A Madisonville artist has received a
great honor, as her artwork in the form of a Christmas ornament hung
on a Christmas tree at the governor's mansion in Nashville this
Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam
wanted ornaments that represented each of Tennessee's 95 counties to
hang on the Fraser fir tree during the Tennessee's Home for the
County Mayor Tim Yates first contacted
Sharon Evans to create Monroe County's decoration back in the spring.
Evans received a letter from the first lady asking her to represent
The first lady wanted the ornaments to
represent each county with unique scenes and attractions.
"I felt so honored to have been
asked," Evans said. "My first thought was with a county with so
many wonderful attractions, how could I decide what to paint on the
Evans chose to paint a picture of
Sequoyah, the developer of the Cherokee alphabet, on one side of the
ball, as she had done American Native art before. Her interest in the
outdoors and wildlife played a big role in her choices for other art
on the ornament, which is slightly larger than a softball.
"Ever since I was little girl growing
up near Sweetwater, I always enjoyed going to Bald River Falls," Evans said. "I have photographed and painted the falls many times."
Evans worked at the Lost Sea back in
the 1960s, so the famous underground lake became the next logical
choice. Evans said she could not forget about the Cherohala Skyway
where she and her husband and children road their trail bikes when it
was being constructed. And with the Skyway added, her plan was
But both Evans' mother and husband both
passed away this year. When the blank ornament was sent to her from
Nashville to paint, her husband's condition was getting worse.
"I did not think I could paint it," Evans said.
But after her husband died, painting
the ornament became therapy for Evans. She had to have it finished
and to Nashville before Nov. 1.
On Dec. 8, all the ornament painters
came to Nashville to meet with the first lady and to see their
ornaments on the Tennessee Counties Tree, as it is known. Evans said
the group got to tour the governor's home and see all the trees. Evans took her
daughter, Donna Isbill with her.
"It was a wonderful day," Evans said.
Evans has painted and exhibited art at
craft shows for 25 years. She is best known for painting on turkey
feathers and leaves and has been selling her work at the Gatlinburg
Craftsmen's Fair for more than 16 years.