Here are current lists of 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 Blick Art Materials (and also with Amazon, for items not stocked by Blick). If you click through the links below, 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.
Blick Order Form for Charlie Hunter Cobra Water-Mixable Oils - just click here!
Hunter uses "Cobra" brand solvent-free, water-mixable artist oils ("WMO's"), made by Royal Talens - learn all about them here. 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.
These two colors 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)
- Cobra Raw Umber (an extremely transparent greenish dark brown)
Additional colors Hunter carries in his plein-air rig and uses in the studio:
- Cobra Titanium Buff
- Cobra Transparent Oxide Red
- Cobra Transparent Oxide Yellow
- Cobra Ultramarine Blue
- Cobra Permanent Green Deep
- Cobra Raw Sienna
- Cobra Pyrrole Red
- Cobra Titanium White
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.
- Artisan Water-Mixable Safflower Oil (a pale, light oil that takes a few days to oxidize)
- 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). For some reason, Blick does not carry it - order here from Amazon.
Blick Order Form for Charlie Hunter Brushes - just click here!
Brushes are an extremely individual choice. Hunter prefers medium-firm synthetic "flats" or "brights," ranging 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. Also worth having is a Rosemary Badger Blender #37.
UTILITY BRUSHES - Utility "Chip" Bristle Brushes - (we like a 2" or 2.5" brush, ourselves).
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. Black Silvers are not carried by Blick, but Simply Simmons are.
- 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)
REASONABLY FINE BRUSH SOAP - Working with Grace & Miss Mouse Soaps, a handmade-soapmaker located in the same building as my studio in Bellows Falls, Vermont, we have created an extremely high-quality, sustainably-sourced, brush soap that deeply cleans and beautifully conditions one's brushes. The soap comes in a reusable 5 oz. plastic tub (tin rusts and gets icky), and we will have refills available so plastic waste is minimized - click here to order (along with hats and shirts!).
BRUSH CLEANER - We love Bristle Magic. It brings brushes we thought we had killed back from the dead.
Blick Order Form for Charlie Hunter Brushes (and brush cleaner) - just click here!
BRUSH RESOURCES - Brushes are mighty confusing. Blick has an extensive trove of information on their website explaining the component parts of brushes, the purpose of different brush shapes and the materials from which they're constructed.
Hunter generally makes his own surfaces, applying muslin to gatorboard panels, using 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 -time allowing- 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.
- 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).
- Fredrix Paint Boards (Cotton! AKA "Mixed Media Boards." Counterintuitively, the linen boards have too rough a texture).
- Utrecht Professional Acrylic Gesso (extremely dense, very 'plastic-y' finish)
- Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gesso (excellent quality, slightly 'tooth-y' finish)
- Golden Fluid Acrylic Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide
- Large Mouth Double Palette Cup
- Palette Knives (Hunter prefers thin, flexible blades - but it's a matter of personal preference)
- Collapsible Water Bowl
This rather eclectic set of additional accessories that follows 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!
- Ettore 6" Brass Window Washer's Squeegee (no other kind will do; the cheap disposables don't cut it)
- Cotton Swabs
- Stim-U-Dents (Original - Mint - green package; other types are too thin)
- Bounty Paper Towels (some folks like Viva, but Hunter swears by Bounty)
- Spray Bottle
- Afmat Electric (USB) Long-Point Pencil Sharpener - this no longer seems to be available, but I would think this one may be its successor and be even better.
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.
- Staedtler 3H Lumograph Drawing Pencil
- General's HB (hard) charcoal pencil
- General's Willow Charcoal
- General's Eraser Combo (white plastic, art gum, kneaded erasers)
- Wirebound Sketch Book (Hunter prefers soft white, but maybe you prefer extra white)
- Pencil Sharpener (for link to Afmat USB long-point sharpener, see Amazon list above)