What’s the least-conventional thing you’ve ever painted on? A windowpane? Maybe a tree branch?
What about shoes?
Canvas is canvas, right? At least, that’s how I see it.
For this project, I picked up a pair of plain, white shoes from a local thrift shop and gave them a brand new life using Golden High Flow Acrylics.
The High Flow line is perfect for working with stuff like clothing because the fibers just soak it right up and it doesn’t bleed the way dyes would!
I began the way I would with any other painting, by sketching out my design.
I have always loved the Almond Blossoms series that Van Gogh did, and I thought it was especially cool the way someone made two of the paintings overlap, like this:
So I planned to do one shoe in teal and the other in red!
I wasn’t sure how much–or if at all–the paint would darken once on the shoe, so I did a test swatch on the back. I was surprised to see that, even though the tone had lowered a bit, the color was still incredibly vibrant!
I kept this tone, and filled in the rest of the background. I also mixed darker parts (using more Cerulean Blue Hue or Transparent Dioxazine Purple) to give it some depth and splotch it up the way Vince did
My next step was one of the trickier ones…the branches. Van Gogh used a TON of different shades and hues when he painted, so I wanted to make sure I did him justice by mixing a bunch of different greens, browns, and peach colors.
(The greens were primarily Teal, Diarylide Yellow, and Cerulean Blue Hue. The browns were Dioxazine Purple and Diarylide Yellow. And the peach was Diarylide Yellow and Transparent Naphthol Red Light mixed into some Titanium White.)
After what felt like a lifetime of mixing dozens of colors, the branches were finished!
Then it was on to my flowers:
The flowers were mostly Titanium White with a smidgen of Teal and Diarylide Yellow. I also added darker-yellow accents to try and mimic the brush strokes from the painting.
And with a final touch of lining sections of the branches and flowers in Carbon Black, this shoe was all done! (Click to enlarge for details)
Not bad, huh?
I kicked off my red shoe by dousing (basically) the entire thing in Transparent Naphthol Red Light.
The good thing about these transparent colors is just that–they’re transparent!
I began to paint around my branches, but once I realized I’d still be able to see them through the paint, I threw caution to the wind and painted everything!
So just like the teal shoe, I finished the background and added a few darker spots.
Next, I mixed up this gunky-looking brown by combining literally all of my colors: Purple, Yellow, Teal, Blue, Red, and Black.
Once I had that base color, I was able to come in with the teal and reddish-orange highlights Van Gogh used in his painting.
After my branches were dry, I added my flowers (Titanium White, Diarylide Yellow, Transparent Naphthol Red Light).
And, once again, with some intricate lining in Carbon Black, another complete shoe emerged!
When I was positive they were both dry, I sealed them with two coats of Golden Soft Gel Medium (Semi-Gloss) to combat fading and scuffing. The Soft Gel is the perfect consistency because it still dries super flexible–very important when it comes to shoes!
And once that dried, I laced them up and admired my work!
And here’s Van Gogh’s again, for comparison:
I’d like to think this homage to his creation would flatter ol’ Vince.
If not, I certainly love them and I can’t wait to wear them!
Have any of you painted on shoes before? What IS something weird you’ve painted on?
Share your tips and stories in the comments!