Big initial M Two nights ago I had the pleasure of teaching a shoe- and purse-painting class to a group of very talented women, sewers all, from the American Sewing Guild’s Central Coast (of California) chapter. They’ve promised to send me photos of their creations (it’s always too hectic at the end of class for me to take photos), and when they do, I’ll post them here.

One of the things I do at the beginning of each class is to demo how to paint shoes and purses. WIth the paint we use (Lumiere), you don’t brush it on as if you were painting your living room wall. You lay it on gently and smoothly, with just a few strokes, as if you were putting on nail polish. And you use a soft, small fan brush to do it.

Tropical slides before resized That night, I used one of a pair of shoes that a stylish friend had donated to the Sassy Feet cause as my demo model. It’s a very nice Cole Haan genuine leather slide in a color that reminded me of the lush tropical green of Hawaii.

I used Metallic Copper to paint the upper, which was a great contrast. Usually, that’s where I stop when I’m doing a demo. But as the evening went on, this group of artisans didn’t need a lot of help from me, so I picked up my brush and kept playing around with the shoe. I painted the underside of the upper in Metallic Olive Green.

Tropical slides fan brush resized Then I put  my nearly worn-out fan brush (it had gotten sort of spiky over time!) to good use. It looked to me like the fan with its slightly spayed bristles might make interesting shapes on the insole of the shoe. So I dipped it in Metallic Olive Green and started pressing it in little arcs. This took a little chuzpah, because I had no idea how it would look — and what if it came out terrible and all my students saw what a mess I’d created?

Tropical slides detail resized 3 I’ve always been a risk-taker, though, so I plunged ahead. Luckily, I liked the effect! The brush marks looked like palm fronds. I decided to paint little berries onto the fronds (not sure why, it’s holly that has berries — just consider it artistic license). I used Metallic Bronze daubed with Metallic Rust for the berries.

Fine. But class wasn’t over yet and still no one needed a lot of help from me! So I added some detail on the top and bottom edge of the upper, again using the spikiness of my old fan brush to create interesting patterns.

Tropical slides detail resized 2

Tropical slides embellishment resized

At this point in the class, I usually demo how to stitch on an embellishment, and I had brought one with me that I’d created by gluing together (with E6000) a large resin doughnut, a smaller metal donut and a gold-tone button. The colors of this embellishment had dictated some of my color choices for the paint.)

Here’s the finished shoe, which I call the Tropical Slide. Thanks, ladies, for keeping me company while I created it. (And don’t forget to send me your photos — you all created some amazing pieces!)

Tropical slides after resized

But I’ve always been a risk-taker, so I plunged ahead. Luckily, I liked the effect!
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