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Face Painting Is An Art, Grandma

Face painting is an art. As a career choice, it may be unfamiliar to most. If it was familiar to most people–like if they once had to decide between becoming an airline pilot or a face painter– I would have to question their academic skills and general life choices.

Now that I’m retired, I try to think of things I can do to earn money. When I’ll have time to do them is a subject for another day. I’m busier doing nothing than I ever was when eight hours of my time belonged to The Man.

Recently, I enrolled in an online class for aspiring face painters. I had to talk my dog, Sugar, out of becoming a clown, as it was not a fitting career for such a literary creature, much less a dog of mine. Then, I betrayed her trust by enrolling in this course. When sticky issues like this arose, I use the phrase my mother used on me: “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.” Old school comes in handy now and then.

Face painting is an evergreen business. (I can hear my explanation to my grandmother about why I am doing this). It is a business I can I can do until I shuffle off this mortal coil. No one has ever said, “I can’t afford a fairy or dinosaur painted on my face this year unless I offload some stocks.”

Like everything else, it requires insurance. I will buy a policy when I become a professional face painter (“Professional” is a Latin word meaning, “there’s a fee for this.”)

Clown insurance is available to face painters.  A policy would ensure that should I poke someone in the eye with a brush, I can pay the resultant hospital bill. With a clown insurance policy securely tucked under my red curls, the insurance company can bet their big shoes I may do just that. Someone will blow a horn behind me as I bend over to pick up my baggy trousers from the ground, I will jump up in alarm and poke someone right in the kisser with a paint brush.

Since there are no handy–and more important willing–volunteers for me to practice on, I ordered a rubber head.

Pro Training Mannequin Flat Head Eyelash Practice Training Head for Makeup Cosmetology Beige Flat Soft PVC Material Head with Mount Hole
“I am your grandmother and I say you’ve got a hole in your head.”

This head looks like a female, but is devoid of hair, eyebrows, and everything else that counts. It is flat and has a hole in the back, for purposes of which I remain unaware. I use the hole to twirl my muse on my finger while her face is drying.

She does not clean up well, even with water-based kiddy paint. The blue and the red colors stained her. Nothing, not bleach, alcohol, or a mighty scrubbing with Comet, will take out the stains. I sent her back and asked for a replacement and some instructions on her proper use. Last I heard, she was suing me. Her attorney should know that hole was there when she arrived at my house.

There is good money in face painting, and if I didn’t hear my Jewish relatives’ voices in my head when I say it and imagine telling them about it, it would be perfect. My grandparents on my father’s side would plotz.

Plotzing isn’t just for Jewish grandparents; Christian relatives plotz, too, but since Christian relatives save their judgments for more serious matters, their voices aren’t heard in these parts as often.

This is not a career choice that high school counselors typically advise students about. Nevertheless, face painting is better than serving fries at the drive through window, even if there is less chance for advancement.

I pondered on face painting as a part time career for several months after a friend told me his wife does it. He mentioned that bank tellers eye her askance when she comes in after a busy weekend to deposit a fistful of dollars covered in glitter. Naturally, I wanted to know how she came to have glittery dollars.

face painting is an art, Grandma, on chezgigi.com

The last time I took a class in anything this questionable was when I learned how to deal blackjack. Before that, it was a class in real estate. There is no comparison, I know, but if I thought pole dancing would net me more sales in houses, I would sign up for a class in it.

Face painting is something I want to do after we move to the country. I figure competition is nil among the ranch set. I also want to be a mobile face painter; do it while we are on road trips in the RV. If we pass a fair, I could hop out with my paint set, grab a unicorn stencil, and watch the dollar bills roll in. My mother would be proud.

Sales was never my strong suit, which is where face painting comes in. If I have to actively hawk my face painting skills, my fees will be higher.

However, at six to eight dollars a unicorn, or dinosaur, or rainbow, I can afford to sit back and wait for seven-year-old clients to come to me. If they don’t like my mad skilz with the glitter, I’ll refund their tooth fairy money.

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9 thoughts on “Face Painting Is An Art, Grandma

  • August 13, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Way, way back in my bank teller days a little glitter wouldn’t bother me. We had customers who did the big county fair. Money smelling like hot dogs, covered in sticky sugar, and just plain stinky sweaty was normal. Glitter would have been nice!
    Good luck with the painting. I don’t have the talent, I mean you do have to do a little drawing on your own. The kids would not like me.

    • August 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm

      I hope you sanitized your hands! Yuck! I’ll probably get those dollars, too. I really don’t think you need a lot of talent for this. I am not exactly da Vinci. Da stencil user, yes. There’s no way I could do some of these freehand, and I’m sure it comes with practice. You get the same requests over and over, so you get good at it.

      This is the way I figure, if they don’t like it, they can give me a “donation.” Or not. Go wash their face, I’ll try again. It’s all good.

  • August 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    This was way back in the days of soap and water, none of this sanitizer stuff. And the first thing on every break was always hand washing.
    The stencil part of face painting didn’t register, but of course.
    Have fun.

    • August 13, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you! I’m already nervous about it, and it may not happen for a long time, unless I want to try it here in Vegas. I’m going to start out with “No charge, but please leave a small donation for the face painters’ retirement home.”

    • August 13, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Whyn’t you tell me I needed to edit this? Oh, well. It’s not like someone is paying me to write it. Tch. I found a repeat in it, and it is so embarrassing!

      • August 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

        My eagle eye missed it. Head hangs in shame.
        Dang, I guess we’re not perfect after all.

  • August 13, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I love reading your stuff, Gigi. It always makes me think that you must be Dave Barry’s long-lost sister (or maybe his reincarnation — is he dead?)

    Have you seen the TV series “Baskets”? Its setting is my hometown of Bakersfield, but it’s full of inaccuracies. Your observations about clowns made me think of it.

    Thanks for introducing me to another Yiddish verb — “plotzing”… My Jewish girlfriend doesn’t say it, but she does it often.

    If you’re serious about face painting, you could do it at the annual Kern County Fair in Bakersfield.

    • August 13, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Craig! Thank you so much! Dave Barry is my unpaid mentor. Love that guy, and I believe he is very much alive. He co-writes a lot of YA adult books now. I have read all of his books, except those.

      Thanks for the tip on “Baskets.” We’re always looking for good series to watch. I’ve driven through Bakersfield many times, so I will keep that in mind. I was on a road trip with my son about 13 years ago and we were tooling over the mountain road along the Sacramento River. It was a busy two lane mountain road and I was looking for a pull out to let people go by. I finally found one and pulled over.

      A guy in a work truck pulled up behind me and I thought he was going to tell me I had a flat or something. He was smiling. He walked up to the driver’s side and started laying into me verbally. “Why the f*** didn’t you pull over sooner? Go back where you came from!” I was so astounded, at least twenty seconds went by before I found my voice! And then I let him have it. That was bizarre and frightening. I was plotzing bit time! But it didn’t put me off the whole area.

      The big issue I wonder about is whether I need a business license wherever we go. I don’t know where to find out the information, but I’m researching it.


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