Eclectic Artist's Work on View in Richlands
By Joe Tennis | Bristol Herald Courier | January 03, 2009*** This story was published: January 1, 2009 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***
BLUEFIELD, Va. ? For William Kyle Wimmer, making art ? all kinds of art ? has been a lifelong avocation.
"I started when I was probably 8 or 9, actually painting or drawing," said Wimmer, whose oil paintings include such depictions as the Bluestone Lake on the New River and farm scenes around Tazewell County, Va.
"I like to do oil painting. You have to be more precise with watercolors than oil," Wimmer said. "And, because of slow dry time with oil, you can blend it so much."
A 1980 graduate of Graham High School in Bluefield, Va., Wimmer attended Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, Va. and later worked in the mining industry as a draftsman.
Today, while Wimmer is disabled from working full-time due to back troubles, he tries to remain active, he said.
"I painted, off and on, for about four or five years, pretty steady," Wimmer said. "I guess, once I became disabled, it seems like it's a little bit more tedious. And I really don't have a studio. So it's hard to get your supplies out and then put them back up."
In recent days, Wimmer, 48, has also focused on wood working, making creations at the Bluefield home he shares with his wife, Rhonda, a manager for a dental office in nearby Princeton, W.Va.
Growing up on a 169-acre dairy farm in Tazewell County, Wimmer has never lost his skills of living off the land. He has fed his family with much of the venison he gained on deer hunts.
Lately, too, he's taken up the art of taxidermy. In the living room of his home, Wimmer has covered his walls with a few of his hunting finds ? including a fox, a squirrel and a bear. He stuffed them all.
Over many years, as well, he has learned to work with wood, making items like tables, rocking horses and shelves shaped like tiny rowboats.
Wimmer favors using recycled wood from old barns or sawn wood pieces, giving many of his creations a weathered look, leaving on such imperfections as knots and saw marks.
Often, around Tazewell County, Wimmer can be found displaying his paintings or demonstrating his wood-working skills at local festivals, including gatherings in Cedar Bluff, Tazewell and Burke's Garden.
He also sells his art at the Appalachian Arts Center in Richlands, as well as the Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell.
'IN THE FIELD'
Until last November, Wimmer taught arts and crafts at the Blue Ridge Job Corps in Marion, Va.
"I enjoyed it," Wimmer said. "The people were nice. The students were nice. And I met a lot of new friends."
Even so, Wimmer keeps going back to painting.
"I paint some in the field," he said. "[But it's] mostly from photographs. I do sketching and stuff in the field. And I make notes ... I paint basically what I grew up with, what I've seen in the past."
His art, in turn, evokes a definite sense of place, he said.
"It's more like photo-realism," Wimmer added. "I've never been one who just throws paint at something."
YOU SHOULD KNOW
What: Art by William Kyle Wimmer
Where: Available at Appalachian Arts Center, Richlands, Va., on U.S. 19, about two miles south of the intersection with U.S. 460 at Claypool Hill, or about two miles north of Southwest Virginia Community College, just beyond the Wardell stoplight.
When: Open Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5:30 pm.
Info: (276) 596-9188