Brushing Up on Face-Painting

“Face painting is not just about painting, but also about safety and friendliness,” said Kara Andrews, an artist from Art on the Spot who addressed a young audience who came to the Joseph Plumb Library on Saturday, January 28.

The instructional workshop drew a bevy of girls, ages 10 to 12 and their parents, who said they came because they wanted to brush up on their skills and learn from a professional.

“If you can do lines, swirls and teardrops and blending, you can do anything,” said Ms. Andrews as she demonstrated the techniques on her arm with a sponge and brush. The girls then practiced on their own arms.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” she told the group.  Along with the painting of princess masks, patterns, designs, butterflies, tigers and original abstracts, Ms. Andrews dispensed advice about using only FDA-approved paints that are safe for those with peanut or latex allergies.

“Face painters must be aware of health concerns like rashes, allergies and runny noses,” she said. “If someone has a runny nose, we’ll paint on their arm instead.”

The attendees worked on their color blending, teardrops, swirls and lines, with Ms. Andrews looking on with encouragement.

“Does it matter what color your water is?” asked Sophie Hubbard. Ms. Andrews said that was an excellent question and went on to explain the importance of using a two-cup system, one for releasing pigment and one for a clean brush. The girls agreed that working in a group setting was much more fun than working alone.

“If you keep practicing the wrong way, you’ll get worse,” said Maddy Root, explaining that you can learn not only from the instructor but from other participants.

Ms. Andrews is an international award-winning face painter and a fine artist who has a studio in Middleboro, MA. A certified teacher with a college degree in Fine Arts and Science, Ms. Andrews first started doing makeup in high school for the drama club.

“I started out doing it for plays, then fundraisers followed…I realized I had a talent for it early on and was always involved in it,” said the painter, who has been drawing since she could pick up a pencil. Unsurprisingly, she won many poster design contests growing up and was named “most artistic” in high school.

Ms. Andrew’s first job was in a museum and a chemistry lab, but she yearned to do art on a full-time basis and opened her studio in 2001. Since then, she has had a successful career in fine art and face painting ever since.

“I heard about Kara’s studio and reputation as an artist and face painter and saw her business card at the Middleboro Library and picked it up,” said Children’s Librarian Lisa Fuller, who organized the event. “I’d heard wonderful things about her and her program.”

The class was free to the public and was funded by the Friends of the Plumb Library. Pizza and beverages were served to participants and their parents. To learn more about Kara Andrews and Art on the Spot, go to

“We try to do a children’s program each month…Next month we’ll have the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Tales which is an early literacy program. The program will happen on Saturday, February 4 at 11:00 am and will feature a book, read aloud and set to music by cellist Shay Rudolph. The book will be “Scritch Scratch, A Perfect Match” by Kimberly Marcus,” she said.

Ms. Fuller is always on the look out for new programs and events for the children who visit the library.

“The SAILS Library system has a large network and we talk via e-mail and have so many resources, including asking the children,” said Ms. Fuller. For more information about events at the library, go to

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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