“To Run With the Puma”, 24×30, Oil, Winner of ‘Most Innovative’ from the NOAPS 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition by R. Gregory Summers.
The vast expanse of clay rooftops spreads before our eyes fading into the distant haze, giving us the impression that the city goes on forever. The sameness of the structured buildings has the opposite effect of monotony; it forces us to look closer, to find the differences. And in doing so, we see the lives of the people who live there; we imagine their courtyards, their gardens, their interior spaces. We find ourselves creating the stories of their lives, and the painting has captivated our imagination. As the artist states: “‘To Run with the Puma’ was inspired by the city of Cusco, Peru, where I was on a trip along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. High above the city was an amazing view stretching before me of this ancient world built by the Incas. I was hoping to capture a little of the feel of the people, the history and the love of it’s culture.”
“Exiting Gloucester”, Oil, 18×14, Folger Gallery.
R. Gregory Summers began in earnest to study art after a tour of duty with the Air Force. He had always done drawings at a young age, and painting as a teen, but classes at a local community college helped to develop his talent. He began working at Hallmark Cards, where for 30 years he worked as a Master Engraver. Along the way he has taken independent study courses, particularly with Jean Howard at the Johnson County Community College, Anne Garney with the Kansas City Art Institute and artist Rick Howell.
“The Secret Rites of the Atchafalaya Swamp”, Oil, 12×16, Collection of the Artist.
Summers works mainly in oil today, and is inspired by the landscape. He enjoys plein air painting, and loves to “just wander and look. My inspiration to paint can come from anything…the way light catches a leaf or just the serenity of what is before me. I look for peace and contentment as I wander, and I never know what it will be. This is what makes my best work.”
“West Side Coffee”, Oil, 11×14, The Rice Gallery.
For the past 8 years Summers has painted with only 4 colors: ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light and cadmium yellow light. His supports are gessoed panels or canvas panels, and uses mainly flat brushes. His studio is the great outdoors from March to November, but does studio painting during the winter months. When plein air painting, he starts by drawing a 2×3 inch Notan, then starts the painting by laying in a few important construction lines followed by a block in. This is all done quickly, so that he can complete the painting based on his initial impression.
“Dripping Springs”, Oil, 50×30, The Rice Gallery.
Though the distinction of winning awards has certainly been a boon to his career as an artist, his most cherished experiences come from helping others: “what sticks in my mind was letting a little girl with Down Syndrome take over my painting during an event in Texas. She put two colors together and began mixing. The look in her eyes was to die for; it was magical. Helping and inspiring others far outweighs any of the accolades I have received.”
Words to work by? As his mentor, Rick Howell told him, “don’t be afraid to lose a good painting in trying for a great one.”
To view more artwork by R. Gregory Summers go to www.rgregorysummers.com. Summers is represented by the Rice Gallery of Fine Art, Overland Park, Kansas; the Kathy Cline Gallery in Parkville, MO; Mr. Millers Art Emporium in Saugatuck, MI; the Papa Gallery in Boca Raton, FL and the Folger Gallery, Midland, Texas.
To view the 2019 Fall Online International go to www.noaps.org.
Edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director