sue upton makeup designer

I've recently hooked up with a couple of very talented individuals in Hamilton: Laura Hollick (conceptual artist, model & Kevin Thom (photographer:

Over the past couple of months, we've done a variety of shoots together, and most recently, Laura asked me to create a "red bird" body painting idea she had in mind.

Working with Laura & Kevin is always fun and creative - and I suppose as a result of having worked together over the course of a few shoots, we've established an element of trust and creative freedom that I truly appreciate.  Laura had sent me a few rough sketches and reference ideas that appealed to her - however, she also left it very open ended to my own interpretation...the ultimate image would suggest a canadian flag (with the two red bands on either side to be added later in post), and she, with her painted red bird, would represent a loose version of the maple leaf in the center of the "'flag"

we didn't overplan this one at all. I arrived at Laura's studio with a few different red bird layout ideas, but ultimately,we'd have to start by deciding on a suitable pose that would maintain a level of modesty without
appearing awkward or overly "posed".  Once we'd established our "canvas", it was all about finding an image that would work with our pose.  I started with a roughed in line drawing on Laura, and the spill over design on the canvas behind her.  Once the body painted image was suitably roughed in, I had Laura take a bit of a break, and I opted to paint the image in full behind her on the canvas...though it's not really necessary to paint the entire image - especially if she's going to be concealing major portions of it - it certainly made it easier to line her up with the canvas for our shoot -

The final image has yet to be completed, however, these snapshots give a bit of an idea of the process involved.
Laura's hair was pulled into a sort of "faux hawk" and adorned with a crown of canada goose feathers.

I love how organic the process was - the whole thing (initial brainstorming, establishing the pose, painting both body & canvas & shooting) took about 8 hours.

Check out more of Laura's stuff on her website:
And see more of Kevin's photos at

here's a few behind the scenes shots of the process
click on the images to enlarge