Sweet South Cottage

My Brush with Greatness – Two days with the world famous decorative artist Annie Sloan

I am on a high. It is the type of high that you get when you are in love or eating chocolate or if you just have accomplished something hard like running a race. I am still in the bloom of euphoria from attending the Annie Sloan Annual Stockist meeting in New Orleans. Annie spent time with her North American retailers before beginning her North American Tour tomorrow in Dallas (March 15). She will also be teaching workshops in 7 other US Cities. The other cities and tour dates are: San Francisco (March 19); Denver (March 21); Chicago (March 24); Nashville (March 26): Atlanta (March 29); Leesburg,VA (March 31) and finally Boston (April 2). You can register to attend at www.anniesloanunfolded.com  (BTW – Rumor has it that some of the country’s biggest DIY blogging names will be attending workshops to learn from the master herself!)

Meeting Annie Sloan in person was an utter delight. I had previously exchanged e-mails with her and chatted with her on Facebook, but speaking with her in person and learning from her was an entirely different kettle of fish. It is her essence that makes her so special. She has unabated enthusiasm for her work and for her paint. Yes Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a magic elixer that transforms sad and unloved old furniture into heirloom masterpieces, but I swear it is because a little drop of Annie Sloan’s joie de vivre is in every can. It is one of the reasons that I am so committed to this brand and to her as our fearless leader.

Annie Sloan and her new paint brush line. Photo Credit: Sasha Hostetter

Annie has been painting for over 40 years as well as writing numerous books on the subject. She formulated Chalk Paint™, which is specifically designed for furniture, over 20 years ago. Her paint was developed as a result of her intimate knowledge of paint, pigments and art history. There is only one Chalk Paint™ – Annie made it and named it. There is no other brand of paint that can be called Chalk Paint™. That name is claimed and trademarked.

Annie spent three hours teaching us about color theory and mixing colors and why certain colors work better together. We were mesmerized! You could have heard a pin drop. It was a room full of women and a few men furiously writing notes and soaking in the words of  one of the founders of the Painted Furniture Revolution. I spoke with another stockist later who has spent a lifetime as an artist and she said “It was like an out of  body experience, that I could be sitting in a room learning from Annie Sloan herself”. Annie shared with us the content of what will be included in her next book. (It was mind blowing, but no I am not going to tell you, because Annie swore us to secrecy.) But in the mean time you can follow Annie’s blog  about color.

I wanted to share a few of other fun facts about Annie:

 – Annie lives and works in Oxford, England with her husband David who runs the business with her.

– She was born in Australia to a Scottish father and a Fijian mother, she came to England to a farming life in Kent when she was ten years old. With spells in Southern Africa and connections to France, Cuba and the US she feels she has world roots. She has three sons all in their twenties and has lived in Oxford for the last twenty-five years.

–  In 1987 she wrote the phenomenally successful book ‘The Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques’ which was followed by over 20 other books on traditional paints, colors and techniques and has led to total sales of well over 2 million books worldwide and in eleven languages. Her latest books are the highly successful ‘Creating the French Look’ published in April 2008 and ‘Quick & Easy Paint Transformations’ published in April 2010.

– Annie was in a rock band called the Moodies in the 1970’s.

– Chalk Paint™ is manufactured in the Untied States.

I have always made it abundantly clear that I don’t have an art background, but have been very successful at painting furniture not only because of Chalk Paint™, but also because of the Annie Sloan Methodology. Annie told us this week “Don’t focus on what the paint is, focus on what it does”. Well, Annie it has not only transformed my furniture, but it has also given breath to my long dormant dreams. I am so honored to be a small star in your constellation. 

Source for Bio Information: www.anniesloan.com

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