“My goal is to paint beautifully that which is not traditionally considered beautiful.” ~ Charlie Hunter (hunter-studio.com)
In this spotlight, Hunter shares three of his recent works, taking us behind the scenes.
3 New Paintings by Charlie Hunter
1. “Montana Song II”
I am enamored of vernacular architecture, and when I was offered the chance to do some paintings of Western barns, I leapt at the chance. “Montana Song II” was based on a photograph by Liselle Moburg (Abandoned Montana – Until They All Fall Down), who was kind enough to let me work from it.
I like to approach paintings like this as portraits – no tricky angles or razzle-dazzle; just a dead-on staring match between viewer and subject.
2. “October Farmall”
I know, I know. The John Deere is the tractor with the biggest fan base. So sue me; I’m a Farmall guy. What can I say? For one, my uncle was an International Harvester salesman. For another, Farmall tin has the slightest hint of streamline moderne – the styling of legendary industrial designer Raymond Loewy – to break up the resolutely practical purposes to which they were built. And thirdly, there are STILL a bunch of gritty, greasy, gorgeous Farmalls, some nearly eighty years old, toiling away out there.
As someone from New England, where fields can be pretty hilly, I’m not a real fan of a row-crop front end as a practical matter; but aesthetically, I love ’em.
In terms of painting “October Farmall,” what I was trying to do was to leave out as much detail as I could whilst making it look like I was putting in oodles of the stuff.
3. “Emerson Road”
The source material for “Emerson Road” is a photo from a book my mom wrote, called “The William and Charles Museum.” The plot is basically that my brother collected lots of stuff, and called it a museum (today we would call that “hoarding”) and I, as an infant, went along with it.
This is a picture of my brother and his little friend Catherine, down by the skating pond, with our barns (on the left) and our farmhouse (on the right). It was a great place to be a kid, until the State of New Hampshire put a highway bypass in that demolished the barns and we moved back to the family homestead in Vermont, where my Great Aunt Mary put the kibosh on any unproductive fooling around. Ah well – tempus fugit.
In terms of the painting itself, this is on muslin, mounted on a hollow core door, an idea given to me by the great Utah painter Doug Fryer. I love painting on muslin for my plein air work, where generally the largest size I’ll do is 12 x 24 inches, and the grain of the muslin is perfect for my reductive-tonalist technique (if you can call it that). When working this big, the tooth of the muslin is maybe a bit fine for the more painterly passages; I’m in the middle of prepping another hollow-core door now – this time I’m using a medium-weave canvas.
Editor’s Note: Watch Hunter take us into the details of “Emerson Road” during his “Reasonably Fine Art Talk” on YouTube.
Learn How to Paint Landscapes with Charlie Hunter: