Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life

Annie Sloan – dreaming, planning and painting

November 13, 2022 Claire Waite Brown / Annie Sloan Episode 62
Annie Sloan – dreaming, planning and painting
Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life
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Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life
Annie Sloan – dreaming, planning and painting
Nov 13, 2022 Episode 62
Claire Waite Brown / Annie Sloan

The inventor of the revolutionary Chalk Paint believes that everyone is creative.
Annie Sloan had a dreamy, independent young life, which continued into her business career, since without a dream and an independent attitude, Annie's world-renowned Chalk Paint may never had been made.
Annie was 41 years old when she invented and manufactured Chalk Paint, while also painting for clients and writing books while her three sons were at school or in bed.
What shines out most in this episode of the podcast, however, is Annie's absolute belief that everyone is creative, and how much joy she gets from helping people to learn that for themselves.
Annie has always had the desire to share what she knows about painting and colour, which is why she choose to write books, to teach decorative techniques that anyone can try using paints, papers, stencils, waxes and more. Her books have been hugely successful and helpful to so many aspiring and experienced painters – and I personally enjoyed working with Annie as her editor for many of those titles, even allowing her to paint my bathroom!
That desire continues to this day, and Annie teaches her techniques to stockists of Chalk Paint around the world, so they too can help others get creative, as well as filming videos and courses and hosting painting retreats.
So how did Annie go from dreamy wanderer, fine-art student, and band member to colour expert, author and paint entrepreneur?

Buy books by Annie Sloan here

Annie Sloan at creativityfound.co.uk
CreativityFound.co.uk
Instagram: @creativityfoundpodcast
Facebook: @creativityfoundpodcast and Creativity Found group
YouTube @creativityfoundpodcast
Pinterest: @creativityfound
Twitter: @creativityfoun

Researched, edited and produced by Claire Waite Brown
Music: Day Trips by Ketsa Undercover / Ketsa Creative Commons License Free Music Archive - Ketsa - Day Trips
Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk
Photo: Ella Pallet

Click here to send a direct message to the show

Click here to book a 1-to-1 online chat with me to understand more about the Creativity Found Collective, the promotional and networking membership for creative small businesses.

Find out more about Kajabi and start your free trial here.

Support the Show.

Support the show here
Subscribe to the Creativity Found mailing list here
Join the Creativity Found Collective here

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The inventor of the revolutionary Chalk Paint believes that everyone is creative.
Annie Sloan had a dreamy, independent young life, which continued into her business career, since without a dream and an independent attitude, Annie's world-renowned Chalk Paint may never had been made.
Annie was 41 years old when she invented and manufactured Chalk Paint, while also painting for clients and writing books while her three sons were at school or in bed.
What shines out most in this episode of the podcast, however, is Annie's absolute belief that everyone is creative, and how much joy she gets from helping people to learn that for themselves.
Annie has always had the desire to share what she knows about painting and colour, which is why she choose to write books, to teach decorative techniques that anyone can try using paints, papers, stencils, waxes and more. Her books have been hugely successful and helpful to so many aspiring and experienced painters – and I personally enjoyed working with Annie as her editor for many of those titles, even allowing her to paint my bathroom!
That desire continues to this day, and Annie teaches her techniques to stockists of Chalk Paint around the world, so they too can help others get creative, as well as filming videos and courses and hosting painting retreats.
So how did Annie go from dreamy wanderer, fine-art student, and band member to colour expert, author and paint entrepreneur?

Buy books by Annie Sloan here

Annie Sloan at creativityfound.co.uk
CreativityFound.co.uk
Instagram: @creativityfoundpodcast
Facebook: @creativityfoundpodcast and Creativity Found group
YouTube @creativityfoundpodcast
Pinterest: @creativityfound
Twitter: @creativityfoun

Researched, edited and produced by Claire Waite Brown
Music: Day Trips by Ketsa Undercover / Ketsa Creative Commons License Free Music Archive - Ketsa - Day Trips
Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk
Photo: Ella Pallet

Click here to send a direct message to the show

Click here to book a 1-to-1 online chat with me to understand more about the Creativity Found Collective, the promotional and networking membership for creative small businesses.

