Friday, August 17, 2012

A chalk portrait painting in progress

I thought I would be further along with this little project but have not had time for it in the last few days. So instead of the finished product I thought I would show you my progress.

Years and years ago I fell in love with this beautiful vintage photograph by Lillian Bassman. I always thought I'd like to try and replicate it in watercolour but never got around to it.  

A few months ago I found at auction a massive vintage frame for a great price.  I knew I needed to quickly change over the painting inside....see for yourself and try not to laugh...

My husband was like "what were you thinking?!!!" but I knew that with some white paint, a new piece of thin MDF and some black chalk board paint I could make one of these....

I used my orbital sander to make it very smooth and I had used a paint brush to paint it on and I think really for best results for blackboards one should use spray paint. Anyway with a bit of love from my Ryobi ROS it was smooth as silk.  The frame has quite an interesting texture and lots of imperfections and cracks. I think it's quite gorgeous in it's aged beauty.

So the other night, while I was also cooking dinner and getting the kids ready for bed, I started sketching up the glamorous woman by the window.  I had possibly the worst piece of chalk in the history of mankind. Serves me right for shopping at the $2 shop.  The chalk was so hard to sketch and fill in with. In about 10 minutes I'd managed to do this rough outline of the portrait but I've got a long way to go.

I did go to our local art shop and the guy suggested I try using white pastel instead of chalk so I bought some and will give it a go.  It honestly has to be better than the crappy chalk stick I was using.  Once I've finished it all I'll share it with you. The good thing is if that it doesn't turn out I can just wipe it off! 

....and then I'll just use the board for our shopping list!



  1. I am guessing you mean you replace the glass with mdf to make your chalkboard 'board' Fiona? I just use BIN over the top the glass, then chalkboard paint. Works a treat and so much easier than pulling the guts out of the frame :) Also I find the chalkboard paint looks shocking when you brush it on but it seems to smooth out when it dries.

    I am off downstairs to take some photos of my finished pieces, finally!

    Have a good day
    xx Karen

    1. Hi Karen – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I know you can paint the glass but I wasn’t really happy about the glass in case this chalk board rests on the floor and then with balls and kids in the house etc it could easily break – especially if it doesn’t look like glass – so i decided for $3 to replace the glass with MDF. Much safer.

      Also I have has success before the painting with chalkboard paint and not having to sand it down but for some reason when i was seasoning the chalk board all i could see were chalk lines where the paint brush strokes were. Maybe the weather when i was painting and how it dried. Anyway a very quick sand down sorted it out perfectly.

      I had to pull the frame out anyway as even if i’d painted the glass i wanted that god awful religious painting out of my house. It was kind of creeping me out. LOL.

      Have a lovely weekend
      Cheers Fiona

  2. Can I tell you that even with what you've done it looks beautiful. Just like that!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Sorry if you have trouble commenting, you can always email me at