Faces are canvasses for Tibbetts’ artistic expression


Gita Raman

JUNIOR MIRIAM TIBBETTS demonstrates her own makeup technique.

By Gita Raman

With the swish of a brush, some touches of blush, and a stroke of eyeliner, a face is magically transformed into a stunning work of art. At St. Paul Academy and Summit School, junior Miriam Tibbetts explores art by using faces as her canvas for self-expression. She works as one of the key makeup artists for the Upper School drama program.

The first play for which Tibbetts did makeup was Aladdin, in the winter of 2011, which featured junior Jack Romans as the genie. “That required making Jack blue all over,” Tibbetts said. “I’ve been doing [makeup] ever since.”

Tibbetts’ favorite cosmetic material is setting powder. “You can put it on people’s faces so that the makeup stays in place and won’t melt off,” Tibbetts said. This is especially important given all the designs and layers that may be added after putting down the first layer.

Drama requires a lot of different techniques and materials to make facial features stand out. Another of Tibbetts’ favorite materials is spirit gum, an adhesive, because with it, actors’ faces can be molded to make their skin look different. “I like making [the actors] look really silly…I know on stage it is going to look natural and nice,” Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts said she also likes to use contouring, a common technique among makeup artists and students alike. Contouring is paired with highlighting because it emphasizes the natural effect of the light. Tibbetts said she likes this method because it makes cheekbones look nice.

Some of Tibbetts’ best experiences as a makeup artist include her work on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Metamorphosis. “In A Midsummer Night’s Dream I was painting different designs on people, including [one actor’s] feet,” Tibbetts said. “I really liked doing Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka because everyone had to have such dramatic makeup…all exaggerated and contoured,” she said.

For those interested in doing stage makeup, Tibbets’ best tips are to practice on siblings, and to try doing makeup for an actual show.”You get a lot of credit for what you do and [it] is completely necessary for the show. Just remember to have fun.”