Editor’s Note: The current exhibit at the Estes Park Art Center is “Bill Fritz and his Daughter Sandy” with oil paintings by Bill Fritz and acrylics by Sandy Fritz. The show runs until November 8.
Bill Fritz, who describes himself as “85 years old,” has lived in Estes Park for 25 years.
“I became an artist by default,” said Bill Fritz. “I grew up in South Dakota and each year they awarded two state scholarships for art. I took art in the final year of high school and my teacher sent me my work.
He had no interest in becoming an artist, so he turned down the scholarship and instead went to the University of Nebraska where he studied business administration for three years.
“After my second year in college, I joined the Air Force,” said Bill Fritz. “Later, while serving in Okinawa, my whole perspective changed. I started looking for art schools. The Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles came out on top; I applied and was accepted. I entered school there a year later after being discharged from the Air Force. My specialty was advertising design and after graduation I started my career with Knox Reeves Advertising in Minneapolis. From there I went to Campbell Mithun Advertising and eventually CMF & Z, Iowa, where I worked for 32 years. During my career, I have worked for large accounts such as Better Homes & Gardens, John Deere, Pioneer Seed, Eli Lily / Elanco Products, among others.
Upon retirement, Bill Fritz and his wife, Dana, moved to Estes Park where he started playing golf. It lasted about a year before he decided to trade in his clubs for brushes. Even though he had studied art, he hadn’t done much oil painting until he started at the age of 65. He took lessons from local artists Karol Mack, Cathy Goodale and Margaret Jensen.
“My favorite subject is anything I can paint well (in my opinion),” commented Bill Fritz. “The show at the Estes Park Art Center features many of my favorites, including landscapes of the Rocky Mountains and rural Midwest. I also like to paint portraits. Many of my works feature scenes and panoramas found in Rocky Mountain National Park. I like Estes Park because it seems to attract artists or art lovers, and the Art Center is a good place to show our work.
Bill Fritz’s daughter Sandy, 58, has lived in Loveland for eight years.
“My husband, Randy Weber and I, along with our dog Bandit, are full-time RVers who have been traveling to the United States since 2019,” said Sandy Fritz. “I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and got behind the scenes in the life of an artist. People ask me all the time, “Did your father teach you to paint?” The answer is not formal. I learned by watching him on his easel, criticizing print and television ads, standing by his side in photo shoots in his career as an art director in advertising. He taught me to live creatively, which in turn taught me to use color, composition, imagination and try new things, which you see in my works.
Her creative career began at a retail flower shop in Tempe, Arizona for 12 years (1985-1997). In 2003, she returned to school to become a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, which she still does today.
“The language is extremely creative,” noted Sandy Fritz. “I became a commissioned artist 15 years ago. I decided to take a community art class and it sparked interest in painting and one thing led to another. I am convinced that I will continue to take classes to stay intrigued and creative and enjoy learning from other artists around the world.
She started teaching classes based on the process of artistic creation 10 years ago.
“It’s my passion,” said Sandy Fritz. “It brings me great joy to open people up to their creativity that they think they don’t have. My motto is: “You are creative… you just don’t know it yet. “
Sandy Fritz was born during her father’s schooling at Art Center College. She’s been around art her whole life.
“How lucky,” she said. “I saw the days of graphic art design, photography, charcoal drawings, watercolors and now his amazing oils.”
She said her favorite subjects for her artwork are daisies and sunflowers, animals and nature in a whimsical way.
“The Estes Park Art Center is so strong with community involvement,” said Sandy Fritz. “The center has educational programs that support youth art. I have been invited to be a guest instructor during the summers for the past three years and look forward to this partnership for years to come. They supported my father in his creative journey for 25 years.
As for the very first father / daughter art exhibit at the Art Center, Sandy Fritz said, “It shows that we both have a voice and a vision with our artwork while showing the big difference between our chosen styles. It’s refreshing to see something new and different, especially with two people from the same family.
Bill Fritz encourages the public to come and see their work and the work of other artists to follow.
“Basically, our show shows that art is for everyone and that art can be a part of everyone’s life,” added Bill Fritz.