It’s with pleasure that I share with you the newest members to be awarded Master Signature status by the Outdoor Painters Society (OPS). Beverly Boren and Ted Clemens were recently elected by ballot vote of the entire Signature membership body to receive this honor.
To qualify for this special recognition, all applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered: 1) Be a Signature member of OPS for the last five years. 2) Juried into the last three Plein Air Southwest Salons. 3) Received an award in three of the annual Salons.
The Outdoor Painters Society has grown significantly over the years and has become an important part of the plein air community. It’s members come from many parts of the country and include some of the top names in the world of plein air painters. It is a credit to current president, Tina Bohlman (Master Signature member), and to all the former and present board members.
I thought you’d be interested in learning more about these wonderful artists that have achieved this well-deserved recognition. (Click images to enlarge).
“I am truly honored to have received the distinction of Master Signature. The relationships that have been formed with fellow artists in OPS have been a big part in my growth as a professional artist. This achievement inspires me to continue pursuing excellence in my work and to express my love of painting in an ever evolving self expression.”
“I fool myself a lot in my work. But there must be something worthwhile in it to even be eligible for the recognition.”
Share with us your art background leading up to where you are today.
Boren: I’ve always been artistically inclined, always loved to draw. I didn’t realize I would become a fine artist until after many years of other pursuits. I worked as a flight attendant, thinking “Wouldn’t it be fun to travel the world”? I eventually left that career move to raise my beautiful family. Other odd jobs followed and I came to the realization that I really hated sitting in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day. I walked out one day with the idea that I wanted to paint. Once I picked up a brush – I never looked back.
Clemens: After art school, most of my career has been in advertising. That, with family responsibilities, kept me busy enough until the kids grew up. I began plein air work about a dozen years ago, and started entering competitions. I had to relearn everything—use of color, style, simplicity, efficiency—until I figured things out and nailed down how I wanted to do all this. The shows put my own work in perspective, and being around other painters, I’d pick up valuable tips here and there.
What in your opinion are the most important contributions you have made to the art world?
Boren: Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to study and learn from some of the best artists in the country. I am grateful to all of them for planting the seed. Painting and teaching is my way of connecting with the world and sharing those experiences, hopefully inspiring others along the way.
Clemens: Can’t say I know of any; that will have to be determined by others.
How much of your work is done en plein air and why is it so important to you?
Boren: I’d say that about 20-30% of my work is plein air. When I paint on location I need to paint quickly and decisively. There isn’t time to get caught up in details. It’s important that I capture the essence of a subject quickly and to simplify the subject into basic shapes, not a detailed rendering of what’s out there.
Clemens: Plein air has been fundamental to my development—half my work was outdoors at first. Now studio work has taken more time, but to focus my attention I have to go outside. Being under the stopwatch of sunlight and the changes of weather force a sharpening of skills, and being on the spot engages me in the subject. I can look broadly or closely to understand more and more.
When choosing a subject, what are you looking for?
Boren: I paint a variety of subject matter and my inspiration to paint is often the same regardless of subject matter – patterns of light and shadow, interesting shapes and a pleasing color harmony. I love to paint a variety of subject matter as well as working in various mediums . My paintings are created with things that capture my eye whether it’s a landscape, still life, or capturing a person’s personality.
Clemens: I’m prejudiced toward copying what I see, but I’ve learned subject is less important than composition and design. However, color, value, and the challenge of capturing something new are also important considerations.
Please explain your plein air painting process.
Boren: SIMPLICATION! After choosing a subject, I compose my scene with a simple drawing using a small brush and thin paint. Next, I block in the general masses of values within the big shapes. Once I establish the big shapes, I refine and add necessary detail. I work from general to specific, dark to light, thin to thick.
Clemens: Guerrilla warfare. I have to get as much as possible into my mind before I pick up the paint brush. What can I do in the time I have? What do I want to accomplish—lighting, texture, subject? I look for design and balance of shapes and values, and start simply, focusing my attention on essential areas that ground the composition.
What do you hope to communicate through your work?
Boren: Trying to describe or explain my efforts at painting or drawing seems like a futile effort. After all, I want my work tp express itself without the necessity of words. My best hope is that my work will stand simply on it’s own, and find a connection with viewers where words fail.
Clemens: Time and place mostly. One thing that caught my attention early on was a passage in the Bible—Romans 1:20. I wanted to know what it could mean to get past the obvious to see the invisible attributes of the One who made what I see. I’m a critical type and am not satisfied to just glory in mountains, sunsets and nature. What could God possibly be saying about Himself? Examining what I see, taking things apart in my mind, and the challenges of reworking them in paint, have revealed far more than I ever thought.
Thanks Beverly and Ted for your willingness to be interviewed for this blog. I hope others will join me in congratulating you for this well deserved honor.
To view more of Boren and Clemens’ work, click links below.
John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE