28 October 2021

Welcome to my new Painter in Residence, Sabah

My newest PIR will be the fabulously bold, colour confident, and jaw-droppingly prolific Sabah Bardhan of Just Restore. Sabah is based in the UAE and has only been painting furniture for two years!

“I wanted to try something new creatively and canvas just didn’t cut it for me anymore. So, I painted some old stools which were lying around the house and the furniture painting obsession took over! I started painting any furniture in sight and to my surprise, after I posted the stools I painted on social media, people wanted to buy them. Surprisingly, it was my husband who discovered Chalk Paint® for me. I was using any paint medium I had at home to paint furniture when I started out when he chanced upon the Chalk Paint stockist, Artistique, here in Dubai. He asked some questions to the lady at the shop and came rushing home to tell me he had found paint specifically for furniture. I drove up there immediately and bought my first few pots and that was my first date with Chalk Paint. There was no looking back after that.”

I first discovered Sabah on Instagram when I saw a wardrobe she painted in the traditional Indian Madhubani style of Art (pictured above). The background of Chalk Paint® in Amsterdam Green makes a luxurious and dramatic statement against which her portraits shine. This piece was informed by Sabah’s childhood in Mumbai, which she frequently looks to for inspiration).

“I was a cabin crew for 12 years and was fortunate to travel around the world. I take most of my inspiration from the beautiful memories and photographs that I took when I visited so many cities. I found the by lanes, restaurants, flowers and foliage, souvenirs, traditional costumes, landscapes, etc all fascinating and captured those wonderful moments, which I now revisit every now and then when I want to draw on inspiration”.

Like myself, Saban seeks inspiration from the art world, too. She named Gustav Klimt in particular because of “his use of gold in his paintings, which I am partial to”.

“I find the work of Diane Hill absolutely hypnotic when it comes to Chinoiserie. There is so much to learn from her. I could watch her paint for hours Closer home, I have to mention my father. He is the one person I have learned all I know from, and he is an exceptional artist. He taught me how to be patient when I paint so that I never miss any attention to detail. He always pushes me to add more detail, an extra feather here, another stroke there, a deeper shadow in one corner, the list goes on”

“I most enjoy painting birds, especially the Japanese cranes. They are extremely majestic, graceful and have such beautiful movements.”

For me, Sabah is an artist and through. Her medium may be furniture rather than canvas, but as these pieces attest, she has a rare talent. For her PIR pieces, she’ll be providing step-by-steps, helping you to unlock your inner artist too and to be bolder and more creative with your work. I’ll leave you with these inspiring words from Sabah on her painting philosophy…

“ The best thing about art is that there is no wrong or right. The artist decides what meaning a particular piece of work has to it. Sometimes, the first try looks the best and sometimes the tenth. What is important to remember is that what may work for you may not work for the other and vice versa. Not everyone needs to have a steady hand to try painting an artwork, there are so many different types of art and mediums available to create what you want and that is what I have explored in my pieces as Painter in Residence. You can paint as proportionately as you like, or exaggerate any aspect, like I did for the features of the Indian couple. I’d love for everyone reading the step by step to enjoy the process and see how it evolves, try more colour or less, make it darker or lighter, do what makes you feel happy!”

Be sure to follow Sabah’s journey on social media and check my Inspiration Page for the step-by-steps.

7 April 2021

Welcome to my latest Painter in Residence, Olivia Lacy

I’m delighted to announce Connecticut based, American furniture artist Olivia Lacy, of Pigeon & Pip as my latest Painter In Residence. Please join me in helping to make her feel welcome!

Pigeon and Pip’s work is Immediately identifiable thanks to her signature whimsical, theatrical, charming style. She has deftly brought imagination and surrealism to the art of furniture painting and created a kind of Alice in Wonderland universe of furniture. Follow her journey as she demonstrates how to use Chalk Paint® to bring a sprinkling of magic to your furniture and home.

I first became aware of Pigeon and Pip when she spotted Olivia’s painted trompe l’oeil bed headboard on Instagram. The headboard had been painted with a pastoral scene, typical of Renaissance painters and grand stately homes. The structural elements have been highlighted with Gold Gilding Wax and in the middle of the bed sits Olivia – transported by the latest issue of my Bookazine, The Colourist. I was, of course, charmed!

Here I’ve spoken to Olivia about her career thus far and selected some of my favourite pieces of her work so that you can be as excited for this collaboration as we are here at Chalk Paint® HQ.

“Painting furniture took hold of me when I was a stay-at-home Mom, when my kids were small and I needed a creative outlet that was also useful. I turned my attention to the outdated, hand-me-down furniture that resided in our house. I painted nearly everything, it felt like functional art, and I didn’t want to stop”.

“Years later my obsession of finding and painting old furniture has turned into a business, taken over the garage, and occasionally drives my family crazy. My husband devotes hours to driving me around the state to pick up these hidden gems. My father helps me with any structural repairs out of my league. My kids groan as they snake their way through the furniture paths in the garage trying to get bikes or sleds or hockey bags out... but they all love and support me, so they deal with my passion”.

“After some early failed attempts painting furniture, I was introduced to Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan. Chalk Paint® is a dream to work with, very forgiving and all the colours complement each other so well with very little effort. I live in New England and I think my colour choices reflect that. I am drawn to those “hardy” New England colours that are understanding of small children and pets and toss in an unexpected element of colour or design to make sure it doesn’t get too serious”.

“Inspiration for my work comes from my childhood and was renewed through the eyes of my own children. I spent my summer days playing in the woods and the brooks with my sister. Always creating a "secret" world where magical things would happen. I try to capture that whimsy and childlike magic in my work. My youngest son has an incredible imagination and often helps me with staging ideas for my furniture, while my oldest son is sure to step in and let me know if things don’t look up to par.”

“Overall, I would say painting furniture has become a family affair. I’m thrilled to show my work as Annie Sloan’s Painter In Residence.”

If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to see Pigeon and Pip’s work. Her first work as PIR will be shared on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter tomorrow. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please show your appreciation for Pigeon and Pip’s work by following her on social media! The Painters in Residence programme is an unpaid opportunity for talented craftspeople to meet a wider audience and your support is so valuable.