Koi Fish Chalk Paint® Chest of Drawers
Once again, Painter in Residence JustRestore proves artwork isn’t just for your walls. This stunning chest of drawers has been given a Japanese-inspired makeover fit for The Louvre – using just a handful of Chalk Paint® colours.
We’re delighted to present the fourth project from our reigning Painter in Residence, JustRestore. JustRestore has taken what was a bog-standard piece of furniture and given it something of a Fairy Godmother transformation into a piece of functional art!
Although the end result is fresh and contemporary, the use of Koi fish as a decorative motif is rooted in ancient Japanese tradition. Ornamental koi are synonymous with Japanese culture and are strongly linked to the country’s national identity. As such, they have featured in the domestic and fine arts for centuries. Koi carp are thought to symbolise luck, prosperity, good fortune, and perseverance through adversity. Legends tell of a Koi carp swimming upstream and eventually scaling a waterfall, who was then turned into a dragon as a reward for his determined perseverance. Their courage means they are also often associated with the Japanese Samurai. Naturally, these noble associations have seen Koi used as decorative motifs on everything from children’s toys to ceramics.
JustRestore has opted for an understated backdrop to allow her Koi to really take centre stage. This contemporises the motif. It does also leave very little margin for error; this project is best attempted by those with strong drawing skills. Or, alternatively, for those who are less gifted but want to give something similar a go: you can always “cheat” excellent painting skills by finding illustrations you like – whether on napkins, wrapping paper, or printed from the Internet using a Laser Printer – carefully cut out and decoupage onto your work (as Felix did with the lobster on his Hollywood Regency Desk. You’ll need some Image Medium and some scissors; artistic ability is optional. Click here for our full guide to Image Transfer.
Step by step
1. First, JustRestore thoroughly cleaned the chest of drawers and then painted her base. She used a mix of Chalk Paint® in Paris Grey and Old White to give a very soft backdrop with a slightly cool-toned tint, thanks to the blue pigment in Paris Grey. This contrasts perfectly with the hot colours JustRestore used to paint the Koi carp.
2. Once her base was dry, she used a small piece of sponge dipped Chalk Paint® in Oxford Navy to paint water. JustRestore began with a thicker consistency at the bottom left corner, then began diluting the Chalk Paint® by dipping her sponge in water as she moved upwards to give a graduating translucent effect.
3. Next, she sketched her Koi carp using pencil. Annie recommends simplifying outlines as much as possible at this point and practicing in a sketchbook first.
4. JustRestore then used diluted Chalk Paint® in Barcelona Orange, Primer Red and Emperor’s Silk, using the paints like watercolours and applying with a small brush for maximum control to paint the fish.
5. Once the fish were perfectly blended and dried, JustRestore lightly outlined them using undiluted Primer Red to give definition.
6. Attention to detail makes this project sing: JustRestore used Bright Silver Gilding Wax on the drawer knobs to highlight the Paris Grey and to emphasize the shimmering quality of water as suggested by her clever watercolour painting.
7. Finally, the whole piece has been given two coats of Clear Chalk Paint® Wax to finish. Each coat has been applied with a lint free cloth, with excess Wax wiped away before allowing to dry. This means that this beautiful piece of furniture can be used without fear of compromising the beautiful finish, for many years to come!
Please let us know if you try this project yourself by sharing to social media and tagging @chalkpaint and using #chalkpaint hashtags. We love seeing your work!