August FbR newsletter

So after a terribly disappointing afternoon spent on the creation of an email blast on Square, and losing all of the content after hours of effort, I realized that newsletters could be a regular feature on the blog right here, and I'll send the link out in an email blast instead!

So check back regularly for monthly updates on classes, behind-the-scenes, and upcoming projects as well. Thank you for your continued support and for being here.

Please check out the form at the end, so you can give me some feedback on events and classes you'd like to see happen!

Upcoming community events

Faces by Ren is proud to be one of the vendors for the Women-owned business expo in Kingsport later this month. Stop by my booth, plus see over 20 other local entrepreneurs and the wonderful businesses they run. Only 5.00 and drinks/appetizers are included!

It's been a long time since I've done a bridal show! But I'm getting back into the swing of it at this intimate, small town show in Jonesborough on September 10th. Simple Elegance Bridal Show boasts a fashion show and some outstanding vendors. 12-3pm at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.

Class schedule for fall

All classes are posted as Facebook events on the Faces by Ren business page. All details, including pricing and registration information can be found there. Here is a brief synopsis; 

Monday, August 14th 6-7:30pm; Basic eye techniques. This is a demonstration style class so you can get a lot of information in a short time! Learn how to blend that perfect crease, get that crisp eyeliner, and feel empowered with your makeup routine. 

Sunday, August 27th, 1-5pm Intro to airbrush; Airbrush makeup is one of today's hottest trends. It sounds difficult, but with a bit of instruction you can access this amazing art form. Flawless and long wearing foundation isn't just for pros! No experience needed. Bring your system if you own one. Please let me know if you'd like to use one of my systems. I highly recommend doing so if you aren't sure about investing in an airbrush system but would still like to learn.

Saturday, September 2nd 1-3pm; Color Theory; This is one of the most fun classes! Understanding the relationships between colors can help you make better decisions about makeup and it's uses. Plus, we get to play with pigments and PLAY-DOH. Leave with a better understanding of tints and shades, complimentary and analagous color schemes, and why your eyeshadow turned to mud that one time. 

*I will continue to add classes for fall, so please check the FB page often. Thank you!


The Serenity Project

Images are now rolling out monthly through Metavivor Research and Support via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We are thrilled to partner with them to shine a spotlight on people living with Metastatic Breast Cancer and to help share their stories.

Please check out the valuable work that they do, and support in any way you can. 

It was an honor to help bring this project to life with their help, and with the incredible talents of Keith Dixon Studios.

Recent bodypainting commission

Teagan Bentley is an amazing ballerina (teaganveganballerina on IG). I was so excited to have her come all the way from the Pacific NW to get painted. What an amazing model!

Limited edition signed prints of "athena revisited" will be available soon. You can email me if you'd like to be placed on an interest list;



Please feel free to fill out this brief survey when you have a minute. I value your input and look forward to creating events and classes tailored to this feedback. Thank you so much!

Name *

Recent Underwater work

After the whirlwind that was April and May, we finally got back to shooting a few personal projects and catch up with clients who needed photo shoots.

Here are the results of our recent underwater explorations.  All photos by Keith Dixon Studios

Model Brittney Isphording, from Greensboro NC. You may not recognize her without bodypaint, but she's been my model for the Living Art America competition since 2014. She hoops, teaches yoga, and has always been an amazing model to work with in any medium!

This is a teaser image...more to come from this collaboration soon.



Model Ivy Hawkins from Asheville. This was our first time working with her and she is absolutely phenomenal under water!

Client Kacy Barbour chose to celebrate the imminent birth of her "rainbow baby" with both an underwater photo shoot and a belly painting. I absolutely love this graceful and reflective maternity photo. Perfection.

image1 (11).JPG

Left; Jessica Baber is another Asheville based model we have worked with before. For those who have been following Keith's work, she met up him in the Keys for some ocean and underwater work a couple years ago. She's a natural mermaid!

Right; Josh Royston is another Asheville model as well, and has modeled for underwater work with us in the past. This time his mermaid daughter was the featured model, but I especially adore this Daddy/Daughter shot!

July Glamour for a Cause

July 7th from 1pm-8pm at the Faces by Ren Studio; 308 South Roan Street, Johnson City TN

Glamour for a Cause is one way I give back to my local community by combining special pricing on services with fun events.  Help me raise money for worthy local charities and causes by attending and/or donating throughout the month of each featured recipient.

This month's event will be "Wizard Cat Merlin" themed! Cat facepaintings, Merlin paw print mugs for sale, cat themed snacks and cute pets in the studio who are looking for furever homes.

Glamour for a Cause will benefit the Unicoi County Animal Shelter. They will be on hand to answer questions and share some of their fur babies who are looking for a family.

Suggested donations of 5.00-15.00 for facepaintings. 1/2 of paw print mug sales will go to them that day as well!

This is a drop-in event and family friendly. 

Merlin will be here to hang out, though he may want to hide because of the other furry visitors. :) 

The Unicoi County shelter has had a high number of special needs animals dropped off who needed a lot of medical attention and we want to help as many of our fur friends as possible!

