In the Autumn 2015 issue of Vermont Life, we featured the work of Bellows Falls–based painter Charlie Hunter in a piece called “Rail Town Noir.” Hunter’s work is monochromatic interpretations of rail yards, bridges and other industrial scenes. He also leads plein-air workshops here in Vermont and around the country.
VL: What have you been creating this summer?
CH: The major thing has been the Eyes on the Land triptych, which is now done and — slowly — drying. I deliver it to the Shelburne Museum in mid-September, and it goes up at the end of the month.
VL: What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever tried to paint?
CH: The ineffable loneliness of existence. That, and boats.
VL: Is asking you to talk about your favorite pieces like asking you to choose a favorite child?
CH: No, one vomits these forth (laughs). One of the musicians we managed, Chris Smither, he wrote a song Bonnie Raitt does called “Love Me Like a Man,” that’s done really well for him. He says, “People say, do you have a favorite song? And you answer them, they’re like your children. You love them. However, some of the children grow up and get a job at Circle K. This one went to Harvard and became a doctor.”
VL: How is your Bellows Falls Workshop (Sept. 23–27) taking shape?
CH: Right now, we have one room at the inn left. So it’s like nine folks for the full whack, and a few day students. My friend and fellow Putney painter John Smith — I tell him he needs to get more creative in his aliases — will be serving as water boy. He knows all about the technical aspects of art supplies, so he’s really useful to have around.
VL: What will you be painting?
CH: We’re going to paint at the railroad yards for sure, and then also down by the abandoned paper mills. It’s like a Piranesian cathedral of decrepitude down there. It’s wonderful.