West Fraser
'Good Day Sunshine'

West Fraser
'Little River'

West Fraser
'Cozy Cove'

West Fraser has built his career on richly painted, atmospheric vistas of cities, coasts, and the landscape throughout the United States and internationally—from the pristine Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, to the hill towns of Tuscany. An inveterate traveler, he has painted throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and Scandinavia. Yet his passion always draws him back to the marshes and landscape of the Georgia and South Carolina Coast.

Fraser was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1955, and raised in nearby Hinesville until 1964, when his family moved to Hilton Head Island. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Art’s degree in 1979. The following year in Savannah, he worked independently as an illustrator and began his first serious painting in watercolors. From 1980 to 1984, he lived in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, and began traveling up and down the New England coast to paint maritime subjects and harbor scenes. In 1984, he settled in Charleston, and continued his work in watercolor through the late 1980s. The realistic, detailed marine compositions from this period resulted in early critical recognition, with a 1984 two-man show at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City, and his first one-man exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston in 1986 through early 1987.

By 1986 Fraser had already developed a looser, more lyrical watercolor style. By 1989 he started producing his first oil paintings created from life in open air—en plein air—a style based on an impressionistic rendering of light, color and atmosphere on the forms of landscapes, city scenes, and marine views. In 1990, he shifted to representational/plein air painting in oil. Since then, he has primarily specialized in coastal landscapes, streetscapes and travel paintings. Through his many accolades and awards, he has achieved a national and international reputation as a master of creating a natural light in his luminist paintings. Fraser has been given 6 solo museum exhibitions in the Midwest, the Southeast, and California. In 2000, he represented South Carolina in the bicentennial celebration calendar published by the White House Historic Association. In 2001, the University of South Carolina Press published the monograph Charleston in My Time: The Paintings of West Fraser, which was accompanied by a traveling exhibition to Southeastern museums. In 2006, Fraser painted the official portrait of SC Governor Mark Sanford.

Fraser is a current Commissioner of the South Carolina Art’s Commission, an elected member of the prestigious Salmagundi Club, an elected Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, and a Signature member of PAPA (Plein Air Painters of America) and a member of the California Art Club. He garnered his first award in 1984, The John Young Hunter Award from Allied Artists of America. Since then he has been honored with the Award of Excellence from Mystic International, The Mary S. Litt Award from The American Watercolor Society, the Pursuit of Excellence/American Master award from the Hubbard Museum of Art, The Edgar Payne Gold Medal Award for Best Landscape from the California Art Club’s 100th Juried Gold Medal Exhibition, among many others. Fraser hangs in permanent collections in 9 museums across the United States and Bermuda. As well, in permanent collection at The White House Historical Association. His audiences include museums, art associations, resorts, The Heritage annual PGA Tour winner, yacht clubs, historical societies, health institutions, corporate and private collections, and educational institutions.

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