Find out more about Kajabi and start your free trial here.

Support the Show.

Support the show here
Subscribe to the Creativity Found mailing list here
Join the Creativity Found Collective here


 [00:02:21]
 Hi, I'm Clare, founder of Creativity Found, a community for creative learners and educators, connecting adults who want to find a creative outlet with the artists and crafters who can help them do so with workshops, courses, online events and kits. For this podcast, I chat with people who have found or refound their creativity as adults. We'll explore their childhood experiences of the arts, discuss how they came to the artistic practices they now love, and consider the barriers they may have experienced between the two. We'll also explore what it is that people value and gain from their newfound artistic pursuits and how their creative lives enrich their practical, necessary, everyday lives. For this episode, I'm speaking with Annie Sloan, inventor of chalk paint and the world's leading authority on paints, color and technique.
 
 [00:03:18]
 I visited Annie's studio while a group of stockists of her paints and products were happily learning how to use them and how to treat Annie's decorative painting techniques to others. And then use a wet cloth or a sponge to spread it around. That technique is best if you're working over a large area, so if you're working on a floor might find it easier to just paint a small area and then use a wet sponge or cloth to spread it around as you go.
 
 [00:03:47]
 That's good for working over a larger area. So I'm just going to use a flat brush and I'm going to take some Louis Blue and mix with a little bit of water, which I'll paint over this section. And then with a cloth, I'll just wipe it back so that I can see the grain of the wood. We found a typically Annie style decorated meeting room with mismatched comfy chairs and a decoupage chest of drawers, where we had a super chat about Annie's journey and her enthusiasm for ensuring everyone that wants to knows that they can be creative. The Annie Sloan Studio factory, warehouse and creative hub is a busy environment.
 
 [00:04:24]
 So you'll excuse, I'm sure, the occasional background sounds. Hello, Annie. Hello. It's so lovely to see you again. Again, exactly.
 
 [00:04:38]
 Annie and I worked together a few years ago. Now, that means a very long time ago, I'm afraid. A long time ago. And yeah, well, you explain? Oh, yeah, no, we worked it was when I was first in publishing and I worked on a number of your books and even had you come and paint my bathroom and a table in my house in Maston Road because we're local to each other in Oxford.
 
 [00:05:07]
 Yeah, I forgot about that too. So we've just met up and she reminded me, claire reminded me of how we used it plato bathroom, and then took photographs of it and put it in one of my books. And I had actually forgotten that. But that was amazing. We knew each other quite well for many years and then how life goes on and we haven't seen each other.
 
 [00:05:30]
 I think we spoke on the phone or bumped into each other a bit, but probably not for about at least ten years. Longer than 15 years, I think probably 15, because I remember we had a chat together about a possible new book project you were thinking of, and that was when Charlie was a baby. Charlie is now 16.
 
 [00:05:54]
 Years old and so thank goodness for podcasts. And I was also explaining to Claire that I absolutely love podcasts, so an opportunity to talk on a podcast is fantastic. But this is a podcast. We were actually in the same room, which is amazing. I love it.
 
 [00:06:12]
 I'm very excited because I've got to come and see Annie's operation. I've been to the warehouse and the workshop and these other spaces. It's an absolutely super exciting factory. It's really the most exciting thing. I think there's lots of aspects, but the factory where they're actually making paint is incredible.
 
 [00:06:35]
 Yeah, but the beauty of it as well is that it's very Annie. So everywhere is painted, everywhere is colorful, all the furniture is cookie and interesting. There's nothing standard. I've never really worked in an office, not a proper office, and my last thing that I wanted it to be like was an office. And so it's not like an office, it's more like a sort of studio, I suppose, the whole place, isn't it?
 
 [00:07:02]
 Yeah, definitely. Nice bits. Interesting. We are a creative team and everybody sort of puts their bits in and that's what I'm after. Excuse me, I've got a bit of a cough and a cold, so my voice is particularly fruity and low at the moment.
 
 [00:07:19]
 Sorry. And I may cough. I apologize. You were in your 40s when you began producing your world renowned chalk paint. And with that and your other projects, plus your video tutorials and your workshops and workshops that your stockists run, basically, you are championing the idea that anyone can get creative through painting and decorating, furniture and interior decor generally.
 
