MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — As department store shelves fill up with Halloween accessories, Katie Walton of Somesville gathers supplies to paint her face for her favorite holiday.
Walton, a full-time licensed clinical professional counselor at Acadia Family Center in Southwest Harbor, grew up with her mom painting her face before she and her siblings went trick-or-treating.
Before moving back to Mount Desert Island, Walton attended Prescott College in Arizona where she began to teach herself the art of face painting.
“Back in college, it wasn’t like intricate, actual face painting,” she said. “It was more like just emulating.”
“One year I was Poison Ivy [a DC Comics character] for Halloween, but it didn’t turn out anywhere near what I had hoped for,” she said. “I got sick of the standard, women’s costume style painting so I thought it would be really cool if I could use my face as the highlight of my character.”
When she first started, Walton didn’t have any professional, quality face paints, but she has collected a variety of them over the years, which allows her to paint more complex designs.
To paint a face, it can take Walton between three to five hours. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist with it, though, so I sit there and mess with the details over and over again, so it probably wouldn’t need to take me that long, but I just like to try to get it as perfect as possible,” she said.
Walton says she peruses Instagram, Facebook and sometimes YouTube for inspiration. She says she doesn’t usually follow tutorials but instead finds pictures she likes and tweaks the design to make it her own.
Though she has not yet tested her craft on friends or other folks, Walton once tried to paint her husband’s face.
“People have asked me to paint their faces, but I haven’t really gotten the courage to do it,” she said, explaining that she fears she might disappoint someone. Walton said she would not mind finding people who would let her practice on them without an actual event to go to. That way she could work her way up to helping people who would like their faces painted for Halloween parties or other events.
“If I could get my hands on all professional quality brushes and equipment, I think maybe I could hone in on my craft a bit more, but I’ve just slowly been building up some of the professional quality stuff and that does make it a lot easier to work on others,” she said.