Pictures of Life

by doreyl Email

Life is truly an adventure. While we’re living it, life may seem like a stream of everyday affairs, but when we look back, it is a grand experience. Like the feelings of excitement I had when my hand scribbled on a piece of paper and an image appeared. Since then art remains an adventure into the unknown for me. Each painting has a life of it’s own and sparkles with newness.

Telling stories with art leads to creating much more than a piece of “decorative art,” the art becomes “larger than life.” When art becomes large, it becomes a mural and  it tells a story about people, their environment, their lives, customs and heritage. Larger both in size, concept & content, the mural then is placed in a public place so everyone can experience the story.  The perfect example that draws millions of people to see it every year is the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains stories of the every day person reflect their rich heritage. My sister, Amy Ammons Garza, storyteller, always say “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Many a good mountain story tells of events “larger than life.” The artist painting a storytelling mural creates art that honors the every day person, event and/or nature. It educates the public about their heritage, community and the world, while enhancing the quality of life. In order to accomplish this a mural must be placed in a public arena for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

This public art can “show history in the making.” and customs of today. Our mountain heritage can be honored through murals. Western North Carolina Craft History, Decoration Day, Cakewalks, Mountain Music, Covered Dish, Planting by the Signs, all are stories of creativity born of necessity. Today these customs hold a place in our hearts and a call out for a challenge to credit these treasures.

In order to tell a story that grabs attention, a mural must have excellent composition, brilliant color and “Surrealism.” This gets back to “larger than life.” Surrealism speaks of life as an adventure, adding to the reality of the moment a special spark and character.

These storytelling pictures of life are created to last many decades both outside or inside. When I paint a mural it’s done with the use of the finest archival acrylic paint with an over-coating of clear protectant that guarantees rich color for hundreds of years. These mural art mediums require only a soap and water cleaning once a year to maintain the clarity and beauty of the artwork. Weather treated wood is the most suitable surface for these ‘state of the art’ acrylics.

A mural only happens after research into the history of the event, idea to be painted- century, styles, customs and each phase of the artwork starts with rough art sketches before starting the actual painting.  Approved roughs are then graphed for easier sizing to the larger size. Once sized the painting begins. The finished painting will take on a life of it’s own and varies from the idea roughs. When the painting is finished 3 coats of clear protectant is applied. The color becomes richer with each application.

The next stage in the life of a mural becomes placing it in the proper public place. Murals can fit outside in a natural environment, on heritage trails, city parks and inside or outside public buildings. A mural can be painted directly on walls, ceilings, building sides or painted on panels that are placed within structures or walls. They can be a part of a 3 dimensional sculpture or actually be the sculpture itself.

Mural art can record history and place value on the event, people or community it is placed in. These pictures of life can draw many people to view the glory of it’s grand adventure. Here in the mountains one such mural will be placed in the new Jackson County Library. This art tells the story of Cakewalks of the early 1900’s and honors this tradition that still continues throughout the mountains in the present day. I am pleased to be the person that creates this painting that has a life of it’s own and sparkles with newness.
Click on Photoblog: - pre-mural rough drawing “Cakewalk”  by Doreyl and look to the right for more thoughts & feelings!