James Boren was born in Waxahachie, Texas, on September 26, 1921. His father was a minister and Boren regarded himself as a religious individual throughout his life. When Boren was a teenager he knew that he wanted
to be an illustrator. Boren entered Southwestern College, however, his schooling towards his dream was delayed four years due to his military service in the Marines during World War II. Following the War, Boren earned his M.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute. He then taught at St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth Kansas for two years. Following this, Boren traveled around the Southwest and painted in Alaska until 1956 when he moved to Denver, Colorado. From 1956 to 1965 Boren got to fulfill his childhood dream of being an illustrator: he was a concept illustrator for the Martin-Marietta Company in Denver, Colorado. In 1959 he began selling cowboy/western themed paintings.
In 1964, Boren was given the honor to become the first Art Director of the new Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Boren helped to set up a strong, firm foundation for the Hall of Fame but soon left to continue his painting career. In 1976 he was named Texas State Artist of the Year. Boren was also a member of the Cowboy Artists of America. He served two terms as the president and the secretary for the Cowboy Artists of America. At the annual shows that this organization held, Boren in total won twelve gold medals and nine silver medals. In 1989, at the competition of the Academy of Western Art, Boren won the gold medal in his “most favored media": watercolor. Boren’s philosophies for art were always centered around traditional values of having good color, good value, and an understanding of the basic principles of art. James Boren passed away in 1990.