Filled a couple of small chips/cracks with paintable caulk.
Once the caulk had dried, I taped off the wall and firebox, and started priming.
Do you notice my helper in the picture above? This is what you have to do to your work zone when you have such great helper. I created the no go zone for the the furry babies with the mantle I took off and a few things laying around. I realize they could jump over this set-up but amazingly they didn't.
I only did one coat of primer because it covered pretty well and with 2 coats of paint, it would look great. This is after the 2nd coat of paint.