I did it! I am so incredibly proud of myself. I am that person who never seems to finish what I started and usually throws in the towel. Or at least I was!

Recently I accomplished two of my big goals. The first was to graduate from the International Face Painting School and the second was to get certified by the International Certification of Natural Henna Artists.

I also realized that I am the only person certified by either of these organizations in KY or TN!

It amazes me on a daily basis how much I have grown as an artist over the past few years. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead!

My “WHY”

At all my events at one point or another I get asked the question, “What got you started with face painting” or “why did you start doing this”? Most of the time I tell the events that I have a daughter that loved immersing herself into different characters and she wanted me to paint her face like said characters. So thus I began learning how to paint. I started with a cheap kit from a big box store that was just awful. The results weren’t much better. But, alas my little girl loved it so I kept learning. I scoured Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube on tutorials, help for new face painters, tips and tricks. I joined groups on Facebook for beginners. As I learned I began to upgrade and add more items to my basic kit. I swapped the old Snazaroo for professional paints such as Mehron Paradise. I traded out my craft brushes for Loew-Cornell brushes. I painted and practiced on my daughter and she loved every bit of it.

While I reflect back though I realize that even though the story explains how I started painting, it doesn’t truly explain why I have decided to go all in and make a go at this business. ¬†Especially as it is becoming more apparent that my daughter just isn’t as interested as she gets older and my son hates face paint most of the time. What took me from the fun mom that paints her kids and friends to a professional face painter attending events and festivals?

Back in August of 2016 I decided to attend my first real festival, the Banana Festival in Fulton, KY. I didn’t know if I would be a complete flop or if it would be worth my time and money I had invested so far. I learned a lot during that event about the business, pricing, advertising, signage, weather conditions and items to have at different events. (I have since added bug spray and a fly swatter to my event list!) The most important thing however was that I learned my true reason for continuing all of this. My WHY.

As a person we have different labels. Jeff and Vicki’s daughter. Christina’s sister. Mark’s girlfriend. Mark’s wife. Ella’s mom. Alex’s mom. Somewhere in all of these labels I don’t think I ever had made a name for myself. I have been a stay at home mom since two weeks before my firstborn came screaming into this world. My children are homeschooled on our little homestead and I love all of the things we can learn and do together. The biggest drawback to this is that I feel I have lost Melissa or that maybe I had never really discovered her to begin with.

With each passing event I am gaining confidence in myself, pride in my work, joy in seeing the little faces I have transformed looking into the mirror at their surprise, and restoration to my soul. I never saw this part coming 5 years ago when Ella first asked me to paint her as a cat. I am excited to continue to learn new techniques and practice my skills. To improve my abilities and try new things. It has only been a few short months into my official business but I am hooked! I look forward to each event that comes along and ¬†I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.

So when I am asked “Why did I start French Vanella Face and Body Art” the answer is simply “For Melissa”.



Dance Party

Early in December we attended a fun birthday dance party for the adorable Hallee!

Great music, great kids, and so much fun!

I had to improvise because I had my first big OOOPS! I forgot my stencils for my airbrush! Thankfully I carry some stencils in my face painting stuff and I also had my face painting kit. We made it work and the kids had a blast.

Here are some of the pics from that night: