Chalk Paint Colour Card

18 September 2014

Janice Issitt's Boho Bathroom

The first project from Painter in Residence Janice Issitt is this fabulous boho bathroom painted in my paint, Chalk Paint®

Janice started this project by creating a floral backdrop using my Decoupage Glue and Varnish and Pierre-Joseph Redouté's rose illustrations. Rather than working with decoupage on furniture, she decided to use it on a large scale, creating this eye-popping wallpaper effect.

Next, Janice wanted to match the colour on her enamel bathtub. She mixed together Antibes and Old White to create a similar hue and used this to paint the wooden chair and shelf, shown in the background.

To give this a boho edge, Janice works in bright contrasting colours. She created the pink on the chest and shelf using a mix made from Emperor's Silk, Henrietta and Old White.

The shelf also features flashes of Provence, Burgundy and Florence.

Thank you to Janice's local Stockists, Making the Best in Leighton Buzzard, UK for lending the vintage towels, bath products and red trug!

Have you used Chalk Paint® in your bathrooms?

Yours, Annie

Follow this blog for exclusive pics from Janice's residency and follow her on InstagramFacebook, and her

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.

15 September 2014

Introducing Painter in Residence Janice Issitt

I chose Janice Issitt to be a Painter in Residence because I love her use of bright, clashing colours and patterns. I knew she'd be absolutely perfect for it.

Hi I’m Janice Issitt and I like weird colour combinations, and things that stand out with a punch. I guess that has come from my travels to India, Sweden Morocco, South America, and Japan. I like collecting things from all these places and working out how to put them together in an interior so it works. I find quite often it’s the colours that tie in the objects from places as far apart as Mumbay and Malmo.

Every picture tells a story – and my tattoo art does just that.

I worked in the music biz for a big record company which kindled my love of travel and photography. I use my house as my studio in which I photograph other peoples products  – people need mood shots and that’s what I do well – I show people how to incorporate that piece into their life (not just a product shot on white background). The whole of my downstairs house is like a giant prop. I’m currently working with West German 1960’s lava ware which has mad colours and effects that look like lava flow. I’m also advising a tattoo salon and I’ve just taken the plunge to tell my life story in tattoos, and I love stencilling. It’s very random.

And Annie's paint? 
I like the quickness of it, creating a colour effect really fast which is what I need to do for my photoshoots. I like my finishes to be either really matte or really shiny, not in between, and many paints just can’t do this. When I put Chalk Paint® on the wall it looks like velvet it doesn’t even look like paint – it looks different in different lights much more so than other paints.

I also really like her Craqueleur for achieving a crackled effect that brings out a depth in the colour and changes the colour.

I heard about Annie’s paint through the grapevine (I was scouring antiques fairs for ‘props’ to paint). I was getting bored with the other paint colours on offer so I starting buying tester pot after tester pot after tester pot of Chalk Paint® and realising that this is fantastic. I don’t have an allergy to this paint (I did to other brands) and I really like the colours and the fact that it was quick, so when you’re styling up for a photo session that’s great for creating a really beautifully coloured backdrop.

I like the fact that Annie is a businesswomen but she also has the creative flair. She’s very influential, she’s got a ‘history’, you can’t deny what she’s done and she’s done it a long while and she stuck to what she believes in for many, many years when it wasn’t as popular as it is now.

What you’ll see from me
So I’m really looking forward to showing my projects which include an Art Deco cupboard using Florence but crackled and dark wax and it looks really wicked and done with lots of gold and copper leaf – I’m really enjoying playing with these effects. I’m also styling a garden summer house (let’s say it ain’t no shed!) with stencilled panelled screens, dyed lace curtains painted in Emperor’s Silk and Henrietta, a little old cabinet in Antibes Green with Craqueleur and gold leaf, and a massive snowflake in  pink to name a few bits and pieces.

Heres a sneak peak of projects to come from Janice:

Follow this blog for exclusive pics from Janice's residency and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog:

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.

Chalking up bold ideas

‘Endless possibilities’, I really feel those two words totally underpin what I’m trying to achieve with my paint, Chalk Paint®. It’s been my mantra ever since I started painting interiors in the 1980s.

