'Lady with the Red Shoes', silk necklace, by Katie Alleva, 2013. 

'Lady with the red shoes', Watercolour and ink on paper, Katie Alleva, 2007.

'Lady with the red shoes', was made in 2007. I was running a market stall at the Byron, Bangalow and Channon Art & Craft markets at the time and there was quite a bit of interest in this style of imagery and medium. I ended up making a series of these ladies. They were all standing under trees at night with a bird watching them, however this is the only painting where the lady is wearing red shoes. 

Coincidently I was reading 'Women who run with wolves' and it was no walk in the park as it took me a year to read. One of the chapters caught my attention and it was Clarissa's analysis of the cautionary tale originally written by Hans Christian Anderson. You can find an insightful analysis here by Vivienne Tuffnell and/or read the short version of the tale here but I recommend buying the book, Women who run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD.

Now be warned it is a dark tale and one that is about addiction and therefore is about the choices we make. However, the image I created has an element of positivity (of course!), after all it is just a fairytale. In my picture the lady is dreaming of her hopes and dreams and she has the red shoes on. However, she is standing under the 'tree of life' and it's luminous golden aura is offering her one last chance to rid herself of her dark addiction. The scene marks a major turning point in her life. 

The bird is the listener, and it is waiting for her to let go, unwrap herself, open her eyes and awake from her slumber and confront what it is that keeps her engulfed in the darkness. She is tired and it is time for her to fight her way back to the light and finally take off the red shoes.

Detail, 'Lady with the red shoes', digitally printed silk fabric and wooden beads, Katie Alleva, 2013.


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