Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Chalk Painted Junking Gypsy's Tarot Loving Dream

I’ve been remiss about blogging as of late, but I’ve been tackling some painting projects. I have the piece de resistance to share with you right now……

I know I say this every time, but I do believe this jewelry chest is my new favorite. After painting the map-inspired chest, I knew I wanted to re-visit this color combination.

I gave it a major makeover, from the finish to the interior. So many attributes to list. I say attributes now, but that’s not what I was thinking when I hand-painted and waxed each individual lattice X, front and sides, and everything in between.

I transformed this piece with inspiration from the paper I’ve lined the drawers with. I found this fabulous Italian art paper featuring small images of antique Tarot cards. My love of Old World is evident here, and I imagined this piece to look as though it had lived in a gypsy wagon, perhaps holding the fortuneteller’s tarot decks and amulets. I chose to not darken the paper to keep the images vibrant.

I layered the exterior with several chalk paint colors. Base coat is red, which I continued with the interior of the body. Next coat is orange rust, followed by teal/turquoise, and finally moss green here and there to keep the weathered look. Warm black is added to frame everything in for a striking appearance.

A great deal of detail went into all the carved lattice X’s, and with all the same colors used, but finished with metallic bronze and gold paint, plus a transparent layer of caramel alcohol ink to give them more patina to mimic a warm bronze metal. I also hand-painted the X’s with black detailing on their fronts to give the illusion of more contour. I highlighted the metal pulls with some bronze paint and ink to coordinate with the X’s.

The final touches were the hand-painted elegant stars on top and sides, plus 4 corner accents on top. I designed these to echo the tarot style inside, painted in red & rust, highlighted with bronze and gold metallic paint, and outlined with dark warm black. Everything was finished with clear and dark wax.

This was originally a musical jewelry box, but the chime was broken, so I removed it and filled in the screw holes. The bottom drawer isn’t as deep as the other drawers, as it was built to allow room for the chime, but now the space behind it can be used to store or hide little treasures. It was great fun working with this gorgeous paper. I may have to stock up on it! I have a valet jewelry box version of this with a rolltop section. Haven't decided the game plan for it yet, but I'm pretty sure it won't have the gypsy vibe. Less lattice should make it a great deal less challenging though.....


  1. This is just fabulous, love the paper. Thanks for showing the colors you layer with. I have admired your work, this will help me to try and recreate the magic that you achieve. I have seen many jewelery boxes with that design, what vision you have.

    1. Thank you Suzie! It's always the ultimate compliment when I can be a source of inspiration!

  2. Hi- I've just found your site and binge-clicked through the whole thing. I really like your work. I am curious though as to why you prefer chalk paint. I've never worked with it. Why do you like it for your projects? Thanks


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