West Fraser paints what he sees in front of him. He paints out of a love for the land and sea as well as all that they hold within, West began his career as a professional artist, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Art, as an illustrator. He quickly moved from commercial work to painting what he wanted, mostly in watercolor. The need to travel and paint new things would take him from Savannah, Georgia to Vinalhaven, Maine to San Francisco, California and many points in between, travel easel in tow, and finally he would return to the Carolina Lowcountry and make his home in Charleston, South Carolina. Returning to the coast gave West the opportunity to live out his dream of getting on a boat and recording in paint the pristine beauty of the coastal sea islands. Aboard his sailboat he discovered the joy of painting plein air, or painting from life. The change from large scale watercolors painted in a studio to small quick sketches painted on the bow of a sailboat also prompted West to begin to work in oil. His switch from watercolor to oil has produced some of the most light filled paintings done by any Southern artist living today. Although he no longer has the 36 foot sailboat, he continues to travel by land and sea to find new subjects to paint. Be it Cape Canaveral National Wildlife Refuge or Church St. on a rainy night, West looks to create a sense of place. West Fraser's work hangs in both private homes as well as galleries and museums nationwide, notably the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina and the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, Ohio. He is holder of the John Young Hunter Award presented by the Allied Artists of America, the Mary S. Litt Medal from the American Watercolor Society, the Award of Excellence, Mystic International, Mystic Seaport Connecticut and Best of Show at the Guild of South Carolina Artists, Charleston, South Carolina.
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