Donald Fraser

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Donald Fraser

DONALD GORDON FRASER  1921-2003

A Canadian from Northern Ontario who spent his working years at CBC and CTV in Toronto and retirement in rural eastern Ontario. A professional artist trained at the Ontario College of Art, who by day painted sets at the CBC TV studios  and by night taught life-drawing. A wayfarer dra

wn to the back alleys and beer halls of mid-century Toronto, to capture decrepit faces as sepia ink drawings. An outdoorsman who plied the Don Valley and roamed  to Georgian Bay inlets and to the Kawartha Lakes, with fellow artists Jo Manning, Ross Robertshaw, Al Colton, Bill Hopkinson, Albert Chiarandini, & Ron Leonard, painting as they went. A man whose later years were spent with his wife Catherine near Madoc, Ontario amid the fields, the swamps and the stumps which he loved.

Born in Charlton, near Kirkland Lake in 1921, the son of a prospector, he died in his eighty-third year in 2003 in Madoc, after a life long struggle with the effects of diabetes. Fraser spent his early childhood in Florida and his highschool years in Bracebridge, Ontario.  He won a scholarship to study at the Ontario College of Art, so the family moved to a home on Huron Street in Toronto, where his mother took in boarders.

At the OCA Fraser studied under Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael, whose ideas he questioned, John Alfsen whom he esteemed for his figure-drawing skills, George Pepper and Yvonne McKague-Housser, finally graduating in 1944 with the Governor General's Award for Excellence.

All his life he was consumed by an infatuation with painting ; his subjects ranging from TTC passengers, pub regulars and native Canadian faces  to the rocks, gnarled trees and marshes of the Laurentian Shield. The vibrancy and intensity of his later oil paintings of  Northern Ontario inevitably suggests the lingering influence of the Group of Seven; but his models, he insisted were others also - Homer Watson, Horatio Walker,  David Milne and Rembrandt.

Fraser's career as an artist spanned teaching, working on stage sets, portrait commissions and a large body of his own paintings and drawings. Following graduation he joined the OCA faculty for five years. From 1955 to 1985 he worked in the Scenic Art Department at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he became adept at painting large and loose, creating back-drops for the televised shows. Hundreds of sketches he left behind record fellow workers on their  breaks.

15x60 CBC Set Stage For Black & White TV 1950's

 As well, throughout these years he was a  popular instructor of life-drawing at Northern Secondary School, of  portraiture at Danforth Technical School (night-classes) and  of landscape at the Mary and Roman Schneider School of Art in the summers.

Fraser's preoccupation was painting.  He exhibited as early as 1945, but his overwhelming focus was to draw and paint. He relinquished few pieces until he moved to Madoc.  Only then was he persuaded to give serious attention to selling his work, when Studio 737 Art Gallery became successful at finding many delighted purchasers. The year 1995 brought to Fraser  the honour of an invitation from Thierry Lefrancois, Director of the Museum of the New World in the city of LaRochelle, France to show fifty-two of his paintings in a five-month long solo exhibition. 

Throughout his life, Donald Fraser was his own person, uninterested in trends, but deeply engaged by the drama of daily life in the city and by the vibrancy of the natural  world.


Click the links below to read about Donald Frasers French Art Exhibit in 1995 - Including both French and the English versions.
English Brochure     French Brochure

