John Clymer began his life on the west coast, but spent much of his career out east working in illustration and advertising. Born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1917, Clymer grew up fascinated by natural art at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Over the course of his life, he nurtured his love of nature and eventually became most famous for his depictions of the iconic American west. His parents, John and Elmira Clymer, lived simple lives owning a greenhouse and florist business together.

John was not an academic child. He preferred doodles and staring at the landscape outside the classroom window over paying attention to adults. In his youth, the local Presbyterian pastor halted his own sermon to tell John, who was sitting in the back, to stop drawing in the hymnals.

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One overheated July day when artist John Clymer was motoring in Alaska he paused at this spot at Portage Glacier. People came and boated around beside the small bergs. Next day, when John returned to sketch, a change of wind had blown Mother Nature’s chopped ice over against the glacier, and the sketching spot was as hot as Tophet. The artist says no, he did not go over and take a ride on the glacier.

View Artwork Portage Glacier

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John Clymer, unable to put all of America on one canvas, settles for a mountain valley in Colorado, where pines and cottonwoods are waging a color battle in the foothills of the Rockies, while up beyond the timber line the slanting sun rays play a red-and-violet game of tag.

View Artwork Colorado Creek

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Hollanders started putting runners on boats circa 1750. Early United States ice- boaters appeared on the Hudson, where they raced New York Central trains. In 1959, ice-yacht clubs were likely to spring up wherever it didn’t snow too much but where water turned hard in winter. The original caption from 1959 claims this to be Lake Warren, Connecticut, but modern searching could find no such lake. Perhaps it’s Lake Waramaug, near the town of Warren.

View Artwork Sailboats