This year’s competition judge is West Fraser. Fraser was born in Savannah, GA in 1955. He is a true “Son of The Low Country”, with deep roots dating back to 1695 in Dorchester SC, to coastal Georgia’s colonial plantation history. He came of age on Hilton Head Island where he developed his love of the coastal environs that still today provides inspiration. One of the leading American artists in the representational and plein air tradition, he 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 his beloved Georgia and South Carolina Coast.
West Fraser has been honored with 8 solo museum exhibitions in the Midwest, the Southeast, and California. His most recent museum exhibition was at the Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA, in 2012, A Native Son: Paintings by West Fraser. An upcoming solo exhibition at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina in January 2017 will follow Fraser’s process and places his paintings take him. His paintings have also been included in many juried museum exhibitions nationwide. During the past 35 years, Fraser has been published extensively, including features in Art and Antiques, Plein Air Magazine, The Robb Report, Charleston Magazine, Garden & Gun, Sandlapper Magazine, SC Wildlife Magazine, Southern Living, Southern Accents, American Artist, Nautical Quarterly, Southwest Art, US Air Ways, Fine Art Connoisseur and American Art Collector to name a few. As well, exhibition catalogs and books exists of his work The Color of Light, 1995 Springfield Museum of Art, OH and A Native Son, 2012 Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA. In 2000, he represented South Carolina in the bicentennial celebration calendar published by the White House Historic Association. In 2006, Fraser painted the official portrait of SC Governor, Mark Sanford. 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 2016, the University of South Carolina Press published the monograph Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser, which is accompanied by a Google Map to locate the exact coordinates of each painting. Mr. Fraser currently lives in Mt. Pleasant, SC with his wife Helena Fox.
For the past 9 years, Mr. Fraser has been an elected member of the prestigious Salmagundi Club, a Signature member of PAPA (Plein Air Painters of America) and an artist member of the California Art Club. He was Commissioner of the South Carolina Art’s Commission from 2003 – 2012. He garnered his first award in 1984, The John Young Hunter Award from Allied Artists of America in NYC. 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, NM & recently the Edgar Payne Gold Medal from the CA Art Club’s 100th Gold Medal Exhibition, CA. Fraser’s work hangs in permanent collections of 9 museums across the United States and Bermuda & as well, is in the permanent collection at The White House Historical Association.
Marie Nuthall, Plein Air Easton’s Coordinator, is thrilled to have Mr. Fraser as our guest this year, “We are truly honored to have such a distinguished and revered artist judge our competition this year." Mrs. Nuthall continues, "Every year the festival provides a unique opportunity to mingle among the greatest plein air masters of our time. Mr. Fraser will add to that experience in a profound way.” The 2017 Plein Air Easton prospectus will go online December 1st, and the final day to apply for entry is January 27th. Accepted participants will be announced February 10th. The festival takes place July 17-23, 2017.