And it’s inspired me now to set up my ‘Painters in Residence’ programme. Why Painters in Residence? Well, in the course of running my business for over 25 years, I’ve met and seen many wonderful people doing creative things with my paints. And I’ve been wanting to find a way to collaborate with so many like-minded people and showcase the high-quality, innovative, and sometimes ‘leftfield’ things they are doing with Chalk Paint® and other Annie Sloan products. Painters in Residence seems such a neat answer.

Painters in Residence 

The concept is very loosely based on the way an art gallery or museum will, from time to time, have an ‘artist in residence’ to inhabit those places as a way to get inspired to create their own works inside or outside the venue. 

My first three talented PIRs already use Chalk Paint® (that’s part of the remit), and I’ve chosen them because they are bold with my paint and prepared to ‘give it a go’. They won’t be taking up residence at Annie Sloan HQ, but they will be exploring the boundaries of decorative painting – the ‘what if?’ and ‘why not?’ when using my paint – as well as showing how easy it is to use my products.

As you’ll see in future posts – and if you look on their websites (see below) – they are all different in approach, colour, tone and textures and their styles range from French elegance to funky Bohemian to quirky rustic country fused with loud fabrics. 

The first three Painters in Residence are:

Janice Issitt:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Alex Russell Flint:

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Beau Ford:

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Follow the hashtag #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook to see more projects. Or follow my new 'Painters in Residence' Pinterest board. It’s going to be eye-catching and attention grabbing and all about thinking outside the box (or paint pot)!

Yours, Annie

P.S. I'll be announcing the next set of Painters in Residence in a few weeks time. The PIR programme is by invitation only (we will not be accepting applications at this stage).

9 September 2014

True Blue

It’s great to have Napoleonic Blue back in my Chalk Paint® colour range here in Europe; and for all my customers around the world who've been familiar with it for years, here’s a timely reminder of just what a deep, rich and warm blue it really is.

My inspiration isn’t the diminutive Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte himself, but the classic French Empire style he put his emperor’s seal to. It’s like saying ‘Victorian’ to describe an era rather than Queen Victoria herself, and to that extent Napoleonic Blue represents a ‘regimented’ style: it’s dark, it’s rich, it’s a bit ‘masculine’, I suppose. The French Empire style under Napoleon borrowed wholesale from classical Greece and Rome in a grand style with military motifs and masculine colours (and don’t forget Napoleon had conquered Egypt, which was yet another classical influence with its vibrant azure blues, rich greens, red ochre and acid yellows).

Pigments – something borrowed, something blue

Some of my stockists have likened Napoleonic Blue to the colour of freshly picked blueberries, and even the perfect blue for creating the Union Jack flag (though I’m not sure what the French would think of this!). I see it as a homage to ‘ultramarine blue’, which was extracted from the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli – the incredibly bright blue pigment that was reputedly more expensive than gold in medieval times and the forerunner of all artists’ blues. It was used by some Medieval and Renaissance artists strictly to paint Mary and Jesus’ robes.

The history of colour in Art (which I studied) is a bit of a detective story and is fascinating in itself – but it boils down to the discovery of pigments. These are very fine powders sourced from the earth, from plants (and from dyes and synthetic materials). They’re a bit like spices with varying strengths and properties – some are opaque, some are like grains, some mix with oil, while others work better with water. There are actually no blue pigments you can find straight from the earth, so it’s always been a complicated and expensive process to get that 'true' blue (as with lapis lazuli).

Something versatile, something new

The great thing about Napoleonic Blue is that because it’s so rich and warm and strong and pure, I can see it being used in so many different ways. As a 'regal' stand alone, or with whites for example as you get all these pale warm blues. If you add dark wax it makes it silkier, deeper and even more gorgeous. Here are some neat ideas (below) found online:

The colour is absolutely tailor-made for neoclassical interiors but also works very well with the Swedish style. It’s a winning combination (well, it was for Napoleon till he met his Waterloo).

And although it refers back to the past it also has a more modern feel 1960’s pop art feel to it too – that bright blue used with orange or the bright-blue-with-bright-green mix so it looks fantastic with or over Barcelona Orange (which also gives it a truer navy blue) as well as with Antibes Green (see below).

Just looking at my Chalk Paint® colour card, you can see the range of blues goes from violet and lavender blues to grey blues, navy blues and the greenish hues of turquoise. Aubusson Blue for example, is from Prussian Blue, a cold, greeny blue, whereas Napoleonic Blue is a warm blue with the faintest hint of red (so it makes for a great purple – a favourite colour of Napoleon’s).

To get a warm blue you need an undertone of red and more red will give you a good purple especially with a bit of white added. When combined with Old White or Paris Grey, Napoleonic Blue can be used to create a really mellow farmhouse grey blue. When you start mixing my blues with other hues in the colour wheel, you’ll really notice just how vast the blue colour range is.

I created my paint, Chalk Paint®, from the idea of the artist using a palette to mix colours rather than robotically selecting from a bewildering kaleidoscopic chart – so go on, use Napoleonic Blue and be an artist!

Yours, Annie

P.S. I would like to thank my stockists and others for some of the ideas shown here via Pinterest and blogs which I acknowledge below. Apologies if I have omitted anyone! Search #Napoleonic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more inspiration.

Finding Silver Pennies for the ‘grain sack dresser’

21 July 2014

Brush up on your brushes

I’m delighted to write that you can now get to grips with my latest additions to the Annie Sloan brush range in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I’m actually really excited about that because I spent a lot of time working on the functionality and feel of the brushes to get them just right. ‘Hold on,’ you say, ‘they’re just paint brushes?’ Uh-uh.

They are personally designed, bespoke tools-of-the-trade that’ll make painting furniture and finishes suddenly a lot easier and even more enjoyable! Here’s how…

Putting our brushes through the paces
It’s all in the detail the saying goes, so Felix Sloan and I started our designs by observing attendees first-hand at workshop after workshop, and we watched video after video of people painting with our brushes. (It really was more exciting than watching paint dry!) 

Our research, combined with my own innate sense of what works and what doesn’t (well, I have been painting furniture for several decades!) led us on a journey to hone the best-suited grips and brush hair for our unique decorative paint, Chalk Paint®, and Soft Wax.

Putting the brushes through their paces I noticed, for instance, how I personally (and others) hold the brushes on the ferrule (the metal ring), rather than the handle when waxing: so we designed the wax brushes specifically with an oversized ferrule. I hope you’ll like these new smooth, ergonomic handles (below). They give good purchase as you get into those hard to reach contours and crevices.

Tailored in Italy

My two new Wax Brushes (above) come with specially shaped tips so you can get the wax into detailed areas and move them around in tight spaces. As with my pure bristle paintbrush, the wax brushes are hand-made in Italy by a family-run business. It’s been running for donkey's years – one member who first worked there as a boy in the 1940s, still drops in every day. This firm makes brushes to the highest standards and bespoke quality doesn’t come cheap. But it does come with more pure bristles per pad than your average brush; and that concentration of pure bristles means you can hold lots of wax in one dip.

The tips have also been shaped rather than cut to keep the bristles' natural, ultra-soft split ends. The short bristles are super smooth allowing you to brush the wax on easily rather than labour with excessive elbow grease.

Quick care tip: As the bristles are real hair, treat them as you would your own hair, i.e. wash them well with warm water and a very little mild soap to wash the wax out.

Natural strokes for natural folks

I’ve designed my round, slightly tapered Pure Bristle Brushes (above) specifically for expressive brush work. These real bristles are naturally split at the ends so they can so they can give soft edges to hold a lot of paint – which you need to do to create my signature textured finishes! The pure bristles are very resilient so that as they slowly wear down, the ends will always naturally split keeping your brush in ideal condition.

Quick care tip: If you're only using them with Chalk Paint®, simply rinse with water. There's no need to use soap. Hang them up to dry so the wood and ferule don't get damaged.

Blue, blue my world is blue…

I’ve also introduced two new Flat Brushes (one small, one large) with super soft blue synthetic fibres, these are the smoothest fibres we can find.  The flat ends and soft fibres help you apply the paint evenly, eliminate brush marks, and give you a smooth soft edge for a silky finish. I think the colour is pretty funky too.

