Remembering the spirit of a bygone era

They Touched the Pacific - Oil


Joe has devoted his art career to depicting the life and times of the fur trade era.  His interest in this period of history was kindled more than 50 years ago when he first read Guthries’ classic novel, The Big Sky. 

“Today I have over 400 books – perhaps 6 which are novels with the rest being journals and historical texts.  The journals are remarkable.  They place you in the time and at the moment.  You can’t get closer to it than that.”

Growing up in Colorado has added to Joe’s appreciation and knowledge of the territory that the mountain men worked and traversed.  He has traveled the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Canada gathering printed material, photo reference and committing to memory the beauty, the light and the vastness of it all.

“It seems wherever I visit, I continually think about actual scenes that occurred or scenes that could have occurred in that valley… or on that river… or that pass.  My painting, ‘Arrival of the Horse Traders’, was inspired by an event that took place in 1846 on the Arkansas River.   The Kiowas and Commanches met with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe.  The Kiowas and Commanches brought 8,000 horses for trade!  Simply stunning to contemplate.  I imagined that scene for days before I picked up a brush.”