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Artists have outlet to show and share art

6:49 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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Marlene Wertz

A small county in East Tennessee is home to a growing art community and now those artists have an outlet to show off their creations.

It's called Union County Arts.

"The people here are just so friendly and so nice. It's a little different than Wisconsin," Marlene Wertz said.

One aspect is the same in Wisconsin and Union County, Tennessee. They both have an outlet for Marlene Wertz to show and sell her colored pencil drawings.

She won an award in Wisconsin for one based on a beach photo from Florida that's now on display here.

"It's been nice to have it here and people come and see it," she said.

People can see it at Union County Arts in a historic building next to the courthouse in Maynardville.

Susan Boone started it this summer with 14 artists.

"I volunteered for a couple of organizations over the years and saw the talent that we have in Union County and met a lot of the artists and they needed someplace to show and sell their work year round," Union County Arts Director Susan Boone said.

Now about 30 artists show and sell their work there.

"It's a never ending challenge to find places for the art but it's fun," Boone said.

The artwork isn't grouped by artist. It's all mixed up for a better customer experience.

"We have wood workers, quilters, pottery, someone who makes jewelry, we have several Union county authors," she said.

Union County Arts even features music on the front porch on Thursdays but most of the art is the type you can hang on your wall.

"I call it my coffee pot. And that's colored pencil," Marlene Wertz said. "And it took me a while to do that one."

For years, Marlene Wertz focused on water colors before switching to colored pencils.

"Watercolor is difficult in that if you don't do it right the first time you get in a lot of trouble. It's not easy to erase so to speak," she explained. "Colored pencil you layer the colors."

She is basically self taught. She likes the simple tools of pencils and paper.

"It's time consuming but I like the detail that it gives me," she said. "It does take a long time and your eyes get tired because you're working so fine."

Her favorite subject is wild flowers.

She explained the process to create a black background on one of her flower drawings. "This black is not a black pencil. It's red, blue, black, and green. Layered."

She loves the layering in her artwork and a chance to share it with people who appreciate it at Union County Arts.

Boone said, "It's a great place for people to come and see the talent of Union County."

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