I had always been fascinated by the painting ‘Tiger in a tropical storm/Surprised’ by Henri Rousseau. The painting may look a bit naive but I will always go for a painting that is honest rather than something that is just mimicking others.
The first time I was exposed to this painting was when a wallpaper featuring it appeared in front of me when the tube stopped at Charing Cross tube station. My first impression of this painting was of how caricature-like it was and it made me determined to see it in real life. Luckily the real painting was located in the National Gallery in London. I still remember the day I went to see it. In a sea of amazing paintings, I didn’t know where to look for it so I sought assistance from one of the staff.
“Walk straight ahead towards the end of the corridor. Then turn right after you see ‘Whistlejacket’ and ‘Surprised’ should be in the room with all the other impressionist painting.” And there it was hung together with Monet, Renoir and Picasso. It was quite a big painting and up close, you can see all the techniques used in creating this masterpiece. Obviously I wasn’t the only one who was looking for this painting so I assume I’m not the only person with a crazy fascination for tigers.
Fast forward to now. I had a free afternoon and after buying some cheap canvas shoes, I was dithering about painting something on it. I am an amateur painter and had no training but find painting therapeutic. I had always adored a more relaxed painting style that some artist have adopted because I believe that it is more honest and reflect an artistic freedom in expressing a point of view.
So as I was walking back from the shop, my brain immediately went into overdrive in what I could paint to adorn these blank canvases. Obviously the answer was simple but it was how I would place it. Then an idea of shoes that connect through painting came to mind.
After a quick lunch, I immediately got to work while the day was bright. Some quick sketches later, I had decided on the design and placement and immediately got into painting the shoes.
The design was small so it didn’t take me long to complete it (I think I did it in a few hours). Painting these tigers made me realised that I needed an even finer brush as the thinnest one I had wasn’t producing the fine lines I had wanted. Anyway, I will always take what I do as a learning process and mistakes are more rewarding when you learn from them.
After the painting was done, I used the iron to fix the fabric paint and a sprayed a waterproof sealant to finish my afternoon project.
The painting is a bit crude but I thoroughly enjoyed this quick project. I am tempted to paint another pair of shoes but I think buying canvas would be cheaper.
Anyway, I recently wore these shoes out on a warm and sunny day (the hassle of white shoes!) and guess where I went?
Nothing beats the original.