Don Crowley

Occasionally you’ll see a rare Don Crowley image of a cowboy or a cattle drive, but what he is best known for are handsome, clear portraits of Native American women and children, not to mention their colorful Pendleton blankets. In fact, long-time collectors of his work may see the same subject as both a girl and woman, wearing the colorful, geometric-patterned blanket that was handed down from generation to generation.

"I’ve been visiting the San Carlos Reservation annually to continue chronicling their lives," said the artist. It might have come as quite a surprise to the man born in California with the commercial art career in New York that he’d settle down in the West and spend two decades watching these Native Americans grow. It was quite a journey, starting in Redlands and Santa Ana, where Crowley read everything he could about art and drew continuously.

Service in the merchant marine and the navy enabled him to study at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, after which he moved to New York to succeed as an illustrator. After twenty years he felt restricted by the narrow range of his work and accepted an invitation to exhibit his personal paintings in Arizona. The visit was a revelation and soon Crowley moved there.

In 1995, he was elected to the Cowboy Artists of America, and, in his first year, won the CA Gold Medal for Drawing The following year he was awarded four awards: a Gold Medal for Oil, Silver Medal for Drawing, the CA Award and the Kieckhefer "Best in Show" Award. With customary dry humor, Crowley termed this accomplishment "promising."