UPDATE; The event raised 300.00 for the Unicoi shelter! Thank you so much for all of your support. 

Underwater bodypaint collab in Fort Lauderdale

In October 2016, on our way  back home from Key West/Fantasy Fest, we stopped in Fort Lauderdale to work with some bodypainting friends at the studio of Avi Ram (Skin Wars Season 2) and collaborate on underwater designs with Keith Dixon Studios.  

I got to work with the lovely Angela Renee Roberts (Skin Wars season 1) who happens to be brilliant at underwater modeling. We had a great day, learned a lot, and generally had an amazing time. 

I love my bodypaint family! 

The other artists involved that day, I highly recommend checking out. Their work is stellar and I"m grateful to have opportunities to work with all of them.

Breanna Cooke does bodypainting, special effects, graphic design, and costuming.
Anja Yamaji is known for makeup, bodypainting, and acting.

Pro tip:We all used ProAiir hybrid airbrush paint exclusively. 
Very grateful to have amazing products to use for this unusual art form.

Proaiir later used one of the images in an ad, next to the work of John Poppleton, whose work I have long admired. He's known for his UV "bodyscapes". Scroll down to check it out!

Mountains to Sea products have arrived!

I am so very excited to be retailing these four products by Mountains to Sea!!

These are luxury items, handcrafted in Asheville with zero preservatives, locally sourced ingredients and a price point that is very affordable.

I'm especially head over heels for the face lotion, which makes my skin feel soft, refreshed, and deeply hydrated without any greasy surface. I've tested it under makeup and it performs beautifully!

I'll be carrying this one in my kit from now on.

The scents are herbal, fresh, and completely adaptable to your skin for all genders.


HELICHRYSUM + ROSE AGE-DEFYING FACIAL LOTION                                                   18.00


CALENDULA + LEMON BALM LOTION STICK                                                                     12.00

Bristol Train Station styled shoot

This sweet and elegant styled shoot was conceptualized and photographed by the brilliant Rachael Wilbur of Rachael Wilbur Photography. 

Every detail was so beautiful and well thought out. I absolutely loved doing the hair and makeup for this real-life couple. 

Styling assistance by Steve Curd of both Garic Stephens fashion designs and Lavelle denim.

Models; Abigail Hill and Ben Whiles

Cake; Mary Heath

Flowers; Deni Peterson of Blue Door Garden

Calligraphy; Natalie Kay of "Off the Beaten Press"

Venue; The Historic Bristol Train Station

Macaroons; Amy Horsch Smith

Enjoy these images, and check out the amazing vendors who brought Rachael's vision to life!

Bodypainting; a brief history

"It's appeal is primitive. It's applications unlimited. The world of bodypainting awaits."

From the earliest of our anthropological origins, humans have taken to utilizing the resources around them for the purpose of decoration. Self decoration on human skin seems to go with the territory of simply being human.

Every tribe, every society, every culture across history has found this form of self-expression necessary and often useful. The Surma tribes of Ethiopia who use pigments near the rivers to decorate their skin, the Maori of New Zealand whose face tattoos served as both decoration and identification, the aboriginals of Australia, in Asia, Russia and South America, humans decorate the body for ritual, for artistic expression, as status, and as an identifier.

Let's look at a few of these bodypainters, and the way they expressed stories on skin.

The Surma tribes of Ethiopia use clay by the river to paint their skin, often as simple decorations without any ritual significance. They often use botanicals to enhance their designs, and as stamps to create patterns of circles. The males paint themselves during the yearly stick fights, these designs do having ritual significance.

Ancient egyptians used lead carbonite to decorate skin. Lip, cheek, nail, and eye art were the norm. they were also known for painting newborns in white clay as protection.

The Aborgines of Australia use lines and circles to identify family, tribe and even ancestral land. It is spiritual in nature and deeply important to them. The motifs and designs are passed down and honored rather than being created anew.

In the Amazon Basin, many tribes are known for decorating their skin. Further south in Brazil, the Kyopo tribe use colorful beads and feathers, in addition to face and bodypainting in order to connect to the spirits in everything. Hence the use of animal or insect-like markings, what they believe their ancestors learned from in order to create community and culture.

Hindu and Sikh ritual celebrations have long involved body art in the form of henna. The henna plant is ground into a paste and mixed with oils or other botanicals to adjust color. Designs placed on skin prior to an important ritual celebrate fertility, prosperity, love, good luck, or protection. The earliest written reference to Henna/Mehndi was found on a table in what is now Syria, dating back to 2100 BC.

European orthodox Christians began decrying the use of bodypainting as pagan, and banned it in 1,000 CE

It did not return to fashion in european cultures until around the 1960's when it became a form of social activism and artistic expression, though there are still several tribes in existence today that never lost this ancient and spiritual form of décor in their culture.

Tribal cultures have always used materials that were readily accessible in their regions for the purpose of bodypainting. Red Ochre is created with iron oxides (magnetite and hematite), yellow ochre (from Limonite), charcoal from burned wood, ashes, clay, talc, copper, berries, roots and other pigments from nature made the first and longest used bodypaints thus far.

