I recently was asked to set up a table at a local art gallery and demonstrate how to paint shoes. The idea was that I would sit at the table for about three hours. I had done this once before with delightful and unexpected results (see the orange shoe in an earlier blog), and I thought something interesting might come of it again.
See, three hours is A LOT of time to spend on one shoe (I almost always leave one of the pair unpainted so as to have a “before” to display alongside the “after”). That means you have to keep going, and going, and going…. In the case of the orange shoe, I added layer after layer of sponged-on paint in slightly varying shades. The result was wonderfully variegated.
For this event I took a cowboy boot that had once been a nice shade of green but the shank had gotten faded by the sun. I figured gallery visitors would be interested in watching me slowly paint in the colors in the different areas of the stitching — and doing so it would keep me occupied for the entire three hours!
I chose four shades of Lumiere for the boot — Metallic Rust, Metallic Russet, Bright Gold and Metallic Olive Green.
I started with the lightest color, the bright gold that would highlight the stitching lines. I always like to paint cowboy boots from light to dark, so I don’t have to be careful to stay within the lines on the lighter colors — because the darker paints will cover up any overpainting mistakes. A very useful strategy!
As I worked on the boot, I realized that it would be a better demo if I just painted the one side — I could easily finish that — even with the two coats of paint I would need for each color — in three hours. That way, I could show the two sides of the boot — like before and after photos — right there in the gallery. Here’s the result.
It turned out to be a really fun afternoon, and I liked the way the boot turned out — or half-turned-out.
What I wasn’t excited about was having to do it all over again on the other side. Then I thought, what if the other side of the boot used the same colors, but in different areas? I consulted Destiny we came up with this version of the boot.
Doing the color transition in the front was another matter. I used a wedge-shaped cosmetic sponge and did a lot of sponging with very little paint and very light dabs, working back and forth until the color-differentiation line softened.
Did I like how it turned out? I loved the two-faced effect, not sure how I like the blending on the toe, nor am sure what I’d do differently next time. Maybe figure out a way to make the color-differentiation line on the toe sharp and crisp, but look like part of the boot design. Any suggestions, let me know!