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Fantasy make-up

The ultimate make-over.


Model, Renee Goyer-Armstrong, sat patiently through the gruelling 10-hour process required to completely change her appearance to that of a living native sun-mask.
Model, Renee Goyer-Armstrong, sat patiently through the gruelling 10-hour process required to completely change her appearance to that of a living native sun-mask.

Many top portrait and commercial photographers rely heavily upon make-up artists, hair stylists, image stylists and other behind-the-scenes professionals to ensure that their subjects look exactly as they are meant to for the camera.

The best of them can do more than just make a subject look his or her best for photography. They can completely alter the subject's appearance, creating a totally-different look, often making the subject quite unrecognizable, as if they were someone or something else. These talented make-up artists can make a person look drastically injured for public safety drills and for the movies. They can create monstrous and alien faces for the theater and for Hallowe'en, and can make a kid into a pirate or an evil witch. They are very talented.

With just such a metamorphosis in mind, we challenged make-up artist, Linda Reimer, and competition hair stylist, Monica Reid, to create a west coast North American native sun mask using a live model.


We didn't know just what we were getting into. The project's planning took almost a year from concept (Challenge Day) to completion.

Among the greater challenges was locating just the right model - one who had precisely the right look, the necessary length of hair to transform into the rays of the sun, and the reserve of patience to remain perfectly still - unmoving for hour after hour while the change took place. It was Monica who finally selected Renee Goyer-Armstrong, someone with whom she had worked successfully before. And what a great choice!

Renee did a fabulous job - one that few other models would have the stoicism to do. She retained her marvellous sense of humor from arrival to completion of photography - a twelve-hour time frame.

Step one was the shaping of the model's hair. It first had to be pulled forward, and then spread out like the rays of a sun mask.
Step one was the shaping of the model's hair. It first had to be pulled forward, and then spread out like the rays of a sun mask.

Enter Linda, our make-up artist, who begins to sculpt the beak-like nose intrinsic to the sun mask.
Enter Linda, our make-up artist, who begins to sculpt the beak-like nose intrinsic to the sun mask.

The model's hair was quite lengthy - an essential ingredient. It took hair stylist Monica a good hour and then some to form her hair into the basic shape of the rays of the sun.

Then, it was make-up artist Linda's turn. She began by forming the eagle-like "beak" on the model's nose so that it would harden while the next steps of the great transformation took place.

Monica then began to "paint" the model's hair so that it would have the coloration of a native mask's sun rays. Have you ever tried to paint hair so that its colors are uniform and sharp? It's quite a tricky business, one at which Monica excelled.


When hairstylist Monica, seen here on the right finalizing one of the last "rays" of the sun, needed a break, Linda stepped in to add more make-up. It was like a tag-team event. Renee, our model, had barely a moment to rest. Linda used orange, red and black "Fantasy FX" make-up by Mehron Inc. of Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.

Hour 4 or 5 caught everyone hungry. A lunch break was in order. Superb chicken salad with grape sandwiches from Sechelt's Raintree Farms deli hit the spot, and made it humorous for us to watch as model Renee tried to fit each bite beneath her beak. A straw was the only way fruit juice would get beneath her eagle-like appendage.

The detailed
The detailed "painting" of the model's hair was a long and tiresome process for both Monica and Renee.

The final result was awesome. Linda, Renee and Monica did a fabulous job, and created a true living native sun-mask.
The final result was awesome. Linda, Renee and Monica did a fabulous job, and created a true living native sun-mask.

Some ten hours after the start of hair-styling, the job was finally completed. No longer did Renee look like Renee. She resembled a traditional native sun mask - possibly the only living sun mask ever created.

Monica, Linda and Renee exceeded our expectations. The transformation was magnificent. They were tired, but exhuberant. Now, it was time to take pictures.

And, pictures we took! Indoors, outdoors, even under a fortuitously present full moon - you name it. This was the opportunity of a lifetime. A once-only chance to capture a live North American native sun mask on film.


Although it was well into Autumn and very cold at night, Renee volunteered to pose outdoors, where a bright, full moon greeted us as if we had been expected. What a contrast, seeing a living sun mask under a full moon.

The night air was brisk, but the sky was glorious and clear. We captured a number of pictures that go beyond native legends of the sun mask and its interaction with the mortal world.

The moral of this tale? Rely upon the quality people with whom you work. True professionals produce professional results. They know their capabilities and deliver what they say they can deliver. Linda Reimer, Monica Reid and Renee Goyer-Armstrong, in fact, exceeded our expectations. We congratulate them.

How about a little fun? Check out this page link, "What does a living sun mask read?", or click on the link below.

The full moon seemed to be waiting for us to complete the sunmask metamorphosis.
The full moon seemed to be waiting for us to complete the sunmask metamorphosis.
Related topics...

What does a living sun mask read?