I love Halloween. How awesome is a holiday that encourages folks to dress up as their favourite things, and get free candy to boot? Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Halloween costume purist, blessed as I was to have a mom (often assisted by a dad) who sewed my costumes year after year. There is something about a get-up that is built at home that makes me very happy.
If you haven’t seen my Mona Lisa costume from two years back, it might be worth a look-see.
This year, I wanted to continue with the whole artsy-schtick, but I didn’t want to walk around harnessed to a heavy frame. I also needed something that was suitable to wear to the office, so a sexy costume was not going to happen, no matter what The Electrician might have preferred.
So I dressed in drag.
This year, I went as one of Vincent van Gogh’s many self portraits. I’m a long-time van Gogh fan, and have a print of Starry Night hanging over my mantle in my blue living room painted to complement the art. Yes, really. When I geek out, I really, really mean it.
I built my costume as a composite of a number of the self portaits, partly because I had to work with whatever pieces were available on the elegant racks of my local Value Village. I also really needed to wear one of Vincent’s straw hats to cover my hair, because I was not about to paint it orange.
Once I had all the pieces, the deep blue jacket, the shirt with the mandarin collar, and the musty-smelling straw hat, I set to work to turn myself into a self-portrait. I painted the pieces of the costume to imitate van Gogh’s famous style, persevering through textile difficulties. Namely, the weave of the polyester in the jacket was too loose, so the first stroke of paint only sealed the threads but left minimal colour. I had to paint over everything at least a second time before the strokes started showing up.
I did some research to see what kind of makeup was out there that might not enrage my very sensitive skin. The best option I could find on shortish notice was made by Snazaroo, which is even safe for babies according to their website. The downside was that all I could find was an eight-colour palette, so extensive colour mixing was necessary to put on my face, post-impressionist style. The whole face painting process, from blanking out my eyebrows with gluestick and concealer, to the highlights in my ginger beard, took a little over an hour. Today’s paint job for work was my second attempt, and I’m getting faster and Sherman is becoming less terrified of me.
My Vincent get-up brought home a first place trophy from the same Oh Susannah! costume contest Mona won in 2011, which made me really happy. Score two for fine art!
I’m not accustomed to wearing hats, and I felt like I was in the dark all day under the shade of my brim. The stupid hat smelled just a little musty all day too, especially after the light rain I got caught in coming home from the bus stop.
I don’t have any better photos to show the details of my makeup, but I’m not going to complain about how it held up after a full day of work. Thanks, Snazaroo.
I hope your Halloween was happy, and that enough kids came to your house that you don’t have lingering heaps of candy. As much fun as it was to dress as a long-dead painter today, I’ll be looking forward to spending a whole seven minutes on my makeup tomorrow, and to going to work without the scent of damp straw.
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