[ .Featured Artists ][ Jeremy Sams ]

Tips for New Plein Air Painters – from Jeremy Sams

Stage One usually begins with lots of excitement as you find a scene that inspires you and you begin to frantically sketch it out on your painting surface.

Stage Two is when you’re blocking in big shapes and color masses…still somewhat excited.

Stage Three is when you have all your shapes and your composition established and you begin the process of turning it into that which inspired you. This is usually when you say to yourself, “What was I thinking???” You battle with all of your insecurities as an artist and wonder if you bit off more than you can chew.

Luckily, Stage Four begins at that point where you actually start to see the big picture coming together…you feel happy again.

Stage five is when you’re done…you’ve narrowed your focus and captured the story with all the final details…you feel great!

Stage 6 occurs when you begin to second guess your decisions and start to overwork the painting. Here’s where we have to be reminded that just because a little of something worked, doesn’t mean that more of it will work better. That’s when we need stage 7.

This is the stage where a friend walks over and kindly pats you on the back with one hand to distract you while the other hand swipes your brushes. Now, you’re really done…and glad someone encouraged you to stop.

It’s a good idea to paint with someone else whenever you can. There’s a couple of benefits to this. First, there is strength in numbers, and you’re safer when you have someone there with you…especially in the urban scene, or when painting a nocturne. Another benefit to painting with someone else, or a group, is that inspiration is easily transferable. It’s as contagious as laughter and lice! Artists can glean so much from one another, whether it’s a fresh perspective in a critique, encouragement to keep going, or just the joy of being around like minded people sharing laughs and experiences.

—Jeremy Sams, Landscape painter, Archdale, NC, 9/8/15