John Clymer

John Clymer

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John Ford Clymer was an American painter
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and illustrator
An Illustrator is a narrative artist who specializes in enhancing writing by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text...

 known for his work that captured nature and the American West.

Born in Ellensburg, Washington
Ellensburg, Washington
Ellensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kittitas County, Washington, United States. The population was 18,174 at the 2010 census. The population was 18,250 at 2011 Estimate from Office of Financial Management. Ellensburg is located just east of the Cascade Range on I-90 and is known as the...

, Clymer first studied art through the Federal School
Art Instruction Schools
Art Instruction Schools, better known to many as Art Instruction, Inc., is a home study correspondence course providing training in cartooning and illustration...

 correspondence course. He continued his study in Canada, where he spent eight years illustrating for Canadian magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...


In 1932, he married his childhood sweetheart, and five years later, in the fall of 1937, John and Doris Clymer moved to Westport, Connecticut
Westport, Connecticut
-Neighborhoods:* Saugatuck – around the Westport railroad station near the southwestern corner of the town – a built-up area with some restaurants, stores and offices....

, where he established his career as an illustrator for American magazines, including Argosy
Argosy (magazine)
Argosy was an American pulp magazine, published by Frank Munsey. It is generally considered to be the first American pulp magazine. The magazine began as a general information periodical entitled The Golden Argosy, targeted at the boys adventure market.-Launch of Argosy:In late September 1882,...

, The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

, Woman's Day
Woman's Day
Woman's Day is aimed at a female readership, covering such subjects as food, nutrition, fitness, beauty and fashion. The magazine edition is one of the "Seven Sisters", a group of women's service magazines....

and Field and Stream.

While in the Marine Corps, he illustrated for Leatherneck Magazine
Leatherneck Magazine
Leatherneck Magazine of the Marines is a magazine for United States Marines. It was first published as a newspaper by off-duty Marines at Marine Corps Base Quantico in 1917, and was originally named The Quantico Leatherneck...

and the Marine Corps Gazette
Marine Corps Gazette
Marine Corps Gazette is a professional journal for U.S. Marines founded in 1916 at Marine Corps Base Quantico for members of the United States Marine Corps. Begun by then Col John A. Lejeune as the vehicle to launch the Marine Corps Association , the journal is known as "The Professional Journal...

. His work in advertising included paintings for White Horse Scotch Whiskey, the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Chrysler Corporation.

The Saturday Evening Post

Clymer did 80 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Interviewed by Walt Reed
Walt Reed
Walt Reed is an art historian and author of books on illustration. He is the author of several works on illustration and illustrators including Harold von Schmidt, John Clymer, and Joseph Clement Coll. In 1974, he founded the gallery Illustration House in Westport, Connecticut. His book on Coll,...

, he recalled:
Just before the War I had done my first Post cover, an Alaska inland passage subject with a totem pole in the foreground, U.S. Navy destroyers and aircraft in the background. On a visit back home, out at Ellensburg, I noticed my young son, David, peering into a hole in an old poplar stump, looking for flickers nests. It immediately struck me as a good possibility for a Post cover. So I painted it, sent it in to them, and they bought it, saying they'd like to see a sketch for another idea. So I began to do a long series of Post covers -- approximately 80 of them over the next dozen years. My approach was to look for human interest subjects and then try to place them in a proper setting to fit the idea. Sometimes it would take a long time to bring the two elements together. One early idea involved a young boy playing in an abandoned auto chassis, but I couldn't figure out how to present it. Two years later, while driving through Jackson Hole in Wyoming, I noticed some old, rusty farm machinery in the corner of a field. It then struck me that this was a perfect spot for the old car. A Western boy would be brought up on horseback riding, but when he spotted the old auto body, he ceased to be a cowboy and was transformed into a hot rod driver. There was only one drawback about doing covers for the Post. They went everywhere in the country, and because I picked and painted actual places, there would be several hundred people who lived nearby who'd scrutinize every detail to try to find something wrong. I had to be sure I knew all about everything included in a picture, and why it was there. There would always be someone like a telephone lineman who'd write in and say, "I don't think that was the kind of insulator they used in that area." The Post was good about those things. The only time I had to make a correction on a cover was when I sent in a picture that had an automobile in the foreground. I had completed everything, lights, chrome, trim, spokes, but forgot to paint in the door handle.


In 1976, Clymer received the Prix de West from the Academy of Western Art. His oils and charcoal drawings brought him medals from the Cowboy Artists of America. He was named Western Artist of the Year by the National Wildlife Art Collectors Society. In 1988 he was awarded the Rungius Medal from the National Museum of Wildlife Art (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) for his painting Late Arrivals, Green River Rendezvous. Clymer died in Wyoming.

Today, his work is on permanent exhibit at the Clymer Museum of Art. located at 416 North Pearl Street in Ellensburg, Washington.

He is sometimes confused with John Clymer, an impressionist painter of landscapes and nautical scenes.

External links