Colorful Life – Cliff Enright

Colorful Life – Cliff Enright

As the door opens to Cliff Enright’s Manhattan loft, the vibrant watercolor paintings lining the exposed brick wall explode before you in arresting jeweled hues. The intricate white patterns that speckle the paintings appear both painstakingly deliberate yet playfully chaotic. And the indulgent use of deep, bright colors seems to stem from nothing short of a wellspring of pure joy – a feeling that cannot be shaken long after you’ve seen the works. It is a feeling that stays with you long after you’ve met the artist.

As vibrant and colorful as his paintings, Cliff’s charm and optimism are matched only by the love he has for his craft. An abstract expressionist and art instructor since the 1960s, Cliff came to New York City to pursue his passion. But it was a freak accident in 2004 that would dramatically alter his life and his artwork – but not his resolve.

“I was in England visiting friends and I went outside to smoke a cigarette,” recalls Cliff. “I dropped it. When I reached down to pick it up, I kept falling forward. I felt my chin hit the ground and my head snapped back. I tried to get up and I couldn’t move.”enright8_2

The spinal cord injury Cliff suffered that evening a decade ago left him a quadriplegic. He faced a long, difficult road ahead. But with the help of his long-time partner, Virginia, numerous health care professionals and aids, and his artwork, Cliff took on the challenge of rehabilitation with the same dedication and tenacity that he always brought to his work.

“I started with art therapy right away. I was making just scribbles and scrabbles, but I was working in art from the very beginning,” he recalls. “I just kept painting, and gradually improving and gradually painting more.”

His willful stubbornness, coupled with a remarkable optimism has helped Cliff recover some mobility and strength in his hands and arms. It has also served him well through other physical and emotional trials along the way.

“It seems to me as both Cliff’s friend and his art dealer, that there is nothing that would keep him down,” remarks Robin Glazer, Founder and Director of The Creative Center at University Settlement. “He has had a number of other illnesses besides a spinal cord injury. He’s been diagnosed with diabetes and skin cancer, and has gone through treatments and medication trials and all sorts of interventions, and he still keeps working.”

Cliff is among a number of artists represented by The Creative Center at University Settlement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people living with cancer and other chronic illnesses. Along with free-of-charge art workshops and hospital-based bedside art programs, The Creative Center exhibits and markets the artwork of professional artists living with illness.enright8_1

Today, with the help of an art assistant, Cliff continues to be a prolific and celebrated artist. His artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States and Canada, and is part of both corporate and private collections around the world.

Of his unabashed use of color, Cliff minces no words: “I’m going to paint the way I feel like painting. And that’s with as much bright, beautiful color as I can get on the painting. If I could get more on a painting, I would!”

Watch the video below to learn more about Cliff and his art.

Mt Sinai Permanent Collection

Mt Sinai permanent collection

Mt Sinai permanent collection

Mt Sinai permanent collection

“People ask me how, as a quadriplegic, I am able to paint.”
Talented artist and Mount Sinai patient Cliff Enright discussed his process at today’s#Rehab Fair.
Here is Cliff sitting in front of his paintings, which are hanging in the Department of Rehabilitation.

Mt Sinai

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Stacy Gannon, Manager Watchung Art Center features New York painters

Cliff Enright, is a native Canadian. He arrived in New York in 1970 on a Canada Council Grant, and never returned to his university position in Saskatchewan.He stayed in New York to teach and to paint. From loosely-based figurative watercolors of destinations around the world,
Mr. Enright arrived at a style that employs a grid from which to view the tempos and rhythms of the city.
Although Mr. Enright became a paraplegic four years ago after a spinal cord injury,
he persisted in physical therapy until he could hold a brush again. In Color Flight,
he breaks free of the painting grid, and paints with new energy and power.
The Watchung Art Center is at the Watchung Circle, 18 Stirling Road, Watchung.

Warren Watchung Connection


November, 2008 – Warren Watchung Connection

Cliff Enright, a New York painter and longtime teacher of adult students came to New York in 1970 on a Canada Council Grant.
He never returned to his university position in Saskatchewan, but stayed to become a popular teacher, and to paint.
From loosely based figurative watercolors of destinations throughout the world, Enright has broken through into an altogether new and dynamic style.
Many of the works employ a grid from which to view the tempos and rhythms of the city.
Inspired by music that has been his constant companion, these paintings burst with energy and power.
His newer works, however, have worked