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GEORGE SUMNER - Environmental Impressionist

His Art and Heart by Kaya Morgan

An artist with a genuine sensitivity for the environment, George Sumner is internationally recognized as a pioneer in creating art with themes that recognize environmental conservation running from the ocean's depths to the infinite boundaries of space. Whether saving the whales and dolphins, protecting the environment, reducing nuclear weapons or bound to other causes, Sumner has influenced a generation of marine and environmental artists who came after him.

"If man can send a spacecraft on a twelve-year, four billion-mile mission to Neptune, why can't we better understand our own planet's life support system? Why do we continue to systematically destroy the Earth's abundance of wildlife and poison the air and water essential for our very existence?"

To know the man is to love his art and the principles by which he lives. His original oil masterpieces hang in public collections at places like the United Nations, Statue of Liberty, the Smithsonian Institution, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as in the private collections of such well known personalities as Jean-Michele Cousteau, Mohammed Ali, Steven Rockefeller, Neil Diamond, Patricia Hearst and countless others.

Sumner's art can be seen everywhere, bridging the gap between fine art and the general consumer on everything from greeting cards, CD covers, wine labels and books, helping to inspire awareness of the beauty and magnificence of Nature. His paintings have also graced the covers of a variety of magazines including Newsweek and Omni and in movies like Star Trek IV, Sudden Impact and Short Circuit. Although his most popular works remain the misty landscapes and mystical marine life paintings, he says "abstracts are what I really like to paint the most."

A San Francisco native, Sumner maintains a completely solar home and art studio high atop a ridge in Marine County, California. Built mainly of recycled materials, it has an expansive deck using wood from San Francisco's old Pier 39 and even its own helipad.

Worldwide travels have allowed Sumner to tour the planet visiting many places of inspiration and breathtaking beauty such as Fiji, French Polynesia, New Zealand, the Himalayas and the Swiss Alps. He has chosen his second home overlooking the rugged beauty of the Na Pali Coast on the peaceful shores of Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Here, Sumner finds inspiration drawing his hand across the palette of Nature like a huge paint brush while he hikes the mountain trains, sails the turquoise waters or snorkels off its pristine beaches.

The artist is especially interested in educating children about wildlife and saving the planet. He painted a thirty-two-foot mural of dolphins and whales on the sides of a school bus dubbed "The Dolphin Project," which travels along the highways of America educating children about the environment. He has also collaborated with wife, Donnalei, on a children's book, Something Smells Fishy, which he illustrated.

An activist as well as an artist, Sumner supports groups such as Greenpeace, The American Cetacean Society, Friends of the Earth, Earth Island Institute and countless other environmental causes. One of his favorite projects was a commissioned work for the VTZ-Rise Eco Corporation in Zurich, Switzerland, the largest renewable energy corporation in the world.

Whether working to support legislation in banning offshore drilling or lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. to clean up nuclear waste, Sumner always seems to come back to the birthplace of life — the ocean. "The bottom line is to stop using our beautiful oceans as toilets," he says. "This treasure has to be protected." He sees hope for mankind using our understanding of whales, dolphins and other creatures of the sea. "We can learn the ways of these gentle giants, learn to live on our planet in peace and harmony, as one with Nature…..or perish."

For more information on George Sumner, contact 415.332.0353 or at

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