Jane Stanfel Capturing Forever


Gallery
 
Watercolors

Helena Area

Available
Price: US $1200
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Where the Champion Bronco Rider Lived
Oil on Canvas 30 " x 20"

Sleeping Giant Ranch
On this ranch thirteen children were born to Fannie’s sister, Carrie, and her husband, Joe Hilger. Viola, the youngest was the only one born in the fine new house in the foreground of the painting. Mr. Hilger owned the saw mill and produced all the boards he needed to build it. Viola never saw her mother until she was two, for her grandmother was ill, and Carrie lived at her family’s home, the Sperry ranch, to care for the grand lady until she died. School for the children was down the road, and the student body consisted solely of their family! To maintain that road each rancher was assigned a certain number of days to grade and gravel it. Once, while picking berries, Fannie’s mother was bitten by a rattlesnake, after which the horses bolted, and she had to run home. Fannie saved her mother’s life by riding to Helena for the doctor after she was sure her mother had taken a swig of alcohol. Once, Fannie had a rather large, furry intruder at the door and she quickly killed it; a bear is not a welcome guest for food. The Hilgers had milking cows, and the milk was stored in an irrigation ditch. If thunder came, their mother, who sold cream, insisted the children run and bring the milk inside the house so it would not sour, for the not-so-old wife believed firmly in the old wives’ tale. After Fannie’s husband, Bill Steele, died she moved into this house and lived there until her death at age ninety-five. The family installed a toilet in the living room for her so that she would not have to visit the outhouse in the picture, and it is still sitting there next to the fireplace. Modernization comes slowly to rural areas and is costly. The Sleeping Giant Ranch had no electricity until 1960 and still has no phone land line.

Available
Price: US $800
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Aunt Fannie’s Kitchen
2007 Oil on Canvas 16 " x 20"

Sleeping Giant Ranch
Peeking through the window of the large house, I could see the warm, cozy kitchen in which the thirteen Hilger children were raised and where Fannie Steele came to live her final years.  I could almost hear the children bounding about while Carrie rode herd on them, and I could almost smell the goodies baking in her wood stove.

Available
Price: US $1300
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Good Ole Days of Ranching
Oil on Barnwood 26" x 23 "

Sleeping Giant Ranch
This painting was inspired by an old Hilger family photo. The equipment suggests a dam was being dug.

Availability: Sold

She Never Missed the Cigar
Oil on Barnwood 23 " x 20 "

Sleeping Giant Ranch
Fannie Sperry was born March 27, 1887 on her parents’ horse ranch, and from an early age was taught to be a fine equestrienne.  When she became the wild west champion in 1912 and 1913 she used her prize money to help her family.  She joined Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in 1916 and, according to her niece, Viola, could out-shoot and out-ride Annie Oakley but never got the chance, for she joined Buffalo Bill after Annie had moved on. There she met and married Bill Steele, a rodeo clown and broncobuster.  Fans flocked to see Fanie and Bill’s famous act.  She shot china eggs out of his fingers and cigars from his mouth.  After Cody died in 1917 they managed their own show, in which Fannie rode “slick saddle,” with one rope and one hand free, an unheard-of feat for women back then.  She once accurately said “… the horse has shaped and determined my whole way of life.”

Available
Price: US $450
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The TV Room
Oil on Canvas 12 " x 16" 

Sleeping Giant Ranch
Look carefully at the painting.  This small room in the barn receives light through a 1950’s TV screen!  It is impressive that ranchers can always find a new use for everything old – nothing is wasted.

