The Official Clifford Brycelea Web Site

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Southwestern Art Magazine Article

Clifford Brycelea

Dine TribeArtist Clifford Brycelea started life by the Lukachukai Mountains on the Dinee Reservation near Cove, Arizona. He had a traditional upbringing, and won his first award for his art when he was in second grade. It was not until high school though, that art became a part of his life again, when he struggled through an oil painting class. Despite the frustration he experienced with that particular medium of art, his classmates admired his pencil, and pen and ink drawings, and used them in their high school yearbook. Clifford considered going to trade school after he graduated, until a school counselor suggested that he would be unlikely to make it in a four year college. He proved her wrong by graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

Clifford did not focus on Native American themes in his art until after college. His initial public exposure came shortly after graduation when Jackson Clark Sr. (founder of what is today Toh-Atin Gallery in Durango) added Cliffords paintings to the stores inventory. Mr. Clark encouraged Clifford to enter his art in competitive shows. It wasnt long before Cliffords works started winning awards once again.

In 1977 western novelist Louis LAmour purchased one of Cliffords paintings. At the time of that initial purchase LAmour was in Durango conducting research for his book "Haunted Mesa". LAmour was so impressed with Cliffords work that he featured it on the cover of "Haunted Mesa", and used Cliffords art later to illustrate several short stories. The two men became close friends, and in 1981 LAmour hosted at his Beverly Hills home, a private showing of Cliffords art. Although LAmour passed away in 1988, his wife continues to be a collector of Cliffords work.

Cliffords watercolors feature uncluttered, remote scenery and lone tepees or hogans. He strives to make his landscapes restful to look at, and hopes that they evoke a sense of peacefulness. The scale of his painted landscapes is usually small. Clifford initially started making his landscapes in miniature when he was on the road traveling between shows. He found that the reduced size allowed him to complete them more easily when his time was limited, and when being on the road provided distractions.

Clifford still avoids oil paints, but achieves power and subtlety with his talent in watercolor and acrylics. Unlike his watercolor paintings, his acrylic paintings often depict kachinas and mystical figures and bolder, darker settings. Cliffords diversity has won him numerous awards including four Gold medals from the American Indian and Cowboy Artist group, and in 1987 the "Indian Artist of the Year" award form the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (LACA). His art has graced the cover of Southwest Art magazine, and he has provided the cover art for books by several authors in addition to LAmour. He recently illustrated the childrens book "Moon and Otter and Frog," an accomplishment his children are sure to admire and enjoy. He was also featured in the recent Discovery Channel documentary about Canyon De Chelley, titled "Ancient Sky Watching".

Without a doubt Clifford Brycelca enjoys a varied and successful career, sharing his creativity and vision with all.

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Last modified:November 12, 2011