“I’m honored and humbled,” says artist Jeremy Sams, who has won every art competition he entered this year and was recently featured in an international art magazine article.
The public is invited to meet Sams at Alta Vista Gallery on Saturday, August 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the opening reception for his new show, “Here Comes the Sun.” The show is hanging now through September 12.
As a plein air painter, Sams has a story to tell about each painting: how he hiked to the scene and why he wanted to paint it, what the day was like as he stood before his easel outdoors, where the sun was situated, what the weather was like, and the people he met while painting the scene.
Plein Air Magazine editor-in-chief, M. Stephen Doherty, enjoyed Sams’ stories and paintings at a national-level plein air competition, then recently wrote a five-page article about Sams for the international magazine. The article includes 11 photos of Sams’ work, which is all painted in acrylics―a difficult feat for plein air painters, due to the fast drying time of acrylic paints. In the article, Sams discusses how he is able to accomplish this feat and also how he makes his work have the nuances of oil paintings.
Alta Vista Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde says, “For an artist to be written about in an international magazine is a huge honor, but I can see why they wanted to write about him. Sams is a detailed Impressionist who knows how to capture the light in a way that truly moves the viewers of his work. His list of awards is two pages long, and his new show here reveals why he wins so many competitions. My favorite Sams painting depicts morning light glowing behind trees, making them seem almost heavenly. An avid art collector told me that Sams will be internationally famous one day, and I think he just might be right.”
The show features 26 new paintings, all painted en plein air, or from plein air studies, and includes a variety of sizes and subjects, such as rivers and streams, forests, farms, mountains and meadows.
Sams says he chose the show’s theme, “Here Comes the Sun,” because “people appreciate God’s display of color and drama found in the sun, especially in a sunrise or sunset. We see clouds, trees, flowers, and other subjects in a different way when they are enveloped in sunlight. As an artist, I find joy in the pursuit of capturing that moment when the sun strikes an object. I hope the viewers of my work will not only appreciate this phenomenon, but also the Creator of this wonder.”
Always striving to make each painting better than the last one, Sams is open to new ideas. This year, he has incorporated “notan” sketches in his process.
“Notan is a Japanese term that refers to the relationship between light and dark,” says Sams. “It’s breaking the painting down into black and white only―the skeletal structure of your composition, which is what guides the eye through a painting. Doing these sketches is helping me to improve my compositions by training my eyes to see the value relationships in what I’m observing in nature as I paint.”
Sams became a professional painter at age 19, “as a matter of survival,” he says.
“I have to paint. If I’m not making art, I’d be a fish out of water. I couldn’t survive. There’s no greater means of joy than doing what God designed you to do, especially when you’re able to pay your bills at the same time.”
Sams says all of his paintings are “impressions” of scenes, with special attention to the effects of light on the landscapes. “My goal was to capture the impression of a particular moment in time with special attention to the effects of light and atmosphere in that moment. With the age we’re living in today, it is my aim that these attempts at capturing God’s light will help to offer a measure of hope and peace to the viewer.
“I not only want to represent a particular scene, but to also capture the emotional reaction that I have to the scene. This style is not so much intentional as it is ‘reactional.’ When painting en plein air, and struggling against all of the obstacles that painting outdoors presents, you can’t help but paint in a quick manner that focuses on things that are important and letting the rest be peripheral.”
Sams, who discovered painting “en plein air” in 2011 when he and his wife were mourning the death of two children, says that during this trying time, he “found new inspiration and healing through painting outdoors. Painting en plein air has become a means of therapy and release of emotion for me. Outdoors, I can enjoy God’s creation and relish in the beauty He has given us to enjoy in this short life.”
View photos of Sams’ work at www.altavistagallery.com and on the gallery’s page on Facebook. For info, call the gallery at (828) 963-5247.
Alta Vista Gallery is located only 10 minutes from Boone or Banner Elk, N.C., in a National Register historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis―between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. For a map and directions, visit www.altavistagallery.com. Alta Vista shows over 100 artists in all media, specializing in landscapes, as well as sculptures, stained glass, art tiles, Mangum Pottery, and books written by Maria Santomasso-Hyde.
The August 26 event is part of the “Tour d’ Art,” which is held on the fourth Saturday of each month, June through November. Map-brochures for the tour are available at Alta Vista and at the eight other stops on the tour.
For the September 23 tour event, the gallery will feature another plein air painter, Monique Carr.