 [00:07:46]
 But can we start by going way back to your childhood and how big a part creativity played in your life then, when you were younger? When I look back now, I think, yes, I was a very creative child, very dreamy child. I was born in Australia and I lived there until I was ten and we lived in it seemed like the outback. In fact, we were only about 20 or 30 miles out of Sydney, not very far booked. I had lots of bush and billabongs and all the rest of it.
 
 [00:08:14]
 It was very ideal for childhood, but lots of places to dream. I was on my own a lot. There were some kids nearby, but they were not near enough for me to see them that much, so I had a lot of time to dream and I think that was an essential thing in my house, though my father was a journalist, so we had full of paintings, so it was quite an intellectual, creative household, or at least imagerywise. We started antiques, my father, and so it was that, combined with walking outside in sort of bushland and swimming in billabongs, it was all very lovely. Then we came to England when I was ten and on a boat, which now when people hear about it, they're like, what, so you couldn't fly?
 
 [00:08:59]
 So you wouldn't fly? I suppose you could have done, but nobody really did. So we took a boat, which took six weeks, come to England. It was amazing. And again on my own, I didn't have brothers or sisters, it was just myself and great place to dream again.
 
 [00:09:16]
 Yeah. So I came to England, stopping off at New Zealand, Fiji, where my mother came from. Fiji, Tahiti, the Panama Canal, Curacao, Trinidad and England. Good stuff for dreams and ideas and seeing other cultures as well. And where did you live when you were in England, then?
 
 [00:09:39]
 So in England we spent a lot of time. My father originally came from Scotland, where he wanted to become a farmer. He'd been a journalist, had dreamed of being a farmer. His grandmother on his mother's side have been farmers in the north of England. He had this great dream, terrible dream.
 
 [00:09:59]
 He should never have done it because he was an intellectual, intellectual journalist, he shouldn't have become a farmer. Anyway, he did, and we eventually settled in Surrey and we had a big dairy farm there. My poor mother, who had been born in Fiji, went to New Zealand, met my father, they went to live in Australia and I think she thought she'd have this lovely life and everything would be wonderful, and she ended up working on a farm and my father found that he thought he would work on the farm but found it just awful. He couldn't do it. He could do it, but he wasn't not a practical man and my mother turned out to be very practical, but.
 
 [00:10:43]
 She inadvertently became the farmer. They shared, they did work together, but she was the practical one that could go and feed. I mean, she was wonderful. She's amazing. Incredible.
 
 [00:10:56]
 So great role models in some ways for people working independently and thinking independently and not thinking inside the box. So lots of ideas, talks a lot about ideas all the time. Yeah. So very good for you. Good for the brain.
 
 [00:11:12]
 Yes. And what about a more formal education involving the art? Went to art school. I mean, I did art at school and I don't know, in those days, art in schools, it would just be paint, a rainy day. What about how no, teaching about anything alive is for a bit better.
 
 [00:11:38]
 But anyway, I eventually went to art school, went to Croydon Art School. I spent two years there doing the foundation, and I thought about going somewhere else, but in those two years, my parents decided to go to live in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was called. So they went to live in Rhodesia and they went there, of course, didn't go there the normal way. They got a car, put all their belongings in it and drove to Lisbon, got a boat to Mozambique and then drove to Rhodesia.
 
 [00:12:12]
 So you can see quite independent thinking people. Anyway, so they did all that and I was then sort of I think it was a bit too much going on. So I stayed at Croydon. So I stayed there for another three years, doing fine art and becoming an a painter. I mean, that was the idea, although I'm not sure what I was doing.
 
 [00:12:38]
 But I became a painter. I was on my own in England and I read a lot and painted a lot and drew a lot and did a lot of stuff. So that was a big training for me. And learning again, it's an independent thing, I think, which seems to be coming up a lot today. But it has meant that I have done my own groove.
 
 [00:13:01]
 You've had a bit more confidence to go out and do things with sometime. Yes. Other people. Yes, I think that's true. Yeah.
 
