Out in the open aire

ahendrix@lsjournal.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Greg Summers has always had a love for art and the great outdoors. When he decided to merge the two as one activity he found the aha moment he was searching for in his journey as an artist. Summers paints “En Plein Aire” which means he takes his materials outdoors and captures all that is around him and he isn’t afraid to brave the elements.

“Last week when it was minus 11 I went out and painted this little creek scene,” Summers said. “It just so happens that the mittens I use is how I hold my brush. It’s less of a detailed process like when I was engraving.”

Summers formerly worked for Hallmark as a master engraver since the 70’s and began to pursue art in 2002 as things started to move to more of a digital platform. In 2010 he stepped outdoors to paint and success followed.

Summers has won numerous awards and competitions for his artwork. Some include; 1st place in Klondike Park, Augusta Plein Air Art Festival, Augusta, Mo., Best of Show for his painting “Wings Over the Platte” Stuhr Museum, Grand Island, Neb. And ·2nd place in STEMS Plein Air Competition, Overland Park, Kan.

Other accomplishments for Summers include, Vice President of the Greater Kansas City Artists Association, co-founder of the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society and Brush Creek Art Walk, in Kansas City. Summers also teaches workshops and works with interurban art house, a Johnson County non-profit.

Summers artwork features many local scenes as well as scenes from around the United States. Some of his favorite places to paint are in Charelston, N.C. and on the Colorado/New Mexico border. His painting entitled, “In the camp of the enemy” (above) was one he enjoyed creating. It was a battle re-enactment with men on horses with 15-20 other artists “en plein aire” style.

“I had to create a smaller painting while on site due to wind and time being a factor and later enlarged the image,” Summers said.

Although painting en plein aire can be a challenge Summers believes it has its benefits.

“I love to paint outdoors, the wind, the elements, swatting at bugs, it keeps you loose,” Summers said.

His artwork will be on display at Lee’s Summit City Hall from now until mid April from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 220 SE Green Street.


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