Charlie Hunter

Composition WITH A LIMITED PALATE:  working with water-mixable oils

“Charlie Hunter has the uncanny ability to seize upon the most ordinary things, and transform them with his brush into bewitching jewels of design and artistic perception.” 

— Richard Schmid, 2017 

Charlie Hunter’s distinctive work turns heads and raises questions. Why water-mixable oils? Is it true that a squeegee is involved? And what about those Stim-U-Dents and Q-Tips we keep hearing about? All will be revealed in this fun and fast-moving workshop. There will be daily demos and plenty of time for painting; we’ll go over some simple, yet invaluable tools for accurate rendering, and Charlie will expound and instruct about how and why he uses water mixable oils. Most importantly, there will be discussion and mutually-supportive critique sessions at the end of each day’s painting. We’ll learn and laugh a lot each day while staying true to the credo of have big fun; make big mess.


Using water-mixable oils and a reductive technique based on 19th century tonalism informed by modern reproduction processes, Charlie Hunter explores textual and graphic elements of contemporary representationalism. Organic yet irrevocably hinting at photography, Hunter’s work is simultaneously journalistic and deeply subjective. He lives and works in Bellows Falls, Vermont, 20 miles from where he grew up on the highland farm built by his great-great-great grandfather. Hunter holds a degree in art from Yale University, worked as a graphic designer creating tour posters for scores of rock bands ranging from Jerry Garcia to Bob Dylan, Ramones to The Clash, was a music manager for a dozen years and now exhibits at museums and galleries across the US. He has been profiled in ARTSCOPE, VERMONT LIFE, RAILWAY HERITAGE and PLEIN AIR.


2017 Laguna Plein Air – Best Architectural

2017 Mountain Maryland – First Place

2017 – Wayne, PA Plein Air – Best Architectural

2016 – Laguna Plein Air – Award of Excellence

2016 – Sedona Plein Air – Collector’s Choice Award

2016 – American Masters, Salamagundi Club, New York City


DAY 1: 

10:00-10:45 – Introductions, overview, usefulness of regular drawing practice.

10:45-12:30 – CWH Painting Demo I – introduction to materials, techniques and general approach.

12:30-1:30 – Lunch break (patrons responsible for own lunch).

1:30-3:15 – Afternoon painting session (Painting Session I).

3:15-4:00 – Critique/discussion.

DAY 2:

10:00-11:30 – CWH Painting Demo II

11:30-3:00 – Painting Session II.

(Lunch Break 12:30-1:30)

3:00-4:00 – Critique/discussion.

DAY 3:

10:00-11:30 – CWH Painting Demo II

11:30-3:00 – Painting Session II.

(Lunch Break 12:30-1:30)

3:00-4:00 – Critique/discussion.


Artist materials as per individual preference – bring what you like and feel comfortable with.

HOWEVER, if one is interested in emulating Hunter’s technique, these make up his outdoor painting rig:

– Portable plein-air easel (Hunter uses a Soltek, but many brands and designs are available)

– Roll of paper towels (Bounty or Viva; Hunter prefers Bounty) and trash receptacle.

  • Blank prepared surfaces. Do not bring low-quality canvasboards. Fredrix makes a product called MIXED MEDIA PAINT BOARDS. These are extremely similar to the surface on which Hunter paints, but be sure to get the COTTON, not the linen surface. These are available from Jerry’s, Cheap Joes, Blick, etc., and any art supply store should be able to order.
    Hunter will have some of his custom-made prepared panels for sale should students wish, but quantity is limited (these are theatrical muslin mounted on panel, primed with three coats of acrylic gesso).

    Suggested size – anywhere from 8×10 to 12×18 – entirely student preference.

– Brushes. Hunter uses a range of synthetic brights and flats, a ‘rigger’ and a couple of 1.5”-2” ‘chip’ brushes from the hardware store. He will have a selection of brushes available for sale should students wish.

– Palette knives.

– Mark-making tools: Original Stim-U-Dents, 6” Ettore brass-handled window squeegee, Q-tips, hand-held spray bottle.

– Artist Colors.
Hunter uses “Cobra” water-mixable oils (made by Talens).

Raw Umber or Van Dyke Brown – These are Hunter’s base colors. It is possible to have a fine time at this workshop with solely one of these tubes of oil.

Other Cobra colors Hunter uses regularly include:

Transparent Oxide Red

Permanent Green Deep (or Weber wOil Viridian)

Ultramarine Blue

Titanium Buff

Raw Sienna

Transparent Oxide Yellow

Water-mixable Safflower Oil or water mixable Linseed Oil (W-N ‘Artisan or Lukas Berlin) as a ‘fat’ medium.

– Coffee can or bowl for water (no styrofoam cups!); supply of water.

– clip-on palette cups

Although a daily sketching practice is not a part of this workshop, Hunter carries with him the following:

– Sketchbook (wire-bound, hard-cover, 8.5×11″ or larger)

– Pencil with 4H lead

– Eraser (kneaded, gum, whatever)

– General brand Extra-hard Charcoal Pencil

– Manual pencil sharpener