Merrittonians will get a look at their city through an artist’s eyes during the first art show of the season coming up this weekend.

Vancouver-based painter Jeff Wilson recreates realistic scenes from photographs of inspiration, with a range of subjects from animal portraits to boats and vehicles to urban landscapes with stunning vividness — including familiar scenes such as the storefront of the old Yuen on Lung store on Voght Street, which has recently been revived as a vintage store.

Wilson said his show at the Courthouse Art Gallery will give him a chance to spend a bit more time in Merritt than he has in the past, when he stops in to pick up lunch at the Coldwater Hotel on the way to the Okanagan.

“I like the sort of Western feel that the town has,” Wilson said. “If I can do a little thing to help out the gallery, then that’s great.”

He said he’s looking forward to finding more inspiration in Merritt while he’s here for his weekend art show.

“I thought it was a nice opportunity to come out and spend a weekend in Merritt and have a drive around, take a few photographs. It’ll also give me a chance to do a couple of pictures from Merritt in response to the invitation,” he said.

His paintings are colourful, which is a good match for the colourful histories he captures snapshots of in his paintings.

“Folks like pictures they can recognize,” he said.

Wilson connected with the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council after he responded to their call for artists about a year ago.

That call for artists coincided with Wilson’s desire to expand his reach with shows outside of the Lower Mainland.

About that time, he also made the switch from the mining industry to painting full time.

The professional geologist still has a hand in mining as a director of the Association for Mineral Exploration of B.C. and as a consultant, but said the timing was in his favour to give art a shot.

“Every day not in the office is a day in the studio,” he said. “If I can keep the momentum going and I can make a living from the art on its own, then I’ll stay doing that.”

B.C.’s mining industry was part of the pull that brought the Scottish painter to Canada — as well as his Canadian partner.

The largely self-taught painter has lived in Vancouver about a decade now, and paints scenes from around that city as well as scenes from Scotland.

“It just depends what just pops out at me,” he said.

“I paint the stuff that you can recognize, which is always nice.”

Wilson’s exhibition will be the first at the Courthouse Art Gallery since it closed its doors in June after the volunteer curator moved.

And, with some changes to the executive at the helm of the arts council, the gallery’s show format is also getting an update.

Showing artists will now sit at the gallery personally during their weekend shows, with an artist’s reception on the Friday evening.

The Courthouse Art Gallery will be hosting an artist’s reception for Wilson from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

Shows will run in conjunction with an event on the Saturday evening.

For its first event, the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is planning an Oktoberfest-themed art auction, to which Wilson is donating two of his canvases.

Tickets for Oktoberfest are available at the Nicola Valley Medical Centre.

Oktoberfest takes place at the Culture Club on Granite Avenue at 7 p.m. on Oct. 4.