r Fred Mertlich is inviting the public to come to his art studio garage sale, located at 412 N. 600 East in Springville, on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prints of more than 200 works of art will be offered as well as a collection of greeting cards featuring Mertlich’s art work. This will be an excellent opportunity to find that unique gift not available in retail stores. Items will be priced to sell. He will do commissioned art work of visitors home, barn, vehicles, etc. at their request.
Mertlich was born and reared in Utah. After a stint in the Navy and an education at Utah State University, he spent 40-plus years in the Pacific Northwest as a high school counselor and college educator. After retiring the first time, he moved back to Utah where he worked as a teacher educator for Utah Valley University and the State of Utah. Then he retired for the final time.
In 2001, he began his “hobby career” as an illustrator of classic public buildings, pioneer homes, LDS temples and antique automobiles.
Mertlich and his wife Suzanne live in Springville where he has his studio. It was built with the proceeds from the sale of a 1953 Dodge pickup that he and others restored. He said that it filled the measure of its re-creation. Many of the vehicles in his illustrations he has owned and restored.
Mertlich’s unique style in his art work, whether it depicts an antique car, a temple or a pioneer home, centers around the detail of the object. Great care is taken to present the illustration as near to scale as possible. Then an added background of soft greys lends a “ghost effect” as a contrast in the art work. A common background used with many vehicles is a mountain scene complete with an old barbed wire fence and two birds flying in the distance.
Many of Mertlich’s illustrations of buildings are pen and ink renditions while his cars, trucks and tractors (he calls then old iron) are done in color. He has been able to blend and combine the use of alcohol pens so as to have the appearance of watercolors.
Mertlich’s artwork has been featured as far away as Denver, Modesto, Ogden, Heber and Midway and also here in Springville at the Art City Days celebration.