May 2010


Few things are more inspiring to me than (1) breaking out of a routine, and (2) keeping company with those who are really passionate about what they do.

I didn’t realize until this past Wednesday, that changing up some of my MUA routine would be a catharsis. Not only would I purge some of my old habits, but I would condense, downsize, and economize the way I would look at my own makeup artistry. All of this because I had the opportunity to go on-location to observe a photo shoot where I would play no role. This day, the voyeuristic side of me would be placated: I would be that fly on the wall. This is rather ironic to me because my kids and I often play “If you could have any super-human power, what would it be?” My answer is often, “I’d be invisible.” There’s so much to learn when you’re invisible. In yoga, a good teacher once told me if I became quiet and really listened (intuition. . .perhaps, God?), answers would come to me. This was one of those moments.

My dear friend, Angela, pictured above (an amazing yogini and beautiful soul) is putting together what will surely be an amazing modeling portfolio, and I was blessed to be present for what I would call her breakthrough photo shoot. I was along for moral support, but also in the capacity of observing MUA. She made certain the photographer and working MUA did not mind my presence.

The Makeup Artist. When I arrived, Angela was having her makeup applied by Marta Maria, whom I would liken to the eye of a storm. . .calm and reassured by her expertise. Marta splits her time between France and Charleston; she was a makeup artist during Charleston Fashion Week, and currently has work featured in Marie Claire magazine. She is an artist first; makeup is one of her media; she’s also a painter. What struck me most was her implicit understanding of light. This is an extension of her knowledge of color, product, and client. (A conversation with her about France’s midday light left me wanting my passport updated ASAP so I could make the trip. Marta says a visit to the French countryside is all it takes to make one realize the inspiration behind the works of Van Gogh, Gaugain, and others; pastel colors abound.) But it was also her understanding of the photographer and how she works and what she likes that made this such a success.

The Photographer. Diana Deaver is the storm. When this petite lady walked in the room, the energy shifted from sedate to charged. Diana immediately surveyed all clothing, accessories, lighting, and Marta’s work. Until that moment, I’ve never witnessed a photo shoot where the photographer had such a stake in the makeup. Her first words to Marta were, “I love the lightness under her eyes, but I’d like a darker contrast on her lids.” Evidently, Diana has been known to do makeup herself. She knows what she wants, comes prepared with a vision for the shoot, and is perfectly prepared to execute it on her own, if need be. However this day, she was working with her friend Marta, and she knew and trusted her capabilities.

Many makeup artists like to check out what other MUA’s use. I’m no exception. . . I asked Marta if I could check out her kit as it’s quite different than mine. She showed up with an overnight bag that held a couple of boxes. Those boxes house many samples of products: NARS, T.LeClerc, Maybelline, Revlon (which Marta says she finds best for powder foundation), brushes, applicators, and several other things. Her kit is so compact, yet she has everything she needs and then some.

Here’s the thing about both Marta and Diana: they are master multi-taskers. Marta carries relatively little makeup with her, but she’s a mixologist. She puts things together to come up with new colors, shades, tones, hues, and textures. Marta uses her fingers often to apply and blend out colors. A cosmetic wedge was the other tool she used most. Diana has an eye for the unusual: among the items of clothing, there was a black satin bra that she turned upside down, and fashioned a neck cuff out of; it was stunning in that capacity. She told me she once used a glass bottle to quickly make a necklace for one of her models; no doubt the results were outstanding.

As I sit here and write, I realize this could easily be a multi-chaptered blog. There was so much to take in that day. I haven’t even told you about the synergy these two artists had with one another. At different times, these were things I heard them say about one another. . .

Marta (to Angela about Diana): “I have a feeling, and can see her vision. . .where she’s going with this. . .”

Diana to Marta: “I trust you completely.”

