All images © Jeremy Sams, shared with permission

When painting in plein air, artist Jeremy Sams scours the landscapes around his home in Archdale, North Carolina, for a spot that rouses all of his senses. “It begins in your initial journey, whether it’s a hike through a place of natural solitude with all of the smells and cool breezes or just a stroll down a street with the melodies of urban life,” he shares.

He then paints sublime interpretations of the nearby landscape, relying on a realistic color palette in acrylic to render slightly blurred edges and the location’s generally serene qualities: overlaid by a dreamy haze, brooks reflect the surrounding trees, a small brood of chickens pecks at spring grass, and snow melts into a rocky stream.

In a note to Colossal, Sams says he’s most attracted to places layered with contrast, sometimes in the form of light and shadow or disparities in color and others when natural features are positioned alongside human interventions like pathways and barns. “Whatever it is that draws my attention, there is something truthful about the landscape that begs to be painted,” he shares. “This is one of the reasons that I do very little editing to the scene on my canvas, but I try to capture the essence of that thing which initially drew me in.”

Sams tends to photograph his finished paintings against their original source, which you can see more of on Instagram.