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click to enlarge BRUCE ELLIOTT

He calls himself the Manitou Mountain Man, and there's a lot more to Edward Wormington than meets the eye.

Born in Cassville, Mo., 52 years ago, Wormington was raised by an aunt and uncle, had a tough childhood -- though he provides few details -- and became homeless as an adult when he was living in Arkansas.

He's been interested in art since third grade. "Three years ago I came to Manitou Springs because I needed a place to paint," he says. "There's more art here than in Arkansas."

And get this: Wormington paints with his long white beard, which he braids into a paintbrush. He often works at the corner of Ruxton and Manitou avenues and tells of little kids who look at him painting with his beard and think it's fascinating. "Grownups do, too; they're just like kids."

He describes often waking up during the night with a vision that he has to put on canvas. "My world is from my heart, and my image is to make people happy, from my heart to theirs.

Wormington says he wasn't sure what would happen when he decided to make the move to Colorado. "I just went with the wind. I'm the kind of guy who won't go halfway. I love my mountains."

And, he says, he's found a home in Manitou. "It's a part of real life for me."

-- By Jan King Garverick

photo by Bruce Elliot

Note: Wormington will demonstrate his painting technique on Sunday, July 4 from 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon in front of the Mate Factor, 966 Manitou Ave. in Manitou Springs.

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