A purplish black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- August 2020

We have a few items to report-Three shell bead necklaces and a pair of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

First: Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams has brought in a new collection of her hand made jewelry. This batch has a very beachey feel- especially the shell necklaces pictured above and below:A white brown and black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

A purplish black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Two pearl beaded necklaces and two sets of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse
Pearls on the half shell-

This series goes quite well with my ocean-inspired pottery. The relish dishes, serving bowls and oyster-shaped spoon rests (pictured above) work just as well as jewelry holders and trinket dishes.Two turquoise beaded bracelets and three sets of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Continuing with the beach theme I’ve sewn one of my peculiar new sculptures to the wall of the store-

Full view of a fabric sculpture by MJ Seal that resembles a giant gray sea fan hanging on the wall at The Virginia Farmhouse
“Dormant Form/Winter Forest”- Original sculpture by MJ Seal. Sackcloth, jute rope, PVA glue and acrylic, 40″ x 51″. c. 2020

It looks like a cross between a dark gray Sea Fan and a patch of one of our local forests in the depths of winter. I’m not sure it really fits in with the theme of the store but it does look interesting- and since there is no free wall space left in my apartment it has no where else to go.Detail of a fabric sculpture by MJ Seal that resembles a giant gray sea fan hanging on the wall at The Virginia Farmhouse

Also: We are fully restocked on soaps from The Olive Oil Soap Company. We have just about every scent available and they come in literally every color of the rainbow.A selection of soaps in every color of the rainbow from The Olive Oil Soap Company available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

And: Another air plant has bloomed!A chartreuse green and coral colored air plant with violet flowers in an emerald green hand made flower bud vase available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

I noticed the leaves had started turning red a couple weeks ago and upon closer inspection realized there were little flower buds popping up. The coral, chartreuse and violet hues of the air plant go quite nicely with the pastel emerald green on the hand made flower bud vase it inhabits. We have several air plants for sale here which would make perfect gifts for any plant lover in your life- even novice indoor gardeners. Air plants are very low maintenance- all they need are regular spritzings, an occasional dunk in rain or aquarium water and bright diffuse sunlight.Close up of the pastel purple flowers of a chartreuse green and coral colored air plant available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

*Stay Safe- Stay Sane*

Close up of the pastel purple flowers of a chartreuse green and coral colored air plant available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Two wines from Shenandoah Vineyards that are available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- March 2020

We have a few new additions-3 hand kitted caps made by Jill GochenourIncluding these lovingly hand-knitted tamo-chanters from Jill Gochenourcolorful hand knitted tamochantersWe also now carry an assortment of her other  hand made and very functional outerwear like these “shawl-ettes”-2 miniature shawlsAnd these colorful scarves-

a large purple and pink scarf and a green and black infinity scarf

Also new: Shenandoah Vineyards’ Chardonnay and Riesling.Chardonnay and Riesling from Shenandoah Vineyards are now available at The Virginia FarmhouseThe Chardonnay is lightly-oaked and pleasantly buttery with a refreshing acidity on the finish. The Riesling is dry, crisp and citrusy.

And…..

The Art Sale will continue until the end of this month. We still have a few Helen Jean Smith prints left (framed and unframed) as well as an assortment of artwork from other Shenandoah Valley artists. A painting of a shady forest floor peirced by sunbeams painted by MJ Seal“Woodland Scene IV- Sunbeams on a Mossy Forest Floor”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 14″ x 11″. C. 2017

*This is my favorite of all the realistic woodland scene paintings I made- from a slight distance it’s like looking through a window into the cool shady depths of one of our verdant local forests on a mid-summer day.

Originally $115 this piece is now just $57! Including the beautiful, hand made frame it’s housed in.A painting of a forest in a black and gold Dutch-style reverse frame both made by MJ SealAlso….

Don’t forget: we will be CLOSED for most of the month of April for our trip to France (fingers crossed)- so stock up now!

Close up shot of two new wines available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- February 2020

We have a few new additions to the wine rack and the Art Sale continues-New wines from across the country and the world available at the Virginia Farmhouse

We scored some really great close out deals this month so the racks have been replenished with new offerings like:

  • Boet Le Roux Old Vine Columbard- This white wine from South Africa’s Swartland Region is light, crisp and citrusy with hints of pear and melon.
  • Fantini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo- A medium-bodied red from Italy with floral notes, a hint of spice and a pleasant acidity.
  • Figaro Tinto- a rich and jammy Spanish red with hints of black plum and tobacco.
  • Georges Duboeuf Cabernet Sauvignon- This full-bodied red hails from France- it is fruit forward with a spicy finish and velvety smooth tannins.
  • Siegel Special Reserve Chardonnay- A Chilean Chardonnay is crisp, light-bodied, full of tropical fruits and hints of citrus.
  • Uvaggio Vermentino- This Californian white wine has a very floral nose, bright, citrusy flavor and a refreshing acidity with some mineral notes.

