HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC –
The tranquil beauty and charm of the Low Country inspired both West Fraser and Cynthia Knott to create collections of stunning artwork.
Mr. Fraser’s paintings depict rich colored vistas of cities, coasts and landscapes inspired by his travels from the coastal salt marshes of Georgia and rooftop city-scapes of Charleston and assorted trips across the American West and the hill towns of Tuscany.
Mr. Fraser was born in Savannah and makes his home in Charleston, SC. He is an accomplished portrait artist who has been commissioned to paint the official portrait of the annual winner of PGA Heritage Classic Golf Tournament every year since 1988. He has represented South Carolina in the bi-centennial celebration calendar published by the White House Historic Association and was commissioned to paint the official portrait of SC Governor Mark Sanford.
In 2009, Mr. Fraser initiated a personal project of charitable giving called “A Painting in a Tree” whereby the artist hides a one of his paintings from a tree in a public place. When found, a personalized message on the back of the painting encourages the person to make a donation back to the community.
Mr. Fraser’s has said of his Painting in a Tree project: “I hope that with my gift found, the discoverer will give as well, and perhaps encourage others to make random acts of giving and kindness,” he said. “As a catalyst to perpetuate gift giving in the community I hope that my Painting in a Tree project can make a difference.”
His simple message, “Kindness is contagious, pass it on” has inspired donations to Gibbes Museum of Art, American Cancer Society, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Wounded Warrior Project, a hospital in Maine, the Lamb Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and the Hilton Head Island Art in Public Places fund.
Artist Cynthia Knott was commissioned last year by members Jim and Pam Porter to paint pieces reflecting the view from their new home.
After meeting Cynthia and falling in love with her work, the Porters wanted to share the beautiful horizons of Colleton River to inspire the artist.
The couple took Ms. Knott to the Dye Clubhouse for a glass of wine, and then to the tip of the 13th hole to take photos and enjoy the view. While not a golfer herself, Cynthia has family who enjoy the game, and she commented she had never seen such a beautiful golf course.
Cynthia says “the experience of being in Colleton River was magnificent, and the light and weather changes on the river were quite inspiring and peaceful to witness.”
She describes the project as “lovely, fun and enchanting,” enjoyed getting to know the Porters, and says “it was such a gift to be at Colleton.”
Recently relocated from East Hampton, NY to Hilton Head Island, SC, Ms. Knott loved all the unique lights and colors and is inspired by her new surroundings of vast horizons and enchanting sunsets that the area is known for.
While she is known as a seascape artist who had never included land in her paintings, the changes in the horizon and tides here were so beautiful that glimpses of land appeared in her work.
“In my paintings, I am not trying to capture an exact moment in time. I prefer to work when conditions are changing, the transition times of day into night, storm into clearing and vice versa.”
Her use of oil and encaustics, a wax-based medium, allows Knott to capture the atmospheric effects of light and transparency, causing her paintings to change with the light and the time of day, reflecting what occurs organically in nature.
“I am most drawn to the effects of light on the water and the surrounding atmosphere. Painting on site by the sea in the tradition of en plein air enables me to observe nature at moments of sublime drama.”
Ms. Knott said that she loves the changes in light and the combination of the view of river, land and ocean.
“The use of encaustics enables me to transfer this mutability into the works themselves and the finished paintings keep changing constantly with the shifting light of various times of day.”
Cynthia recently relocated to the area and now resides in Hilton Head Island with her daughter, Holly, who is also quite talented and will attend the SCAD architectural program next year.
Although she has not gotten involved in the art world much since moving to the Low Country, Ms. Knott is considering teaching and would certainly entertain another commission on location in the area.