 [00:13:12]
 So you said you didn't know what you were doing, so there wasn't a plan for after art school. And what actually, physically and logistically, were you then doing? So, after art school? I, though, haven't had enough art school. I'm going to do a master's degree, and I ended up going to Reading University and doing an MFA Master in Fine Art.
 
 [00:13:38]
 And that was actually really, really good for me, because I think Croydon was full of people who were painters, but white, intuitive painters, and there wasn't so much of the I don't know, I don't want to say intellectual, but I needed that slightly more conceptual, creative creativity. And so that's when I went to so I went there, and that was amazing. So I really got some I made some great friends and ended up bringing a band, and everything was great. So it was the making of me, really, going to Reading University. So it's in my band and all the rest of it, which is called Moody's.
 
 [00:14:22]
 And we did all sorts of things that introduced me to all sorts of things. And then I left there thinking, actually, although I love singing, I love being on stage, I love all that. I need to do something which is for me. I have to leave myself. I can't be led by others.
 
 [00:14:44]
 I'm not very good at being told what to do. And my husband will laugh at that.
 
 [00:14:54]
 I sat down and thought, who am I? What is it I like to do, what I want to do? What is my future going to be? So it was a big moment. And at that time, I actually did that drawing.
 
 [00:15:08]
 If you see on my paint can, there's a face ahead with some hands with paint on them. And I did that drawing in 1972, I think. Something like that. 73, maybe. I'm not sure exactly the date that was me saying, I'm an artist or I'm a painter.
 
 [00:15:29]
 Artist has always been a funny word for me. Painter. I'm a painter. And that was establishing me as a painter. Because artists can be many, many things.
 
 [00:15:38]
 That's one aspect. But also I wanted to talk about paint and color. That drawing was actually exhibited in the White Chapel Art Gallery, which I'm proud of. It's very nice. Anyway, so I went and started getting back into painting.
 
 [00:15:55]
 Having done quite a lot of conceptual type work. I went back into painting and learning about how to paint again. I went and painted four people. I did murals, as people called me. And then I started doing all that stuff that was really big then, which was marbling, wood graining, and that became big.
 
 [00:16:19]
 And then I decided, this is such an interesting subject, I would like to write a book about it. So I put that out and talked to people. Eventually, I found a publisher and I did my first book. And that became incredibly successful. So that was a complete book.
 
 [00:16:36]
 It wasn't painted, fixed. I believe it sold over 2 million copies, which is amazing. Over many years. Yeah. And then in the end, I did 26 books.
 
 [00:16:48]
 You were the my editor for many of them, yes. Amazing.
 
 [00:16:55]
 I was writing she would cross out wrong.
 
 [00:17:02]
 I didn't show you. If I did that, it'd be word count. You only got 30 words out. Yes.
 
 [00:17:12]
 I love writing books. It's great fun, really enjoyable. I'm very proud of all those books. It's amazing. And that's when you could make a bit of money without a book.
 
 [00:17:22]
 Unfortunately, I don't think it's like that now, but it's a different world altogether. But I now do a magazine, or a bookazine, as we call it. So bookazine is a book or magazine without adverts. And that we do twice a year, which is my book substitute. Yeah.
 
 [00:17:41]
 And how are your book cuisines distributed? So they're distributed in America. They get sold in Barnes and Nobles and various other places, which is really wonderful. Also to all my stockists, all the people who sell my paint can don't have to sell my book scene as well. Yeah, it's called the Tolerance, and in England they sell it through various WH.
 
 [00:18:07]
 Smith all right. Using the book channels? Oh, very much so. Everything's changed slightly because of the pandemic. Everything closed down.
 
 [00:18:18]
 It's all opening up again. Yeah. So going back when you were writing your first books and you had your shop as well, you certainly had one in Hedington that I came and assisted you with some of the workshops. So you had workshops in there. You were producing these books.
 
 [00:18:37]
 You also have three sons who are grown up now, but at that time we're younger. What was your work life pattern like at that time? I mean, it is shocking. I don't know how I did it now. I think, oh, my gosh.
 