Works by Donald Fraser

River, Rocky Landscape
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
  • $4,250.00
The Old Geezer
  • Size: 14x10
  • Medium: Sepia
  • $895.00
The Forks of the Turtle, Algonquin Park
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
  • $2,850.00
Old Beech near Uxbridge
  • Size: 30x39
  • Medium: Oil
Old Hickory Near Rockcroft
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Maplewoods in October
  • Size: 33x40
  • Medium: Oil
Spring Maples
  • Size: 36x48
  • Medium: Oil
Palmrston Street Alley
  • Size: 32x36
  • Medium: Oil
Cabbagetown Backyard
  • Size: 24x32
  • Medium: Oil
The Poet
  • Size: 40x30
  • Medium: Oil
Portrait of Katherine (Don's Wife)
  • Size: 24x20
  • Medium: Oil
Fraser Self Portrait
  • Size: 24x20
  • Medium: Oil
A Meeting of Minds
  • Size: 11x16
  • Medium: Sepia
Siesta
  • Size: 13x10
  • Medium: Sepia
Organ Grinder
  • Size: 17x14
  • Medium: Mixed
The Bent Tree
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Cranberry Marsh near Apsley
  • Size: 33x40
  • Medium: Oil
Marsh Lake 1971
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
White Pine Stumps Georgian Bay
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Rocky Inlet Lovesick Lake
  • Size: 33x40
  • Medium: Oil
A Sacred Moment
  • Size: 17x14
  • Medium: Sepia
Rainbow Lake near Tweed
  • Size: 30x36
  • Medium: Oil
Apple Tree on an Abandoned Farm
  • Size: 40x33
  • Medium: Oil
Skootamata River at Actinolite
  • Size: 24x25
  • Medium: Oil
The Rabbi
  • Size: 14x10
  • Medium: Sepia
Heart to Heart Talk
  • Size: 10x14
  • Medium: Sepia
Sumach & Queen Street
  • Size: 14x17
  • Medium: Watercolour
Queen Street
  • Size: 15x17
  • Medium: Watercolour
Dancing Poplar
  • Size: 24x20
  • Medium: Oil
Haeberlins Pond near Tweed
  • Size: 35x40
  • Medium: Oil
Winter in Algonquin
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Winter Shadows
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Autumn Splendor on the River
  • Size: 30x36
  • Medium: Oil
Sunset Georgian Bay
  • Size: 18x21
  • Medium: Oil
Sensitive Fingers
  • Size: 18x12
  • Medium: Sepia
Friends
  • Size: 14x10
  • Medium: Sepia
Melancholy
  • Size: 16x14
  • Medium: Sepia
Burleigh Falls 1974
  • Size: 28x32
  • Medium: Oil
Stream Eastern Township PQ
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
March Winds at Buckhorn
  • Size: 19x23
  • Medium: Oil
Stream at Bon Echo
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Gatineau Sugar Shack
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Tea Lake, Algonquin Park
  • Size: 33x40
  • Medium: Oil
Rocky Pool near Bancroft
  • Size: 22x26
  • Medium: Oil
Cabbagetown Night Scene
  • Size: 25x39
  • Medium: Oil
Old King Street Store
  • Size: 38x30
  • Medium: Oil
King & Jarvis 1960
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Cold and Bleak November Day
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Abutment Prices Conservation Area
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
King City 1955
  • Size: 27x32
  • Medium: Oil
Scarlet Maples
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Rokies Road Rapids near Tweed
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Flinton Swamp
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Thinkers
  • Size: 11x17
  • Medium: Sepia
Portait of Walter Lynn
  • Size: 27x23
  • Medium: Oil
Winter in Buckhorn
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Desolation
  • Size: 33x40
  • Medium: Oil
The Bridge at Buckhorn
  • Size: 33x39
  • Medium: Oil
Lone Pine Gatineau Hills
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Poplar Grove at Rockcroft
  • Size: 18x22
  • Medium: Oil
Burleigh Falls
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Haunted House
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Abandoned Farm in November
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
March Sunlight
  • Size: 12x16
  • Medium: Oil
Mill at Keene
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Sugar Shack near Tweed
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Quebec Farmyard
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Rough Waters on the Skootamatta
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil
Stream near Coe Hill
  • Size: 15x12
  • Medium: Oil
March Breakup near Bobcaygeon
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Winter Set
  • Size: 28x34
  • Medium: Oil
Marsh in Algonquin Park
  • Size: 18x21
  • Medium: Oil
Northern Lake #2
  • Size: 24x30
  • Medium: Oil
Waterlilies on Black River
  • Size: 18x22
  • Medium: Oil
Sunny Afternoon near Flinton
  • Size: 35x40
  • Medium: Oil
Skootamata Rapids
  • Size: 30x36
  • Medium: Oil
The Checker Player
  • Size: 20x24
  • Medium: Oil

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