was that Taryne would need to wear her Gene Simmons face all day of Mountain Fair. Gene is a popular look.

Try it and see what happens.

The moral of that story is everyone loves Gene Simmons’ tongue. And that the KISS face as a face painting option is universal. Kids can do it. So can adults.

Because there’s nothing more radical than a bunch of adults walking around as members of KISS at an outdoor music festival. Except maybe if they’re all Smurfs, which sounds like a great idea when you have a lot of blue paint around the house.

Try to stick with non-toxic paint there.

Face painting may be the most basic of art forms, but it offers anyone willing to paint, or be painted, the chance for expression.

At the party, I had more of a body painting experience, with a sprig of rosemary that inched down my neck and onto my shoulder via art by Amber Sparkles. This was well thought out, as the paint job worked well with my after-party plans – rehearsals for Carbondale’s Viva La Woman! Burlesque show coming up in July.

This is taking self-expression to a whole new level.

As a member of Carbondale’s new burlesque movement, I am joining an amazing group of confident and creative women who are bringing the art and music of this genre to the stage. Like face painting, we are making a statement. We are saying this is who we are and we aren’t afraid of putting our personalities out there.

Instead of having our faces painted like kittens because we like felines – another popular choice at the birthday party – we are embracing the music, dance, comedy, and wardrobe indicative of burlesque culture and bringing it to life. OK, maybe I’m a little nervous.

My parents will be in the audience, after all.

The burlesque show is going to be smart, funny, hip, feminine, exciting, alluring, musical, comical, thought-provoking, classy, old-timey, and modern. There may even be some painted faces and bodies. The show is everything I would want my face to be painted at a birthday party, and more.

Like Gene Simmons and Smurfette, all wrapped up in one.

– April E. Clark welcomes her best friend Megan’s boys, Cameron and Nolan, to Glenwood Springs for the first time today. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@yahoo.com.


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