Back in Stock: Guacamole + Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from Nana’s Cocina.A painting of a forest in a Wenge veneered frame both hand made by MJ Seal

And the Art Sale continues this month.

Pictured above: “Woodland Scene II- The Forest Floor in Late May”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 10 1/4″ x 8 3/8′.

This very textured and impressionistic view of one of our local forests is housed in a beautiful hand crafted frame. The frame is veneered with Wenge wood- a tropical hardwood from Africa that has an interesting cocoa and ebony striated grain pattern. With frame it is now just $40.00 (!).

Pictured below: “Winter Landscape- 2/26/18″ – Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame. 15″ x 10”An abstract winter landscape painted by MJ Seal

This soft, abstract landscape was produced through a painting process called “decalcomania” in which thinned out glazes of paint were spread across the board then wax paper was pressed into the still wet paint and peeled off. The resulting patterns left in the warm gray and white paints create the illusion of a wintery landscape with perhaps a field in the foreground and a forested mountain or hill in the background. Originally $150 this piece is now just $75.00.A painting of a snowy forest in a golden oak frame both hand made by MJ Seal

Pictured above: “Winter Landscape Study- Snowbound Forest”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 10″ x 14 3/4″.

This elegant and graphic view of a snowy forest is only $67.00. The golden oak frame provides a pleasantly warm contrast to the 10 cool shades of gray making up the painting (yes there are no true whites or blacks in this piece- only a handful of gray tints).

Pictured below:“Proudly We Hail”- By Elizabeth Strippy.

This print of an original watercolor depicts a snowy day in Downtown Woodstock. It is signed and numbered by the artist. Now only $15 it measures 18″ x 13″.Print of a watercolor depicting a snowy Court Square in Woodstock, VA

A detail of a framed puzzle map of the Town of Woodstock VA

Pictured above: A close up view of a framed puzzle map of Woodstock, VA. Just $30.00 this charming little piece of home decor measures 19 1/2″ x 13″.

In the print racks we have tons of illustrations like of these three chicken varieties pictured below- now only $3.00 each.Prints of illustrations of several chicken varieties

Also…. We will be closed for the month of April for our trip to France- so drop in and stock up now!

Detail of a print of Gregory Clairs painting of Cardinals

Art Sale!

Our Big Art Sale has begun-A painting of a Shenandoah Valley Landscape in a black and gold frame both made by MJ SealFrom Now until the end of March all Wall Art will be 40-50% off!

This is a great opportunity to add works of  Shenandoah Valley Artist’s -like Helen Jean Smith, Eric Schauer, R. Byram and KB Getz- to your collections.

*Framed prints from The Woodstock Gallery are 40% off- like this charming view of the Blue Ridge Mountains by R. Byram:A framed print of an original painting by R Byram depicting Virginia's Blue Ridge MountainsAnd this print of a watercolor by Elizabeth Strippy depicting a bird’s eye view of the Shenandoah River-A print of a bird's eye view of the Shenandoah River painted by Elizabeth Strippy*All original paintings, signs and mirrors by MJ Seal are 50% off- like this very textured, impressionistic view of a local Valley forest-Painting of a sun dappled forest floor in early summer by MJ SealThe black and gold cassetta-style frame it’s housed in was also made by MJ Seal-Painting of a forest in a gold and black cassetta-style frame both made by MJ SealSome of his more recent work is included in this sale such as this illustration of a red maple tree-

Painting of a Red Maple tree by MJ SealIt’s hand made, reverse-style gilt frame is both modern and classic-and really pops of the wall!Corner of a gold frame made by MJ Seal

This sale includes a variety of loose and matted prints like this stylized scene of walnut gathering at the Forestville Mill by Helen Jean Smith-Print of a painting by Helen Jean Smith depicting walnut gathering at the Mill of Forestville, VAAnd this print of a painting by Gregory Clair-A print of Gregory Clair's painting of Cardinals on a maple branch titled A Touch Of GoldAll prints are signed and numbered by the artist and depict local scenery, flora and fauna in styles from photorealistic to primitive to impressionistic- there are 3 large racks filled with them – so you are sure to find something to suit. And at 50% off there are no excuses for not adding to your collections!

