When owner Kim Maher approached me about doing a live bodypainting demonstration for her Wildhorse Ranch Rescue event called Girls! Girls! Girls! I was very intrigued. She had just watched my demonstration for the Paper Heart Art Gallery where I painted Jim Morrison's portrait on model Kayla Rei. Kim described her event as an art gallery showing of works that either portrays women or art that was created by women. She felt that having several women bodypainted live at the event would fit in nicely.
The Ranch website is http://www.mudpony.com . They are a non-proffit organization that takes in abandoned horses and cares for them while seeking qualified owners to adopt them. The Ranch is located in Gilbert, Arizona and besides the horses, the volunteers also provide food and shelter for a slew of cats and at least one rooster that I saw. I had visited the websites's calendar of events to read about the upcoming Girls! Girls! Girls! show and saw the logo that they were using. I asked Kim if she would be interested in having a new promotional photo to herald the event that would include some bodypainting. She was thrilled with the idea and I proceeded to set it up.
My first contacts were with photographer O'D and model Shanelle Steele. I explained the project to them and fortunately they were both interested. I explained my idea of having three models for the promotional shoot each having the word "Girls" painted on their backs. Shanelle had just recently organized an Arizona branch of the Kwitcherbitchen Bikini Team so she was able to provide the additional two models. One was the absolutely beautiful Heather Keckler who I had worked with before on a Native American back painting design. The other was Brooke Black who I had not previously met, but turned out to be great to work with and also very beautiful.
We all met at O'D's studio in Litchfield for the bodypainting/photography session. I had made a cardboard stencil of the word "GIRLS" in a font which I designed. This made the painting process take only about 15 to 20 minutes per model, painting the white stencil first and then adding the pink cross-fade and subtle purple drop shadow. Totally Tattoo brand paints were used for this project. O'D used two backdrops for the shots including a clouded sky and a plain white wall. Both were used for posters where I did the layout and Kim had them printed for her advertising campaign. We had a blast during the photoshoot and O'D was able to round up three cowboy hats that really worked out great for the event theme. See the pictures below.
Once the night of the show finally rolled around I had confirmed three models for the body art demonstration. Shanelle was the first to arrive about an hour before the doors opened. Before painting her I had the chance to browse through the art on display in the gallery. O'D had several of his photographs hung including one of his shots of Shanelle. One photograph that really caught my attention was a close-up of a scorpion crawling on a woman's bare breast...very cool yet creepy. Kim allowed me to hang six of my bodypainting pictures in the studio also.
Shanelle's bodypainting consisted of covering her upper torso with a metallic copper concoction made up of Ben-Nye metallic powder and baby oil. The consistency was at first a little too runny, but with added powder it went on wonderfully. Besides the paint, her outfit consisted of a cowboy hat, black halter top, denim jeans, and the proverbial cheap sunglasses. Her photoshoot was done in the warm light of sunset with two of the ranch's roaming horses.
Next on my agenda was one of my "most-painted" models, Kay Kochman. On the night before the event, I had a model bail out on me and lucky for me, Kay was ready, willing, and able to step up to the plate and fill the position. I had planned on doing a crusader motif (kinda' like a Joan of Arc with painted on chainmail), but Kay had spent the early part of the day at the Renaissance Festival and bought some articles of clothing that lended themselves well to a belly dancer motif. As you can see from the pictures, this idea was too good to pass up and I painted a gypsy top on her and she donned all of her skirt veils and headdress. More pictures are soon to come from O'D for this bodypainting.
For my finale, I worked with Phoebe, a friend of Kim and a self-proclaimed bohemian girl. When she mentioned that she hadn't shaved, I mistakenly implied that she was just alluding to her pubic hair, but now I know what she meant by bohemian. I warned her that the bodypaint may be very tough to remove from body hair, but she decided to "tough" it out and we embarked on masking her for the bib overalls design. I used Reel Creations bodypaint to airbrush the base coat of light blue and after that I went back and faux finished the base coat with a much darker blue by Totally Tattoo. The painting was accented with a stenciled white stitches. For Phoebe's photoshoot we headed into the barn and set up on the bails of hay. Phoebe mentioned that she had done some modeling for art students, but I didn't anticipate how genuine she would be to work with during the shoot. She was a natural and completely "fit" the image.
I would estimate that approximately 50 people were in
attendance during the evening and I've been told that it was a successful event
for the Ranch. There was an article written in advance of the Girls!
Girls! Girls! event in the East Mesa Tribune. You can find the article
on-line at http://www.aztribune.com/index.php?sty=19025
. Please consider visiting the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue at 11811 S. Lindsay Road
Gilbert, Arizona for one of their upcoming events and help support their cause. Their calendar of events can be found on their site at www.mudpony.com .
Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge them. More pictures to come...
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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2004
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