Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grandfather Mountain Plein Air

Grandfather Mountain in Fall
8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air

On October 21, 2011, plein air artists from all over North Carolina once again swarmed over the Sweetgrass Community in Blowing Rock, NC. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to paint along side of some incredibly talented artists.

The weather was beautiful with nice sunny skies...the only drawback was the wind and the chill. The last time I was here, in July, I ended up freezing my rear-end off in a downpour of rain... in JULY! It's October now, so I came prepared: 2 pair of thermal underwear, fleece, windbreaker, toboggan, gloves, 2 pair of socks, etc... I felt like the Pillsbury dough-boy all wrapped up. But hey, I wasn't frostbitten. 

 Me...warm, but cold-faced

I was privileged to paint with a good friend of mine, artist, Scott Boyle, founder of the Charlotte Plein Air Painters... a group that I'm currently a member of. We both share a passion for magnifying God and His glory through our paintings. 
While scoping out the property, we settled on a lake view with Grandfather Mountain in the distance. It was quite beautiful with the most brilliant blues reflecting in the water. So brilliant, in fact, that it almost looked unbelievable. I attempted to paint it...I mixed...I painted...I struggled...I got frustrated...I had a breakthrough!

 Landscape painter extraordinaire, Scott Boyle

Yep, I had a breakthrough...I turned my easel into the sun. I had straight sunlight shining on my palette and my canvas panel. Suddenly, the colors looked so dull. So, what do I do but react with artistic speed and precision! I was feeling good...feeling like I was accomplishing something. Then, at the epitome of my artistic fury, Scott reminds me, "Jeremy, be sure to turn your easel into the shade just to see what it looks like in different light." I believe the words that came out of my mouth at that time were something like, "HOLY COW!" The painting that I thought looked so awesome turned out to be one of the darkest valued paintings I think I've ever done. It was embarrassing it was so bad. It's so bad, I haven't even taken a digital picture of it, so don't expect to see it posted here. It goes in my "bad painting" pile...that same pile is growing, by the way. (Scott assures me that his bad painting pile is now several feet, that's encouraging)

So, lesson learned: paint in the shade, or at least have your canvas and palette shaded, if possible. Painting in the direct sunlight can make for an extremely dark painting, especially when you bring it indoors.

The painting at the top of the page was my second painting of the day. The wind died down enough for me to set up my shadebuddy umbrella and paint under it...Ahhhh, relief! What a difference a day...a little shade makes!


  1. Your work continues to get better, even though I could not imagine how it might, it just happens. You are doing it, man. Sometime let's research these "water based oils" and see if that will be the next big thing or not. I just cannot do the toxic oil paint.

  2. I hope to get some water soluable oils for Christmas, so that's a great idea!