Charlie Hunter Bio

Charlie Hunter Profile Picture
(b. 1960)

I was born in a small town in New Hampshire where we used to swim in the abandoned granite quarries. We had pigs and chickens and rambling barns. I’d walk home from school along the branch line rails of the Boston & Maine, and read the names and slogans on the box cars that’d roll by, things like “The Nickel Plate Road” and “Santa Fe All The Way”…..

When they put a highway bypass through our barns, my family returned to the house built by my great, great, great grandfather in Vermont, where my Great Aunts lived. We made (and still make) maple syrup there and had (and still have) a hand-cranked cider press which makes amazing cider but can remove a finger if you’re not careful (just ask Uncle Andrew).

My Dad was an occasional minister who ran a small print shop. There was always a lot of paper and drawing stuff around. I drew a lot. Though I did not appreciate it at the time, in college I was lucky enough to be forced to draw the figure every morning from 8:00 am till noon.

Afterwards, I got a job designing tour posters for acts like The Clash and REM and The Jerry Garcia Band. I got to design a lot of album covers. Now I live back in Vermont on the banks of the Connecticut River in an old mill town. There, I like to paint what nature does to what man creates. I tend to use a monochromatic blend of ultramarine blue, viridian, yellow ochre (sometimes) and burnt sienna. Sometimes I do an underpainting from life, then, in the studio, apply transparent glazes (of pretty much the same colors) on top. Sometimes this works and sometimes it makes a big mess. But I always learn something.

My goal is to paint beautifully that which is not traditionally considered beautiful. Sorta like a less-grotesque Anselm Keifer in a considerably better mood. It’s my hope that these paintings maybe move you even a little bit as much as the way the real thing moves me while striving for my paintings to reside in an uneasy calm, halfway between a photograph and a dream.

The held memory of iconic photographers such as Lange or Evans resonate in manner similar, yet distinctively different than -say- the paintings of Edward Hopper, Joseph Stella or Franz Kline. All, however, reside in our collective aesthetic, what we think of when we think about visual language.

Utilizing a variety of moderately unorthodox techniques, manipulating paint with a window washer’s squeegee or impressing the pattern of paper towels into a painted surface to evoke the halftone screens and benday dots of classic photographic reproduction, my work plays upon familiar visual tropes that the viewer notes almost subconsciously. Concurrently, the thin, semi-transparent paint film allows quasi-random mark-making to appear almost photographic in detail.

The limited palette, near monochromatic nature of my paintings are analagous to the stripped-down writing approach of a Raymond Carver, attempting to eschew extra aesthetic verbiage for imagery that is pared to sinew and bone.

– Charlie Hunter

Since 2003, his company, Roots on the Rails, has organized music trains across the US, Mexico and Canada. Now working full time as a painter, Hunter’s work has thrice been included in the American Masters show in Manhattan (2018, 2017, 2016), and he has won top awards at plein air events around the country.


Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Noble & Greenough School, Dedham, MA

Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Northampton, MA

Collection of Rachel Maddow and Susan Mikula

Collection of Logan Mankins

Preservation Trust of Vermont

Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society


Landscapes in Oil, Ken Salaz, Monacelli Press, 2019

Southwest Art, “10 New Painters”, January, 2019

Rule Breaking Landscapes, Streamline Art Videos, 2019

Artists on Art, “Landscape Painting or Rotting American Portrait?”, January, 2019

Alla Prima II, Richard Schmid, Stove Prairie Press, 2013

2018 Paintings (self), 2019



Faculty – Plein Air Convention and Expo, Santa Fe, NM

Faculty – Scottsdale Artist School, Scottsdale, AZ

Faculty – Renaissance School of Art, Sarasota, FL

Solo show – Traveling Light – McLarry Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

Solo show – Foster Art Gallery, Noble & Greenough School, Dedham, MA

Two person show – A Reverent Eye (with Jim Westphalen) – West Branch Gallery, Stowe, VT


Faculty – Plein Air Convention and Expo, San Diego, CA

Faculty – Scottsdale Artist School, Scottsdale, AZ

Faculty – Renaissance School of Art, Sarasota, FL

First Place – Mountain Maryland Plein Air, Cumberland, MD, 6/16

Group show – AMERICAN MASTERS – Salamagundi Club, New York, NY


Award of Excellence – Laguna Plein Air, Laguna Beach, CA

Collector’s Choice – Sedona Plein Air Invitational, Sedona, AZ

First Place – Mountain Maryland Plein Air, Cumberland, MD

Sense of the City Award – Olmsted Invitational Plein Air, Atlanta, GA

San Angelo Museum of Art Purchase Award – Plein Air Texas, San Angelo, TX


BOXCARS: Railroad Imagery in Contemporary Realism – Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, VT (Curator)

Group show – Eyes on the Land – Shelburne Museum, Burlington, VT

Group show – AMERICAN MASTERS – Salamagundi Club, New York, NY

RAIL TOWN NOIR. Feature in VERMONT LIFE, Autumn, 2015

Artist’s Choice – Sedona Plein Air Invitational, Sedona, AZ 10/15.


First Place – Plein Air Easton Quick Draw, Easton, MD

First Place – Easels in Frederick Quick Draw, Frederick, MD

Vanishing Landscapes Award – Plein Air Easton, Easton, MD

First Place – Wayne, PA Plein Air

Artists’ Choice – Paint the Town, Cranford, NJ

Faculty – Plein Air Convention and Expo, Monterey, CA

Richard Schmid ALLA PRIMA II – work featured in full-page spread

Group show – The Putney Painters – Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