As we can see with even minimal research, is that human beings love to use a variety of mediums and tools to express things that are important to them. From culture and ritual, to identity and self-expression, bodypainting has long been enjoyable, meaningful and part of our lineage.

In the modern era of bodypainting, we are enjoying a resurgence of acceptance with this art form. Multiple competitions, exhibitions, classes, and gatherings around the world can be found in modern times. The most prestigious of these events is the World Bodypainting Festival currently being held yearly in Seeboden Austria.

You can expect to find artists from around the world represented there. Multiple categories of competition exist over several days. Education from a variety of world-renowned artists is also an important part of the festival.

Categories for competition include; Brush and Sponge, Special Effects, Face Painting, UV/Night, Installation, Airbrush, and more.

Each day presents different themes for artists to interpret as they create these transient works of original art. Judges are brought in from all over the world as well; individuals who represent the top of their respective industries.

Over 50 countries are represented by the various competitors, and people travel far to attend this spectacular event.

The World Bodypainting Festival, as well as the governing body, The World Bodypainting Association were the creation of Alex Barendregt. He and his wife Anna still oversee the festival and association.

Some of the WBA sanctioned events throughout the world include competitions in ; Germany, South Korea, Serbia, France, Italy, Latvia, Russia, Netherlands, and the United States. The most prestigious bodypainting competition in all of North America is Living Art America.

Living Art America is the official North American Championships, also drawing artists from all over the world for a several day event, culminating in two days of competition in Professional, Emerging and UV categories. Organized by 5X world champions Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco, along with Ken Goldwasser and Randi Layne, this championship takes place yearly in Greensboro North Carolina, formerly in Atlanta Georgia.

Other well known bodypainting events in the United States include; Face and Body Art International Convention (FABAIC),  and NYC Bodypainting Day

Notable bodypainters include;

Craig Tracy of Skin Wars fame (featured judge) owns The Craig Tracy Gallery in New Orleans LA.  His bodypainting gallery and fine art approach to bodypainting has influenced many artists and created a broader appreciation for the art form. He consistently judges at a variety of competitions around the world.

Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco of Living Brush, located in Greensboro NC are two of the four organizers for Living Art America, the North American championships. They travel the world teaching and judging competitions, as well as having the distinct honor of being the only artists to have won five world championships back to back in different categories over four years.

Gesine Marwedel from Germany, paints ethereal pieces often depicting delicate animals. Her pieces often go viral in social media and are quickly reconizable. Her flamingo bodypainting is quite possibly her most famous.

Johannes Stotter of Italy is another artist whose pieces often go viral online. His most famous is the Chameleon, crawling along a branch but when revealed, is actually two bodypainted females.  His camouflage paintings of animals are hard to recognize as the human form without very careful inspection.

Modern bodypainting tools and supplies are readily available and safe for human skin. Paints and cosmetics that have cosmetic grade ingredients are the only products painters should be using on clients.

The term “non-toxic” has been used in reference to acrylic paints and other substances that are actually NOT safe for skin. The problem with this approach, is that the product is only “non-toxic” when used in accordance with its accepted protocol. Skin is not an approved use for any acrylic paint, or many other products made for other purposes. Anyone using products other than cosmetic grade/FDA approved paints should be questioned.

The following is a sampling of products and companies who create safe and richly pigmented paints for the purpose of face and bodypainting;

Water based paint cakes are one of the most popular and easily accessible products on the market. They only require water and paint brushes in order to be utilized, come in a large variety of textures and colors, and are easy to transport and sanitize.

Companies making water soluble cake paints include;
Cameleon (base line/metal line),
Mehron (Paradise AQ),
Kryolan (Aquacolor),
FAB,  or

Many artists in the bodypainting world use airbrush systems, and this adds to the list of products and tools one could potentially utilize. Airbrushing requires both a compressor for forced air, plus at least one airbrush which come in a huge variety of styles.

Airbrush paints are specifically designed to use in an airbrush system and include water soluble varieties, hybrids (alcohol based but fairly quick to remove) and alcohol based paints for the best durabilty.

Hybrid and alcohol based paints are made by companies like Proaiir,
and European body art

Water soluble paints for airbrush are made by companies such as Cameleon (airline),
and  Mehron (lux)

Some of the favorite airbrush companies according to most artists, are Iwata and Paasche  who sell both high quality airbrushes and compressors for both novice and professional.

There is also a wide variety of loose pigments, mixing mediums, and special effects one could use in conjunction with any of the above. Cosmetic companies offer such a wide variety of options now, all safe for skin and common at bodypainting events and competitions.

Bodypainting is showing up in commercials and films, magazines and festivals. It's resurgence in the modern world is something everyone can access, from students wanting to learn this amazing art form, to the public who wants to view temporary works of art, and professionals earning a living in this industry.

It's appeal is primitive. It's applications unlimited. The world of bodypainting awaits.