The Legacy of Your Art

Almost everyone who reads my blog is an artist.  You may not look upon your work as art, but if you are creating anything original with what you do,  in my view, you are creating art.

Some art is uninspiring, derivative, or mediocre.  I doubt that anyone reading this blog is creating that kind of art.  Some of the books that I’m currently reading got me to thinking about the legacy of our art and life.

I’ve finally gotten around to reading the biography of Steve Jobs at the same time that I’ve started reading the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

The biography of Steve Jobs is brilliant, though I can’t wondering if I would like Steve Jobs if I had worked for him.  Yet, there’s no denying he was a great artist, and left a legacy of innovation that touched millions if not billions of people.

Then, there is the opposite end of the spectrum, the quiet artist.  In the first chapter of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain describes a different kind of artist.  A social artist who was shy, quiet and strong in a different way.  Her name was Rosa Parks.  She too affected the lives of millions of people around the world with a different kind of courage and quiet strength.

Boats for Nicholas

Today, I am celebrating the art of a quietly strong artist, my mother.  Over her life, she has been creating works of art that have only been seen by her family. She created the paintings on this page for my kids and me.  I’m afraid my photos of her work don’t do it justice!

My mom studied art at Lake Forest College in 1947, after graduating a year early from high school because she skipped a grade growing up.  She was quite clever in so many ways.

She was offered a full scholarship for college, but her father, my grandfather refused to accept charity, so she didn’t finish college then.  It would be over thirty years later that she would graduate from college in 1984, with a degree in business.  She worked very hard and went on to work in the Department of the Army Budget Office in the Pentagon in Washington D.C. around the same time I moved back from New York to live in Chicago.

In recent years, she has created several paintings that she has given to me so that I could have original art in my house.  I don’t have her talent for visual art, though both of my boys do.

My mother taught me to never give up on being an artist, no matter what restrictions your world or life puts in your way.  It’s because of her to a large degree that I don’t give up on my artistic aspirations.  I just hope that I can be half the artist she has been.

A lighthouse for Alex

While it’s tempting to think that the world wouldn’t move ahead without people like Steve Jobs or Rosa Parks, I agree with words of Mother Theresa:

There are no great actions, only small actions done with great love.

Created with love, the art of my mother’s life, and my life and your life is just as important as anyone else’s.  Is it possible that our art carries the vibration of the love in which we created it?  I believe it does.  Therefore, creating art with love is the most important choice you can make for creating a worthy legacy.  I’m very grateful that I grew up with that kind of artist.

From what I can tell, creating art for love’s sake is the ultimate message that Steve Jobs wanted his biographer to articulate in his biography, so that his children could know his motivation for all that he did.

What would your biographer say about you and the art of your life?

16 thoughts on “The Legacy of Your Art

  1. LediaR says:

    Such a lovely post, Karen and once again, you hit the subject right on the head. You so understand what it means to be an artist. Also, your mother’s paintings are lovely! I especially like the flowers at the top of the post. Your mother captured their delicate innocence. I adore flowers and birds. They seem to exist merely for our pleasure. They are among nature’s greatest works of art.

    • Karen Wan says:

      Thanks Ledia, I like the flower picture too, and has some great pictures of birds that I didn’t include here. It is so true that many of the greatest works of art can be found in nature!

      • LediaR says:

        You are very welcome. Karen. I always enjoy stopping by to read your posts. Also, you said that you wrote science fiction and fantasy stories. Do you have any published?

      • Karen Wan says:

        Hi Ledia, somehow your comments sometimes go into my spam folder. I don’t know why. So, please forgive me my slowness in replying at times.
        I’ve been working on my novel for what seems like forever. My challenge has been simplifying a very long story into a book that is readable. The first book is getting close to being done.

        I’m inspired by how many books you have coming out this yar. I’d love to know how self-publishing is going for you. My intent is to pursue the traditional route of publishing this novel first, but I’m also interested in self publishing some creative books.

        Thanks for all of your support!

      • LediaR says:

        Hi Karen. Your blog is one of my favorites! It is always a pleasure to visit and read.

        As to your question concerning self publishing.It’s both fun and frustrating. The creating part is great, but I’ve never really been a great sales person and now that the book is out, that’s what I have had to become. I’m learning though.

        I am considering trying to get the sister book to Legend of the Tengu Prince published with the help of an agent. Legend of the Tengu Prince is actually the back story of one of the main characters, Karasu Hinata, in Legend of the Cherry Jewel. I thought his back story was too interesting not to tell. That is why he has his own book.

        Anyway, enough about me and mine, Is the book you are trying to get published a science fiction or fantasy?

      • Karen Wan says:

        Yes, sales is not an activity I enjoy either, which is why I’m going to look for an agent with my novel, at least to begin with. Still, there is something fun about self publishing too! Good luck with all of your books. The Japanese angle makes them very interesting. I’ve been looking at some literary agents online. It seems to me that your books about Karasu Hinata could be considered young adult. I would suggest you try the Andrea Brown agency. One of their agents represents Jeff Stone of the Five Ancestors, and from what I’ve read your series might be in synch with that series.

        That’s a good question about my book. I’ve decided to consider it a fantasy book, though there are also science fiction elements to it. I would say it’s too magical in several places to be pure sci-fi.

    • Karen Wan says:

      Thanks for dropping by. I was quite impressed by the art that I saw in your last post. Whimsical and imaginative. The environmentalist in me likes the way you used recycled materials in one of your compositions!

      • jamieaaron03 says:

        thanks, yeah, I end up re using things all the time, for one it’s hard to recycle in my area, and two, I like to spend a ton of money of hobbies 🙂

  2. stephenedwards425 says:

    I have enjoyed immensely reading your blog. As a writer I know you will understand if I am absent from making comments for a couple of months. I have two books I’m writing and the push is on to get them finished…so with only 24 hours in the day, I am going to continue to read and like, but my comments will be limited to replies for those who comment on my blog…thanks for the grace.

    Be encouraged!

    • Karen Wan says:

      Absolutely, I understand! Commenting on blogs can be very time consuming. I know the challenge — I’m limiting the bulk of comment writing to a few days per week, so I can focus on my books too.

      Good luck with writing your books. I’ll keep reading your blog as well to see how you’re going with it!

      Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

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