Available
Price: US $1300
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She Rarely Missed
Oil on Barnwood Mixed Media 25 1/2" x 22" 

Sleeping Giant Ranch
Fannie (also spelled Fanny) Sperry was born March 27, 1887 on her parents' horse ranch, and from an early age was taught to be a fine equestrienne. When she became Bucking Horse Champion of Montana and the Lady Bucking Horse Champion of the World in 1912 and 1913, she used her prize money to help her family. She joined Bill Cody's Wild West Show in 1916 and, according to her niece, Viola, could out-shoot and out-ride Annie Oakley but never got the chance, for she joined Buffalo Bill after Annie had moved on. There she met and married Bill Steele, a rodeo clown and broncobuster. Fans flocked to see Fannie and Bill's famous act. She shot china eggs out of his fingers and cigars from his mouth. While on horseback she shot glass balls her husband tossed into the air. After Cody died in 1917 they managed their own show, in which Fannie rode "slick saddle," with one rope and one hand free, an unheard-of feat for women back then. She once accurately said " the horse has shaped and determined my whole way of life." Fannie is in the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Availability: Sold

When Indians Were a Threat
Oil on Canvas 18" x 14" 

Settle Ranch
The Settles have been a proud ranching family in Montana for four generations.  Their original ranch was founded in the 1870’s by Martin Settle and his uncle, Dr. Henry Clark. Located at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Musselshell River, the headquarters was marked by the big house designed by Clark’s brother-in-law, John Grant, a Portland, Oregon architect. At times the ranch was supported by cattle, at others, by sheep.  Martin’s operation of the ranch was succeeded by his son, Edward, in 1919.  Edward was known as the man with the hardest luck ever, for each of his four wives had an untimely death, and he was forced into bankruptcy when each of his four crops dried up. For this man a four-leaf clover would have been an ominous sign.  Edward’s eldest son, Martin J. Settle took over the operation after World War II. In 1959 the original ranch was sold to the Hutterites, and Martin and his wife, Adeline, purchased a portion of a large sheep ranch operated by the Chevallier family in Canyon Creek, Montana.  Their youngest son, Scott, and his wife, Kelly, presently operate this cattle ranch located in Trinity Gulch northwest of Helena.  Their next door neighbors, the Chevalliers, have a cattle ranch headquartered at the south end of the Little Prickley Pear Canyon.

This building predates the ranching era and is located near a historic placer mine  in Trinity Gulch.  Its robust stone and log construction was thought to have thwarted Indian attacks.  Over the years it has been used as a bunkhouse for the early Chevallier sheep ranch, and rusting, metal bed springs and frame are still inside.

Available
Price: US $750
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Cathedral of Ranching
Oil on Canvas 18 " x 14"

Settle Ranch
The Settle Ranch in Trinity Gulch, now devoted to cattle, has two large, magnificent, wooden sheds.  These, with giant cedar pillars, were built by the Chevallier family during the hey day of sheep ranching in Montana.  In the murky light I felt the spirits of years long passed, just as I did in the great cathedrals at Notre Dame, Winchester, Nidaros, and others.

Available
Price: US $1300
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Counting Sheep 
Oil on Canvas 26.5" x 19 "

Settle Ranch
Taken from old family photographs these pictures vividly show the true life of the old sheep-herding days. Just as in a Bible story, these gents kept watch over their flocks by day and by night and cared for as many as 2,200 at one time.

Available
Price: US $1300
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Head Em’ Up
Oil on Barnwood 23.5 " x 19.5"

Settle Ranch
Taken from old family photographs these pictures vividly show the true life of the old sheep-herding days. Just as in a Bible story, these gents kept watch over their flocks by day and by night and cared for as many as 2,200 at one time.

Available
Price: US $500
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The Hunter’s Lucky Gate
Oil on Canvas 12 " x 9 " 

Settle Ranch
Hunters and ranchers sharing the same land, if properly governed, is a win-win situation.  The hunter enjoys the thrill of bagging his prize animal, the rancher controls the wild animal population, which consumes his hard-earned feed. 

Available
Price: US $500
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Welcome
Oil on Canvas 9 " x 12" 

Gehring Ranch
Great-Grandfather Gehring drove all he owned from Indiana to start a new life in the early 1860’s.  He had just completed his tour-of-duty in the Civil War, taken a job as wagon driver, and searched for the perfect homestead.  After a harrowing descent down the steep hill where his brakes nearly burned out, he stopped the horses to rest.  As he looked about he knew he had found home, so he built the log house and there three generations carried on his dream.  As the old coffee pot hanging next to his door shows, all were welcome.

