Archive for December 30, 2012

Lets take a look at some painters of SHOES…..

I enjoy looking at objects that humans have in common over the centuries. Items such as shoes, combs, rings and jewelry, coffee cups all interest me a great deal. It intrigues me to see the changes in technology and human desires on the change of these products over the years.

If you love shoes, the first artist to talk about would be Wayne Thiebaud. I have written about the artist’s wonderful paintings of food such as cakes and donuts, but he also has made some wonderful art concerning shoes. This piece is titled Shoe Row.  Thiebaud is still alive today and was a leader in the Pop Art movement.


Below is a great color version of his artwork.


Another artist working with shoes, in this case ballet shoes, is Deborah Bays. Bays works frequently in pastels and oils working mainly with the still life. She even sells her prep drawings and sketches of ballet shoes alongside her original art. From a collector standpoint its fun to see the process of an idea from a sketch to a finished painting.  An example of Deborah Bays artwork is below. She achieves great depth in her paintings of shoes by placing them at great angles to lead the viewer into a painting. Similar to the way an artist might place a long stemmed flower on a table to give the art dimensionality.


Here is a wonderful drawing made by the artist and our suject du jour!


A link to the website of Deborah Bays:

And of course we cannot forget my favorite artist of all time Andy Warhol. The master business artist made his way to the top by taking the ordinary and making it come to life on paper. Simple items from a cigarette package or soup can or shoe were made in exquisite works of art. Warhol made many works using shoes as the subject including heels, boots, and flats. Below is a clip from the Museum of Modern Art located in Nice, France that has a  serigraph by Warhol that was embellished with diamond dust. What a great sense of design by  the master!

Here is a gallery showing the many varieties of shoes painted by Andy.

When it comes to painting the footwear of cowboys and the western life no one is more skilled than Nelson Boren. The artist paints his shoes with the people wearing them. The viewer is left to imagine what the rest of the person looks like and if there are a pair of shoes what the situation might be. Boren enjoys working in watercolors. Below is a wonderful example of his artwork.


A link to Nelson Boren’s website:


My favorite work of art I have seen personally within the past month were wonderful paintings with shoes as the subject by Van Gogh. The pieces are part of the exhibit at the Denver Art Museum until January 2013. I highly recommend visiting the show and you can see how great Van Gogh was with color. In one still life we see a grouping of brightly lit oranges on a table that appear ready to burst with color! Below is an example of  Van Gogh’s work with shoes.



Its true, I saved my favorite shoe artist for last! He comes from Holland and his name is Diederick Kraaijeveld. He works with one of the things I love BASKETBALL. He also doesn’t use any paint.  He uses found wood for his art and the wood is already colored so he sees no reason to change it.  Under his artistic medium it lists colour salvaged wood!  How unique! Below an example of the Kraaijeveld style.


A link to the artist’s website:

In this clip we visit the artist’s studio warehouse. Its great to see all the different shapes and colours he has found over the years. As he says in the beginning of the clip, he makes nice things out of what people throw away!


I hope this post got you to think about the many types of shoes warn by people throughout the world. Not only in modern times, but over the thousands of years. From a simple sandle to a Jimmy Choo they are fantastic subjects for their designs and color!


Artist of the moment…….Fletcher Martin…..

Fletcher Martin was born in 1904 in the city of Palisade, Colorado. He was basically self- taught as an artist. Growing up his family moved in various cities in the west. His father owned and ran the local newspaper in Palisade.

The artist didn’t graduate from high school. He started working in the print industry at the age of twelve.

Martin gained national recognition as an artist by working as a war correspondant for LIFE magazine. This took place in 1943 and the article was thirteen pages in length. His art was also featured on the cover of the magazine. Below is a picture of his cover art for the LIFE magazine issue.


Martin was the recepient of some Works Progress Murals. He was known for painting prize fighters and boxers. He himself was a boxer in the Navy.

Fletcher Martin also taught art at the collegiate level. He was part of the faculty at University of Florida, State University of Iowa, the University of Florida, the San Antonio Art Institute, and Washington State University.

Of course when it comes to subject matter, the artist reminds me of the great George Bellows. Below is a great example of a fight scene lithograph by George Bellows. Bellows is also reknown for his outstanding landscapes.


In this clip from Sotheby’s of Australia see a famed work by Fletcher Martin come up on the auction block. His painting is featured at the two minute mark into the segment.

Fletcher Martin was an avid sports enthusiast who was himself was a boxer in the Navy.

Steve Huston is a wonderful artist that I have had the pleasure of seeing him give a demo in person. He uses sand paper on most of his works at some point in his painting. His process involves making a color statement, then sanding some paint off, and repeating the process. He enjoys working with the male figure and paints construction workers and boxers. Below is an exampleo of Huston’s artwork. Huston worked in the commercial illustration field designing movie posters for ten years before turning to selling his originals in galleries.


Fletcher Martin is included in the Denver Art Museum collection and the United States Library of Congress.

Martin passed away in 1979 at the age of seventy five.

Price range information:  The artist has many lithographs that range in price from $50 to $3,000. Works in watercolor and acrylics can be found $1,000 to $3,000. Woodcuts start at a few hundred dollars. Works in oils range from $1,000 to $84,000.

The most remarkable item about this artist is his background. If you take the opportunity to view drawings by any of these artists working with the boxing figure, you will notice that each does an excellent job of making the arms in their paintings appear to move with their soft edges. Also each artist is a wonderful draughtsman with a heavy emphasis of dark and light in their works.

Try drawing or painting a boxing figure today!