Athenian Black Chalk Paint® Chest of Drawers with Fox and Rabbit Design
by Olivia Lacy
Olivia Lacy, Annie Sloan’s Painter in Residence, began by painting this piece in a base coat of Athenian Black Chalk Paint®. That set the slightly gothic, Alice and Wonderland tone for what would become an incredibly detailed, playful and enchanting piece of furniture.
The Vivienne Westwood-esque, anglophile tartan panels on the front set the arcadian tone for this chest of drawers transformation. Olivia brought the drawers to life using a base of Old Ochre, followed by layers of painters tape laid in diagonals and filled in with Firle, Athenian Black, and Florence Chalk Paint® respectively.
The straight lines emphasize the fabulous curves on this little number. You’ll notice when you look closely that even the tops and bottoms of the drawers have been gilded to add a thin gold glimmer running like a thread between the pattern, too. So much detail work has gone into this piece it’s impossible not to be charmed by it; simply relax and let Olivia take you down the rabbit hole of her creative imagination!
The statement side panels have been painted with illustrations of a rabbit and a hare. At the time of painting, Olivia was in the midst of deepest winter “and yearning for some life. I had painted giant hares on my dining rooms walls, and several on canvases because they are such peculiar-looking creatures which makes them very fun to paint! We have a fox (or several that are always sneaking around the chicken coop looking for an easy meal and though they are deadly to the hens, they are gorgeous.” It was a combination of that nostalgia for spring, of real-life pastoral inspiration, and of Olivia’s childhood favourites such as Beatrix Potter, The Wind in The Willows and Pippa Mouse which led Olivia to this design. Once she’d decided on the creative direction for her work, she used chalk to sketch out the general lines of her fox and hare, then painted in the outline.
Olivia used Detail Brushes for all of the work and describes this incredible feat of illustration as “very low stress painting because it’s so easy to paint over if you don’t like something.” While many of us will have to take Olivia’s word for it rather than attempting something as complicated ourselves, the lesson on how easy painting over detail work is stands – whether you’re painting life-like scenes or dot work, don’t be afraid to get started. Fixing minor detail work takes seconds if you aren’t happy with how it’s turned out; so don’t be shy to try!
Once Olivia had finished painting, she applied a coat of Clear Chalk Paint® Wax to finish and protect.