We waited until the last minute to decide if we had what it took to get our bodies down to Ft. Lauderdale for the 2012 Face and Body Art Int. Convention.  I went in 2007 and 2009 and had a blast both times, and I was itching to get down there again. Since everything went smooth with Angelo’s arrival  to the outside world and we had enough points on one of our bank cards to get a free plane ticket we decided we would take the plunge!

Greatfully, Angelo didn’t mind flying, and pretty much slept during the 3 hour flight from Michigan.  It was funny to see the many different reactions of the other people on the plane when we squeezed down the isle carrying a 6 week old.  Some looked at us in total dismay, while others oooh and awwwed.  We showed those grumpy ones!

We were picked up at the airport by Marcela’s youngest brother, Francisco. This was his first year being around any of the FABAIC and Silly Farm magic. Hard to believe he could have resisted all of these years! Francisco got us all in the mood for what was to come, even though it was nearly midnight.  Since we were packing a baby with us, we knew we had to try to get as much sleep as possible, instead of meeting with all the early arrivals.

When we checked in, we were surprised to see how awesome our room was! Even though the rooms are in these separate non-stunning looking buildings next to the convention center, once you open the door you feel like you are at the 20th floor of a 5 star hotel.  Angelo loved the sound of the dehumidifier, and slept better than ever.

The next morning Santi woke up super early and headed to his first class with Lynne Jamison and Annie Reynolds.  I had some classes with Lynne at past FABAICS, and knew that he would have some cool stuff to learn. He jumped on the Advanced Body Painting Track because he has already painted so many bodies over the past two years.

I slept in since I only had a day pass on Friday, so Thursday was all about relaxing and mixing and mingling in the long halls filled with magically draped couches and keeping Angelo happy.

It turns out Angelo was busy making everyone else happy, charming all the face painters with his newly developing smiling skills.  We got a great big greeting from Marcela, which made us feel right at home.

The magic of FABAIC is finally getting to see everyone’s amazing art face to face and to get to meet other face painters who totally understand our wild passion for the art form.

It feels strange at first stopping people in the hallway so that you can absorb the designs on their faces, or even bodies, but everyone is ready for it. You can play guess that artist, and you will often be surprised that the artist is the person wearing the paint, who just rocked out in one of the hands on classes. Shannon Randolph tricked me after she exited a class with Mark Reid, and her face was painted awesomely,  she has CRAZY skillz!!

Little Tip:  If you do go to FABAIC in the future, at the bare minimum stop at the dollar store and stash some snacks in your checked baggage. I paid $7.59 for a little bag of trail mix and a tiny container of Altoids Smalls at the gift shop.  I almost felt like returning them when the total rang up, but I didn’t want to look that cheap. We were so crammed for time that going on a field trip to the market never surfaced, so we ate at the buffet almost every night…which was like $16 per person, but OMG the food was soooo good I just swallowed it as a very delicious business expense! And Santi moaned and groaned through the breakfast pastries that he has been longing for every since he left Argentina.  Getting just a day pass helped cover the cost of meals, but next time, I will be packing food so as not to go broke while licking my lips.

Some Amazing Art we Saw…and my practice head. 🙂

The best part about FABAIC is how totally down to earth all of our face painting heros are! I spent a lot of time in the atrium sitting at a table with my kit out, and being graced with the company of the likes of Lynne Jamison and Wolf  Reicherter and the monsterous muscle humor of Sean Jones who falls asleep while lifting weights. Angelo even was able to have a photo shoot with Sean…baby versus big guy covered in buckles!

It is one thing to just sit next to an amazing artist, but to get to ask them questions about their favorite paints, or hear them fret over a design they want to try, or finally find out what teal they use in some of your favorite designs that they have posted and hear the story behind those pics, it was heaven on earth! And it is possible if you just open your mouth and talk. 😀

One of my favorite parts of the convention,  learning wise, was getting “Glitter Coned” by Michelle Soltis. I was dying to see these glitter cones in action, and she made  a beautiful henna design up my arm very quickly. When I went to the Ybody table where Tal Soriano and Dara Lightle were vending, there were cones and jacquard bottles filled with pink glue to play with! I got a little carried away covering myself with designs, but they were so easy to use, and the amount of detail that I could finally get with the glue just made me want to go nuts! I would never never work with a brush to do free hand designs again. There was no mess, no alcohol, and so much control! They last a long time, I still have mine on, though I must admit I like picking at the glitter glue almost as much as I like putting it on.

