22 Questions with Peter Huntoon
1. Name: Peter Huntoon
2. Age: 58
3. Hometown: Middletown Springs, Vermont
4. How would you describe yourself in three words? A Vermont Artist
5. What’s something not a lot of people know about you? I can’t draw a straight line either.
6. How do you start your day? Meditate, coffee with my wife, exercise, then on to the studio or out to paint.
7. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life? Leaving a great job to become a full time artist.
8. What’s your favorite food? Pizza.
9. Do you have a day job? Art 24/7.
10. What medium do you work in? Oil and Watermedia
11. Why this medium? After 15 years working exclusively with transparent watercolor, I’ve focused on oils the last few years. From watercolor, oil adds two additional visual elements, namely texture and opacity. I’m always expanding my painting vocabulary and means of creative expression.
12. What inspired you / how did it start? My dad Bernie Huntoon was very artistic. He loved to draw, tinker and build things. I grew up assuming my interest and aptitude in those areas was natural and universal. By the time I turned 30, I understood I had something unique to offer the world. At that point I began to put real effort into developing myself, both as a person and an artist. Whistler defined talent as: “The ability to do hard work, in a consistently constructive direction, over a long period of time.” To the deliberate exclusion of a lot of other options along the way, I’ve been focused on art for 28 years.
13. Do you have a process for creating? Oh yes, and it’s ever evolving. I love the process! One of my current personal mantras is: Savor the process, and it’s all process.” It’s another way to remind myself to appreciate, respect, and enjoy each step of the journey. There are moments of exalted peak experience sprinkled in to be sure, but there’s another side of that coin. There’s a fair amount of slog and gruel in the creative process, but with the right attitude, it’s all good.
14. When are you the most inspired / what’s your favorite time of day to work? I’m a morning person, but I can be inspired any time and anywhere. Once I bite into an idea or get into a painting, I’m like a dog with a bone. It’s hard to distract him or take it away until he’s done.
15. Which artists inspire you? Too many to count and ever evolving. Currently I’m into Nicolai Fechin. I’ve noticed that my search has gradually turned inward as the years pass.
16. What do you listen to when you work? Depending on the mood … usually ambient instrumental, classical, jazz, etc.
17. What are your thoughts on being an artist in Rutland? I think it’s great. The Rutland community has been very supportive of my work for many years. I do paint a lot of local scenes that many folks recognize. In that way we share an authentic and personal connection. Art is the conduit.
18. What’s your earliest memory of making art in Rutland? Making cardboard box “sculpture” in our back yard on the corner and State and Pine St. My steady source of empty boxes came courtesy of the State Cut Rate and Murphy’s Office Supply, next door. That was an important early lesson for a creative type; be resourceful and use what you have.
19. Why do you think artists are attracted to Rutland? Rutland (and Vermont) is blessed with so much natural beauty and authentic character. I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience some of the world. For this artist, there’s no place I rather be than right here.
20. Which arts organizations in town are you involved with and how has it impacted you? I’ve found the best way to contribute to the community is to paint and share my artwork. I tried being on “A Board” once many years ago. I lasted one meeting. I have great respect and gratitude for all of our local organizations and the good people that make them go.
21. What’s your favorite art exhibit/project you’ve seen in Rutland? Art in the Park, rain, snow, or shine.
22. What would you like to see for the future of the arts in Rutland? This is a hard question, especially now. I think most people understand art (in all its various forms) is and always will be an important element for any vibrant community. Hopefully optimism and support for the arts in Rutland continues to grow.
Click to view all the “22 Questions With” artists. Check back regularly for more!
Reprint with permission only. Contact: [email protected]