Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Body Paint on Women

With the recent photos of Michael Phelps’ girlfriend Caroline “Caz” Pal hitting the Internet, I am reminded of the allure of body art on women. In this case I’m not talking so much about permanent body art like tattoos (which also can be nice), but instead the use of body paint. It’s so versatile. You can use it to dress up like your favorite character, pretend like you’re wearing a swimsuit, support the local sports team, advertise, or simply go artistic. There are even competitions around the globe where people compete for prizes.

To the right I picked out one of my favorites, The Invisible Girl. For your viewing pleasure, here are some examples of women of all ages that you might enjoy...

The Steps

1. Buy paints from Mehron, Inc., 45 E. Route 303, Valley Cottage, NY 10989, (914) 268-4106. They have a semi-reasonable brochure and provide some technical support. They can also direct you to dealers.
2. Mehron's "liquid makeup" is water-based and comes off easily, although red stains skin a bit. Plan on using three 4oz. bottles to completely cover a 5'7" tall, 120 lb woman. This stuff tends to be streaky and cracks a bit when it dries. It is also not good if your model sweats. However, if you want a "non-slick" look, it can be pretty effective. Best of all, you can shower it off.
3. The most convenient grease-based makeup from Mehron comes in 0.75oz sticks in dozens of colors (mostly slightly varied flesh tones unfortunately, but also plenty of colors). To use this you first apply it, smooth with a damp sponge, then put on translucent powder with a powder puff, then brush the excess powder off with a powder brush. Mehron sells sponges, powder, and powder puffs. Also, many women use grease-based makeup on their faces and understand this procedure.

Although the powder is supposed to "set" the makeup, I've found that the stuff still tends to rub off. So be careful if the model touches bare skin with painted skin -- you'll get a smudge.

You can take off grease-based makeup with baby oil rubbed into the skin then paper-toweled off (plan on using 1/2 bottle of cheap baby oil plus a whole roll of towels to do an entire body). This is the cheapest method. Also, Mehron sells makeup remover lotion that works a little more easily (use this if you just want to wipe off a smudge or work on the model's face). Finally, you can use some cold cream-type cleanser then regular soap and water. Once again, red stains just a bit. The stain should fade in time, however.

Allegedly, a person will die if his skin is completedly unable to breathe. However, a spot the size of a quarter left unpainted in the small of his back is allegedly enough to prevent this undesirable event in the photo studio. Caveat paintor.
4. If there is a lot of unpainted Caucasian flesh in the picture, stay away from Fujichrome Velvia. I've had good results with EPX (Ektachrome 64X "warmer"). As far as negative film goes, Reala is pretty nice, although Gold 100 and Ektar 25 are probably better (punchier). I've had bad luck scanning Reala onto PhotoCD.


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