There was so much experimenting going on surrounding mixing Glue, Henna, Mica Powders, Colorini and of course, glitter all into one design! Kim Brennan was sharing her henna magic almost 24 hours a day! She must have fingers of steel!

Another eye opener was watching Jinny do a body painting on her most beautiful model, and finding out that all of the amazing colors she was using were Nuance colors. If you haven’t checked out the Nuance colors, they are all mellow shades of other colors.  Some of them are kind of odd, like Olive and Dijon, and alone do not seem like colors that would be very popular. However! When you use them all together, they are just amazing! I was drooling all over the models Nuance striped high heels (they were the inspiration for the design) as I marveled at Jinny’s magic!

Jinny’s Work…Lolo loved her Model!

The entertainment at FABAIC had a bollywood theme with Belly Dancers and sword balancers. The most moving part of the event was the Belly Dancing Flash Mob that took place at one jam. More and more familliar faces just keep popping up and you will be impressed by the kids moves! Watch the video till the very end and get the chills!

Jeff Krone was there with his son Victor for like the 5th year in a row. He had the honor of being painted by Ellen Dawson year after year, but she wasn’t there this year, so I attempted to be his Ellen, which is no easy feat! These are the three faces that I did. Thanks Jeff for being brave for letting me paint you when I was so tired,  and thanks for telling others about JestPaint.com It was almost like having my own dad there with me.

( In case you didn’t know, my dad is my biggest spokesperson. He hands out cards left and right to everyone he runs in to for all of my face painting type businesses. Sometimes it is embarrassing, but I really appreciate it, and I am glad that he is proud of me.)

Lorie Hamel rocked the convention with her amazing, vintage/steampunk styled face and body painting. She won three first place awards, and I swear she deserved them. It is so nice when someone shows up with a whole new style that we can be inspired by, and her masterpieces were fantastic! Check out these pics and see if there are any cool techniques that you could try to spice things up.

Oooh we were able to sample more FAB paint at the Silly Farm vendor suite and we will have new colors soon! We also tested and liked the Utatz product, which is like a mini airbrush system (spray can) that you can use to add really easy to do temp tats to your repertoire.  You can use them with BAM stencils, regular sticky stencils or their own shielded sticky stencils.  Click the link to see a quick demo video that we made.

Angelo sitting on Santa Baby’s Lap (Painted by Lynne Jamison)

Jinny also sold us on the Paradise body chisel. She keeps about 4 of these in her mouth at all times while she is painting. (okay..one in her mouth and three in her left hand).  They cover a lot of territory on the face, and you have more control than with a sponge, and you can make cool blending effects too. She also used the Mehron Green Makeup sponge a lot, and liked it because of the soft rounded edge to use around eyes.

It was just great meeting people who shop at Jest Paint and those on the Face and Body Painters facebook group.  If you haven’t joined that group…it is always full of inspiration and action. Our customers are so fun and friendly, and some of them are straight up face paint addicts! lol (I’m talking to you Christine Maentz  :o)   )

Next year we will definitely go again. I think we will be kidless next time so that we can stay awake late and jam into the wee hours with everyone! We missed out on a lot of craziness on Sunday night after the body painting awards, we just ate dinner and crashed out in our hotel room.  Now that I have seen all the pics, I wish I stayed in the Jam Room for the big crazy dance and karaoke party! But But But, if Oceana really gets bit by the face painting bug, it would be cool to take her to be a part of the kids track.  So many awesome instructors were there to teach them and they were having a lot of fun!

Okay, I am tooo long winded and I better close this blog post before FABAIC is totally yesterday’s news. If you haven’t been, start saving your money now. If you can share a room you are going to save some serious dough, and if you request a fridge and eat from a market you will be even better off. I think it is worth it, we work so hard painting all those little sweeties and spreading so much happiness, that sometimes we need to treat ourselves to a true face painters paradise! You will come home excited to try new things, and have a greater respect for face painting as a true art form!