by Miriam Schulman
Have you ever gotten a message from beyond the grave?
Shortly after Mother’s Day, I got a phone call from a stranger.
He had received one of the postcards I had sent out to art collectors to celebrate spring had arrived at his home. I addressed the postcard to his wife who had purchased some of my original artwork.
My heart sank when he told me she had passed away.
“I’m so sorry. I will take her name off my list,” I apologized, feeling horrible that I had unknowingly caused him pain.
But to my surprise, he thanked me for sending the postcard. He explained that receiving the postcard brightened his day and it almost felt like it was a gift from his late wife. He asked to remain on my mailing list, so he could continue to receive my postcards and said he may consider collecting more art from me in the future. You can see the art she collected in the picture below.
You see, his wife was an avid collector of original art during her lifetime and all the art decorating their home comforted her husband after she had passed. She had collected a triptych of three oil paintings, called Spring Blossoms. Although the original is now part of their private collection, canvas prints are available HERE.
Art is part of her legacy.
A Grandmother’s Art is her Legacy
My husband’s grandmother was also an artist.
When she passed the adult grandchildren divided up their favorite paintings. Each one held special meaning to them that stoked a warm memory of when their grandmother painted it. Although she wasn’t a professional artist, her art played an important role in the family’s memories of her and the farm that she painted. If she ever thought she wasn’t good enough to paint, her family would beg to differ based simply on the memories she gave them and the place of honor they bestowed to her artwork in their homes.
My husband chose a gentle watercolor of children looking out a window at a flock of birds. The children are painted very loosely, not in a formal portrait manner. But each time he looks at the painting, which now hangs in our bedroom, he is brought back to his childhood memories on the farm.
Art is part of her legacy.
5 Benefits of Collecting Art
Whether you collect the artwork of others, create your own or a bit of both, art becomes a piece of you and your family’s personal history. It’s a part of your life here and now, and it becomes a legacy when you’re gone.
It helps piece together what you love. Your personality. What you value. Your footprint on this earth.
Here are some of the others reasons to collect art…
2. Art makes us feel good
There’s no doubt that one of my favorite reasons to collect art is how it makes you feel. From delight to excitement, nostalgia to love and relaxation to pride, the important thing about the artwork you surround yourself with is your interaction with it—how it makes you feel.
3. Art reflects your values
Pieces of art resonate differently for each of us. The art you purchase and decorate your home with forms a tapestry of your personal style and tastes. It can help people understand what you value.
4. Be a patron of the arts
You don’t have to spend millions on a Picasso to be a patron of the arts. The art you invest in today becomes your family’s cultural legacy tomorrow. You make a real difference when you support the arts, because you make future paintings possible.
5. Join the art community
You build connections among like-minded people when you take art classes, follow artists and visit galleries. Your art tribe becomes a welcome place for social interaction between fellow art-lovers and collectors. I witness this every day as I watch the nourishing and supportive interaction in our Facebook groups among those enrolled in my art classes at The Inspiration Place.
Art is powerful. Whether you create original works or surround yourself with the work of others…art is part of your legacy.
0 thoughts on “Art is your Legacy (5 benefits of collecting art)”
Great timing, Miriam! We just moved, and I was about to get rid of one of my paintings. I've sold a few over the years, but most of it is just amateurish. My daughter pointed out that I need to improve my self-image, and that just because I cannot see the beauty in it does not mean that other don't love it. I think I will re-think the Goodwill donation, and get inspired and paint some more art! Thank you.
Lovely stories. I never thought of having an "art legacy" yet over the years my photographic images and lately my new-found watercolor pieces have founded my legacy, unbeknownst to me. My friends keep my photo Christmas cards and frame my little watercolor greeting cards. Who knew? My granddaughter even said she cried when she received my "portrait" of her as a mermaid. I guess you just don't know what will touch people…thanks for this delicious blog Miriam!
One of my mother's legacies is her art. She discovered photography after I graduated from college and decided it was too expensive a hobby to continue… she asked to borrow my camera, took a class and within 5 years had a solo show in the Parthenon, an art museum in Nashville, TN. Her second career had taken off. After her memorial service, I invited her friends over to choose photographs for their homes. Her spirit lives on in her art, and her art is cherished by her friends and colleagues (and me) and admired by people who did not know her.
I am still learning. My legacy is in process. Currently I am transitioning from the ephemeral henna art to more permanent media. I draw inspiration from my mother's late blossoming as an artist as well as her images.
Anyone can be an artist and anyone can leave a beautiful legacy. It just takes some vision and hard work.