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Salavadore Dali’s ‘Abraham Lincoln/Gala Nude


The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land. –      Abraham Lincoln

Although I didn’t graduate from college, I majored in Fine Art in college.  I may have limped through English, Economics, Business Administration and all those other ‘necessary’ courses, but I absolutely danced through the Art classes.  From Art History to Color to Design…there wasn’t a class I didn’t love. 

As I walk through life, usually the first thing that catches my eye is color, texture, design and placement. Whether it is a painting on a wall, a real life cityscape or the pastures and trees slipping across the windows of my vehicle as I drive, the artistic element has always fascinated me.  Although I am fairly flexible in my appreciation of style – I would have no problem hanging a Monet next to a Jackson Pollack (and I absolutely adore Salvador Dali) – there are some ‘styles’ I would never have associated with Art until I moved to a farm.

Did you know that Art doesn’t just simply imitate life – Art IS Life.

Our friend Abe recognized living comfortably as an art form.  It really does take quite a bit of creativity to be able to sustain yourself and your family on a patch of ground.  Some people are successful at it in a back yard.  Some only have an acre or two to work with, and others have large canvases in the form of row-cropping or grazing acreage.  But they use the paints, pastels and pencils they were given, and work diligently to create an environment from which they can eat, love, laugh and live. 

The elements of a farm are art.  Try laying out a garden.  Your canvas is the soil – and most artists know that the canvas they start with needs to be primed, stretched and prepped before the first brush stroke.  The soil needs to be broken up, tilled, smoothed and ‘stretched’ in order to be workable.  We ‘prime’ it by adding compost.  We prep it by laying out rows evenly spaced across the area.  A gardener’s ‘paint’ is the herbs, vegetables and fruit that are planted.  And as these plants grow, they become the color and texture that makes any painting a true work of art.

Animals follow the same format.  We prepare the canvas by caring for the ones we have.  The brush strokes added come in the form of new life through breeding.  The success is found in healthy animals that give us the eggs, meat, and milk that we need to survive.  In addition, they add the ‘colors’ of love, laughter and muscle-building hard work. 

Once you stop and think about it, farming really is an art form. It is an expression of the heart that says, ‘We will survive.  We will sustain ourselves and our families.  We will love.  We will work.  We will laugh.  And in the end, we will have created a work of art so precious that it inspire others to create their own.’

What will your masterpiece look like?    

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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