In 1996, Charles Farrell suspended his architectural career of thirty years, sold his architectural firm, and returned to school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting. After graduation, he worked for two years as a Resident Affiliate Artist at the Tryon Center for Visual Arts and was represented by the Hodges Taylor Gallery, both located in Charlotte, North Carolina. His work received an award in a juried exhibition in the Art of the State of Pennsylvania. Several of his paintings were accepted by the North Carolina Museum of Art in a juried show of North Carolina Artists. His artwork has been exhibited in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.