Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Ascension of Christ

Ascension of Christ

This mural was painted in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Banks of Thomasville, NC. The dimensions are approx. 10x24'. The mural was painted using latex wall paint. Feel free to contact me for pricing details if you're interested in a mural.

Acts 1:1-11
1The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,  2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
 3To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
 4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
 6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
 7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
 8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
 9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
 10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Zion's Death

After months of answering questions and hearing twisted versions of what happened to us with our stillborn son, Zion, we have decided to write a list of frequently asked questions. It is our hopes that this will answer any question that people have had or may be afraid to ask, and to stop the mouths of the gossipers who embellish and twist the facts to make their story more juicy. So, here we go:

What caused his death?
According to Dr. "D" and the labor and delivery nurses, the cause of his death is unknown. He was perfectly healthy until the moment his heart stopped. According to their examinations, there were no problems with him physically, no problem with the umbilical chord (no knots, discolorations, abnormalities), no problem with the placenta, and no problem with Crystal's blood. All the medical tests that could be administered, apart from a full autopsy, showed no cause or reason for death.

According to Dr. D, "There is not one thing you did or you did not do that would have changed the outcome...sometimes, we just don't know."..."He is perfect, I just don't understand."

Why did you not have an autopsy?
We were advised by our Dr. not to put ourselves through that experience. According to the Dr., "Realistically, we're probably not going to be able to tell you anything that we can't tell you now."
Besides, really...what good would it do us? The fact is, he was healthy, Crystal was healthy, then he died. Does it really matter as to exactly how? What would it change? Will that help a grieving parent or will it cause even more emotional distress? So, thankfully, we took the Dr.'s advice.

How long did you carry Zion?
40 weeks and 2 days.

Were there any symptoms or any clues as to something being wrong?
No, up until that day, he had maintained a perfect heart rate of around 160 bpm and was a normal active baby in the womb. Crystal had not even had a day of morning sickness. There were absolutely NO physical indicators to Crystal that anything was wrong until about 6pm when she realized that she had not felt him kick since that morning. He was confirmed dead by ultrasound at 8pm. So, for those who are saying that Crystal had intense pains that day and she should've went to the hospital at that moment, please get your facts right. She was perfectly fine as we went shopping that morning until the afternoon. It would be illogical for a 40 week pregnant woman who's in excruciating pain to be out walking  around all day don't you think?

Did he die because you were planning a home birth?
No. We never had the opportunity to attempt a certified professional midwife assisted home birth. As ignorant and asinine as this question is, you'd be surprised at the people who ask or imply it.

Again, according to Dr. D: "It would not have mattered where you were at or whose care you were under, there's nothing I nor this hospital could have changed. You did everything you could have done and so did your midwife." According to the docs and nurses in the labor/delivery, they admit that stillbirths happen more frequently than they care to admit. I am amazed at the volume of parents I've met through this trial who've experienced the same thing we have, even through doctor care...death is no respector.

Were you having contractions?
Yes. Crystal was having the normal braxton-hicks contractions leading up to the time of the due date. These contractions were sporadic and not consistent in length, intensity or time which is absolutely normal. We believe she may have been in early stages of labor the day he died, because her contractions had just started to become more consistent.

Why didn't you get help when you noticed the first contractions?
Even with a hospital birth, they recommend you not to check yourself in until the contractions are at least 5 minutes apart, consistently, ...or, if your water has broke. Neither of these were our case. However, the midwives were in constant contact with us looking for the progression of possible labor, which was not time yet.

Why were you allowed to go past your due date?
Due dates are approximations. It is very common to go as long as 2 weeks past your "due date"...some longer. Every woman's body is different. Zion was delivered 3 days past his due date which was the same for our first child, which is very much right on time.

Did you deliver your baby vaginally?

Did you have to be induced?
Yes. The Dr. broke her water and after little labor progression, they started her on pitocin.