 [00:18:54]
 So I brought out my paint in 1990. So the whole idea I had three boys under ten. They went to school in the village. I would walk them to school, I would come back, paint my bit of furniture, wax it, do everything, put everything away. I'd go back, pick them up at 03:00, and they wouldn't even know that there was anything that had been painted, so there was no pain to put their fingers in or anything.
 
 [00:19:18]
 And then I would be writing books and so I would write at night, paint in the day, right, in the night. And I'd often go to bed quite late and then have to get up quite early to get them up in the morning. I don't know. I don't know how I did it. Now I look and I think, oh, my goodness.
 
 [00:19:34]
 And then I have to go to photography shoots in London. So, yeah, it was a lot of organization and a big Todo list all the time, which I crossed off. Very driven, actually. But I did it all and we managed. How did you know that you could make the chalk paint?
 
 [00:19:56]
 I don't know. People often ask me, you don't know? All I knew was that I tried to do some of the effects that I loved. So I'd looked at Swedish hand painted furniture from the 18th century, irish, Italian, French, and looked at it all and thought, It's just so beautiful. I love this look.
 
 [00:20:20]
 I think it's amazing. How do you do it? I tried to do it and hadn't seen the look, but then I started researching old painted furniture. What paint did they use? And I realized it wasn't obviously the modern acrylic paint that we have.
 
 [00:20:36]
 And then I thought, well, how could I do it? And I tried to do it in lots of ways. So in the end, I happened to be I was teaching painted furniture. There are various techniques which I showed people how to do. And I happened to be in Utrecht.
 
 [00:20:50]
 In Holland. I just happened to say to a man there who was on the workshop, I'd really love a paint to do this. And he said, I know a paint factory. And that's how we ended up going to this paint factory in Belgium. And it happened to be a very creative couple who ran it, husband and wife, and they were very interested and supportive.
 
 [00:21:17]
 And I knew what I wanted, I talked about it all and we came up with it. It was amazing, really. So I just showed them all the paints that I had, which were things like a type of gesso. I also showed them things like egg paint and milk paint, and I just worked back and forth with them until we had what I wanted. And I knew I wanted it to have wax, because I would visit loads and loads.
 
 [00:21:49]
 I used to go to paint houses, big country houses, and I saw wax was one of the things that I loved. The finish. That's how it happened. It's connecting it's people, isn't it? You're very right, actually.
 
 [00:22:06]
 Yes. It's talking too, so there's no point in sitting there not saying anything. I'm not going to pray, but I'm not going to tell anybody. I had also worked out that having three children and working was going to be difficult. And my plan was I did have a plan.
 
 [00:22:24]
 What I didn't want to do was be working nine to five with my boys, partly because my husband works in London. So that was going to be difficult for me to have a business working thing as well as seeing my children. I sort of thought, Well, I need to make a product. I can't go up painting for people, I need to have a product to sell. So that's how to get it.
 
 [00:22:47]
 Yes. So you've been thinking about it and mulling it over and then making your plans, but then at some point, the Planets Collide, or rather these two people in Utrecht collide, and it can become a reality. That's a very good point. It's about talking and meeting and talking. But you do need to have a plan already in place.
 
 [00:23:10]
 I think you've got to have some sort of long term plan, so you know when the opportunities rise up, so you recognize them. That's a lot to do with it. Yes, but the plan actually, I didn't mention earlier, but a plan had been made when I decided I wanted to be an artist or painter. That was when I just decided I made a sort of plan about how I would do that. And that one of the things, was that I would always have a studio.
 
 [00:23:39]
 Yeah, that's important. And then, as I developed, you add more things to your plan and then you get children thinking, how do I have a studio and have children and work and earn some money and all the rest of it. Yeah. It's like my script in front of me now. I've written this so that I have an idea, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to follow it, but if it goes somewhere else, that's absolutely fine, but I've got my plan.
 
 [00:24:08]
 I can also come back to it by looking at my script. That's how we did books together, and then it would go, oh, we're not doing that one. Yeah, you wouldn't you you'd write the plan and then you were telling a story earlier about being told, yes, we will do that, but we'll do this one first. But you do your flat plan as well, when you're going to do all your pages, and then those kind of things change as well by having that structure. To have a structure and then be adaptive, adaptable.
 
