Farrow & Ball, Up-cycle project
Farrow & Ball is a small paint company based on the south coast of England that has a world wide reputation for quality, durability and craftsmanship. I know this company well and have been infatuated with their colour palette for some time so when they invited me to customise and upgrade a vintage set of drawers I jumped at the opportunity.
The drawers were delivered to my studio where I spent two ejoyable days decorating them with a filligree of Chinese inpsired blossom and bamboo with the Farrow & Ball paints. The ground colour is Purbeck Stone a wonderfully clean and warm grey. I had decided I wanted the peice to look elegant and atmospheric so plumbed for misty monochromatic colours. Firstly I painted in a pale and distant bamboo using Ammonite. I started to add silver bamboo leaves just here and there on the edge of slimmer stems that attach to broad bamboo. Scale change is really important as it adds depth.
After finishing the bamboo and thinking that even the bamboo pattern would be a beautiful design, I decided to add some serious drama. Down Pipe is a dark stoney grey and I had to be brave while using a fan brush to wind a scrolling stem of a blossom tree accross the drawers. I wanted the blossom to have a really knarled trunk then from this comes more slim elegant stems. Throughout the tree I add black flower buds. Working out where the blossom tree moves takes a little bit of time and effort so that the peice looks balanced.
Then using Wevet which is a chalky white, I started dabbing in lots of 5 and 3 petalled blossoms. This was a lengthy process as there are almost 1000 of these cute little flowers with dark centers. I had the blossom all over the trunk and I tried to paint them so it looked as though they are wrapping around the drawers.
Next step was to make the whole design more ornamental by adding hundreds more gold blossoms and tiny delicate flower tips and spikes. On a design like this, more is better, so I really went to town with more and more little flowers.
Finally I was happy with design; the next step was to add my trademark elements of little tiny bugs and insects. Using Yellowcake I added in little fluttering butterflies dancing in little groups. They added a spot of colour and really gave the design some life. Then on top of the handles I painted in little insects such as mantis and crickets. I also painted a secret spider under one of the handles.
I always like to add a secret element to something like this, to give a sense of the bespoke. even a little painting of a mouse on the back leg would be really fun.