I just got back from teaching a class to an amazing group of women at The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco.  They brought lots of heels, boots, French comfort shoes by Arche, sandals and purses to paint and embellish. Destiny joined me and we all had a blast!  Michele in SF at 72 dpi

What I love is, every time I teach, I learn something! Someone will ask me how to do something I hadn’t thought of doing before, or someone will mix a wonderful color (like Brass with Black, to get a subtle, glowing dark brown). People were sponging their shoes, spattering them, and creating multicolor shoes where one color transitioned seamlessly into another.  The creativity seems to multiply, the more people are in the room! (In the photo at right, Michele is working on pair of spattered boots to go with a Goth look she was putting together for a charity auction event. )

In gratitude for all the creativity of my students, I’d like to devote this post to the many women who have sent me photos of the purses and shoes they’ve been embellishing. Remember, you can click on any of these photos to see a larger version.

Mollie shoes before at 72 dpi To encourage beginners, we’ll start with Mollie, who sent in photos of the first shoes and purse she’s done.

Mollie shoes after at 72 dpi


Mollie wrote, “I saw a pair of vintage silver Mary Janes once (that of course were not my size), and I have wanted a pair ever since.  Now I can stop searching for them!” To go with her Metallic Silver shoes, she painted a purse (photos below), substituted a silver chain for the gold one originally on the strap, then added a fancy button whose shape mirrored the small and large circles in the silver chain.

“The main thing is that I had a LOT of fun,” Mollie writes. “I am pleased with my results, too, which doesn’t hurt!”

Mollie purse before at 72 dpi

Mollie purse after at 72 dpi

Enica red purse at 72 dpi.com2 at 72 dpi

Speaking of purses, here’s a nice detail shot of a purse painted by Enica. I like the way she has the change purse sort of growing out of the tree trunk.

Enica also did a pair a shoes using her talent with a paint brush.They have a trompe l’oeil effect, in that the chain and cross hanging from the tops of the shoes are are painted on.

Enica shoes after at 72 dpi

Demaris sent in photos of some wedges she revamped. “They started off with BRIGHT red and yellow flowers that I toned down to rosy pink and pale yellow,” she writes. “Then I painted the fake cork green.” That green she used is called Metallic Olive and it’s one of the most beautiful shades of the Lumiere paints I recommend for shoes.

Demaris wedge before at 72 dpi Demaris wedge SINGLE SHOE after at 72 dpi

“Of course, I couldn’t stop there,” Demaris admits. “So I added big roses that I made from wired ribbon shaded from rose to green. I made the roses with the green on the outer edges because the pink would have been too much, and the green goes with the wedge! I love these, now they match a dress of mine.” Wow, what an improvement. And that wired ribbon rose is gorgeous. I’ll tell you how to make them in a future post.

Next are some shoes by Sandy, who has found that painting shoes has really reawakened her creativity! I have several examples of cool shoes she has painted and it was hard to choose just one pair to show you.

Sandy fish before at 72 dpi Sandy fish after at 72 dpi Sandy says she can’t paint or draw realistically, so she was forced to improvise to get these great tropical fish onto her shoes. It turns out, she had a T-shirt with fish on it, so she cut them out, daubed one side of the cotton-knit cutout with Lumiere, and pressed the cutout onto her shoe. Sort of like making her own rubber stamp! Once she had the shape of the fish “stamped” onto her shoes, she was confident enough in her skills to paint some details and the eyes. I love the pink and purple fins coming out from the Halo Pink Gold body of the fish. Here’s a view of the shoes from the side.

Sandy fish afte side view at 72 dpi

Lynn before at 72 dpi Last of all, I want to show you some photos of shoes that Lynn sent in. Here are the “before” shoes — plain vanilla pumps.  The kind of shoes that you aren’t even supposed to notice, let alone remark on. Just something to put on your feet to go with whatever summer outfit you have on.

Well, Lynn fixed that! She painted the toes and heels in Halo Violet Gold, covered the rest of the upper in Pewter-colored zebra stripes and painted a Pearlescent Magenta heart on the back of the shoe. What an interesting palette. Then she glued down upholstery piping, lavish tassels, chain, buttons, beads, and earrings. Now this is woman who is not afraid to go one or two or even three steps further! The result is really wonderful.

Lynn at 72 dpi

I hope today’s post encourages you not just to play with painting and embellishing your shoes, but to take before and after photos and send them to me along with your thoughts. And remember, if you have any questions about doing shoes, email me at I’ll be happy to answer you personally.

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