DON'S PAINTING CHUMS
very first painting chum was Graham Everett.
When these boys were
only 16 years old they would go on painting hikes in the countryside
around their hometown of Bracebridge.
his early years in Toronto, from 1939 to 1941, outdoor painting
for Don Fraser, would often involve going for a tramp down into
the Don Valley with good friend and fellow OCA student Al Colton.
Using oils on pulpboard, they would record their views of the old
trees and of the Don River itself.
After serving in the Air Force
during WW II, Al Colton became a painter and teacher in British
Manning, a good friend, and an OCA student at the time, was a keen
sketching companion too.
She later developed her expertise as an
artist in the field of etching.
Here is Jo Manning, brush in hand, in front of her paint box, sitting
next to OCA classmate Mary Ross c.1947
Here are Mary Ross and Harvey Okawara and Don Fraser, all friends
from OCA, with their sketch boxes down in the Don Valley near Hogg's
Hollow ready for outdoor painting in 1947.
out under the sky was an interest shared by Don and his first wife
Joyce McKay. These photos show them both at their easels near Bolton
the early 1950s, when Don discovered the painter Ross Robertshaw
standing in a back alley in downtown Toronto, working on an oil
portrait of the dilapidated sheds, there was a meeting of minds.
Like Ross, Don was smitten by the interesting forms taken on by
This led to a deep and enduring friendship
and many years of painting and philosophizing together.
John Alfsen and Albert Chiarandini often painted with Don in the
countryside around Uxbridge in the 1950's. They are pictured here,
picnicking in Uxbridge in June of 1955 - John Alfsen, his two sons
Adam and Andrew, together with Tom Lepoidvin, Albert Chiarandini
and his son, and Donald Fraser.
great roaming and sketching friend was Eunice Fleming. This photo
of Eunice was taken by Don when they were north of Bracebridge in
October of 1969.
painter Ron Leonard was also enthusiastic about painting in the
great outdoors with Don. This photo of his wife Catherine and
Ron (in his paint jacket) and Christina Leonard, taking a break
from painting was snapped by Don in 1975.
Robertshaw had a truck that didn't mind getting daubed with oil
paint, so Ross and Don would take off for a week at a time, roaming
the back roads of Ontario seeking "good spots" to depict
in paint the rocky landscape and marshes which they both loved;
they sometimes spent their nights camped in the back of Ross'
pick-up truck. This photo of Don and Ross at work near Buckhorn
Ontario, was taken by fellow artist Rudi Phillips in October 1980.
the mid 80's when Don retired from his job at CBC in Toronto,
he and Catherine moved to their farmhouse near Queensborough Ontario.
He then had much more time to devote to rambling and painting
in the countryside.
frequent painting buddy of Don Fraser's, around this time, was
artist Poul Thrane, who should have won the award for outwitting
the elements when it came to "plein air" painting. This
photo shows how Don benefited from Poul's well-outfitted van one
cold rainy day in October 1992 in Algonquin Park.