Performance project: Face painting

Twenty years of painting practice will finally be put to good use today when I paint kids’ faces during the fall festival at my daughter’s school. She nixed the idea of painting the kids to look like famous artwork (a Morandi still life, Picasso’s “Weeping Woman,” Ellsworth Kelly’s “Falcon,” etc.) and suggested I practice making Red Sox and Yankees logos instead. I feel a little like Banksy, looking forward to seeing my artwork roaming around the playground and swinging from the monkey bars. Naturally I did a little online research about materials and techniques; here are the most salient excerpts. “Know what you’re going to paint before you start, don’t make it up as you go along. Kids aren’t known for their patience and won’t be able to sit still why you ponder what to do next. Have a basic face design fixed in your mind; you can always add special touches to this once you’re finished….The paint you’re using will work as a basic glue. To create bumpy noses or big eyebrows, soak a bit of cotton wool in the paint, place on face, cover with a piece of tissue, and paint. Puffed rice or wheat make ideal warts; simply cover with a bit of tissue and paint. For an extra-ghostly effect, apply a light dusting of flour once you’ve finished painting the face (be sure to get your subject to close their eyes tightly)….Remember to take a mirror so the person who’s face you’ve just painted can see the result.” Read more.


  1. Now I remember why I forgot to have kids. Have fun!

  2. Indeed.


  3. It’s a chance to get back at a horrible parent by painting their child as a monster…

  4. So many, many possibilities…


  5. I love face and body painting. here is my “The Body as Architecture” piece from the 80s….

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