Functional Arts and Crafts- Making a Mirror

Easy as 1-2-3-

First I took a plate of clear picture framing glass and rubbed it down with alcohol to thoroughly remove any grime or oils. The glass’ surface must be  scrupulously clean- if it is not you’ll have issues with  peeling later on.

Then I drew up a little design for some corner ornaments on a post it note. I placed that under each corner and carefully dabbed on a thick coating of contact gilding adhesive. I used Pebeo’s Gedeo Mixtion Relief which comes in an easy-to-use tube with a fine-tip applicator. The adhesive is white when wet but dries clear. Remember you are reverse gilding/silvering- so you will be working in reverse on the inside surface of the soon to be mirror.

After the adhesive dried I cut up a sheet of 23 kt transfer gold leaf. I then carefully pressed the leaf (gold side down) into the adhesive. The parchment backing of the leaf was peeled back leaving the gold thoroughly stuck in place on the ornaments.

After the gilding size has cured for a few days I dusted off the excess gold leaf and sealed up the ornaments with a layer of raw sienna acrylic paint- which gives the overlying layer of gold a richer color and renders the ornaments opaque-

Next I turn the glass into a mirror with some handy-dandy Looking Glass Silver spray paint from Krylon-

The Looking Glass paint is easy to use- just make sure to apply it in multiple thin coats or the mirror with develop a blotchy appearance. Do this outside. Yeah note the weird reflections around the mirror-in-progress above- I did this in the parking lot against my car using a sheet of old plexiglass as a shield- hence the hubcap visible in the upper left.

After the spraypaint has dried (which only takes a few minutes) it needs to be top coated with something to protect it- I find Rust-Oleum’s Matte Clear Enamel works wonderfully. The enamel coating seals up the looking glass coating and it’s matte appearance makes the reflective finish more pronounced and brighter.

After the enamel has cured for a bit the mirror is ready to be framed. I placed this mirror in a cassetta-style frame I made a few years ago. The gilt ornaments beautifully complement this simple but classic molding profile.

A slightly closer view-

The Looking Glass paint gives a softer reflective effect than commercially made mirrors. It also has a slight texture to it (due to the droplets of paint) and with a dark board placed behind it takes on the appearance of an antique mirror.

Finally framed

My first batch of winter landscape studies are finally framed and up on the walls-

“Winter Forest Late Afternoon”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8″ x 10″. C. 2018-

 

 

For this piece I went with a distressed, dark pine frame I made from raw boards. The texture I gouged into the edges of the moulding compliment the expressive brushstrokes and texture in the paint surface.

“Snowbound Forest at Sunset- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13 1/2″ x 10 1/4”. C. 2018

For this painting I went with a walnut frame that I parcel gilt with composition leaf on the front surface. The bright gilt surface of the frame really makes the golden hues pop in this piece.

A clean, elegant walnut frame joined with keys and parcel gilt with composition leaf.

“Winter Forest at Morning- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8″ x 10”. C. 2018

 

The warm metallic gray of the silver leaf in this frame warms up the highlights in the painting and helps to tone down the blues of the shadow areas.

 

The rich dark brown of this frame helps to warm up this piece and compliment the purplish gray ground. The texture of the olivewood veneer blends in nicely with painterly tree trunks. This is the only frame in this bunch that I did not make myself.

“Winter Forest in a Snowstorm- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board. 14″ x 10 1/4”. C. 2018

 

“Snowbound Forest- 1/16/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 14 3/4”. C. 2018

 

For this piece I went with a simple, “bump” profile moulding. The grain of the oak plays off the movement of the snow covered trees and winding grape vines. The rich, golden color of the finish cools down up the warm gray hues in the painting.

 

“Snowy Winter Forest- 1/19/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 7″ x 10”. C. 2018

For the last two paintings I went with a very clean museum profile that was painted black and gilt on the top surface with aluminum leaf. The cool silver tones of the aluminum leaf make the cool whites of the painting seem warm by comparison. The depth of the moulding and the contrast between the flat black of the sides of the frame and the gilt front surface really makes these pieces pop off the wall.

 

“Snowy Winter Forest- 1/16/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 7”. C. 2018

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.