Since retiring, Corinth native Hoot Wilder is spending much time with a paintbrush in hand. He is getting his first gallery showing in Corinth, and an opening reception is Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibit runs through June 29.
Rural landscapes and scenes from travels are frequent subjects for Wilder, who now resides at the Old Waverly golf course in West Point.
“I love nostalgia,” he said. “I love country scenes. When I kind of memorialize a trip or a scene that I’ve had in the past, I love to do that.”
With twin sister Kate, he grew up at Borroum Circle and recalls painting there with friends. Later, while serving in the Air Force in Venice Beach, California, he befriended a gallery owner and painter who rekindled his interest in painting.
An extended hiatus of 40 years followed as he began his career, which included time as an engineer at Corinth Machinery. His father, Hoyt, was one of the owners of the recently departed industrial building, which held the title of the state’s oldest. He later worked at Valvoline in Lexington, Ky., and Gateway in Corinth. Three years ago, he retired from Regions Bank.
Some of the paintings reflect a recent month-long drive through the West, with scenes from Yellowstone, Zion and Glacier national parks, and Red Rock in Arizona.
Others reflect his love for golf and country and bluegrass music. He describes one of his favorites as “three old codgers on the front porch of an old shack, just picking and singing.” Another shows country music icon and one of his favorites, Jimmy Rogers.
From a trip to Italy, there are a couple of plein air paintings.
Some mean more personally than others, such as the painting of his father hunting with his dogs, Jack and Blondie.
Oil is his medium of choice, but he plans to try others.
Wilder said he sometimes sees things he would change once the work is done, but he has learned not to fuss over them.
“You never know what people will like,” he said. “They’re not looking for technical expertise. They’re looking for a feeling or flavor that they get — a memory that’s conjured up from the painting. That’s what I hope I can do is make somebody remember a pleasant time.”
Gallery hours at 609 North Fillmore are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.