Why did you not opt for a c-section?
It's a well known fact that vaginal births are the healthiest choice, if applicable. Besides, how horrible would it be for Crystal to have to endure the effects of a major surgery with no baby to make it all worthwhile?

Was he a normal baby?
Yes. Everything was intact and he weighed 7lbs. 9 oz., with big feet and broad shoulders. He had very little skin tear (a common occurrence to still born babies) which means he hadn't been dead but for a short while. His color was even a little pink when he came out...while watching his ruby red lips, it seemed as though you could almost see him breathe.

Was it hard to deliver a child that you knew was not alive?
Extremely. But, God gave Crystal and I a peace which is unexplainable and we were able to praise and worship Him during the delivery despite the many tears. We were also surrounded by family, good friends and an excellent hospital staff.

Is there anything you would have done differently?
No. God makes no mistakes.

In closing, I would like to explain our Christian worldview. When I say "God makes no mistakes and we wouldn't do anything different", some will automatically be thinking of what we should have done, as if we were the ones in control of our child's destiny. Many believe in a god, but they believe that we are the ones in control of life. According to the Bible, they are guilty of idolatry because they have made a god of their own imaginations. Their god is no God at all. Deuteronomy 32:39  says,
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."
1 Samuel 2:6 says,
"The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up."
Psalm 68:20 also states,
"He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death."

 The bottom line is this: God is sovereign over ALL His creation, not just bits and pieces and only the "good" things. If He is not upholding all things by the word of His power, then He is not God. Every man has an appointment to die just as Hebrews 9:27 states. Zion met his appointment at precisely the right time...not a second too soon, or a second too late. You will also meet yours at God's appointed time.

Even Nebuchadnezzar knew God's sovereignty, notice what he says in Daniel 4:35,
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
So, we'll either conform our thinking to God and His Word or we will base our thinking on humanistic philosophies. We'll either bow to God and His sovereignty or we'll be rebels against Him. For those who have a hard time swallowing the hard verses in the bible, I say, let it conquer you...quit trying to twist and redefine God. He is who He is and there is none like Him, there is none who can control Him, there is none who can advise Him, there is none His equal, and there is none who will escape His appointed time. he is the Supreme Ruler over ALL...even life and death.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bush Hill Heritage Festival

Bush Hill
10x8 acrylic on masonite en plein air

This is my painting of the Bush Hill Heritage Festival which takes place every year in Archdale, NC. I thought it would be nice to do some plein air painting while attending my art booth this year. Everyone likes to watch someone performing their craft and painting is no exception. I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and had the privilege to share the gospel with several as well. Overall we had a great time and I'd like to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth and their encouraging words. We'll also be at the Asheboro Fall Festival Oct. 1 and 2nd... hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Need Refreshing?

Cool Water
6x8 acrylic on masonite en plein air

The title is a bit of an understatement; I should've named this painting, "Freezing Cold Water". After walking up this creek (which filters into the New River near Fleetwood, NC) nearly a half mile, my feet get numb from the cold. The interesting thing about this creek is that it doesn't matter what time of year it is, whether July or September, the temperature of this water is always frigid.

As painful as it can be to tread through cold water, it is such a refreshing experience...and makes for a nice spiritual analogy. No matter the temperature change of the surrounding landscape, this water is always constant and unchanging. In the heat of the day, it offers cool refreshment and is never stagnant. Kind of reminds you of Jesus Christ, doesn't it? He is the unchanging God, who is never altered by outside circumstance and He offers refreshment to those who are weary and thirsty. From this creek, there springs forth life...I saw a deer drinking from the bubbling brook...trees draw nourishment from this life-source and grow strong and tall. The same goes for Christ; He is our source of life and nourishment. Our spiritual growth depends upon our dwelling in Him. Are we satisfied with the dead, stagnant, temporary and unfullfilling pleasures of this world? or, are we thirsting for true satisfaction that can only be found in Christ?

