For Overland Park artist, “Insane” isn't just a state of mind

For Immediate Release CONTACT: R.Gregory Summers 913.707.8337

For Overland Park artist, “Insane” isn't just a state of mind

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Its name means “insane” in German. The thousands who will ride it are sure to agree. But when Overland Park artist R. Gregory Summers first heard of its construction, he knew where his next extreme painting challenge lay – in “Verrückt.”

Or, rather, atop it.

New Braunfels, Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks has placed “Verrückt” – the world's tallest and fastest water slide – at its park in Kansas City, Kan. Summers' challenge to himself and to the elements: painting “en plein air,” French for “in the open air” atop the 16-story slide.

“Whether adverse weather or terrain, it is the challenge of capturing a moment in time that drives me onward,” Summers said. “Rain or snow, atop buildings or mountains, the desire to record a space and time remains the same. We go outside to enjoy the land, or stay inside to avoid it. It is the plein air artist that brings it in.”

Summers will make several trips to the top of the slide, first on April 17-18 and again before the pre-opening festivities of Memorial Day weekend.

“My main concern will be the winds at that altitude,” he said. “Springtime in the heartland at ground level is a challenge in itself. Painting at over 16 stories high will multiply the problems considerably. Other than that, I don't see any real dangers. I'm not the one jumping off into a little puddle of water.”

Summers, who compared the challenge to “sticking six windmills on top of each other, with an actual place to stand,” said his goal is to produce a set of four paintings, each showing the view from a different compass point.

Summers, the co-founder of the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society and the Brush Creek Art Walk, is a national award-winning landscape artist and vice president of the Greater Kansas City Artists Association. He is a longtime resident of the Kansas City area who now lives in Overland Park.

More information on Summers can be found at his Web site, rgregorysummers.com. For more on “Verrückt,” the world's tallest and fastest water slide, contact the park at 913.312.3110 or visit schlitterbahn.com/kc.

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