Muncy resident Ken Hunter has been involved in the outdoors nearly all his life, with hunting and fishing all over the state and nation among the activities that have played an intricate role in his experiences.
He has spent the past 35 years being an artist. He first began working out of his basement.
Some may remember Hunter as a host on the TV show "Outdoor Life," which aired locally on WNEP. He has since retired from the show.
JESSICA WELSHANS/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Ken Hunter shows off several of his paintings on display at the Hill Country Gallery he owns in Muncy.
Around the time he decided to hang up his hosting cap, he decided to open the Hill Country Gallery, an art gallery right in his home.
The gallery features Hunter's work but, every November, he opens it up to a few featured artists - who also are his friends - for a limited showing.
"I built it (the gallery) with having the idea of a nice gallery," Hunter said.
He put a lot of time and hours into building the gallery, with help from others.
Hunter's work hangs among the gallery walls, as do many trophies from his hunting and fishing adventures.
"My gallery features my own work. I don't sell other people's art, but I like to have this open house at least once a year. I invite some of my friends who do things that are not necessarily what I do but are related ... like Dick and Jeff," he said, referring to photographer Dick Hess and antique decoy carver Jeff Kieffer.
The common thread is the outdoors.
"Being an outdoor person, loving the outdoors ... hunting and fishing is where it all started for me," Hunter said.
Painting was a way for him to enjoy hunting and fishing and not actually "work" for a living, he said. Instead, his work is all about doing something he truly enjoys.
"This was a way of doing that so it was a natural thing for me to go in that direction," he said.
His art is a reflection of the area, the state of Pennsylvania and, not only its wildlife, but its rich landscapes and the colors Mother Nature provides to make the backdrops of trees, valleys and mountains.
Hunter actually started as a landscape painter but then realized he was missing something, and added the wildlife.
He painted all kinds of landscapes, scenes of streams and snow and he said he remembers wondering, "Why don't I put animals in it? They are out there, too."
"A lot of my paintings there is one deer, but you see the sun setting in there, but you don't notice the deer at first because you see the pink glow," he said.
Sometimes, he said, people will notice that his paintings are of places they have been and recognize.
"A guy was looking at that painting and he said, 'I have seen that before.' I said, 'Yes, in fact it's a real place just down the road here.' One evening I saw that and thought, 'Wow, it's a cold winter night and the sun was setting and there was a pink glow.' I put the deer in it," he said, pointing out he didn't see deer that evening.
Sometimes the places are fabricated, but the wildlife he saw somewhere else, or vice versa.
He draws much of his inspiration from just looking out his window or while he is out in the wilderness.
"I was sitting in my tree stand one day and didn't see a deer all day. Two chickadees landed on a branch, and the leaves were turning yellow and the sun was setting. I thought, 'Wow, there is a painting.' I did that and it sold right away," he said. "That has happened over and over."
Oil is the medium of choice for Hunter. He remembers when he used to paint landscapes and used a palette knife to create rough trees and raised bark on them. Thick paint popped the grass off the canvas.
"I would put it down in globs. Well, you can't paint wildlife that way (because of) the details that are there. I use a brush now. I gradually made the transition. I haven't painted with a knife for 30 years," he said.
Every time Hunter is out, he said he sees something that inspires him to paint.
"I hunt because I love to hunt and I take fishing seriously. There is no such thing as a bad day when hunting or fishing," he said.