art show, busy, copyright, cousin, driver's exam, inheritance of creative work, insurance rates, jens rasmussen, landscapes, paintings, parallel parking, renter's credit, what to do with artist's work after death, willing creative work, wisconsin
Summer is flying by, days packed with activity. Over the past week alone, I have revamped my resume in order to apply for a position on a state board, thoroughly cleaned the car with Daughter’s help, helped Hubby pick produce out of the community garden, visited with assorted relatives and friends, assisted Daughter with parallel parking, gone shopping with Daughter and Young Son, attended my grandpa’s art show in Wisconsin, finished reading a book, gathered with family, ordered Eldest Son’s books for his first semester of college, filled out my mom’s renter’s credit form, and taken a walk with Hubby. And that doesn’t include going to work, checking in online, and keeping up with housework. With days this full, it’s no wonder time appears to be stuck on fast-forward.
One highlight of the week was Eldest Son and Daughter’s success in passing their driver’s license exams. Still waiting to see what’s going to happen to insurance rates, but it’s fabulous to witness the accomplishment. None to soon, for Eldest Son as he starts college in a few weeks. He didn’t have an interest in learning to drive, preferring walking and public transit instead. Over the past year, his confidence and interest have blossomed and he surprised Hubby and me by driving one of our cars over to join us at his grandparents’ house, having indicated he was going to walk beforehand. It’s good to see that he’s now getting enjoyment out of driving.
Daughter, on the other hand, has always been excited to drive. On the afternoon of their test, after they had passed, she called me at work and asked if she could take the car that evening. Whoa! That brought up fresh feelings of worry, now that we parents are no longer required to be in the car with them. She did fine, and promptly asked to go shopping the next night – she did all the driving – and the following day, she drove us back from Wisconsin. There’s no curbing her enthusiasm for four wheels.
The other highlight of the week was our trip to Wisconsin. My cousin had arranged with a local arts group to display 60 to 70 of my late grandpa’s paintings. Grandpa Jens painted well over 300 large landscapes during his 95+ years on earth. We know there are at least 300 because my cousins are currently holding the bulk of his collection. Grandpa had some difficulty parting with his paintings, but there have to be at least another 100 that made their way to various family and community members.
It was delightful to see so many of Grandpa’s paintings on display, rather than stacked against a wall. It allows for comparisons that we couldn’t make within the confines of his tiny studio.
Because Grandpa Jens left behind such an enormous output of creativity, we as family have to figure out how to manage his collection. We’re in the process of that now, just getting started, really, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. There are far too many aspects to this project, from legal to historical to financial to emotional. Long before Grandpa entered a nursing home, I had asked him about his plans for his paintings upon his death. He had a laizzez-faire attitude about them, saying people could figure it out once he was gone. Now, it’s up to us to do justice to his work and his memory.
Here is my advice to you creative people out there. I know you’d like to live forever, but face up to the fact that you’re not and come up with a plan for what should happen to your creative work once you are gone. Consider not only the physical work, but the intellectual property rights as well. You can will a physical work to one person and the copyright to that work to someone else. Give your descendents some idea of what you’d like them to do with your work. If you die today, copyright continues for 70 years after your death. Seventy years! That’s another several generations of family who will have to deal with your creative work until it enters the public domain. And then they will still have the physical stuff to manage if it hasn’t been scattered through time.
There’s also the historical legacy you’re leaving behind. You’ll need to consider whether you want any of your work to go to a museum or some other semi-permanent organization for safe-keeping. Along with your work, you should assemble some basic information about your life and the philosophy behind your work. Believe me, people will ask.
(This could be a separate post, couldn’t it? Ah, sometimes the mind prefers to ramble.)