Tag Archives: charleston gallery



12 Questions with West Fraser: Travel Edition


Travel has long been an important part of an artists growth. Being able to capture different environments and depict them in the same skilled manner in which you paint those environments with which you are familiar allows the artist to stretch their artistic wings, so to speak.  It keeps them from getting stale, formulaic, boring (and bored…) West Fraser has long been an advocate of painting his ‘home country,’ as his two books from USC Press demonstrate, he has mastered his beloved Lowcountry and South Eastern shores. When we asked him if he wanted to do a travel show with paintings from recent visits to Sicily, the Almalfi Coast, and Costa Rica, he said ‘Heck Yes! Let’s do it!’ 


On Friday May 4th Helena Fox Fine Art is proud to present ‘Artist’s Travels: Featuring West Fraser’ a new collection of paintings from Italy and Costa Rica. In preparation for the show Helena Fox Fine Art gave West 12 questions that everyone was just dying to know the answers too. 😉

El Invierno Pasado   Playa Buena Vista, Costa Rica   32 x 40 inches   Oil on linen  2018


  1. When did you begin painting?  I drew and painted some as an adolescnet into my teens, but I started painting and making illustrations full time after college.
  2. What are the three most used pigments on your palette? White, blue and yellow.
  3. What did you want to be when you were a child?  I wanted to travel to capture a world that at the time I believed would transition from what I knew into a crowded place. Part of that was because I was surrounded by rapid development. I tell people I am living the life I envisioned when I was only 13 years old.
  4. What are you reading?  The Lost City of the Monkey Gods by Douglas Preston and On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor.
  5. What is your favorite style of music to paint to? 70’s rhythm and blues or Jazz
  6. What is a defining moment, or couple of moments, of your artistic career? First: a published article in Nautical Quarterly in 1984 with an exhibition and representation by The Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City on 57th St.–at the time it was the oldest representational art gallery in NYC. Second: in 2001 a museum exhibition tour and book titled Charleston in My Time. Third: an exhibition at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga.–my birth city–titled A Native Son.
  7. How do you describe your art to others? It’s like, you know, American Impressionism or Naturalistic Impressionism, the kind of art

    Percorso degli Antichi  Sicily

    that you would enjoy looking at…

  8. Name the top five artists–living or dead– by whom you have been influenced the most. N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, F.J. Mulhaupt, J. S. Sargent, Winslow Homer, Joaquim Sorolla, Anders Zorn, and  C.C. Cooper.
  9. What do you look for when out scouting for places to paint? Composition and the play of light or atmosphere, that is what matters, subject is tertiary in importance.
  10. Since this is a travel painting show, if you could go anywhere to paint, where would you go and why? Peru and Chile, because there are still wild places and indigenous culture, and Scotland because I have always wanted to see the land of my ancestors. Anybody want to trade houses?
  11. Do you think traveling to paint different areas is important to your growth as an artist? It is paraount to staying fresh, because I don’t want to be a method painter. New places and shapes, atmosphere etc…keeps me observant and forces creative technique.

    Pizzaria ‘Ntretella  Naples, Italy

  12. What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out? Work hard and focus on your specialty. For me I made a decision in the beginning to concentrate on coastal regions to find subject matter and inspiration; it really did not limit my scope or travel.



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The Gibbes Museum–West Fraser’s 3rd One Man Show Opens Saturday

West enjoying himself in Costa Rica

The past year has been full of extraordinary happenings for West Fraser and West Fraser Studio

“Sunlight” as seen on the cover of Painting the Southern Coast

In July of 2016 ‘Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser’ was published by The University of South Carolina Press. By October, the first printing had sold out. Extraordinary.

Soaring Wings | 54 x 72 inches | Oil on linen

In September of 2016 the Montage Hotel at Palmetto Bluff opened; the hotel houses one of the largest single collections of West Fraser paintings around. When you walk into the lobby of the hotel and look over to the reception desk, you can see the largest painting West has ever completed. ‘Soaring Wings’ was commissioned to be the centerpiece of the collection and is an absolutely stunning piece of work. This too is extraordinary.


This week, January 28, 2017, the Gibbes opens ‘Painting the Southern Coast,’ a collection of paintings reflecting the book as well as many paintings that represent Mr. Fraser’s mature painting style. This will be West’s third one-man show at the Gibbes, his first was in 1986 (when it was still the Gibbes Gallery of Art), and he was the youngest artist to have a one-man show.

Tuscan Hill Towns | 22 x 46 inches | Oil on linen

He now has another first, this will be the first show of a single living artist since the museum re-opened in May of last year. And as director Angela Mack said, it better be good. We at West Fraser Studio and Helena Fox Fine Art think it’s better than good, we think it’s extraordinary.


If you are a member of the museum, please join us on Friday evening at 7pm for a preview of the show.

Please stay tuned to our website, Facebook page (West Fraser Studio), Instagram (@westfraserstudio) and email (info@westfraserstudio.com) for information about West’s guided tours of the exhibit happening throughout the run of the show.

Thank you to Adam Parker and The Post and Courier for a well written article about both West Fraser’s and Jacob Lawrence’s exhibit at The Gibbes Museum.

Read the Article here.

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New Website, New Painting, Getting It Together for the Fall

Join us for a book signing and artist talk on September 22, 2016 at the Charleston Library Society. For more information on the evening, please go to here.

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From Field to Finish

There is a lot of talk about plein aire painting, but what exactly does it mean? Borrowed from the French, to paint ‘en plein aire’ literally translates to ‘open air,’ it refers to painting outside, on location, in all kinds of weather.

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Monday, for most people, is the first day of the week. It’s the wake-up call after the weekend. The end of doing your own thing and the beginning of doing someone elses thing. For the self-employed, monday is just like any other day of the week.

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What Is A Chicken Bog Anyways?

We all know that rice was grown in the lowcountry during the colonial era. There are reminders everywhere of our by-gone rice culture. But have you ever thought about what happened to these fields after they stopped growing rice? Many of them were sold to wealthy northerners for hunting plantations. Evidently the rice fields became a wonderful home for ducks.

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An Interesting Read

Recently West received a copy of a book by Mark R. Stoll, Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism. It is a fascinating read; especially for a self proclaimed lapsed Presbyterian as myself. In Stoll’s book he states that a “high proportion of leading figures in environmental history had religious childhoods,” but “curiously few were church goers as adults.” This definitely applies to West Fraser.

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Fishing the Limay River

I have just completed two new sporting paintings of my fishing expeditions, one from the Limay River in Argentina and another off the coast of Costa Rica. These works titled, Fishing the Limay and Pacific Sport, represent a new series of sporting and travel paintings that I plan to expand upon.

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West Fraser

West Fraser

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Represented in Charleston by Helena Fox Fine Art - 106-A Church St, Charleston, SC

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