Historically speaking, Montana artist Charles Fritz is always historically speaking—well, at least through his paintings. History for him is an enduring passion, and doesn’t show signs of letting up any time soon.
“My interest in the history of the West just keeps growing,” he says. “The fur trade era, the Pony Express, the Oregon Trail, the voyageurs, homesteading, the native cultures and the Indian Wars all present great opportunities for paintings. These may seem like unrelated topics, but in actuality they all seamlessly weave one into another, and it becomes one large fascinating story with endless nuances to explore through painting.”
Nature, the outdoors, hunting, and history are—and probably always will be—the foundation for the artistic stories that Fritz’s paintings tell.
“When you’re given directions in the West, you better have a full tank of gas. ‘You just go straight for about two miles, it’s mostly gravel, ‘til it’s not, then you’ll come to the twisted juniper fence post. You can’t miss it; it’s the only one like it. Turn left there and the jeep trail will go over about three, maybe four, ridges. Now it meanders some. And you’ll pass a couple of light tracks, but just ignore those and keep to the left ‘til you come to the dead cow; can’t miss that either . . . . ‘”
When Toil Brings Bounty
“Many of the homesteaders were motivated to move west by privation of one form or another, and they were eager to claim their chance at opportunity and owning land. Mostly, they were the honest types—hardworking, family oriented people who loaded their wagons with farming tools and the family Bible, both of which would be relied upon in equal measure. As their descendants, we can relate to their struggles, their personal failings, their successes and, most importantly, we can admire and emulate their perseverance.”