Visions of an artist

Published 7:48 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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Troy University hosted Troy Art Day on Friday and I found myself in the company of a large gathering of budding young artists.

I once had a vision of being an artist.

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I had chicken pox and had to stay in my room so I just read funny books.  In every one of them, there was picture of man wearing a wool toboggan with big words that said, “Draw Me!” If you could draw that man good enough you might could grow up to be an artist.

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So, I drew that man over and over and when I got good enough. I wrote my name and address in the “mail this” box and folded my drawing and asked Daddy to mail it.

“I’m writing off to be an artist.”

Daddy said Draw Me! was just a trick to get children begging for art instructions that cost money.

When I primped up to cry, he said he would mail my drawing of man in the toboggan.

The next day, Daddy came home with a paint-by-number set for me. The picture was already drawn on a white board and I could tell it was a farmer and a barn even though it was a confusion of little shapes with a number in each one.

Daddy said for me to match the number with the color. It took me about two days to finish my picture but it was about the best painted picture I’d ever seen. Mama and Daddy said so, too.

I never heard from those “Draw Me” folks so it was a good thing Daddy bought me that paint set or I would have never known that I was an artist.

Another day, Daddy went and got him two paint-by-number pictures of bird dogs on them.  Daddy liked to hunt and he had bird dogs, all named Jake or Ben.

When Daddy finished his pictures, he put them in frames and Mama hung them over the fireplace.  Daddy didn’t put mine in a frame so Mama couldn’t hang it. But it was on the bookshelf where everybody could see it. I was proud.

We were artists, Daddy and me.

One day, Mama’s friends from Henry County, came to visit. They made a whole lot over Daddy’s paintings.  I guess they didn’t see mine.

“Who on earth painted these?” they asked.

Daddy said he did.

One of the ladies wrote Mama a note thanking her for the nice visit. The lady told Mama that they had told everybody that her husband was an artist.

So, I was one, too.  I didn’t have to get tricked by the man in wool tobogan!