This is an excerpt from the book The Earth Shall Teach Thee: The Lifework of an Amateur Artist.
I was blessed to be raised in a home with parents that encouraged us to explore, learn, and grow. While life was at times quite basic, we had exposure to the finer things in life. We were exposed to music, sports, and the arts. My parents encouraged the children to follow their wholesome interests and to develop their talents of sewing, cooking, welding, auto repair, or whatever it was. They bought a very old upright piano, and the older girls learned to play. The older boys learned to play band instruments in high school. If drawing is a disease, then all the children were exposed. The others had mild cases, while it seems that I was seriously afflicted.
My mother, in particular, nurtured my natural interest in art. Basic supplies were provided, and a space at the kitchen table was made available. My parents always praised and encouraged my efforts. They took time, sometimes just a moment or two, to look at whatever it was that I wanted to show them. I grew up with the feeling that I was not bothering them but that they were truly interested in my creations.
We tried to do the same while raising our children. We have always had an area set aside to cut wood or carve. Even while we lived in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts, we set aside a corner of a basement storage room.
My older sister Verna saved many of my early creations. When she gave them back to me years later, I was both surprised and pleased. Most of what exists from the early years is the result of her efforts.
Looking at the sketches that have been saved, it is obvious that any art talent that I may have had was well camouflaged. Nonetheless, with practice, patience, and encouragement, it gradually improved and has proven to be a lifelong blessing to me and to our family.
“If drawing is a disease ... I was seriously afflicted.”
Top Left: Left: Boyd K. Packer, age 13.
Bottom Left: Packer Home at 637 South Main, Brigham City watercolor, 9 x 12 in., 1936 (age 12).
Bottom Right: Mountain Sheep, watercolor, 9 x 12 in., 1936 (age 12).