Quick care tipYou can tie through some fabric or shoelaces or string so they can hang out to dry after washing. Or just hang them on a wall hook or nail! (Photo above from Stockist Les Couronnes Sauvages in France)

All in all my latest brushes are totally tactile, versatile, durable and reliable. Ok, enough sales pitch, but I’m really proud of the way these have turned out. I think they are brushstrokes of genius. I hope you agree!

Yours, Annie

26 June 2014

“I adore Chicago. It is the pulse of America…”

…said the indomitable actress Sarah Bernhardt, and you kinda have to agree: the city is really buzzy; or as Frank sang it: “Bet your bottom dollar you lose the blues in Chicago”. So after this year’s Annie Sloan Stockist conference in New Orleans I just had to stop off in one of my favourite places. I’ve visited Chicago a few times before, but I’ve never had the time to take it in, or take my husband David with me (seen here snapping the ‘bean’ – more on that below). 

Blueprint for modernism
We stayed at The Langham, a fabulous hotel tucked into the ultimate statement in modernist architecture – the IBM building. And that’s saying something because Chicago is the city of architecture for me. The minimalist steel-and-glass tower (the dark one next to the Trump Tower above right) was designed by Mies van de Rohe, a tour de force of modernism. The building (and Mies himself) just oozes corporate power with its structure, shape and composition. At art school I studied him and the Bauhaus experimental art and design movement of 1930s Germany where he was director. The Nazis forced its closure and Mies came to the USA. He was an unreformed character who liked to puff big cigars and said stuff like “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.” Mies own ‘Barcelona’ chair (below) is a pretty cult object too.

Since college I’ve continued to be immensely interested in the Bauhaus (see my post on Klee) and the later modernist movement – especially because of the gap between people’s perception on the lines of “oh those modern buildings are so ghastly,” and then they see them in the flesh and you hear “oh my aren’t they amazing?” You can’t fail to be impressed by those gleaming high-rises along Lake Shore and dotted around the city.

It’s certainly not painterly, it’s not New Orleans, nor Charleston House (UK) – and there’s little or no colour involved, but it still has an extraordinary exuberance and depth and boldness, which I admire. It’s actually all about form and structure and of course there are other styles to see too, such as postmodernism with its filigree and Chippendale flourishes and the flying buttresses of the early steeple style skyscrapers.

Every building here seems to beckon in some shape or form, or provides a neutral frame or backdrop for another building to emerge or stand out. It’s like having a little bit of one of my neutral colours like Paris Grey next to a bright primary such as Emperor’s Silk!

Ultimate Art House

Chicago also houses one of the most amazing art galleries in the world – the Art Institute of Chicago, in which you could spends literally days there are so many wonderful paintings and furniture pieces. I really like the Post-Impressionist collection here and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1891) in particular. The painting shows people relaxing in a suburban park on an island in the Seine River. 

The scene is stylised, formal, with echoes of Ancient Greece but what really gets me is his mastery of pointillism to capture the qualities of light and harmonies of colour. Stand back and the black looks black from afar, but when you come in close you find it is in fact a mix of orange and blue. That’s pretty much impressionist colour theory and what I base my colours and colour mixing on.

Seurat also re-stretched the canvas so he could add a painted border of red, orange, and blue dots to act as a visual link between the interior of the painting and his specially designed white frame.

Bean around

Outside not far away in Millennium Park we strolled over to walk around and under the most exciting sculpture by English artist Anish Kapoor. It’s called Cloud Gate but most people know it as the ‘bean’ for its obvious shape (also a bit like a globule of liquid mercury apparently). 
It’s fun to see this gleaming stainless steel sculpture mirroring Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above as well as the observer! 
Right next to it is a Frank Gehry piece of architecture and again that’s what makes Chicago my kinda town.

Someone suggested to me that Chicago is a sort of a cleaner, more spacious, less frenetic version of New York and I reckon that’s a very apt description.

Yours, Annie

PS. Thought you might like this ‘Skyscraper Cabinet’ I snapped at the Art Institute (by Paul Frankl c.1927).