Henna watercolour and body painting

My new close friend at work has been teaching me how to do mendhi, aka henna painting. I've always wanted to learn, and she brought in some henna powder after work so that she could show me. It was so much fun, and I practiced on other members of staff in the staffroom, lol. Then last week on Friday we held a henna painting session for the girls at lunchtime club, and they simply loved it. They're already bugging me and her about when the next one will be! Anyway, over the two week break we now have I'm gonna be shopping for some more henna stuff, so we'll be fully prepared next time (we were making tubes for the henna out of transparent file holders and label stickers, lmao). In the mean time, I've done a couple of henna-like doodles in watercolour.

I really need to get a scanner so that you can see the colours properly. Doing these little 'doodles' was really an excuse for me to use the gum arabic I had bought ages ago but had never used. It's simply liquid latex that you can paint on to bock out areas of white that you want to keep, then you can lay a wash over it. Once it's dry you can rub off the latex and you're left with crisp white! I'm very happy with these little experiments, I can fortell more gum arabic fun in the future ;).

Carrying on with the henna theme, I decided to do some myself at home, without the sound guidance of my friend and mentor. It's hard to get used to, but I'm slowly improving. What I really need to work on are the actual designs. Those patterns you see mendhi covered women with look easy but believe me, they aren't!

That's the henna powder, just before I mix it with a little water. The smell of the stuff is wonderful, so earthy and exotic.

That's a little design I did on the side of my foot, I was quite happy with it. That was until I wne to start the one on my hand, crossed my legs like I always do, and smudged it all over my foot and the floor! I'm sooo clever.

I'm satisfied with the final design. Thing is the henna powder I've got isn't fresh, so it doesn't produce as deep a colour as you'd hope it would. Still, that will be rectified when I find a shop to buy some fresh henna from. There's also different recipes you can make to produce better results, but I'm too inexperienced at the moment, I'll try them when I'm more confident. Anyway, I still have a lovely golden coloured design on my hand which will be there now for a few days (again, not fresh=lighter colour and shorter life span). Hope you like my henna-tastic endeavours!


laurel 7 April 2009 at 10:25  

Wonderful designs. How cool that you have a creative lunch club at work.

Debra She Who Seeks 7 April 2009 at 11:10  

They're all gorgeous! I especially like the watercolour ones -- what a neat idea.

Haley @ Iridescent Dark 7 April 2009 at 13:15  

Laurel - Thanks! The lunchtime club is great, it goes on every school day but me and my friend only do one a week. We always make sure that we have something fun, unusual and creative ready for them. In a school practically full to the brim with out-of-control boys it's like a lil safe haven for them!

Debra - Cheers! =D My next idea is to make stained glass window watercolours using this technique with the gum arabic, so watch this space ;P

joanne 6 May 2009 at 11:39  

these are stunning... wow... WOW... i'm now so wanting to try henna too... something new to divert my attention, i see :)

i just love that you can be creative with your co-workers... that must be so incredibly fun...

thank you for your kind words, so that i could click through and find you!

riya hilton 16 September 2013 at 06:38  

It looks very simple and very nice
liquid latex body paint

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I am a pagan, special needs teaching assistant, BA Hons Drawing graduate, artist, amateur tarot reader, half-welsh, big sister, eldest daughter, lover, volunteer, bookworm, intense dreamer, nature and animal lover, over-protective friend, ex-barmaid, fledgling activist and general eccentric. Nice to meet you =D.

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