Charlie Hunter Charlie Hunter


Here is a list of current materials Charlie Hunter uses and/or recommends for those interested in emulating his technique. If possible, please support your independent art supply store and purchase from them. However, for those who do not have access to a good, local shop carrying these particular items, we have an affiliate relationship with (very good prices plus free shipping on orders over $200), and also with Amazon, for items not stocked by MisterArt. Not only does this make ordering easy, we will get a few bucks and you can rest easy at night, knowing you have helped keep the cats from starvation, at least for another few days.

Hunter uses "Cobra" brand solvent-free, water-mixable artist oils ("WMO's"), made by Royal Talens. Not currently stocked by MisterArt, the links below will send you to Amazon. These are artist-grade paints with a very buttery consistency. Other WMO brands may offer these same color names, but consistency, pigmentation, value, temperature and opacity can vary greatly from brand to brand. The first two colors listed are Hunter's base of operations. He will often demo or do field sketches solely with these two colors.
  • Cobra Van Dyke Brown (a warm, reddish dark brown with slight opacity) - order here
  • Cobra Raw Umber (an extremely transparent greenish dark brown) - order here
Additional colors Hunter carries in his plein-air rig and (among many others) uses in the studio:
Want to learn all about Cobra Water-Mixable Oils? Just click here.

Mediums are indispensable, but should be used sparingly. In field work, Hunter tends to use mediums starting part way through the painting, when the initial paint he has put down begins to set a bit.
  • Cobra Quick Dry Medium #093 (this is a lovely, light, oily fast-dry medium, the only downside of which is that it does make brushes a bit harder to clean easily) - order here
  • Artisan Water-Mixable Safflower Oil (a pale, light oil that takes a few days to oxidize) - order here


Brushes are an extremely individual choice. Hunter prefers medium-firm synthetic "flats" or "brights." In the studio, Hunter predominately uses Rosemary "Ivory" and "Evergreen" series synthetics. These are high-quality brushes, priced accordingly, that will last years with proper care. As they are hand-made in small batches in England, Rosemary Brushes are not sold by the major on-line art supply houses, but are certainly worth seeking out. Princeton "Aspen" brushes are very similar to Rosemary "Ivories" and are also an excellent long-term choice.

Hunter feels it is necessary to have a range of flats - from about 1" down to 3/8" or so, so one has the right tool for the job. As well, a "rigger" or "liner" is invaluable for fine work, a fan brush is useful for subtle blends, and a couple of inexpensive 2-3" natural-bristle utility brushes (sold in hardware stores as "chip" brushes) are needed for initial block-ins and some finish effects. Lastly, getting a Rosemary Evergreen 1/2" Sword brush will make you feel cool. Just do it.

BRUSHES OF SUFFICIENT QUALITY - If you are interested in trying Hunter's process without investing major bucks, we think "Black Silver" by Dynasty or "Simply Simmons" by Robert Simmons make a good short-handled plein air brush. Not as durable as a high-quality "studio" brush, they will, however, provide reliable service at an affordable price. We are an affiliate of, who carry a wide selection of brushes, including Dynasty Black Silvers (order here) and Simply Simmons (order here).
  • Dynasty Black Silver #24 or Simply Simmons 1" Flat Wash (25x26mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver #18 or Simply Simmons 3/4" Flat Wash (18x21mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver #12 or Simply Simmons Flat Shader #10 (10x14mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver #6 or Simply Simmons Flat Shader #4 (5x9mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver #4 or Simply Simmons Flat Shader #2 (3x7mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver Long Liner 5/0 or Simply Simmons Rigger #0 (1.2x20mm)
  • Dynasty Black Silver Fan #6 or Simply Simmons Fan Blender #4 (43x31mm)

BRUSH RESOURCES - Brushes are mighty confusing. has a couple of excellent articles explaining the component parts of brushes, the purpose of different brush shapes and the materials from which they're constructed. 

BRUSH CLEANER - We love Bristle Magic. It brings brushes we thought we had killed back from the dead.

Hunter generally makes his own surfaces, applying muslin to gatorboard panels, using Amsterdam acrylic transfer gel as the binding agent, then applying three coats of good-quality acrylic gesso. However, for those not wanting to head down the rabbit hole of making one's own panels, we find two Fredrix surfaces work well, although we still feel adding a couple of coats of professional-quality acrylic gesso, with a few drops of Yellow Iron Oxide acrylic mixed in to create a slightly warm white, is a good idea if time allows.
  • Fredrix Watercolor Boards (ignore the name. These boards have the right texture surface to work with Hunter's technique. Be sure to wipe with a damp cloth to remove sizing prior to painting or gessoing)- although one may order from Amazon, we feel that has much better prices on these, especially if buying multiples.
  • Fredrix Mixed Media Paint Boards (Cotton! The linen boards have too rough a texture) - you can order here from Amazon.
  • Utrecht Professional Acrylic Gesso (extremely dense, very 'plastic-y' finish)
  • Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gesso (excellent quality, slightly 'tooth-y' finish) - order here from MisterArt, or from Amazon.
  • Golden Fluid Acrylic Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide - order here from MisterArt, or here from Amazon.


This rather eclectic set of accessories is, of course, highly individualized. And only some are available from traditional art suppliers. We are including links from Amazon for those who wish to hew strictly by-the-book!

Hunter feels a daily drawing practice is crucial to developing as a painter. Keep a simple drawing set-up in your car, and when you have 20-40 minutes free, just sketch what's in front of you.