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Art Pilgrimage for a Heart Experience

     In the classic fable, "The Wizard of Oz," the Tinman goes on a pilgrimage to find his heart, the lion to find his courage and the scarecrow to find a brain. In the end the story shows that they already had these things they were searching for, they just were not aware. For me, following my heart has been and always will be my pilgrimage. This is the reason my vocation has always been...artist.

     Recently, at an arts festival, while demonstrating pastel painting, a visitor asked me, "How can you just paint, with no reference, why did you just add the color orange to your painting? It's perfect!" Answering her spontaneously, I said, "I let the painting tell me what to do, it speaks to me. In other words, one thing leads to another, if you follow your heart."

     Surprised she said, "Oh, I've always tried to control my paintings, now I'll let the painting speak to me!"

     The classic "Follow your heart without hesitation" is what art is about. When it becomes preconceived, planned out with little room for creativity, the word art no longer applies. The work then becomes design, handicraft. Art is about following your heart!

     Most times, public art murals originate from the heart of an entire community. This gives the public mural great power for creative, positive change. Since the idea of a mural is huge and covers the stories of people of all types, the mural can tie a community together where there once was conflict. Public mural art heals the heart.

     The Appalachian Mural Trail takes you on a pilgrimage to have a heart experience. You can follow a trail much like the 'yellow brick road' and find your heart along the way. The public art murals on the trail are huge, powerful statements of community, much like finding the 'Wizard' inside a town or community along the way.

     The Appalachian Mural Trail follows the beauty of the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge up through the High Country and into Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The combination of the natural landscape and grand artworks is surely something to behold.

     My art piece, "Tin Man Zen" shows what happens as you travel the trail. It's a mystery worth the journey.

Doreyl Ammons Cain
Mural Art Blogger

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