c2000 Painting by Mark Greenawalt

Painting From Memories
by Mark Greenawalt

Historic Route 66 brings visions of leather jackets and letter sweaters, golden curls on girls and slick grease on guys.  A time when everyone met at the drive-in and the hardest decision of the day was strawberry or vanilla.  Body artist Mark Greenawalt provides the keys to cruise back in time on Route 66 to a time when the "pin-up" girls were considered modern art.  The setting is MacAlpine's Soda Fountain Coffee Shop in Phoenix, Arizona at the corner of 7th Street and Oak.  Established in 1928, this is the real deal.  After watching James Dean on the silver screen, this was the place to be for a root beer float and chilli-cheese fries.  It's this authenticity that made it a breeze for the voluptuous model, Christi Laver, to step into character one step out of time.  In the steps below, Greenawalt describes how to complete this relatively simple airbrushed body painting and provides insight on creating the final "pin-up" images.

If you are interested in ordering a print from this photoshoot or would like additional information on bodypainting, please feel free to contact mark@futureclassx.com and visit my website at www.futureclassx.com .  Please browse through progress and instructional information below.  Thanks for visiting!


STEP 1 - Assembling the team.  I knew that the look of the model would be key to making this shoot successful and I began searching for that "girl-next-door" look with a body type made famous by Vargas paintings.  While scouring modeling websites looking for her, Christi Laver beat me to the punch and actually found me instead.  After seeing her portfolio, I knew she would be perfect for the shoot and the rest is history.  To get the nostalgic hair-style and make-up to be accurate I called upon professional make-up artist Dori Randall (Con Air, Flipper).  Rounding out the team was photographer Don Crossland (www.zenzino.com) whose images have appeared in numerous magazines.  It took several weeks to get everybody's schedule to coincide and to gain permission from MacAlpines to host the session.  Time was also spent scouring the net searching for waitress outfits, hairstyles, and modeling poses from that period before doing rough draft mock-up in Photoshop.

Step 2 - Make-up and hair styling.  Dori Randall is a natural at transforming people into glamorous beauties.  For Christi she applied liquid make-up through her airbrush to lay a perfectly uniform foundation to build upon.  Next she painted the eyes in true 50's fashion and added extended lashes for that sultry eye-batting that melts men's hearts.  Then the vivid color was added to the lips and the rosey red cheeks...oh, and don't forget the apropos beauty mark.  Lastly, Dori topped her off with curls born from the dolls of that by-gone era.

Step 3 - Masking and Stencils.  Prior to the session I had cut out stencils from 1/8" styrofoam sheets to make the collar and the Route 66 logo.  I also loaded paint into the Spectrum 2000 quick color changer system for the project.  The beauty of the spectrum 2000 is that I was able to load white in one of the 8 color canisters and red in the adjacent canister to dial in the exact shade of pink that I was looking for by adjusting the mix.  The only colors used in this project were red, white, and black and the paints selected were a mix of Mehron liquid make-up and Ben-Nye MagiColor liquid paint.  The body painting began by using masking tape to provide a sharp edge at the end of the white sleeves.  After the white sleeves were completed, the stencils for the collar were held in place by hand to mold them to the contours of the model's chest while spraying.

Step 4 - Completing the outlines.  The pink dress was defined just above the knees by using a squared-off piece of styrofoam and spraying in short bursts from about 7 inches away.  This similar technique was used to define the top of the sleeves.  This airbrushed outfit does not have very many edges that need to be delineated to see the pattern and this makes it a great choice for a beginning body artist or for someone looking for a quick (and risqué) party costume.

Step 5 - Coloring within the lines.  Once the outlines are complete, it's time to fill it all in.  This part is a great deal trickier than it seems.  While it's tempting to be carefree like your spray painting graffiti on a wall, basic airbrush fundamentals must still be applied.  For example, it's important to be in motion before starting to spray.  Like on canvas, spraying and then moving will leave an uneven circle of paint at the end of your line.  With this brand of body paint it is very important to keep a light spray for a uniform thin coat.  The thicker the coat of paint, the higher the propensity for it to crack.

Step 6 - The Route 66 logo.  I found the route 66 logo on the internet and enlarged it on my computer screen to the size that I needed.  I held up the semi-transparent styrofoam to my monitor and traced the image.  After cutting it out I used it as a stencil for the outline of painted-on patch.  The actual letters and black outline were hand painted as the last step to the project.


Step 7 - Imaginary shadows.  To give the illusion of depth, shadows were free-handed using a gray mix between the black and white settings of the Spectrum 2000 color changer.  It is important to note that the paints used were tested on the wrist of the model well in advance of starting this project to make sure that there wouldn't be any type of allergic reaction.  I have often used Mehron and Ben-Nye products which are intended for use on skin and I have never had any problems, but I still always do the skin test.  The last step of the painting was to add a little bit of texture to the pink areas to give the illusion of a fabric.  This step involved using the gray again to paint faint vertical lines throughout the dress.  The crude technique that I used was to just spray a thin line along the edge of a styrofoam mask and then repeat in increments of about 1/4".

Step 8 - The finishing touches.  I went to several costume shops to look for an apron and was not able to find what I was looking for.  In the end, I found two place mats in a local "5 and dime" and had my wife sew them into a home-made apron and the remnants were used for the hat.  The owner's of MacAlpine's were very gracious in supplying my favorite prop which was the strawberry shake with whip cream and a cherry on top.  There was a small mishap that lead the first shake to, shall we say, find the floor.  I can personally testify, however, that the second shake did not go to waste.




Tech File:

Mark Greenawalt uses the Spectrum 2000 Color Changer
Airbrushes:  Iwata HP-BC, Badger 150 and 100IL
Air Source:  Badger 180-1 Oilless diaphragm compressor
Paint Medium:  Mehron Liquid Make-Up and Ben-Nye MagiColor Liquid Paint

Dori Randall uses
Airbrush:  Paache VL
Air Source:  Paache D500
Make-up:  Dori Randall branded water based make-up


About the Artists:

Mark Greenawalt is an award winning artist from Phoenix, Arizona.  His work has been published in numerous periodicals including the August 2001 issue of Airbrush Action Magazine.  Greenawalt has presented live demonstrations of his body painting techniques on television and several art exhibitions.  To see his on-line portfolio, visit his website at www.futureclassx.com.

Dori Randall is a highly sought after make-up artist and hair stylist and she is also from Phoenix.  Dori's 16+ years of  experience include numerous television and motion picture credits including "ConAir" and "Flipper".  Randall has also been instrumental in print ad campaigns for major corporations including Nike, Pepsi, Breck, and Budweiser.




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This page has been designed and maintained by FUTURE-CLASS X PUBLISHING.
Unless noted otherwise, Photography by Don Crossland and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2001

Please send comments to:  mark@futureclassx.com