Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Friday, July 22, 2011

Painting At Linville Falls, NC

Upper Linville Falls
8x6 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Linville Falls has always been a favorite place of mine to visit ever since I was a child. It's a great place to hike and behold God's glory as pointed out by His creation. Listening to the roar of the falls and seeing the enormous amount of water that cascades through this rocky gorge is such an awe inspiring experience. This is one of those places where you get just a very small glimpse of the bigness of God and the smallness of man.

This was a great day to paint, the sun was out but it wasn't too hot. I set up on the overlook at the top of the falls looking upstream to the upper set of falls (there is another waterfall located left of the painting subject that I could not fit in from my perspective). I met many wonderful people that day, some from as far away as Holland, some from Baton Rouge and some from right down the road. That's one of the perks of plein air painting...mingling with people and enjoying God's creation together.

Sweetgrass Plein Air Paint-out

Sweetgrass Rain
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Someone said, "If you want to end a drought, plan a plein air event!" Boy, was that the truth for the Sweetgrass Plein Air Paint Out on July 15, 2011. If the Blowing Rock community was a little water deficient, it certainly got cured that day. It poured rain for what seemed like forever. Not wanting to waste the experience, I put on my coat and hat and grabbed the umbrella for some rainy day plein air painting!

Here I am painting the "Sweetgrass Rain" scene. Photo by Scott Boyle.

Boone Fork Creek
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Boone Fork Creek that runs through the Sweetgrass community was the subject of my second painting of the day. Fellow artists, Scott Boyle and Craig Franz, and I found this neat little spot to set up and paint. This was one of those places that your first reaction is "Nice spot!" but after 45 minutes into the painting you're contemplating, "What was I thinking??" 

I struggled with this painting mainly because the values were so close. It was in the shadows with no overhead sunlight due to the rainy weather. If this scene were on a gray-scale or a black and white photo, there would be very little contrast between the lights, midtones and darks. So, it was an exercise in painting contrasts using colors rather than values. Every painting is a learning experience.

Thanks to artist, Kevin Beck, for hosting the event, and Sue from Blowing Rock Realty for catering to some 25 artists. Check out Charlotte Plein Air Painters if you're interested in these type of events.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Young Man's Attitude Toward Women

"Although our American culture has blurred the lines between masculinity and femininity, Christians are to be different in the way that they treat the opposite sex. In this teaching session on Biblical manhood, Paul Washer explains what kind of attitude that young men are supposed to have toward young women."  -quoted from
 Here's an awesome video for any age male or female, married or unmarried from Bro. Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society. It's a very practical look at the role of men and women from a biblical perspective. Watch it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Old Randolph County Courthouse Painting

Old Randolph Co. Courthouse
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Every first and third Thursday night, the Randolph Arts Guild hosts a drawing session for anyone who would like to practice their drawing skills. It's a great way to gather with other like minded artists who are eager to create, learn and just have good fellowship. This was my first time participating with the group and I decided to do a plein air painting. Our subject matter for the evening was the old Randolph County courthouse located on Worth St. in Asheboro, NC.

One thing I've learned recently, one of the hardest parts of painting in plein air is to simply get started. I walked around the place, up and down parking lots, in the shade, out of the shade, etc...looking for that perfect perspective and composition. After wasting about 20 minutes of good daylight painting time, I finally settled on the view above. I chose not to paint the bank teller shelter in the parking lot that is actually located on the bottom left. I was afraid it would 1) cover too much of my main subject, 2) be too much to paint in the given time. 

Why should I be concerned for the time? Well, when you're painting in the evening, beginning at around will only have about 2 hours of that same light. From around 8pm on, you're going to have a more sunset type of lighting. If you're going to paint sunset light, then it's no big deal to start your drawing early and wait to paint your shadows and color shades till later. But, if you're going for that 6pm light and color shades, you're going to have to put the pedal to the metal with that paintbrush. Another factor last night was rain. Throughout the session, we tried to avoid the occasional rain drop while looking over our shoulders at the upcoming rain cloud. Possible rain showers is a great motivator for painting quickly.

Overall, it was a great night. I was so impressed with the talent that we have here in Randolph Co. Feel free to email Les Caison at the Randolph Arts Guild for any details or questions.

Contact me for purchasing information.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Old House at Badin

House at Badin
10x8 acrylic on masonite en plein air

What a pleasure to paint in the shade when it's early July, 96 degrees, and so humid you can see it.
This is a little scene located near Badin Lake, NC. Eager to paint, I drove around for a while searching for a subject that would catch my eye. I found several scenes that I liked...most of which would have placed me in an open field under the blazing sun. If you've ever painted outdoors with acrylics, you could understand my hesitation. Thankfully, I found this scene with a nice shady spot to paint. After a couple of hours of flicking ants and ticks off my legs, the painting was finished!

I like this painting's simplicity...just an old house with a nice rusted tin roof accompanied by some shade trees. I debated on painting the telephone poles. I painted them in, then painted them out. Without the poles, it was just too simple and plain looking. So, I left the poles which adds some perspective and helps lead your eye into the painting right to the subject matter.

By the way, the pole in the foreground isn't really curved...that's the product of my poor digital camera skills.


10x8 acrylic on masonite in plein air

Ahhh, the joys of tribulation! Sometimes paintings just flow and work out and it feels like you have somehow, in spite your depravity, found glorious favor with the Almighty God. What a wonderful feeling! It's too bad this state of being doesn't last forever.

The painting you see here has been through much working and re-working. I've added to it, I've taken away from it...but this is what I've finally settled on. Am I happy with it? Hmmm...well, I'm happy with parts of it. My first initial struggle was that it looked like something from a Disney cartoon. I'm not sure where I went wrong...most likely, it was a culmination of several things: wrong values, exaggeration of colors...the list could probably go on.

However, after some advice and perseverance, I think I've finally come to a place of finality with the painting...maybe. I haven't signed it yet, so we'll see. Sometimes it helps to take a break from a painting when it seems like every brush stroke is a struggle. Come back later and get a fresh perspective.

I would like to thank Harold and Leslie Frontz for allowing me along with Plein Air Carolina to come to their home and studio to paint, and for the great tips. What a blessing to have those who are more experienced take the time to share some of their knowledge with young artists. Thanks Harold and Leslie!

LaGrange, NC, The Garden City

LaGrange, NC
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

This is a plein air painting that I completed during the reception of my art show in LaGrange, NC. I drove around that morning looking for the perfect scene that would capture my vision of LaGrange. I found many beautiful scenes because there is much to choose from ranging from historic buildings with the most beautiful architecture to acres and acres of crops, fields, etc... However, this place really captured my attention as, to me, it is the essence of LaGrange: a huge grain bin (I guess that's what you'd call this massive place) surrounded by open fields with a long straight railroad disappearing into the distance. I'm sure the locals have many ideas of the essence of this small town but, for me, this scene is what intrigued me...a portrait of small town, hard-working, agricultural NC.

The scene was painted on an overcast, humid morning in May, 2011. If you look carefully, you may see some of the mosquitoes that found their way in my wet paint.