 [00:24:38]
 Yeah. So you don't stick to the script. I do remember telling somebody years ago that I'd made a plan and they were horrified because they thought that I would stick to the script. And no, you don't. But you do need a plan.
 
 [00:24:56]
 You need an overall, you need a long term goal. I suppose, in a way, at least I did. Yeah. I think it's important to know as well, for listeners to hear that from other people, that even though you may decide something to begin with, that it doesn't necessarily mean you stick to that. It might mean that, for example, if somebody wanted to try something, actually thought, it's not working, or I'm not enjoying it, doesn't mean you have to stick with it just because you think you can keep trying different things and you can keep moving on.
 
 [00:25:29]
 And as you know, we're all about grownups and age and not being afraid to try new things and adapt. That's fabulous. So you're explaining that you've got the children at this time, so do you mind if I ask, how old were you at that time? Yeah, well, I was actually 41, I think, when I started the business, and I didn't really realize that until a few years ago. And then it came out and everyone was like, oh, wow.
 
 [00:26:00]
 Because I think people are not used to people starting a business age 41. So you didn't find it difficult at the time? You didn't notice anything around you that was suggesting you shouldn't be doing this at that age? Interesting question. I lived in a village and I did have people in the village who were very top tut about it.
 
 [00:26:23]
 Not everybody, but there were a couple of people, which is, I mean, I'm sort of person that goes, oh, God, really? Shouldn't I be doing it? Oh, God. I should also say that I have had a very supportive husband who's been amazing and always supported, and I think he doesn't have an ego, so he didn't sort of make a fuss that sometimes gets called Annie Sloan, because I'd use my single name, not my married name, in my business. I'm very pleased, obviously, to have Annie Sloan as a member of Creativityfound Co UK, but also because the stockists that you supply are all independent small businesses, aren't they?
 
 [00:27:09]
 Very much so. That's something that's always been really important, our independent shops. It has become increasingly difficult and since Lockdown, it's just not great. If I wanted to justify on the stock is now I can't, which is very sad, because more and more shops are closing, incredibly sad. And more people are buying online.
 
 [00:27:33]
 So shops have to be selling online as well. If they're not, they will close, they just will. And not everybody wants to do that. So we've changed our model very recently, so I can tell you, first podcast I've said to anybody, we're not going to be selling in Homebase.
 
 [00:27:52]
 It makes me nearly cry to say it, because it's not what I've wanted to do at all, but I've had to do it. So it's firstly online on homebase, and then as soon as we can afford to, because it's quite an expensive thing to do to supply all the shops, we will be supplying shops. They, of course, won't do workshops. So that's where you will go to. If you go to workshops, you will go to stockist.
 
 [00:28:17]
 So stockists have to do workshops. They have to probably sell online as well. I'm very keen to get customers going to stockists and not just going to homebase, because what I'm afraid that might happen is that people will go to homebase, buy the paint and then go to the stockist to find out how to do it without doing a workshop. And stock is a course where I want to be polite and lovely to you. So they're not going to say, well, I'm not going to tell you how to use the paint, you have to come on a workshop.
 
 [00:28:48]
 So it's increasingly hard to support stockists, and it's not because I don't want to. I do desperately. The world has changed. Yeah, the world really has. I mean, everybody who's listening to this will go, yeah, I don't shop.
 
 [00:29:05]
 Nearly so often, I go to shops. So the reason you go to a shop is because it's going to have a workshop. It's going to be a lovely place to go. It's going to be a destination where there's maybe a restaurant or a cafe or cakes to buy or they do other things. Maybe they do yoga workshops and stuff, I don't know.
 
 [00:29:27]
 It's going to be a load of other things. Yeah. That's why I'm also encouraging things like retreats as well. The stockist. I'm talking about Tristan at Dog Head Designs.
 
 [00:29:38]
 He's also a stockist, but one of his things is running retreats. So trying to help independent people do different things to expand. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. Yes. That goes back to your plan.
 