Available
Price: US $800
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Wagon Driver’s Home
Oil on Canvas 20 " x 16 " 

Gehring Ranch
This old log structure crumbling at the road’s edge, was built by Great-Grandfather Gehring as a barn.  Three generations ranched here and Billy, the great-grandson of the wagon driver, keeps a herd of the animals that once covered the plains

Available
Price: US $900
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Wagon Driver’s Homestead
Oil on Canvas 24 " x 20 " 

Gehring Ranch
This old structure was a bunk house for the hired help, and the tractor was used by Grandpa and Dad.

Available
Price: US $850
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Her Eden
2012 Oil on Canvas 24" x 18" framed in Old Barn Wood

When Bill Cody ended his Wild West show due to age and ill health, Fannie Sperry Steele and her husband, Bill, started their own, which performed at stampedes, roundups and rodeos. Fannie, born March 27, 1887, was then in her mid-to late-thirties, and more than half her life had been spent racing and performing.  She wanted children and a ranch of her own, and with their earnings, they were able to purchase a hunters’ ranch on Arrastra Creek near the small town of Helmville, Montana.  Fannie still hoped to have children until Bill bluntly informed her the problem was hers, not his.  He then shared a secret long kept from her - he had a son from a previous marriage.  She accepted her circumstances so they could have a good life together as ranchers and outfitters on their high wilderness paradise. Bill’s son, Ivan, and then his grandson, Vannie, became part of her life also as they visited from California when they could.  After Bill died of a stroke in 1940, Fannie continued ranching and outfitting until one fine day Ivan arrived to talk business.  Unknown to Fannie, Bill had willed his half of their ranch to his son, and Ivan came to collect his share.  Crushed and unable to buy him out, Fannie had no choice.  Ivan sold the ranch in 1965, and Fannie was homeless. Her nieces and nephews moved the legendary cowgirl, along with her favorite horses, to her deceased sister’s homestead high in the Beartooth Mountains.  About the same time she received a letter that she had been chosen as a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame.    She died in 1983, age 95.

Available
Price: US $1300
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Champion Cowgirl
2012 Oil on Old Barn Wood 24" x 23" unframed

Few women were strong and capable enough to ride steers, but Fannie Sperry Steele was a glowing exception. Here, at the Gilman Stampede, September 1-3, 1917, when she was thirty, Fannie out-performed her male counterparts.

Available
Price: US $700
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Put Your Money on Fanny
2012 Oil on Canvas 20" x 16" framed in Old Barn Wood

"MISS FANNIE SPERRY WINNING 4 MILE RELAY

RACE TIME 9 MIN. 42 SEC – 8 CHANGES OF HORSES"

When or where this race was held has been forgotten by her elderly niece, Viola Sperry; but Viola did describe the excitement of the race in which her aunt beat Christine and Buff, last names forgotten, too. Fannie was hired by the Capital Stock Food Company in 1904, when she was just 17, to spend the summer racing as one of the Montana Girls relay team. The team traveled the state performing this new and novel event where the contestants, always dressed lady-like had to change their saddles from one horse to the next between each lap. Since it was considered improper for the fair female sex even to get close to a rodeo or relay race, there are no women watching the race. They sat in clusters on hill-sides chatting, eating picnics and watching the little ones. Adding a little excitement for the males attending and also ensuring a financial success for the race, a betting booth was constructed near the grandstand. The events were indeed commercial successes with thousands attending them. Their popularity spread eastward, and a reporter covering their event at Madison Square Garden in New York City coined the term cowgirl. Since they did not rope steers, the riders protested and wanted to be called horsewomen, but the cowgirl term stuck. Finding racing in a floor length skirt hindering their riding abilities, the girls began wearing divided skirts which still looked like proper attire until they jumped on their horses. Then the fans could see the riders were racing in a pair of baggy, pleated pants. For this impropriety, one reporter wrote, "These cowgirls could hardly be called ladies." One comment which inflamed Fannie after she won a race was, "If these women were men, they'd be the finest riders in racing."

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Copyright 1998-2012
©Jane Stanfel