So how did this story start? Well, like everything else that revolves around what I do; boredom. I had really enjoyed painting the shoes and initially was going to do some oil paintings but as I had an extra pair of canvas shoes, I thought I would do another painting on the shoes.
Unfortunately, I had no idea of what to do. Luckily, inspiration was lurking in the corner, waiting to pounce on me. This came in a form of a charity book sale that was happening in the local church near me. I had finished work and made a bee line toward the book fair with an intention of buying lots of books for work. I have been to the annual charity book sale before and mind you, it is vicious. People will do anything for a good book. But then again, wouldn’t you?
Luckily I went in the evening after work and it was very quiet. I was able to browse around the boxes and boxes of books without worrying that someone was behind, waiting to pounce on the book I have not seen. In total, I managed to get 8 books and one of them was of Japanese prints. When I got home, I put them aside and didn’t look through them until the next day on my way to work.
I have always had a fascination for Japanese woodblock prints but this book also showed a more modern style I had never seen before. Browsing through the pages, I saw a spread with portraits of Kabuki actors. Their faces are contorted to express the feelings they were portraying. It was so funny I took a picture and made a meme with it.
‘The face I make when I don’t win the lottery and realised that I have just wished my money away’
Anyway, have a look at it and see it what I mean.
Oh Dear! I didn’t mean to insult art but that expression is priceless and so relatable.
That’s when the idea struck. I would like to have a pair of shoes with Japanese prints. One of a Kabuki actor and the other of a Geisha. I knew which picture I wanted to use for one side of the shoe but when I dithered about the other side, I realised that the answer was on the wall. Well, when I say wall, I mean the Japanese woodblock print that I have hanging on the wall. The print I had is a very old print (around 1850?) of a Geisha with her attendants.
However, the Geisha didn’t look that interesting but one of her attendant was. I decided to use her as the main feature on the shoe. A Kabuki actor and a Geisha’s attendant. It’s almost like a love story.
I proceeded to sketch the design on paper and laid them on the shoe to work out the placement. Being scaled down to fit the area of the shoe, there was a lot of empty space and I wondered if I should add more pictures or go for the quick route and put some text.
You know me so well! Yes! I did go for the text as it was much more simple and less of an effort. After all, I have to paint the characters on both sides of the shoes. I thought about the wording and went for French. J’adore? I like? No! Je t’aime? Love? Yes! And the reply? Non? Oui? Moi? Yes. Moi but with a question mark. I love you! Who me? A bit of a humour for my long train journey to work. No one would know but myself. After all, it’s personal.
Anyway, I transferred all the design onto the shoe and with some very relaxing music playing in the background, I proceeded to paint the shoes. When I finished, I realised that the whole afternoon has flitted by. The expression “Where has the time gone?” seemed very apt.
Learning from my past mistakes, I managed to get a very fine brush to paint the details. Even with some breathing exercises and extremely steady hands, I still find it very difficult to paint those fine lines but the proper tools does help immensely. Before long, this project was completed and after being sealed with a waterproof sealant, I put it next to the radiator to dry.
I itching to do more painting but with the lack of blank canvas shoes, I guess I may have to resort back to painting on canvas. Not that I’m complaining.