This shoe portrait is an homage to my late cousin Sandra Kehoe. She was a luminous person, significant partner and wife to Dan, and amazing mother to her three boys, Brian, Paul and Scott, and grandmother to Scott's children. Sandy was my mom’s favorite niece and was close to her right up until the end of Sandy’s life. She was a beautiful soul and I felt compelled to create a portrait as part of my shoe series. To do this I began with her sons who helped select a shoe that best represented their mom. I wanted to represent her life, her interests and her being. I will describe the process by areas of the shoe.
The color scheme was based on Sandy’s love of hydrangeas from which I chose violet, blues and greens. The left side of the shoe was a collage of Sandy as mom to three amazing boys and represents a continuum across her life from little children to grown adult men.
The right side of the shoe is a collage of images from her infancy through teens to marriage and retirement.
In the top most part of the shoe is a small collection of crystals representing her and her children. In the toe section of the shoe is a locket on top of photographs of her hydrangeas. Inside the locket are two images: a photo from her nurses’ graduation and a cut silhouette that was made when she was a child. At the strap across the shoe in the center is a lighthouse. This symbol not only represents my view of her spirit as a beacon of light but it is a motif that shows up in many of her folk art paintings. She loved the ocean and all things associated with it. Which is why the two ‘wings’ that extend from the ends of the lighthouse beacons are represented with beach heather…a material that she loved to decorate with which her son Paul and I would collect when we kayaked along the shore in Eastham on Cape Cod.
Sandy loved to paint in a folk art style inspired by the work of Warren Kimble. For the interior, I made photographs of all of Sandy’s work and I synthesized a composition using many of the elements from her paintings. Hidden underneath the strap I glued a very small starfish as a second representation of her spirit. In the lower section, cradled in the strap is a snowman, another one of Sandy’s favorite motifs (she would display over 100 of them during the winter holidays.) She loved decorating for the holidays, early on for her boys and then later for her grandchildren. The most extensive displays were created for Halloween, Christmas and the Fourth of July, so I incorporated all of those themes into my ‘snowman’.
On the exterior is beach sand and natural elements representing her love of the sea. On the very bottom is the third and final representation of Sandra’s spirit…a feather, which still dances around as the air around it sees fit.
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An interdisciplinary artist writing on art and art making.