Working from a studio in Sandpoint, Idaho, Nelson Boren creates highly realistic, textured western figure paintings. To achieve this effect, he uses wire bristle brushes, razor blades, a carpet layer’s tool, and other implements he has devised to create the texture found in his paintings. The end result is, as Susan Hallsten McGarry says, amazing. “Illusion has no greater master than Nelson Boren. Whether it is the cracks and furrows of well-worn cowboy boots, the weathered rails of a corral fence or the shadows of supple buckskin fringe on dusty denim, the textures in his paintings are extraordinary.”
Nelson Boren left a successful and award-winning architectural career to pursue a professional art career in 1990. The stimulus to pursue his artistic interest came from a watercolor class he signed up for at Arizona State University, taught by the same teacher who had instructed him years before in architecture school. Soon after, galleries showed an interest in his work and Boren was motivated to leave architecture behind and paint on a full time basis.
Drawn to the medium of watercolor because of its vivid and transparent colors, Boren’s work today reflects his appreciation of cowboy life, which he experienced as a young boy working summers on Arizona ranches. Referring to his artistic style as “detail cowboy art,” his large, figurative paintings tend to omit the obvious, and instead he challenges himself to convey personality through the minute details and accoutrements of cowboy life: boots, spurs, jeans, chaps and leather gloves. He poses subjects from nearby farms and ranches, photographs them, and paints in watercolor from the photographs, wetting the paper and allowing wrinkles to catch paint in the depressions.