 [00:29:54]
 Yeah, it does, but it still comes back to the plan. With a few branches branching out, things have to change. Creativityfound, co UK is the place to go to find workshops, courses, supplies, kits and books to help you get creative. So if you're looking for your own creativity found experience. Go have a browse to see what's on offer so far.
 
 [00:30:22]
 And if you can help adults to find their new creative passion, please get in touch on social media or through the contact details on the website. Right now, you've got some workshops going on here and you're training some of your stockists so that they can go out and teach other grownups your techniques and all about your products as well. And obviously you also have your videos. You've got lots of ways that other grownups can try out new creative activities for themselves. Why do you think it is important for grownups to have those ways of getting creative?
 
 [00:31:01]
 Well, one of the things I made my painful was that I had a real belief that more people were creative. Many people are creative, and I thought that I find it ridiculous that people like, oh, I can't paint or I can't do this, I can't do that. And I had been in art school for years and years. It was seven years in art school, came out into the world, started working for people, and I went, oh, my goodness, all these people have really good ideas and they're very creative and they probably don't think they are at all, and yet they're coming up with some great stuff. In fact, some of them are more creative than the people I'd been at art school with in some ways.
 
 [00:31:44]
 So that led me to think, well, that's one of the things about the books and about workshops is that I want people to learn that they may not be able to draw a face or a dog or whatever, but with color you can make beautiful effects and on furniture, and you can do all sorts of things to make a pattern. And I loved it when I used to teach, and when I did, I loved it because people would go, I didn't know that I was creative. This is amazing. And I really loved that. I thought that was really brilliant.
 
 [00:32:20]
 In fact, we've just done a weekend retreat, painting retreat, and on there, there were several people who had never painted before, and they were just absolutely bold away by how much they could be great. It was incredible. Yeah. Oh, that's brilliant. Yes, I hear it a lot.
 
 [00:32:39]
 I dance and I do drama and singing and stuff, and people say, oh, no, I can't sing, or no, I can't act. But it's not about that. It's about the enjoying it and trying it. And you might actually surprise yourself.
 
 [00:32:55]
 A lot of my podcast guests and members at Creativityfound Co. UK tell me about how starting a business around their creative love has resulted in an imbalance in the ratio of creativity to business tasks. Now, as someone who has a very successful international business and who also loves to paint, do you consider yourself to have achieved the perfect balance? Gosh it's the. Hardest thing.
 
 [00:33:27]
 Everybody you just find it hard, everybody knows in the same position in one way or another, whether you're running a shop and you're trying to paint furniture at the same time, or whatever it is, it is really hard because there is definitely two parts of the mind. So there's one which is creative and thinks in a different way, and the other one is that makes lists and does all that. And I've definitely got those two parts to me. There's an amazing quote from Pablo Picasso, which I think sums it all up. The enemy of creativity is common sense.
 
 [00:34:08]
 I think that's fantastic. So the common sense part of me is the one that makes lists and talks about business, and then the creative one is common sense is gone. So it's very difficult though, that if you're in one part of the brain to get into the other, it takes a while to throw out the common sense, because the common sense keeps coming back in if you're not careful, if you're in creativity. And then I come to a business meeting, sometimes I can't concentrate. I'm just all over the place and I'm sort of everywhere.
 
 [00:34:42]
 I find it really hard to be there because I just want to go off and do stuff. It's really hard jumping from one to the other. And when I have got like I've got these days, which are called creative days in my creative day, but for the first, sometimes the half of the day, I'm just in a sort of a I'm trying to be creative, but it takes me a while to get into the zone, so I have to force myself. And at first the drawings and everything is a little bit clunky and horrible, and I can spend a whole half day just doing these horrible clunky things and then suddenly you're in the zone and it's fine. But it does take quite a while.
 
 [00:35:22]
 It's really awful. Sometimes it's very easy to do the business and harder to do the creativity. Creativity takes longer. I can be pushed into a business meeting. Yes, but creativity takes a while to unwind and dream.
 
 [00:35:43]
 It's all about dreaming.
 
 [00:35:47]
 Which is what you were doing anyway in Australia.
 
 [00:35:54]
 Sometimes just walking around, I just don't get enough time to just wander without thinking a plan. I've got to be there by three, I got to be there by five, got to do this, I've got to do that, I've got to meet this person. When you do have that time, it's lovely to have the opportunity. Which is why I personally, as nobody mentioned the dance and the drama. I love the drama classes that I've done, because that can switch me off.
 
 [00:36:23]
 Somebody else teaches and we just muck around, don't have to think. And I can imagine that is the same as well for other people who might want to be doing some paint workshops where somebody else teaches them and then they can go with the flow. So, speaking of which, how does the Annie Sloan empire help people to start a creative decorative project? And do you have any pearls of wisdom? It's a spell for getting started.
 
 [00:36:52]
 Well, there are lots of ways you can go on a workshop. We do all our stockists do workshops, which is great. And because they're really trained, they know all about color and all sorts of stuff. So that's brilliant. Another way to do it.
 
 [00:37:04]
 I did a create Academy. If you search Create Academy, I think it's about a 20 part series of workshops about how to paint, about color and everything. I mean, it really sort of touches the surface, but it will get you into it and help you do that. I also do lots I've done lots of videos on YouTube about how to paint from very beginner things to more advanced stuff. I don't think you should worry about where you come in on it.
 
 [00:37:34]
 If you fancy doing it, just do it. And the other thing is that it's only paint. So if you do paint, it's not the end of the world and you can find it's incredibly rewarding. I mean, everybody who does it, I will say, incredible therapy. So they get out and they get in the zone.
 
 [00:37:53]
 That word getting in the zone is very important. So they will be able to get in the zone and start sort of dreaming and paint great stuff. So that's great therapy. It's also very rewarding if you end up with a nice piece of furniture. We've got a nice piece of furniture in this room.
 
 [00:38:11]
 And, yeah, I mean, I painted that, or it's actually a bit of decoration paint. I look at it and go, oh, that's nice. Very rewarding. I will say, I don't do that with every piece of furniture I do, because there are mistakes. You will make mistakes, and that is fine.
 
 [00:38:27]
 I'm painting for God knows how many years and I still make mistakes. Don't worry about it, it's fine. That is part of the course. There's also nowadays there's so much inspiration. I mean, I don't know whether maybe even too much, because there's instagram, there's pinterest, there's so much stuff.
 
 [00:38:44]
 I think sometimes I look at it all and think, I can't do it. I don't know what to do anymore. I've forgotten what to do. So I think sometimes I've just got to throw that away and just start doing it myself. And if I feel I'm not good enough, I don't know who people are just starting.
 
 [00:38:58]
 You probably think, I really can't do it, so don't look too much at what's going on. But, yes, we've got retreats going on, we've got big paint events, so showing that you can do all sorts of things. Oh, it sounds amazing. How exciting. Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Annie.
 
 [00:39:19]
 Absolute pleasure. I think it's amazing. I'm quite knocked out by the fact that my ex editor of all those books I did is now interviewing me as a podcast. Brilliant. Thank you very much.
 
 [00:39:31]
 You're very welcome.
 
 [00:39:46]
 But this is a great technique, you know, in your shop where you might have a message out there or something. Why not do it in Torquito? Because you could actually write it could be color of the week and you could actually do it in this technique. Or you could put when the next workshops are and decorate your panel using this and then writing it using Torpedo. If you're doing kids workshops, they would love this technique.
 
 [00:40:11]
 So, yeah, just scratching into it.
 
 [00:40:23]
 Wonderful.
 
 [00:40:27]
 You have to be very clever.
 
 [00:40:33]
 Is a green screen, which we have, and we'll do the green screen and you can say that you do something in front. And then Amy, she has a magic spell and she makes them into gifts. I don't know how she can do this magic. And yeah, they're just wonderful. And you can put them on all your stories or on your editing, really.
 
 [00:41:01]
 But all on Instagram this afternoon. So we'll all be making a couple of stories this afternoon and a real. So we'll show you then. If anyone's uncertain, we will show you, and we'll all make a real.
 
 [00:41:21]
 As well as teaching paint techniques, Annie ensures that her stock is have help and advice with regards to promotion and business skills and combining the two.

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