Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Cover Painting

"Night of The Cossack"
by Tom Blubaugh
Artwork by Jeremy Sams

 Bro. Dennis Vance of  Bound By Faith Publishers commissioned me to paint this scene as a book cover for one of their new releases. Dennis is a fellow graduate of the School of Biblical Evangelism. If you're not familiar with this online school, you can visit Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's Way of the Master website.
 This program and school help equip believers to share the gospel biblically (not the modern-gospel easy-believism- repeat this prayer after me- hogwash) by using the methods of Jesus and the apostles which use God's moral law to reveal to sinners their need of a Savior. Some of the best preachers and evangelists that I've met have come through this school and are doing great things for God's kingdom.

The book itself seems to be very interesting. I got to read the first 3 chapters before starting the painting to try to find some direction and inspiration for what to paint. It's basically a story of the author's grandfather and his migration to the United States. There's no shortage of action in the first 3 chapters, that's for sure. The author is very descriptive in his writing, so it was easy to picture what the 16 year old main character was going through during the raid of his village by Russian Cossacks. It's cold...lots of snow...gunpowder...guns...knives...horses...adrenaline...soldiers...sounds like it could be a Clint Eastwood movie doesn't it? In other words...pretty cool. Please visit Tom Blubaugh's website here. You can read the first chapter of his book and pre-order to get a signed copy.

So, how do you go about painting something like this? I wish I would've taken pics of every step, but regretfully, I didn't. Sometimes it's hard to pull away from something that you're really into, to snap a picture.

Here's part of the beginning stages.

Basically, I start with a dark background using mars black and burnt sienna with a little crimson red. I then faded this down into the yellow ochre and raw sienna color near the village. My hopes were to get a glow in the night sky that a burning village might have in the distance. I then painted some building structures with a one point perspective leaving the detail obscure to give the illusion of distance. I had drew the whole scene on the canvas before starting the actual painting to get my composition right. I usually don't do this with landscapes, but with people and horses involved, I thought this was best. I'd hate to spend a lot of time on background material to then get to the foreground subjects and they not work. Been there and done's not fun.

The main color for the snow is ultramarine blue, mixed with titanium white with a touch of mars get a nice cool shadow for the bulk of the snow. The highlights are a gradation from titanium white, into yellow with a touch of red. This, again, gives the illusion of distance. I tried to focus my details on the boy on the horse in the foreground since he's the main character.

I'll be sure to post when the book is available. Be sure to check out Dennis' site and also his publishing site.


  1. Jeremy, Thank you very much for the excellent painting for the book cover of my novel Night of the Cossack. I am very pleased. Also thank you for the promotion of my book and website. I have linked to your site and I'll be placing it on my Facebook page as well. Blessings,Tom Blubaugh

  2. Jeremy, I found your blog very fascinating where you describe the process of how you painted Night of the Cossack. The painting perfectly captured the mystery that I was hoping for. The use of shadows and the colors you used were just perfect. Thanks again and the book will be out April 10, 2011.

  3. I randomly landed on this page, but I cant leave without saying ¨well done¨ and ¨beautiful!¨. Ofcourse a bit dark concerning taste but otherwise, interesting layout and thought-provoking. Keep on doing nice stuf. God would only like to see you grow.

  4. Thanks Moses, I appreciate your compliments. It is a somewhat dark scene, one that I don't often paint. But I think it compliments the story line and the emotion that the author was trying to convey at that point of the story.

    ...and nice name, by the way! I hope you visit often, God bless you!