After noticing a preponderance of seriously cool painted faces while covering the Holiday Arts & Craft Festival at the Brainerd High School last Saturday, Nov. 10, I thought I’d check out where the artwork was coming from and found artist KJ Bauck by her booth painting a tiger face on Amanda Robinson.
Bauck, who recently retired, has a studio in New York Mills. She just started face painting at craft fairs back in August, although she’s done face painting at schools and churches before. While I was there, Bauck was busy the whole time, chatting as she painted, as others stopped to watch how the paintings progressed.
“At first it was kind of slow so I did about three children for nothing and then they advertised – they were my billboards – and it’s been nuts ever since,” she said. She lets her daughter deal with the rest of the booth and the money so she can keep painting, which keeps the lines shorter. The cost of a painting ranges from three to five dollars depending on the size.
The paint can last up to three days. She noticed when taking her grandchildren to get their faces painted, the paint seemed to come off right away. So, she decided to invest in real body paint “because I don’t really care if I make a killing or not. Body paint is quite expensive (it’s like $30 a bottle) but I’ve been using the same paint all summer long and I’ve not bought any new so obviously it’s well worth it.”
Who better to paint faces than a professional painter? Bauck’s paintings have a more three dimensional effect because she uses techniques such as blending and layers. The paintings are even embellished with glitter or raised paint.
I watched a number of children get their faces painted and the reveal was my favorite. When she was done, Bauck would hold up a mirror for the child who would see the painting for the first time. The looks of delight on their faces was adorable. And if they liked it (which they all did) then Bauck would get a high five for a job well done.