Oil painter Nancy Boren is our October 2016 Artist of the Month! Boren was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! Her piece Mamma Mia! can be seen below. Read more about Boren and how the support from her family pushes her to do her best work.
The Colony, Texas ~ nancyboren.com
I’m an artist full time. My first original painting, a watercolor, was done at age 12 while sitting next to my father, James Boren, as he painted at the Grand Canyon in the late 1960s. I’ve always loved creating. As a child I loved Girl Scout projects, crocheting potholders, and tracing illustrations out of books. In college I took sculpture, jewelry making, printmaking and ceramics, in addition to painting and drawing. As an adult, my hobbies have included quilting, sewing clothes and costumes, and making mosaics out of glass, china, rocks and fossils.
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Abilene Christian University and have taken various professional workshops since then with artists such as Dan Gerhartz, Carolyn Anderson, Casey Baugh, and Ned Jacob.
Just for the heck of it, I entered a contest to design the Texas quarter in 2002. Unbelievably I was one of 5 finalists and got to meet the governor. You just never know. I have also done a number of pet portraits, including one with two live dogs and one that had already gone to doggy heaven. That couple later divorced and the woman, who had requested the portrait, called to tell me she was getting the dogs as well as the painting!
My favorite type of painting is figure painting. I have a good friend who has loaned her children to me as models for the last 20 years. When her oldest daughter, whom I have painted many times, was expecting her first baby, my friend suggested I paint her. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Since her amazing shape was the subject of the painting I emphasized it by wrapping her in stretchy green fabric.
I paint from life as well as from photographs. This young woman had a full time job and using a photograph was the only reasonable way to accomplish this painting. My palette consisted of cadmium yellow light, medium and deep, yellow ochre, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, permanent alizarin, transparent oxide brown, ivory black, and cobalt or ultramarine. I can spend anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks on a painting. I worked on this one off and on for 3 or 4 days.
The story here was her lovely soft round shape. The way the light fell made one breast and her big round tummy have very soft transitions from light to dark. I thought I had it like I wanted it, but the next day I realized the shape of her tummy just wasn’t right so I reluctantly mixed up all the colors and shades to re-paint the horizontal line between light and shadow. I was glad I went to the extra effort because it looked better the second time. My favorite part of this piece is the contrast between the soft and sharp edges.
I would’ve never known so early in life that a person can live a creative dream if I hadn’t had the amazing example of my father. He loved painting, he worked hard and was successful. My parents were very supportive of me and I am so grateful for that. I always say my husband is my greatest patron — his salary keeps the wolf from the door while I pursue my muse.
I’m just not happy unless I have projects going. I’m very fortunate to live in a place and time when I can spend my energy on the arts instead of just keeping body and soul together.