Sunday, March 31, 2013

Antique Easter Greeting

Antique Easter card, postmark dated 1911 
I have been collecting old post cards for a few years now, mostly choosing ones that have old postmarks and cute visuals or messages.  This is one of my favourites and it is more than vintage, it's a bonafide antique, being over 100 years old ! A sweet Easter card, with pretty spring landscape, an Easter Lily and such a cute Easter chick.  I love the typography on this card too, a beautiful lettering for the message.

Wishing all a happy peaceful Easter.  Nearly over here in Australia, just starting in USA.  Europe half way through !

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Perfect Pink

Dear All, I meant it when I said I would do more posting...and could not resist adding this little post about colour mixing.  You can see why I find selling decorative paint to be creative--I love colour mixing and I love working with colour (and pattern, texture, etc).

Good friend and artist Jacqueline Coates (try for more info on Jacqueline's work)  is seeking the perfect vivid and deep pink colour for her Salon Rouge Gallery decor  (see for more detail).  If we can get it right, she may paint some of the gallery in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint, and source the paint from our boutique, Brocante in the Barossa.  She called in yesterday to pick up flowers at neighbouring Viva The Flower Store boutique (see for info) and looked at some of the colour charts I had.  None was EXACTLY right, yet.  But I agreed to work on mixing some colours today and paint up some swatches for her consideration this week.

Colour Mixing dabs, marks, and notes.  Entered
into my copy of the Annie Sloan Work Book

Here is what I came up with.  Colours I mixed are Emperor's Silk, a brilliant bright red.  Greek Blue, a clear blue, a bit on the cooler side (I am sure it has
some magenta in it, just a teeny bit).  And Pure White, for a clear bright neutral white that has no yellow, blue, pink or grey in it.

I needed to knock back the Emperor's Silk a bit, to bring things closer to the magenta side of the equation, instead of scarlet.  So I added a bit of Greek Blue.  It changed the character of Emperor's Silk only slightly, but that is because Emperor's Silk is very strong, and is not a shy character at all !  A bit of Pure White made things look more pink, but the colour was not deep and vivid as I thought Jacqueline is seeking.  So more Emperor's Silk and more Greek Blue.  Much better.  Adding more Greek Blue pulled things towards (blue) violet.  More Emperor's Silk pulled it back to magenta.  And adding more Pure White tinted it carnation pink.

I think it is possible the two dabs at the bottom are what she is after. I think the one on the left is about right, but it could be the one to its right, or a mix of those together.  We shall see !

This was the fun bit of the afternoon !

A Grand Opening !

Yours Truly, working to prep an old chair
before painting
Again I have been quiet on this channel and will be working to post a bit more often going forward.  But with some new channels and business venture, I have been a bit busy.  Here are a few things to bring you up to date, if you aren't already Liking our Brocante in the Barossa's Facebook page or  Pinterest page.

As I mentioned before, we have a local business venture going and Ian and just launched our interior decor Brocante in the Barossa boutique yesterday, with a Grand Opening...Open for business then an Open Shop Celebration in the evening.  We have been doing heaps of work leading up to this:  business planning, logistics, supply chain, a shop fit out build, set up, and now we are open.  We still have more inventory to acquire or take delivery of, to fill the store up more...but we have the core start and are adding complementary products.  So exciting times !

Complementary colours and mixing using
the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint range,
 painted into our shop copy of the
Annie Sloan Work Book
One of the key and exciting products we are bringing to the local and regional market is the Annie Sloan product range, including the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint.  You can read about the product on  We are delighted to be an Annie Sloan stockist and Ian and I attended retailer training in Melbourne in February.  Since then we have done planning about what our initial order would be of the product and also a lot of work preparing some product displays and marketing, including local ads.

The product is very expressive artistically, and I look forward to working more with it.  I have done a couple workshops when in USA last year and also the retailer training was very informative.   I am so impressed with the product and how easily it can be used to achieve beautiful effect for furniture, walls, floors, and other items around the home.  I certainly do not see old items in my home the same way anymore--they are all getting sized up for a paint job !!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint can be
used for gilding.  Use acrylic
gold size (fast drying) over the
painted surface, lay on the gold
(or other metal) leaf onto the size.
Seal with the soft wax.
 I have been bringing sample jars and a few tins of this paint back in my checked bags when traveling from USA to here.  It's water based paint and can travel, though TSA sure does test it to be sure its really paint (yes, they have opened the tins and the small sample jars too, a few of which have then leaked in my bag !).  I have not been able to get the Annie Sloan Soft Wax product here, as it cannot travel in commercial airlines, even in the hold.  I have been using various other products I have found, but none as easy to use or as effective as the Annie Sloan Soft Wax.  So I am delighted we got delivery of our first inventory yesterday, and I have a few tins earmarked for shop stock, so I can do some items we have painted up to sell in the boutique.
Transformation of chair I was prepping
 in top photo above.  Painted and waxed in
Deep Ocean Waters finish.

The chair to right is an example of how artistic this product can be.  This was done in a pale olive colour  called Versailles as an undercoat.  A rich warm blue base coat, called Aubusson Blue.  It is nearly teal.  The chair may look teal, but that is because I lightly distressed the Aubusson Blue to expose a bit of Versailles.  And I applied a dry brush wash of a vivid deep coppery green called Florence over the distressed parts.  The chair got sealed with a clear wax finish and then just a little  bit of antiquing wax has been used to bring out the carved detail in the back and turned spindles and legs.  The result is a finish I call Deep Ocean Waters.  It looks like the water I have seen when boating in New Zealand, when the sun is shining over the deep sea water and looks deep teal and aqua colours.  This chair is in our boutique window display (and it is for sale).

Painted finish on metal clock
frame, showing beautiful
 vivid coppery greens.

Those of you who recall my verdigris lions and other green moods in my paintings might not be surprised by this next project.  The clock here is a little IKEA hack,   I took a metal enamelled IKEA wall clock and put Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on it.  Yes, it sticks to metal !!  This is one reason I did the project, to show customers that the paint sticks to nearly all surfaces, including metal.  For paintwork, I used layers and blends of Florence, Antibes Green, and Old Ochre.  Applied a clear wax layer to seal the paint.  Then I distressed the painted finish with a very light hand.   And lightly applied a dark antiquing wax to deepen the coppery green colour.  The clock is now on the boutique wall, by our counter.

Novice job comes good.  Stencilled feature wall.
 For a feature wall in the boutique we stencilled an allover damask pattern onto the wall.  Using Royal Design Studio's Antionette Damask  stencil and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco colour, which looks like hot chocolate with a bit of milk in it.  I had no prior experience and was pretty happy with the result, which looks like old fashioned block printed wall paper !  Most people who see this wall think it is wall paper, and are amazed it only took half a day to do this !  I am so impressed with the Royal Design Studio product, that we will be retailing their products in our business.  We are now putting together our first order, so hard to choose from their many gorgeous patterns !  To see more about the company and its products, see
Laser cut letters by JAG Signs.
Letters are painted and
installed on the feature wall

Our sign writer has been busy this week.  Laser cut letters  for inside feature wall signage, and we painted them in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colour Graphite.
Window signage !

Outside, we now have signs on the faschia marquis area.

And a best I could do in that light shot.  Showing the signs done for our windows, including the Annie Sloan stockist logo badges.

exterior signage, shown from Murray Street, Angaston
                                                                                      More soon about how its all set up inside.  We have started selling the paint.  And we have begun taking bookings for the April sessions of the Introductory Workshop series covering basics of using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint product.

More  in a post soon about the artistic directions planned for this business !  And as soon as the new website is ready, I will post a link to that too  (its under construction currently, another week and it will launch)