What can one do with paints, a human face and a great imagination? Innumerable things. face painting is an art form that tests how best an artist can use the natural contours of the human face to his or her advantage. It is, predictably, an extremely challenging style of painting, and hence, a very fulfilling one as well.
Unlike painting on canvas, that gives the artist the privilege of starting with a white blank canvas, face painting is fairly restrictive. The face painting artist cannot change facial features and shape; all he can do is us them in his design in the most artistic and unique way possible. And therein lies his or her talent.
What are the artistic possibilities for the face painter?
There is not too much that the face painting artist cannot do. Many times, the design he or she paints depends on the occasion for which it is painted. Face painting has been popular with hunters and soldiers, since ancient times. Many tribes also paint their faces. Moreover, faces are also painted for religious reasons at times. Face painting is popular among children, especially at fairs and theme parks, and also at costume and theme parties.
Designs of animals, butterflies, birds and fish are very popular. In fact, the tiger is perhaps the most painted face design. Grotesque creatures, ghouls, clowns, pirates and fictional characters are also much in demand. Cartoon characters, floral designs, sceneries and abstract patterns are other popular picks. Painting flags and national emblems on the face is also very common during international competitions, games and other events, when people want to show their support and encouragement. In the theatre, actors often paint their faces. So do dancers. For instance, the Kathakali dancers of Kerala, India.
How are face painting designs created?
Face painting designs may be executed using professional face paints and kits (link to topic of same name: Face Painting Kit), or they may be created using water paints or even homemade paints. The latter is made with corn starch, food coloring and cold cream!
To apply the paint, brushes and sponges are used. The hand and fingers are also used. Glitters, colored gels and glimmer dust do a lot to accentuate a pattern. Some artists plan their design before they start painting, but there are others who prefer to create as they go along.
Face painting designs are an expression of the artistís creative abilities, and a very loved form of painting.