Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Friday, August 19, 2011

Old Salem en Plein Air

Bank Street
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

This was my first trip to Old Salem. I had driven by this community hundreds of times, but never took the time to actually stop in to look around. Well, all that changed yesterday. I believe I walked every square foot of that place...with all my painting equipment, of course. (Note to self: next time leave equipment in the car while you scope out a place to paint.)

After chatting with several wonderful people about their favorite scenes of Old Salem, I finally settled in at the corner of Bank Street and Main Street. I haven't painted many street scenes, so I was excited for the challenge. Again, at several points, I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew. But, with some perseverance, I was able to block in the masses and along with some fine tuning, I ended up with the painting we have here. I believe this would make a nice larger studio painting...we'll see.

If you're interested in purchasing this original painting, the price is $150. If you'll need it shipped, you can order it here:

If you don't need it shipped, and will pick it up, order here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vineyard Painting

18x24 acrylic on canvas

This is a scene from Zimmerman's Vineyards in rural Randolph County, NC. This is a preparation painting for an upcoming show at Cauble Creek Vineyards near Salisbury, NC. 

This is definitely an experimental piece for me. I used my palette knife to apply thick paint for the red clay soil and rocks. I also used heavy texture in the leaves while keeping the background trees smooth in an attempt to give it some "textural" perspective.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Psalm 1 Plein Air Painting

Psalm 1
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
 6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
This is a scene located on the New River in Fleetwood, NC, which is near West Jefferson, NC. The trees on the left are actually set on a small island that is surrounded by the river. This is a nice little place to kayak...if you ever go here, take the left passage, it's deeper.

Early mornings are particularly beautiful on the New River with its wonderful colors and vibrant blues in the distant background mountains. Of course we all know mountains aren't really blue. However, the atmosphere that stands between you and the mountain (or distant tree, buildings, etc...) gives the object a bluish hue. I painted this scene while standing under a bridge which was pleasant...nice cool breeze with no sun to contend with, in my eyes or on my palette and panel. The only noises you could hear were crickets, the trickling river, the occasional car overhead, and the jumping of the fish...NICE!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bicentennial Park Plein Air

"The Student" 
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

This plein air painting was painted on location at Bicentennial Park in Greensboro, NC. Of all the beautiful subject matter to paint at Bicentennial Park, I couldn't pass this little scene up. In the early evening, the sun's light accents all of these trees, exotic plants, shrubs and sculpture...and who doesn't like a nice stone bridge? The sculpture is called "The Student" and makes a nice focal point of the painting.

I'm learning a lot about myself in this painting journey. I'm learning that most of the time, I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I see this spectacular scene that I feel will make a great painting. So, I drop my gear and set it up immediately. As I begin my initial sketch on the panel, I begin to see some composition tree is leading your eye out of the painting. So, I compromise reality and "fix it". Now, the trees are pointing in the painting, keeping the viewer's eyes within the confines of the painted panel. What do I do with this bush that's right in front of the statue? If I take it out, I'll have this massive empty space of mulch...not attractive. So, I leave it. The list went on and on like this for about 30 minutes. Fix this...fix that...and so on.

At this point, I'm wondering: "Should I have tried painting this?...should I have chosen a more simple subject?" So goes my lot in life. Why do I always choose the hard road? Why not take the safe route and keep things simple? Everyone's heard the phrase of K.I.S.S.: "Keep It Simple Stupid." But, somehow, I always forget this. Besides, do you ever really grow if you never go through the growing pains. Stretching yourself to be and do better comes with a price...not only in painting, but in life...especially your spiritual life. 
When you get to the point in a painting where you're torn between "what was I thinking??? just wipe it out!" and "If I can make this work, it's going to be great"...your decision will reveal your willingness to be safe or grow. Trust me here, I'm NOT saying I pulled this painting off and it's just fabulous. I am saying, however, that I didn't paint over it. Am I satisfied with the final product? No, but the experience was prize enough. I realize there is much that could be better and I hope to improve that in a future painting, but, I do know this: I'm not satisfied with mediocrity.

As stated earlier, this principle also applies to your spiritual life. Are you satisfied to be an "average" Christian, like all the other modern day, so-called, "Christians"...those who do their religious duty by showing up to a building with a steeple a few times a week, while wearing the proper attire, and are never willing to go through the struggles or to pay the price in order to grow. If this is you, examine yourself. If there's no growth, no fruit...then you're a withered branch that will be cut off. However, if you're a fruit bearing Christian, you will be pruned and you will give more fruit. The pruning process is not always easy, but it is certainly beneficial.

Don't settle for mediocrity, do hard things! In the power of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with grace we can do that which is impossible to the "average" man. Grow!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Treasuring Jesus Ministry Paintings

The last week of July, I was invited by Bethany Baptist Church in Thomasville to bring a series of messages on the subject of "treasure". A brief overview of each lesson is listed below:

Which is worth more, a bottle of water or all the gold in Ft. Knox? If you're reading this with your belly full, you'd of course choose the gold. However, change the scenario a bit and you might have a different choice. Imagine you're 4 days in the dessert without having any water...your life is coming to an end through lack of fluids...suddenly the water takes on infinite value.

The same goes for us spiritually. You'll not see water as a treasure until you are desperate to live. Jesus proclaims Himself as the Living Water who completely satisfies and gives life. He makes Himself freely available to all who are thirsty. Those who do not desire Him will never come to Him. Only those who see their condition as hopeless and destitute would ever be willing to deny all worldly pursuits and come to Him in order to quench their thirst.

Day 2:
On Thursday morning, we looked at the Shepherd as the treasure of the sheep. In order for the sheep to see the Shepherd as his true treasure, He must first see his own condition: ruined, helpless, dirty, separated, and dead. Were it not for the initiative and work of the Shepherd, the sheep would remain in that ruined condition, unable to help himself.

Sheep are not well known for their intelligence, they need to be led!

Day 3:
Friday morning we explored 2 of the kingdom parables of Matthew 13: the treasure hid in the field and the pearl of great price. These two treasures were so valuable to these individuals that they were willing to sell everything they owned in order to acquire this one single treasure. Christ demands that we see Him as this valuable...that we're willing to forsake ALL, even if it means family, comfort, wealth, etc... in order to have Him. Is Jesus worth the price that we might have to pay? If He's worth it, are we willing?

Special thanks to Bro. Tom Fields and the people and kids of Bethany Baptist Church for allowing me to come and minister.