Face paint shows up differently on glass than skin, so if you are a face painter, like Lynda Tysver, you have to get used to the medium in a brand new way. She’s found herself doubling up on her strokes, going back over the hearts or the light sabers or the flowers. Whatever her client wants. It doesn’t matter if she uses three times as much paint as before.
What matters is spreading joy.
Families agree to clean their storm doors or windows before she comes, and she agrees to keep a safe social distance.
It’s a new normal since the pandemic, right? She keeps going. She copes.
Her clients, of course, are children.
She doesn't have children of her own so she dotes on her nieces and nephews. She teaches her friends’ kids who have an aptitude for art how to do face painting and volunteers her services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraising events.
Because of the pandemic, however, people aren’t supposed to touch their own faces, much less someone else’s. So she wondered: How else could she leave her mark?
After all, a giver’s gotta give.
Lynda did her first outdoor painting on her own windows to brighten her neighborhood and cheer herself up. She did her second one in exchange for a St. Jude Heroes donation.
She’s urged the kids she mentors into face painting to do the same: Go outside. Paint for your community. Use up all the paint if you have to. Spread joy.
It’s been hard for Lynda lately. She’s been social distancing by herself at home, and she’s a people person. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and misses everybody.
She looks forward to her daily touch-base calls with her coworkers in a way she never thought she would.
Earlier this year before the outbreak, she had the opportunity to tour St. Jude and meet other volunteers, and they’ve become a support network. They talk on the phone and check on each other.
How are you holding up? You staying healthy?
She’s doing okay, she tells them, but she misses the kids.
When it comes to face painting, Lynda says, there’s one golden rule: “Never forget the child is the client.”
If your painting makes that child believe they are Ariel or Moana, a butterfly or a princess, Spider-Man or a turtle, you have done something right.
She finishes the last stroke of her design and, looking at the little boy through the glass, asks: “How do you like it?”
“I like it,” he says.
It’s a painting of criss-crossed light sabers and these words, a blessing of strength in strange times: “May the force be with you.”