Born in Alfalfa, WA in 1918 and raised on the
Yakima Reservation, Fred Oldfield was expected to, and did, ride on the roundups and drives and he has often stated that "If you’re going to paint Westerns you should go out and ride a bit. The perk of a horse’s ears, or the shift of his weight, are hard things to recreate with sincerity on canvas if you haven’t experienced them firsthand." Thus it is that Fred’s art places its viewers in a time where "work" meant you got dirty, "traveling" meant by horse and "fast food" meant it could out run ‘ya. His paintings capture the west he knew first hand, and highlight raw nature and the old west’s simple living.
Fred's passion and appreciation for life is reflected in his work. His colors are bold and powerful like the beauty he sees in his surroundings. Some of his paintings depict rugged mountains rising up behind hunched over cowboys - the reins of a scrappy cowpony in hand. Others almost seem to emit heat from crackling campfires and laughter from worn out cowboys huddled around the flame’s glow. Largely because of those rich and often nostalgic images, his work is in demand -- collectors are drawn to the stories he tells with his brush and canvas.
Fred’s claim to fame is multifaceted... His love and devotion to family and friends - his hundreds of donations benefiting children - his passion for his paint, brushes and fishing pole - and always, his humility, warmth and humor. Fred Oldfield is a true artist and gentleman who believes he’s been blessed to spend his life making a living at something he loves! He has taught many young aspiring artists and has shared his unique life lessons with a generation of family, friends and patrons. When asked why he doesn’t retire Fred responds with "From what? I paint, I fish and I golf. What should I give up?"
Fred still often rides for inspiration and to recapture a special feeling for a painting he is contemplating. The photos above show Oldfield riding on Molly Morrow’s ranch in Ellensburg, WA. This particular frosty fall day Oldfield was being photographed for the PBS series "Painting the West with Fred Oldfield". The horse, Greta, is an old friend of Fred’s, but Fred always tells her he would have named her Nugget!
Visit the Molly Morrow Photography web site.