Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Art of a Woman

I left the house at about noon yesterday with a packed van and drove up to Harrisonburg. I picked up some fresh flowers and ribbon on the way. I got there and got my stuff unpacked in time for the first model who came at 2:00. Each woman was scheduled in my makeup chair and it was a really tight schedule. They really helped each other get everything situated (lots of safety pins!) so the details really came together. I was airbrushing them, doing their makeup and working on getting all the details together right up until the moment that we called “Places” at 6:10. I didn’t get my own makeup done before I started the first model, so I worked on my own look in between when I had the chance. My husband and a Mom of a model went to get food for the women, that was especially nice of them.

All eight of us were in costume and ready on time, believe it or not. We left our dressing room upstairs and went downstairs together and began to file through the crowd in the gallery. I’ll tell ya, conversation stopped as they watched us pass, it was wild. We got a few “ooo’s and aah’s” at that point and some nice compliments. We all went to the front display window. There were four frames hung in the display window facing a busy street. And each of us took a turn in each frame. At first I was thinking that we’d do three minutes before we called time and switched to the next frame, but that three minutes felt like a REALLY LONG time so I shortened it to two and that felt much better. It took a while for all eight of us to move through the frames, a crowd was gathered on the street outside and traffic stopped at the stoplight on that corner and then moved very slowly past with people looking to see what was going on. There were LOTS of people with cameras. Thankfully it was mild out, so it wasn’t too uncomfortable for the models in the window or the people on the street.  Since each character came with a pose, we made little tags for them to wear with her phrase.

I dressed up one of the models as a sunflower, she did a great job making these great poses. Two men stood in front of her on the street outside, posed and had another friend take a photo of them with her, that was fun. Perhaps a little distracting for her but what fun to see people interact with the work!

It was kind of interesting to be one of the models myself. I focused on a sign in the distance, but in my peripheral vision I could see the people moving around on the street and could tell when cars slowed down. I could also see the flashes go off on the various cameras, but it’s a little hard to photograph someone on the other side of glass, so I’m curious how those photos turned out. I was at the last frame when two of my friends were standing inside the gallery, right beside the display window taking to me and trying to get me to crack up before my time was up. I kept it together, but only barely.

At the end of the second show, all eight of us got in the window together. I had the “Two Birds of a Feather” girls in the first frame, they did a lot of giggling! Four of us that made up the seasons were together in a large horizontal frame. Then Jill, who was the sunflower had a frame and Barbara who had the vintage look had a frame. It started to feel like we’d been in there a long time and I started to wonder what had happened to our time keeper. At about that time I heard one of the models ask (without moving her lips) if someone was timing us? All the models started to laugh and so for the last moments of the show we were all wearing big grins. There was lots of laughter and fun and we all climbed out of the window and had a lovely round of applause for everyone.

At this point I don’t have a photograph of me in costume, but I’m hoping to see one soon. I had a phrase for each woman: “She is…” and each was different. The sunflower was “She is beginning to bloom.” My phrase was “She is… changing with the seasons.” I wore a hand dyed skirt in fuchsia (my color!) with a turquoise border at the hem. I wore a black off-the-shoulder top with an interesting pearl and crystal necklace that I made. I was wrapped in a shawl of quilters batting to look like snow, I’d pulled it so it had whispy edges and that made it look cool. I had a bouquet of fresh tulips in my hands, tied with turquoise ribbon. I had a tulip in my hair and my makeup was sort of shaped like a mask around my eyes with purple, blue and turquoise bordered with silver and purple. It was pretty wild looking, and considering how little time I had to do it, it still looked pretty good.

I was interviewed briefly by a reporter, but I can’t remember who he was or what paper he was from. I’ve heard that photos of the women have been published; now I’m trying to find out which papers and where I can get copies. I haven’t actually seen any of them in person yet but hope to soon, because I am VERY CURIOUS! I do know that Barbara made the cover of Rocktown Weekly in her costume, and she looks fabulous!
It was a delightful evening! I suppose I should go unpack the van, or maybe visit a few places around town and see if I can get copies of the newspapers. I suppose it’s time to turn my attention to things that pay bills, and I’ll be doing the makeup for “Saving Grace” this evening. There are few things I love more than being in the creative flow, it’s more "home" to me than anywhere. Last night felt good to me, I hope for opportunities to do that kind of thing again.

Happy Creating,
-Carmen Rose


  1. Carmen - this event looks and sounds fantastic! WHat a wonderful happening - a lot more pleasant than what _I_ think of when I hear "performance art"! Bravo!

  2. Bravo Carmen and Congratulations!


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