Just in time for Fall

I have a fresh batch of leaf-shaped spoon rests and soap dishes in all the hues of Autumn-

Stoneware Red Oak Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Scarlet Finish 01 Alas-only one of the Red Oak leaf shaped dishes survived- but the finish on it is perfect.

Stoneware White Oak Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Scarlet Finish 01 I love how the Temmoku underglaze interacted with the Satin Matte Red Glaze.The mottled effect is almost a dead ringer for real fallen oak leaves.

Stoneware Sugar Maple Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Gold Finish 01 Most of the Sugar Maple trees in the woods behind my parent’s house turn a pale gold mottled with brown and orange similar to the finish on these dishes.

Leaf shaped ceramic spoon rests in all the hues of Autumn from The Farmhouse Atelier 01 Ceramic leaf shaped dishes in shades of Autumn Scarlet, Gold and Celadon Green mottled with brown.

Ceramic Napkin Holders

Fresh out of the kiln- a batch of very organic-looking napkin holders made from porcelain and stoneware clay:

Stoneware Napkin Holder by MJ Seal with Chartreuse Finish 01 The bright acid-green coloration of the Chartreuse Finish is not exaggerated.

Stoneware Napkin Holder by MJ Seal with Celadon Green Finish 01 The shapes of these napkin holders reminds me of coralline algae. I love how the Celadon Green glaze on this piece turned out.

Napkin Holders by MJ Seal The green and blue coloration of these pieces mesh well with their leafy, coral-like forms.

Botanical Study of Wild Ginger

In this nature study painted from memory a clump of Wild Ginger grows in an old tree stump. Note the small, three-pointed, earthy violet flowers blooming at the base of the plant-

full view of woodland scene 23 an original painting on board by mj seal “Woodland Scene XXIII”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 11 1/4″ x 13 1/2″. C. 2017

Study of a Fallen Tree

A nature study of a (well rotted) fallen tree encrusted with Blue-green lichen, vibrant green moss and a variety of wild mushrooms-

full view of woodland scene twenty two an original acrylic painting on board by mj seal “Woodland Scene XXII”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13″ x 11 1/4″. C. 2017

Reverse Painting on Glass

Here’s a quick step by step of one of my latest decorative projects-

Beach Window Painting step 1 An old (possibly 100 year old) window salvaged from a neighbors renovation project.

Step 1- Start with a clean piece of glass. Any glass will work for reverse painting as long as it is THOROUGHLY clean- if there is any grime or grease on it the paint will eventually peel off (if it sticks at all). I used an antique window and spent almost an hour scrubbing all the peeling paint and crud off of it. As a final “rinse” I wiped each pane with rubbing alcohol. If your using old windows you may want to wear gloves and a mask to prevent exposure to lead paint (which I am sure was what this window was plastered with). You may want to wear gloves while you are painting to avoid getting fingerprints on the glass- since the oils on your skin will interfere with the paints adhesion to the glass.

Beach Window Painting step 2 A cartoon has been placed face up on the side of the glass that will be painted on.

Step 2- Do a little planning. Since you will painting front to back (in reverse) on the underside of the glass you may want to do a quick mock-up. I drew up a cartoon on tracing paper, cut that up and placed a section in each pane on the back side of the glass. Then I traced the cartoon onto the front side with a marker. Note that each pane of glass has a different hue (the top center piece is almost rose tinted) and probably came from a different source.

Beach Window Painting step 3 The outlines have been painted in on the underside of the glass.

Step 3- Paint in your foreground. In reverse painting you are working from front to back as opposed to the usual back to front. In my work there isn’t necessarily a foreground as much as heavy, cartoonish outlines- so I started with that. I then scrubbed off the marker I used to trace the cartoon onto the front side of the glass to avoid confusion later on.

Beach Window Painting step 4 The highlights have been painted in.

Beach Window Painting step 5 The “mid-ground” is complete.

Step 4- Paint in the mid-ground. With this piece the mid-ground ended up being the highlights, sand and vegetation. Notice how the tint of the glass influences the color of the paint underneath especially in the top center pane. If you use even lightly tinted stained glass it can have a dramatic effect on your painting.

Beach Window Painting step 6 With the sea and sky painted in this piece is essentially complete.

Step 5- Apply the finishing touches. Finish with the background- in this case the flat, bright, cerulean blue of the sky. It is possible to do blending in reverse painting-like I did with the turquoise and dark blue of the sea. I used acrylics so I just had to work very quickly. If you use oils (or Open acrylics) it’s easier to blend but the paint takes a lot longer to dry. Once painting is complete I would let it cure for at least a week (with acrylics) before sealing it up with varnish or top coats. If you are using oils you will need to let it cure for a long time. For this piece I am going to coat the back with a white enamel to block light from coming through and make it completely opaque. Then it will be varnished and waxed to protect the painting.

Lush Mountain

Join us at Muse Vineyards on Sunday the 9th of July from 3-5 PM for the opening reception to “Lush Mountain”. This is an exhibition (my first in quite awhile) of my most recent illustrations. Muse Vineyards is located at 16 Serendipity Lane, Woodstock, VA. They also have a website- www.musevineyards.com. There will be hors d’oeuvres and of course excellent wine.

lush mountain cover pic A detail of a woodland scene in my “Lush Mountain” series

The paintings in “Lush Mountain” contain all the exuberance and vitality of our rich ancient forests. These pieces are painted largely from memory and the little doodles I make in my sketchbook. My illustrations tend to be very busy-much like my subject matter- with many different points of focus. Like a forest the more closely you look the more you see. Each piece is brimming with local flora and fauna. And while my work is very painterly and cartoonish every species readily identifiable. Here’s another sneak peek-

Lush Mountain sneak peek Detail of a botanical study exploding with local flora

And if you can’t make it to the grand opening it will be up on the walls for the month of July.

Heading in a new direction

I’ve been working in in a very impressionistic style with my illustrations for awhile now- and I feel I’ve pushed that as far as I can. On a recent hike in the woods I found I was really liking the quicky, 5 minute sketches I was doing with a marker and wanted to incorporate that into my paintings. Pictured below are two paintings of the base of a White Oak with a large grape vine hanging off of it growing on a limestone outcrop . The first painting is very painterly, the second is much more cartooney with the heavy black outlines. These are both painted from memory like most of my work.

full view of woodland scene ten an original acrylic painting by mj seal “Woodland Scene X” – Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. C. 2017

full view of woodland scene eleven an original painting on board by mj seal “Woodland Scene XI” -Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. C. 2017

Note the outlines of Blood Root, May Apple and Fern leaves in Woodland Scene XI

Finally framed

Woodland Scene Illustrations II-IV are finally framed-

full view of woodland scene four an original painting by mj seal in a hand made frame
“Woodland Scene IV”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 14″ x 11″. C. 2017

For this low-key painting I chose a frame I had made from a Dutch-style reverse molding with a distressed black finish and antiqued gold lip.

framed full view of woodland scene three an original painting on board by mj seal
“Woodland Scene II”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10 1/4″ x 8 3/8″. C. 2017

For this piece I chose a more simple, modern molding profile that I veneered with Wenge wood.

framed full view of woodland scene three an original painting on board by mj seal
“Woodland Scene III”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 8″. C. 2017

For this frame I water gilt a rounded oak molding with white gold leaf. It has a nice warm-silvery color which cools down the painting and I love the texture of the wood grain underneath the very thin gold leaf.