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Painting a Living Canvas
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:00 AM
Abigail Geerts paints a butterfly on the face of Chloe Hebner, 8, of Madison, on Friday at Geerts’ Old Court Days booth. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Geerts laughs as Chloe Hebner, 8, of Madison, studies the finished project. Geerts says one of her favorite parts of her job is seeing the reaction of the kids when they see their faces painted. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchieemail@example.com)
Artists often use a canvas to create and display their works, but a face might serve just as well when creating masterpieces.
Just ask Abigail Geerts.
Geerts has always had an interest in art. She began painting murals in high school, yet she never used her skills for more than just a hobby.
Instead, Geerts followed a calling for ministry after high school graduation. She went to bible college in Pennsylvania and traveled to different countries as a missionary for a few years. She eventually returned home to Madison, where she married her husband, Drew, and began a family.
A career in art was never part of her plans.
But Geerts found a book while working at the former Fudge Factory owned by Jim Grant that eventually led to her own business.
"He had a face painting book in his store, and I thought 'Oh, this is cool,'" she said.
She began working with different paints and brushes to perfect some of the face painting options in the book.
Once others learned of Geerts' talents, they would ask her to help out with a birthday party or another event.
Geerts' face painting creations aren't usually small designs on the cheek or on the back of the hand though. Her creations often include full- or half-face designs of animals, mythical creatures, cartoon characters or superheroes.
After a while, she began to expand her works and skills by looking for other face painting inspirations online. She also began to look at the time it took to paint different designs so children wouldn't get too distracted during the face painting session.
Geerts finally began her own face painting business - Amazing Face - in 2013.
Geerts' business also allowed her to use her artistic skills for more than just doing face paintings. After people saw her face paintings, a few asked if she might be able to create something a little more permanent. She has completed murals in private homes, and she most recently began to do artwork on menu signs for local businesses.
"As long as I have a picture, I can do it," she said.
Geerts often sets up a face painting booth during organization events, private parties and community festivals like Old Court Days. She also plans to paint faces during the Music in the Park events this summer in Madison.
Even though Geerts' creations last only a short time - unlike a painting on canvas - seeing the children's faces light up with a smile after she's finished with a design makes the short lifespan of her work worth it.
"I like doing it because it brings enjoyment to the kids," she said. "I love their little giggles. It's the best part of my job."
PHOTO: Your Story - Painting a Living Canvas
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