Dear Mother: Remembering Loyd Bruce Holman

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‘Down on the Farm’

Loyd Bruce Holman was the artist behind the cartoon strip “Down on the Farm,” published in MOTHER EARTH NEWS from 1975 through 1985.

llustration by Loyd Bruce Holman

In his own words:

“ ‘Down on the Farm’ isn’t a story about farming. It’s a story about returning to a country setting to live. I live in the country by preference. I’m not a farmer. I haven’t a farmer’s skills. But my wife and son and I enjoy the life that the country affords, and we try to maintain harmony with the land and the seasons. When we work at it, the land and seasons return a good life to us. Our garden produces fresh green things to eat; our chickens lay eggs when they’re so inclined; and when we kept goats, they produced milk by the bucketful and won blue ribbons at the state fair. But life is not all blue ribbons and bucolic idyll. There are also blisters and sweat, and an occasional tear. I’ve always found that a sense of humor is helpful. You can’t laugh life’s problems away, but humor helps keep things in perspective.”

Bruce died recently after a courageous fight with Parkinson’s disease. He was a visual artist by trade and preference, and worked as an illustrator, filmmaker, and cartoonist. He grew up in what was then a small town in Kansas. Both of his parents were artists, and his brother, sister, and he played with pencils and brushes as toys.

Bruce held a doctorate in fine arts, and was a tenured professor who taught drawing, painting, and photography at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. As well as being a talented artist, he was also an author, a woodworker, a scoutmaster, a weightlifter, a pilot, a lover of animals, a tinkerer, and a builder of things. Bruce loved the experience and adventure of travel, having shot documentary films in India, photographed Prague during the Soviet occupation, and eaten fresh pineapples on a deserted beach on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Bruce loved sharing his experiences and knowledge. At heart, he was a storyteller and a teacher. He will live on through the people who walked beside him in the moment, those who enjoyed the tales of the adventure, and those who were inspired to seek their own path by his mindful lessons.



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