Greg Summers isn’t thrilled with the view out his front door, but he recognizes a truth: Artists can find the beauty in anything. He’s also familiar with the idea that artists should paint what they know. So when he was inspired by artist friend John Porter Lasater’s event in which he painted 24 paintings in 24 hours and immediately exhibited them, Summers went out into the ditch to paint.

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“Of Course There’s a Flag” by Greg Summers, oil, 14 x 11 in. 20 feet from door in Overland Park, Kansas

Summers documented this painting with a video of stills showing his process, and his Facebook friends reacted warmly to the clip. Soon, Summers was curating an online show in which artists paint what they can see from within 50 feet of their front doors. More than 70 paintings showed up in Summers’s e-mail box, and the resulting collection is on view in one of Summers’s Facebook photo albums. Participating artists hailed from as far away as Iraq, Ireland, and Indiana. “I had responses from almost every continent,” says Summers.

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“Winter House,” by Martin Pate, oil, 14 x 28 in. 20 feet from door in Newnan, Georgia

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“1962 Safari Airstream,” by Peggy Wilson, oil on panel. 10 feet from garage door in Kansas City, Missouri

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“Summer Flowers,” by Michael Anfinogenov, oil, 40 x 75 cm. At front door in Moscow, Russia

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“View on Matlock Bath,” by Jonathan Shepard, oil on panel, 18 x 24 in. Matloch, Derbyshire

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“Wood Walk,” by Kaylyn Munro, oil, 8 x 10 in. 5 feet from door in Lawrence, Kansas

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“Way to the Village,” by Adel Hillel, oil, 80 x 60 cm, about 15 meters from door in Nasiriyah, Dhi Qar, Iraq
 
The pieces ranged from relatively simple rural scenes to the complex reflections in an Airstream trailer’s metal. Summers asked the painter of that piece, Peggy Wilson, how she resisted putting her own reflection in the piece. “I think there was a moment where I considered it,” said Wilson. “Then I kept up the mantra ‘Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!'”

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“Xerxes Ave View So,” by Bob Matheson, oil, 14 x 18 in. 25 feet from door in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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“Misty Morning,” by Diane Overmyer, oil, 24 x 30 in. 30 feet from door in Wakarusa, Indiana

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“Burning Bush,” by Doug Frye, oil on composite board, 14 x 18 in. 10 feet from door in Topeka, Kansas

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“Downtown St Petersburg,” by Jane Chapin, oil, 8 x 16 in. 50 feet from door in Tampa

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“Winter Freeze,” by John Pototschnik, oil, 5 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. 49 9.618 feet from front door in Wylie, Texas

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“Green Glow,” by Kathleen Coy, oil on panel, 6 x 6 in. 5 feet from front door in Council Bluffs, Iowa

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 “Arpad in Bloom,” by Kirk Larsen, oil on wood panel, 8 x 16 in. 21 feet from door in Hicksville, New York

The turnout was strong and substantial, but Summers expected more people to post paintings. He acknowledges that many working artists are busy fulfilling commissions or concentrating on pieces for a gallery show. “This was just for fun, a change from their routine,” says the artist. “It was not for a gallery or with a collector in mind. A lot of people thought it strange to get out in their front yard and paint. It’s not something I would normally do myself, and there’s probably good reason — it’s not a subject matter you find in a lot of museums. Most people plan to paint something that is saleable. Some front yards are more scenic than others, but the typical suburbs of split-level homes are somewhat mundane. But with the right artist, the view can be enhanced.”

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“View from Kitchen,” by Matt Chinian, oil, 11 x 14 in. Cambridge, New York

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“Obstructed View,” by Patrick Saunders, oil, 9 x 12 in. 5 feet from door in Kansas City, Missouri

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“Light at Sunnyhill Grove,” by Roman Rocco Burgen, pastel, 8 x 10 in. 5 yards from door in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland

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“November Tree,” by Sandra Lynn Strohschein, watercolor, 14 x 11 in. 6 feet from door in Holland, Michigan

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“Autumn Morning,” by Teddy Jackson, oil on panel, 6 x 6 in. 3 feet from door in Blue Springs, Missouri

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“Before the Wind Kicked Up,” by Wendie Thompson, oil, 12 x 12 in. 20 feet from door in Ashippun, Wisconsin

The online event is over, and Summers is now busy with his own show and his own work. But he says he plans on setting up a page or a group on Facebook to continue exploring this theme.

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