Our present: a visual aid


Baby shower gifts tend to follow along the same line: bibs, onesies, toys… So when my imaginative sister contemplated unconventional alternatives, it didn’t take her long to  come up with the idea of a belly painting — essentially, commercial face-painting. Except for the ‘face’ part.

I’d heard of such things being done, but expected the service would be limited to large cities. Surely it was too unique and specialized a service to be offered in a town. Yet, my sister found one!

So it happened that in celebration of our soon-to-arrive parcel, an artist from Fab Art was set up in my living room, her paints and brushes distributed over her portable table as she progressively formed a picture on my belly.

It’s up to the customer what they’d like painted, and I’d already decided I didn’t want a generic picture that could have been appropriate to any medium — I wanted interaction; for part of the artwork to be the very fact it’s on a pregnant belly. I imagined this would involve some indication of what was going on inside, so together we formulated the idea of my impatient Bump peering out of his gift-wrapping. (True to life, I suspect. His incessant fidgeting suggests he’s had enough of being in there.)

I was really happy with how it turned out, and went into work to show some of my colleagues, who loved it. Some of them knew I was getting something like that done, but had trouble imagining just what the concept of belly painting was, so were amused and delighted to see my demonstration. Apparently not many people have ever heard of this practice.

Like one would expect from face paints, the picture didn’t stick around for long. Combined efforts of showers, and the rubbing of clothing and bedsheets against it, had it disintegrate in a couple of days. But at least I still have the photos!

Belly painting


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