Will Powys was first and last a
farmer, not an intellectual; nevertheless the creativity that ran in his family was in him
too. In undeveloped countries, farming is in itself creative; with virgin land as
his canvas, the farmer translates his vision into fields and pastures, crops and cattle,
as an artist will apply his paint. The artist in Will expressed itself both in
husbandry and, like his sister Gertrude, in paint. He painted the landscapes he
loved, and used to offer a picture as a birthday present to each of the
children. 'Choose any scene you like,' he would say, 'and I'll paint it for
you.' The child in question would pick a scene and he would set up his easel.
'Somehow or other . . . . Mt. Kenya nearly always seemed to come in.'
old age Will would sometimes tire before he completed a painting, and call on his servant
to finish it off under his direction -- in the tradition, perhaps, of those Old Masters
whose pupils would fill in the details. All his pleasures centred on his family, his
sheep and cattle and his properties: Kisima, Ngare Ndare and Il Pinguan.
'Don't you ever need a holiday?' someone asked him. 'But all my life has been a
holiday,' he replied.