Clayton Price was born in Bedford, Iowa in 1874. A local rancher loaned Price money to attend the St. Louis Museum School of Fine Arts. He attended the school for one academic year and received no other formal education. Price moved to Portland, Oregon where he was an illustrator for The Pacific Monthly magazine. In 1910 he had left Portland to paint and work on his siblings’ ranches in British Columbia and California. During his time in California, he studied with the popular Post-Impressionist painter Armin Hansen.