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Clem’s art is all about the experience of observing birds. He said, “I want to show birds in all the attractive situations in which they are found, as they are seen, using the play of light and shadow.”
Working in watercolor, he developed an unusually detailed technique which is also soft, subtle, and painterly. He is most widely known for his watercolors for the 1967 book, Shorebirds of North America by Peter Matthiessen.
The Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art has presented two exhibitions of his work, in 2000 and 2011, and owns more than 30 Clem artworks, as well as his archive, including correspondence and photographs.