Jonathan Frazier at Converge Gallery
Harrisburg resident artist Jonathan Frazier likes to paint outdoors for many reasons, including the fact that it gives him a chance to perform for passersby.
“I enjoy painting outside, especially in fair weather,” he said. “My experience as a teacher and performing musician comes into play when interacting with the numerous curious onlookers.”
Frazier said that “playing” to the crowd works out well.
“[A] ‘rock and roll’ presence seems to attract more spectators, which is a fun side effect,” he said. “Some artists are secretive about their methods, but for me, the sharing of the process is as much fun as presenting the finished piece.”
Frazier has painted several buildings in Williamsport, including the Sun-Gazette, the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., and The Herdic House, 407 W. Fourth St.
He made his way to the city due to suggestions from friends and an invite from a local gallery.
“I finally came into town about a year ago to visit Converge Gallery as some of my friends back home had highly recommended it,” he said. “I was impressed by the variety of contemporary work they had. I started creating oil paintings in Williamsport this past fall, at the invitation of Casey [Gleghorn] and John [Yogodzinski] at Converge Gallery, and have been a regular visitor since.”
Frazier was enticed by the Sun-Gazette building because of “the usual lures – form and color.”
“The unusual angles of the building created an interesting form for light and shadow play, and the warm red bricks with little bits of detail and inlay in contrasting colors also attracted me and provided a rich vehicle for my pronounced brush work,” he said.
The artist likes to make his way around to different locations for fresh views, including Shenandoah Mountain in Virginia and West Virginia, but when he’s home in Harrisburg, where he’s lived for 15 years, he also has his go-to spots for beauty.
“I gravitate towards the Susquehanna River at the edge of the city, especially in the afternoon and evening, when interesting things are starting to happen in the sky,” he said.
Frazier isn’t really worried about the fact that traditional landscapes won’t be setting the art world ablaze any time soon.
“Even though contemporary artistic expression has taken many forms beyond the easel, I like to think that there is something timeless about ‘plein air’ painting,” he said. “I love standing at the easel in the landscape itself, surrounded by all that life and movement. You have to make decisions on the spot and that freshness shows through in the finished piece.”
Winter months can be hard for outdoor painters. With daily highs averaging around 40 degrees between December and February in Harrisburg, Frazier can’t stay outside as much as he’d like to and has to work from other sources.
“I am not dogmatic about it – I have no problem with working from photos on these cold winter days,” he said.
Frazier’s impact on Williamsport hasn’t strictly been as an artist, as he has performed live music at Converge Gallery, 140 W. Fourth St., and Barrel 135, 135 E. Third St., as well.
“As a musician, I sing and play keyboard, guitar, banjo, Native American flutes, harmonica and many smaller objects-instruments, such as the kalimba I aquired yesterday,” he said.
Frazier’s paintings will be on display at Converge Gallery as a part of its “Suspended in Time” exhibition until April 27.