Well, as you can see, the results are stupendous. Everything aligned that day: a beautiful model brought her expression and talents to play; a light-oriented makeup artist with no ego stepped up to the plate and delivered a flawless face using mostly her fingers and few products; and a photographic genius talked, finessed, and directed her subject to this level of perfection.

What I learned from Marta: my artistry lies not in my kit, but within me. What I learned from Diana: cultivate a passion for what you do; it will sustain you and put energy in your surroundings.

I’d say my super-human power came true that day: I got to be invisible and drink all this in. It was a powerful learning experience, and I thank all involved.

Makeup and Hair by Marta Maria.
Model: Angela Finley
Dresses: Belle Couture Bridal
Photographer: Diana Deaver



Monique Boyer, Director of Artist Relations for MAC Cosmetics

Just one of many body painting demos by MAC

Make Up For Ever display

Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun . . . such a cliche, but sooo true. It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve blogged. A lot has been going on, though: trial runs, weddings, photo shoots, and a long weekend in one of my favorite places in this world: New York City.

For those of you waiting with baited breath about my part two of “Brows. . .” well, I hate to disappoint, so I’ll pick that subject up again in the next few days 😉 And rather than inundate you with a long diatribe about how PHENOMENAL my New York/Makeup Show weekend was, I’ll just hit the highlights for now. There will be blogs forthcoming about all the amazing lines that were represented. Suffice it to say, I had to buy two new bags (in addition to the one I checked at the airport) to transport all my goodies back safely.

One of the aspects of my job that I love so very much is continuing education. The Makeup Show is a bi-coastal event, taking place in Los Angeles in the winter, and NYC in the spring. Scores of cosmetics lines are represented, and everyone comes showing their best wares, newest techniques, upcoming trends, and Lots and LOTS of product for sale. For a makeup junkie such as myself, it’s the closest thing to nirvana that I’ll come to, other than actually doing my job. . . making people look good. I am a better makeup artist for having attended this function.

I’ll talk specifics later on, but I did want to comment on some of the photos I’ve included. One of the highlights of my visit was meeting Monique Boyer who is the Director of Artist Relations for MAC Cosmetics. What an impressive lady she is. MAC was well-represented with a large booth focusing mainly on their Pro line and elaborate demonstrations of body painting.

Make Up For Ever and Smashbox were other hugely popular brands as evidenced by the 2+ hours I waited in these lines just to purchase these products. . . TOTALLY worth the wait because I had the opportunity to speak with makeup artists from all over the country, as well as press/media, beauty editors and bloggers who cover events such as this. Just to hear what other MUAs like, and their tricks, and savvy. . . that was an education in itself.

So, once again, my heart is full and feeling blessed for being able to take part in this phenomenal trade show.

Thanks to my husband for going with; my in-laws Jeb and Sandy for holding down the fort with my kiddos so we could make this trip; and the New York Yankees for providing my husband much joy with a 9th inning win over the Boston Red Sox!



I’m an Eyebrow Girl! Part One.

May 11, 2010

Check out Megan’s eyebrows. . .they don’t happen by accident. I don’t know where Megan’s makeup artist begins but s/he really does a fine job with her brows. The first thing I do when I begin work with any client, is reach for my eyebrow brush. It’s a reflex. . . I need to see […]

Read the full article →

MAC’s Chromagraphic Pencils, an Insta-Fave!

May 7, 2010

It’s easy to overlook these quiet titans. . . but they are Titans nonetheless. They sit on the display, unassuming yet asking to be picked up. . . if you do, don’t put it down. . . get yours immediately, because they are selling out as I type this. MAC’s recent Pret-A-Papier launch included these […]

Read the full article →

Concealer Wars, Continued. . .

May 2, 2010

Chances are that if you asked a makeup artist what their favorite item of makeup is, they will not say “concealer” because it’s not very glamourous. However, I’m going to say “Concealer!” because it’s the one item I use that makes a noticeable difference immediately. Bye-bye blemishes, so-long redness, sayonara dark circles! Concealer is the […]

Read the full article →