YORKTON - Alexandra Verboom Fritz has always been drawn to create art.
“It’s always been a lifelong passion of mine,” said the 31-year-old Goodeve, Sask.-area artist.
With her interest already ingrained Verboom Fritz began to take art more seriously while still a teenager.
“It was probably 15 years ago,” she said, adding it was even more recently she began to show her work publicly.
Initially, Verboom Fritz said her artistic focus was wildlife, but her interest has changed now.
Today her artwork is all about horses and cattle and cowboys.
“I’ve always been super passionate about western life,” she said. “I wanted to keep western life alive.”
So Verboom Fritz’s artwork took a different path.
She related she had generally found doing wild animals quite easy, and that skill translated fairly well to ranch stock, although capturing horses accurately does take some added attention.
“Animals are super easy,” said Verboom Fritz, adding “cows and horses are pretty easy for me.”
The challenge with horses is their faces.
“The shape of the face is harder to capture,” she said.
It does help Verboom Fritz is familiar with the horse as an avid rider herself.
“I’ve always loved horses. . . I grew up riding English (style),” she said.
Then her personal path changed too. She took a job as a bookkeeper with the Gang Ranch in the Chilcotin region of the Central Interior of B.C., a job that put her at the heart of a working cattle ranch, which certainly fired her already existing interest in the cowboy way of life.
The job allowed the artist to take hundreds of photos of cowboys riding their horses, working the cattle, photos Verboom Fritz works from to create her art.
That said, while photos are a guide, she said she isn’t attempting to copy the image exactly, so extraneous things such as trees, rocks and sky are left out in favour of backgrounds of complimentary colours.
The job at the Gang Ranch also had the artist meet a young ranch hand Lane Fritz, who would become her husband.
Fritz was originally from Saskatchewan, and the couple would move back with Lane taking a job at Crescent Creek Angus. They now live on the boundary of the Gary Pasture, an ideal locale for her art work.
“I just wanted to live somewhere pretty and in the boonies,” she said with a smile.
The locale, still close to cowboys and cows for photos, allows Verboom Fritz time to create art. A large piece can easily take 30 to 50 hours.
Of course those are not constant hours at the easel. In fact, Verboom Fritz said she works in oils because she can paint for an hour or two, go spend time with her child, then return to the piece and still manipulate the still wet paint.
“I love oils,” she said, adding they are easily manipulated on the canvas where she tends to mix and blend colours of a piece.
The effort though is paying dividends in the sense people seem to like Verboom Fritz’s work, at least at her booth at the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown in Yorkton.
“It’s been really good so far. I’m getting good feedback,” she said.