Art is Long, Life is Short


| 10/2/2017 8:59:00 AM


Tags: November 2017, First Things, Leslie C. McManus,

Leslie C. McManus

Recently I paged through a book containing some 80 pages of original pencil drawings capturing an artist’s affectionate memories of growing up on a farm in Iowa. The work showcased both clear talent and lifelong practice, as the level of skill and technique were highly evolved.

The artist is Bob Smith, and you’ll learn a bit more about him and his work in the December issue of Farm Collector. In the meantime, I’ll tell you this: His book opens with a drawing of a Case tractor he completed at age 6. Decades later, after his mother passed, that drawing turned up in his mother’s effects.

I understand why Bob’s mother held on to that drawing. When I pass, my sons will find a box filled with young boys’ artwork. Childhood is a sweet and fleeting time; scraps of a child’s artwork are one of the very few tangible remnants that bring it back to life, however briefly.

As a little boy, Bob was encouraged by his mother to pursue his talent. “She encouraged me to draw at a very early age,” he recalls, “and supplied me with paper, pencils and crayons.”



That came to mind when I recently learned that we have nearly burnt through what seemed like a 1,000-year backlog of Sprouts submissions. For nearly two decades, we’ve published kids’ drawings of tractors, steam engines and farm scenes on the last page of every issue of Farm Collector. Today, however, that inventory of artwork is nearly completely exhausted.