Stuck in a Barn with… Mona Turnbull, award-winning face and body artist

You’ve gone for stroll, taken in the Cotswolds view and decided to have a little snooze in a comfy barn, but when you wake up the door is jammed.  Eek what to do….?

Answer our nosey questions of course:

1.     So Mona….who would be the first person you’d want to ring once you’d realised the barn door is jammed?

My husband! He is very resourceful with his tools in the shed – now he can’t moan about I didn’t mention him.  If he wasn’t around, I’d call Hugh Jackman.

2.     You’re thinking about your business – tell us how it started and your long term plans.

When I grow up, I aspire to be a well-rounded multidisciplinary artist. My long term plan is to never stop creating art.  Whether the medium is canvas, paper or human skin, I believe your passion is always communicated through the piece of creation.


3. What songs are you singing to while away the time?

Oh yeah, I always fancied myself as a singer, pop princess might be a little far fetched… but apparently I am tone deaf and offbeat.  In the car, while driving alone, I would sing Norah Jones’ badly out of tunes then switch to Paolo Nutini’s Last Request.  


4. What makes you laugh?

A happy type of comedy. Michael McIntyre and how could one resist my children’s toilet jokes!

5. What are you planning on drinking as soon as you’re out?

The nearest bar that serves hearty pina colada in a fresh pineapple overloaded with garnishes.  Oh wait, I don’t drink!  I’ll go for a virgin pina colada instead then.


6. What’s your first delicious item of food going to be when you’re free?  Where will you get it from?

Haha! This is the best question to ask a food addict like me.  I might be (would love to be) clinically addicted to Thai hot and spicy salads with sticky rice.  Where will I get it from? I would have to make it myself.  Recipe included at the end of this piece….


7. Where would be your favourite place to stay in the Cotswolds if you weren’t sleeping on a bale of hay?

Would love to try the Painswick Hotel! I have been there for food. It was most wonderful.

8. What are your immediate plans as soon as the barn door is open?  Any hobbies you’re going to take up?

Go to the nearest Thai restaurant (for food) and eat for the whole of Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. I love food. Have I told you that already?  I would love to learn how to play a ukulele and take up a pottery class.


9. What are the latest body art designs you’re dreaming about?

Ohhhh there are so many! I dream them, they come to me when I sleep. The latest one has lots of blood involved, beautiful, but bloody.  My concepts and the meaning of my art are deep and dark at the moment.  I always fancied myself as a goth when I was much younger.

10. What are your plans over the next few weeks?  If you get out of that barn of course….

If I ever get out of the barn, which I hope I do!  I have to catch a flight to Bangkok to visit my family and recharge my creative energy, and my whole being.  How I long to surround myself with people I love –  Not to mention the critical task of stimulating my taste buds.  My mother is the best cook in the world.


Som Tam Thai Spicy Salad

Traditionally we use green papaya but swede (turnip) is a perfect alternative!  If you really want to you can get a green papaya from an Indian or Chinese grocer.
3 tbsp roasted peanuts or as much as you like.  Roasted cashew nuts are also delicious

2 garlic cloves  finely crushed

Pinch of salt

2-3 crushed whole bird’s eye chillis, Depending on degree of bravery. For me, I go hard or go home.

12 French beans, cut into 1cm lengths

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 lime cut into wedges, plus 3 tbsp lime juice

275g shredded swede

1 tbsp tamarind water (optional)

2 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp shaved palm sugar but you can use any sugar you have in your larder

Direction: Add everything in a large roomy salad bowl, scrunch up all the ingredients together with you hands. Please wear disposable gloves!  Served with Thai sticky rice or coconut rice, lots of salad and grill chicken.


Mona Turnbull
Multi Award Winning Artist
Tutor at Iver Academy @ Pinewood Studios UK
Face and Body Art, temporary glitter body art and natural henna
Mobile: 07834 899393

Face Painting
Creative Make up and Body Art Page:

Recognition and Awards:
Highly Commended Wearable Art Designer Category @ Painswich Art Couture July’16
3rd Place – War Paint Body Painting Category at the Professional Beauty Oct’14
3rd Place – Professor/Apprentice Body Art Award @ Paiontopia Festival May’14
Kryolan’s guest speaker for their Marathon Masterclass 2013 at the Royal Opera House
‘Illusion Magazine Inspirational Artist Award 2013’ at Paintopia Face&Body Art Festival in May’13
Charles H Fox Award 2011

#bodyart #rock #cotswolds #thailand #thai #creative #makeup #wearable art #masterclass #bodyart #thaifood #glitter #pineapple #comedy #michaelmcintyre #monaturnbull

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