Ho, Everyone who thirsts, come ye to the waters!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Painting Animals in Plein Air

Evening Stroll
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Oh the elegance and the sophistication of a swan, how prestigious they are! They're like the "cats" of the waterfowl world...always on display and doing their own thing. My daughter always associates them with princesses thanks to her numerous "Swan-Princess" movies. However, as proud as they seem, they do make for good subject matter in a painting. The only problem is, they don't usually remain still.

So, how does one capture animals in a plein air painting? Good question...I'm still figuring this thing out. But, here's what I do:
  1.  Do a small thumbnail sketch on a separate sheet of paper, sketchbook, etc.... This helps tremendously when trying to figure out your composition. It's better to get the design down first before delving into a painting only to realize your composition is horrible and then be forced to fix it, wasting valuable time. this step includes locating your center of interest. Will it be in the bottom right corner? Top left? etc...
  2. Capture the landscape. The sun light is moving slower than the animals, in most cases. So, paint the surrounding landscape first to make sure your values and color is right.
  3.  Add the animals last. You can then place them at whatever focal point you choose and arrange them in the best compatible composition if there's more than one animal.
  4. Be sure you don't alter the setting so much that you lose the scene that inspired you in the first place. Try to keep it as close to that first initial "Ah-hah!" moment that captured you.
Chetola Lake, located in Blowing Rock, NC, was the setting for this plein air painting.
To purchase this painting, click the button below. The price is $150 with $12 shipping and handling. If you don't need it shipped, feel free to email me at

Monday, September 5, 2011

Banner Elk Plein Air Competition

Shawneehaw Greens
8x10 acrylic on masonite

What an experience! On Friday, August 26th, I had the privilege of testing out some oil paints under the instruction of fellow landscape artist and plein air painter, Scott Boyle. He had offered a plein air workshop in conjunction with the Avery County Arts Council in Linville, NC. After the long yet informative day of oil painting, fellow-shipping with other artists, and visiting an art show opening with some friends and fellow artists,  I was ready for Saturday.

On Saturday, The Art Cellar, a fine art gallery located in Banner Elk, NC, hosted a plein air painting competition. This was my first plein air event where my work would be judged along side of other artists' work. Was this nerve racking? Absolutely... Was I intimidated? Absolutely! Was I ready to have a great time? you guessed it...Absolutely!

We started early that morning scoping out a place to paint after registering for the event. I settled on a path in Tate Park looking at one of its bridges. I had the opportunity to paint along side with some pretty incredible artists at this location. After finishing the Tate Park Bridge painting and lunch, I headed back toward the gallery in search of another inspiring scene.

Eureka! I found my perfect scene of the day along the banks of the Shawneehaw River. Mountains in the distance covered by fog, the gallery on the left hillside, a sunlit field, fir trees, bushes, foliage, and water...what more could you ask for?

It took me about 2 hours to finish the painting en plein air. The time seemed to fly by...especially since I knew I was on a time restraint. I tried to capture the atmospheric perspective of the humid day with the bluish background mountains and trees. When the overcast sky would occasionally break, the sun would lay these beautiful highlights on the field, so this too had to be attempted. Overall, I was fairly pleased with the result.

However, not only was I racing against time and the changing light, but now my paintings would be set beside everyone else's to be...JURIED!!! These kind of events can wreak havoc on you if you have an inferiority complex. Or, so I thought.

The show was nothing like what my imagination had foretold. The other artists were so kind and everyone was strolling through the gallery chit chatting, and recounting the events of the day. It didn't seem as much like a competition as it did an artist fellowship. So, in that, I was eased.

Eventually, we were all called to the room with all the plein air pieces on display. It was time to announce the winners. I wasn't that nervous. I hoped to place, but I had already viewed the other artists' work, which was exceptional. So, I thought, at best, I might get 3rd place. You can imagine my shock to hear my name announced for 1st place. Did they make a mistake? Did they not see the other paintings? There was a lot of talent there and I was truly humbled just to paint along side with these experienced artists, and even more so to place in the show.

Thanks also to Sarah Gilley for sending me a picture of the painting... In all of my excitement, I forgot to take pics.