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Why Shoes?

"First Shoes" - 6"x6" acrylic on canvas

"First Shoes" is my latest small painting, and one of my pieces currently in an Austin gallery group show that runs through January 5, 2020.

When I was dropping off my paintings for the show, a couple of people asked me, "Why shoes?" It's not the first time I've been asked, so I thought it would be a good topic to address in a blog post.

My shoe portraits are less about the shoes themselves and more about the wearer of the shoes - or, more accurately, the memories, sentiments and stories tied to the owners of the shoes. Perhaps they were the pair a child took their first steps in, or a child's favorite pair they insisted on wearing daily until they no longer fit or were worn through. Maybe they are a pair that represent something their owner is passionate about - dance, athletics, fashion. Perhaps they are connected to a profession such as service in the military. They could be associated with a special event, such as a first dance or a wedding. Whatever the pair - it's the story that lives in them that brings the paintings to life.

I can always tell when people "get it" at an art show because they immediately begin sharing shoe stories. I love seeing their faces light up as they tell me all about the shoes that hold special memories for them. That reaction - that joyful reminiscence - that is why I paint the shoe portraits.

Do you have a story about a favorite pair of shoes? Post it in the comments - I'd love to hear it!


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