This painting has been one that I have thought about making for many years, and have finally brought into realization during this strange time of a global pandemic. The subject matter is my studio mate, fiancé and partner of many years, Francis Waplinger, who is a bespoke shoemaker. This painting afforded me the opportunity of capturing Francis at work. I created this fully from life, with Francis making a shoe by hand at his work bench, surrounded by his tools, with my paintings hanging behind him.
I am offering the viewer a glimpse of Francis in action. I strove to capture the physicality of his craft- the concentration, the strength to stretch the leather, hammer the nails, and carry out the 300 plus steps to create a handmade pair of shoes.
The painting is not only a portrait, but a figure in the interior and a still life, all rolled into one. It is a celebration of his unique vocation, and a marriage of our two passions: shoemaking and painting.