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A painting by Charlie Hunter of the former Robertson Paper Company in Bellows Falls.

The Arts

Charlie Hunter featured at MSA in art show, talk

Reservations for the Taste of the Arts event are requested by Tuesday, Dec. 12, by contacting Main Street Arts at 802-869-2960, online at, or by e-mailing

SAXTONS RIVER—Artist Charlie Hunter is coming in from the cold with a display of his art and a talk about the process at Main Street Arts.

Hunter and the participants in his annual March plein air (outside) painting retreat are mounting a show of some of their work that will run through Jan. 5 in the MSA gallery.

Additionally, Hunter will give a talk titled “In the Very (Plein) Air” Thursday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. at MSA in its Taste of the Arts series that features dinner and a presentation by a local creative person. Cost for that event is $25 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger.

Featured in the art show will be works by Beth Bathe of Lancaster, Pa., Jason Sacran of Fort Smith, Ark., and Jeffrey Wagner of Exeter, N.H., plus a piece by Peter Huntoon of Middletown Springs. Hunter will display a number of pieces he painted on site during a trip to Cuba last year and more recent work.

Hunter says of the show, “Since 2012, I have been fortunate enough to lead an annual March painting retreat in Rockingham and Grafton. The official title is “The Sugaring Season Paint Out,” but the participants have quickly — and accurately — renamed it “The Frozen-Ass Painters.”

“This is a sampling of work from the 2017 retreat. Most of the pieces were painted during March, though a few are from a similar, albeit less cold, fall retreat,” Hunter said.

He describes Sacran as “one of the most accomplished artists on the national plein air circuit. He has won enough awards at these events that his home must be getting very crowded, indeed. He chose to join the 2017 retreat here because he was interested in exploring the rather monochromatic, low-chroma method of painting that a number of us utilize.”

According to Hunter, Bathe has embraced the “Frozen-Ass” aesthetic, yet has brought her own distinctive vision to the group. She has become a staple of the top plein air events and regularly brings back awards.

He describes Wagner as “the dean of the Frozen-Asses, regularly engaging participants in late-night philosophical discussions as they warm themselves before a roaring fire. He is exploring a higher-chroma aesthetic, making wonderful use of cold-wax medium in his work.”

He calls Huntoon one of Vermont’s most recognizable artists and says of him, “His closely observed works retain a sketch-like exuberance in their mark-making; no easy task.”

Of his own artistry, Hunter says, “I feel very lucky indeed (as do all of us in the show) to get to do what we do, and even more fortunate to be able to do so in such an inviting and beautiful part of the country.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #437 (Wednesday, December 6, 2017). This story appeared on page B1.

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