Christine Turpin of Creative Works with model Lorelei Hopersberger displaying her work The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe body art during the Fabaic competition in Orlando May 24-28. Thomas Ledford photo

Body artist teaches her craft in Sicamous

Armstrong woman uses people as the canvas for her painting

Christine Turpin is one of a relatively small but growing number artists whose body of work consists of bodies.

Turpin has been honing her craft of painting human faces and bodies for the past seven years. On Saturday, Oct. 14, she will be hosting a workshop at the Red Barn, in which she will demonstrate her unique artistic skills on a model.

“One body usually takes about four hours,” said Turpin, who hasn’t decided what it is exactly she’ll be painting yet, but she says it will be a family-friendly demonstration. “The girls, they will have underwear and pasties on. There’s no crazy nudity unless that’s too nude for somebody, but it gets covered up pretty fast in paint.”

The Armstrong resident says her foray into body painting began with esthetics training, and the realization she had more interest in make-up than nails and lashes and the like.

“There’s another woman who was just learning how to face paint and she encouraged me to start,” said Turpin. “And that was it. I just needed someone to encourage me to give it a go, and seven years later, that’s my job.”

As of late, that job has kept Turpin busy throughout the region, working at farmers markets, Kelowna Rockets games and for different municipal events from Salmon Arm to Logan Lake.

“I hoped that I could be this busy,” said Turpin, who last weekend had her first days off since June. “It took seven years to get to that point and a lot of people thought, she’s trying this but it’s probably not going to work. Because I wanted to still be able to support myself and my family and be able to help out that way. And this year, I’ve finally made it. I really put the time in – in the last two years to my education, because I travelled to face and body painting conventions and took classes.

“Everybody is super proud, my family is very proud I put my effort in and didn’t give up.”

Turpin said the body artist community is fairly small, but the social media personalities like Kay Pike and the TV show Skin have helped boost public recognition and popularity of the art form.

Awkward moments have inevitably been part of Turpin’s career. An early one involved a boy who wanted his face painted like a parrot. Turpin still cringes at the memory. Another awkward moment came at a convention where Turpin got to transform a mostly nude man into a Mountie.

“It was really hard for me to paint a guy for the very first time, especially a full body, and to get that comfortable with somebody right away,” said Turpin. “But we’re lucky, you pick the kind of people that are going to do it – they want to be comfortable too so you make friends real fast.”

Turpin proudly adds her male and female Mounties have since been featured in magazines.

Turpin’s Red Barn workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $20 per person. Register for the event at Red Bar or on eventbrite.ca.