Interview of Raphaëlle Fieldhouse

Raphaelle won the first prize of the Body painting competition of the BrusselsFilm Festival of Fantasy and Science-fiction on March 13, 2004
Her Web site is and her e-mail address


Question 1. : A few words about the country, town or village where you live; do you have children?; what kind of studies you have done or your profession. What is your artistic background? What do you like most in life?

Raphaëlle: I live with my husband half-way up a mountain in a small village near Caerphilly in South Wales. It is a very beautiful country with warm and friendly people. We run our own business – Body Canvas providing face & body painting, bouncy castles, balloon modelling, pinatas, mural painting and club wear & fancy dress. Having studied art at school I went on to gain a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design though I never made it to a Degree course! I started face painting when I was 14 years old and have since gained my Make-up Artist Diploma and Theatrical & Media Make-up Diploma. I am a member of FACE The Face Painting Association, which aims to promote safe working practises and good quality face painting.
I enjoy my work and I enjoy working with my husband Gary. I love any kind of art and being able to express myself creatively. I am a Christian and am very grateful to God for creating such a beautiful world and for giving me inspiration. These are the things that I like most in life though there are many other things that I also enjoy.

Question 2. : Are you a make-up professional? Do you give courses. Any other artistic activities?

Raphaëlle: My main work is face and body painting though I would like to do more creative body painting and make-up for photo shoots etc. I’m afraid I don’t teach any courses at the moment. I have always been creative and enjoy painting and making things. When I’m not working I enjoy painting on canvas, making sculptures and designing new clothes and fantasy costumes.

Question 3. : How have you discovered body painting? Describe the circumstances. How did you start doing body painting your self? Have you done a lot or a few? Have you participed in events, competition? Which ones?

Raphaëlle: I first discovered face painting at a garden festival many miles from my home town. I returned home inspired to learn the art myself. I bought a book and some paints and taught myself, practising on myself, my sisters and friends. Body painting is merely an extension of face painting and my first attempt was part of my A-level Art coursework at school. I have done several body paintings; some for Corporate PR, some for people to go out clubbing and others as part of demonstrations. Until now I haven’t done any pure body painting competitions though last year I won the National Student Make-up Awards 2003 in the Head & Neck category. I was also part of my college team who won the Welsh Hairdressing Award 2002 in the Student category, which included body painting.

Question 4. :What do you like most in body painting? What do you find most difficult? What products do you use (paints and accessories for special effects)? What is your inspiration? How do you find ideas for new body paintings?

Raphaëlle: The thing that I like most about body painting is how varied it can be. With a little highlight and shade, you can completely change your features and your character. You can be anything that you want and after youíve washed it off, you can be something completely different. It is a transient art-form that exists for only a couple of hours and then lives on as a photo or a memory.

I am inspired my many things including comic book super-heroes, but my biggest inspiration is Godís creation ≠ the detail in moss & lichen, the bizarre creatures that live at the bottom of the sea, the seasons and the elements. Sometimes I might just get an idea for something otherwise I work at it, researching a theme until I can apply it to a body. Sometimes I am working on a body paint design and it turns into something else like a costume, sometimes it works the other way around. I do a lot of doodling when I am not concentrating in a meeting or when I am trying to write something, and these doodles often turn into a body paint!

I use all sorts of materials for body painting. The paints that I use are made by Fardel, Krayolan, Grimas, Mehron and Ben Nye. Sometimes I also use Fullerís Earth clay, gold leaf, glitter and small jewels. For my "Fire Warrior" design I made prosthetic shoulder pieces and leg spikes from Varaform, which is a sheet of thin fabric impregnated with a heat sensitive acrylic polymer. I used Premier Products Telesis as the adhesive which also has itís own remover (very important!)

Question 5. : Do you always work with the same model? How do you choose a model? Describe your relationship with the model during the work. Do you have your own studio? Do you work a lot home? Do you work sometimes outdoor? Have you already been painted? How did you feel? Did you like it?

Raphaëlle: I often work with different models. Sometimes they are supplied by the client when I am doing a corporate job otherwise it depends on what sort of look is required as to who I use. I mainly work on location though recently I have been doing a lot of practises at my home. Sometimes I work outdoors but mainly for smaller things such as face painting and temporary tattoos – our weather in Wales usually makes it slightly uncomfortable to be naked outdoors! I have never been body painted and would probably not want to. I enjoy being the artist and everybody looking at the model, I think I would feel uncomfortable with everyone looking at me wearing only body paint as I feel that my figure isn’t particularly suitable. My models tell me that it is quite an enjoyable experience and that it is quite therapeutic being painted.

Question 6. :(question to the model) How do you feel when you are painted? Confortable,uneasy, clothed, naked? Was it difficult the first time or not? Do you give suggestions or opinions while you are being painted, or you don't say anything about the work while your father paints? Which body painting has left you with the best memories? Where was it and why?

Raphaëlle: I felt very naked at first, but comfortable. Once it got under way, though, it was quite enjoyable, especially because there were also other people being painted – it was good to see everyone else’s designs developing. It was slightly nerve-racking as it was my first time, but also a great learning experience. I definitely didn’t give my opinion whilst being painted – I couldn’t see the overall effect, so it wouldn’t have been constructive to offer any opinion. I have only been painted once, by Raphaelle at the BIFFF contest in Belgium, so that is my only memory of being body painted, but I think it’s going to be hard to top! It was a fantastic contest with lots of talent from all over Europe; I felt glamorous as there were TV cameras there and a large audience! It was particularly enjoyable, obviously, as we won!


Question 7. : How do you feel during and after a body painting ?

Raphaëlle: I really enjoy body painting and get right into it. Sometimes I can be concentrating so much that I forget everything around me, which is why I have my husband as my assistant reminding me about the time etc. After I have finished I am usually very pleased with my work, though if the time has gone quickly I sometimes worry about little details that I have missed as I am quite a perfectionist. Sometimes whilst the model is in the shower washing all the paint off, I worry about whether we have taken enough photos, because if not it’s too late!

Model:The one in Brussels lasted 4 hours; I felt slightly nervous at first, but I soon relaxed and enjoyed imagining what I was going to look like when complete. The first two hours weren’t too bad, but I did get a bit stiff in the third hour and by the fourth hour my legs were quite painful; it didn’t help that I needed a pee! It was well worth it, though – a thoroughly enjoyable experience.


Question 8. :Can you tell us about your plans and needs about body painting. Things that you would like to do and have not done yet?

Raphaëlle: Most of the body painting that I have done has been in response to someone else; a client, a company or a competition, which is great and I don’t want to stop this kind of work. I would however like to do more body painting for myself just to be creative and try new designs and techniques. I would like to do some collaborative work with a photographer or a dancer. I feel as though I am only just beginning and there is so much more to explore.

For many years I have wanted to go to the European Body painting Festival but haven’t made it for one reason or another. This year I am definitely going! I can’t wait to meet all the amazing people that I have seen on the web and to learn new skills from the grand masters.


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