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A journey with Art & other prized possessions

R Updated
Some years ago I agonised a great deal as many of us do about what to do with all that "Stuff" that was yours and hers. Its daunting to know what to do with her clothes that she left, her jewellery or things you know were once prized possessions. You mull over the options: charity shops, car boot, bin, tip, handing over to friends and family. Once you make a start the process becomes easier and easier and you wonder just why you procrastinated quite so much. I stalled over a number of framed prints we had collected and displayed around the FMH. Firstly I knew they we worth a few shillings! It was harder to let they go I thought as they were loved once too! I became quite depressed about them. Even taking they down from the walls was very hard. There was a memory with each and most were impressions of places that had been visited. Special places holding memories of happy times. Eventually I asked if a local art shop would take them. They were not interested but said I should try auction houses. I contacted once famous one who said they might be interested but would need to do valuations etc. The pictures were I suppose what might be called fine art prints. Some were "special edition" meaning only a handful had been printed. Eventually my thinking started to turn around about my options and as is often the case when we make a decision and it feels right we feel empowered to move forward with confidence. I researched the artist and found out that poor fellow had passed away a few years before. I located his past exhibitions and talks etc. and found out that a daughter was now administering his collection / looking after his work. I made contact with her and arranged to meet her. I visited what had been her father's workshop with her. I decided to buy more of his work. I had been able to turn something of a -ve into a +ve. My art collection is now worth a bit more and I made my own choices about which were good choices for me to make now for my new place. Some have been hung there and some are being stored in a safe place. I particularly like "lemon & herrings" in my dining room! Others are of memorable places in Scotland. Being a McDonald the artists would often exhibit there and indeed his daughter does the same now. I visited her last week when taking a few days off from work. It was a beautiful sunny day and the exhibits looked really nice. I bought a few things after we chatted. On leaving I glanced at the visitors book. There were many people from far & wide who had obviously appreciated what they saw. I was shocked to see that my ex had signed the book just too days before, I did not know she had been touring around too. My initial shock only lasted a second or two. Suddenly I became calmer and realised in an instant my journey with my decision was almost complete. My ex had made reference to buying a silk scarf rather than a painting or a print. I was an expensive choice. By being there a few days earlier it was clear to me that she still remembered not just the pictures but the times we had shared and what the artwork had also meant to her. I think everyone should be encouraged to make their own decisions about what to keep and what to let go. If you can't decide immediately then mull over it for a while. Some things might leave their own legacy.

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What a great story Rocksteady. How you created your own collection around a joint painting. I have noticed how shared possessions can change over time in how we feel about them depending on where we are in the separation process. I have a number of oil paintings by my ex's father, now passed away, and a number of pastels by my ex, still very much alive. In the first year of our separation, I was desperate to keep everything in the house exactly as it always had been. Each painting/ pastel had its place. I went through a very nasty court process and these family pictures plus a pottery Xmas Navity Set (made by his Mum) became a hot potato. His sister wanted the nativity set back, having never shown any interest in it for 20 years. So bizarrely the nativity set became a feature in our final hearing whilst my ex agreed that I could keep the pictures. The Judge argued that the nativity set could stay with me as it was a feature of our daughters childhood and I could be the preserver of past family objects. I then realised that this was what my fight had been about. By keeping these objects of art from the family, I was trying to preserve a container for the girls and myself to lessen the impact of the shipwreck of our marriage. If these objects had gone to him, they would be shared with his partner and her children who sadly seem to have usurped his own daughters over time.
Interesting post.

When we were together we purchased a painting that I initially thought he wouldn't like due to the content but surprisingly he did like it so we purchased it. Some time later he bought me another picture by the same artist and then another. When he left he said that he wanted to take the first picture we had bought which I said no to, mainly because he didn't like the subject matter and because I had picked this picture initially but I was prepared to compromise and said he could have the other two because I didn't want them. This hurt his feelings and I know he was shocked by my rejection of them. I wear my heart on my sleeve, i say it as it is, sadly now I was playing the game. He was all about conflict and pain throughout the majority of our marriage. I couldn't understand how anyone could simply say such cruel things or behave so badly. Now it was my turn and hearing the hurt in his voice as I announced that he could take anything he wanted. I even told him that I didn't like some of the things we had bought, they meant nothing. He was shocked, good, behaving like this was new to me. of course he then reacted saying he wanted nothing, he'd moved on, tit for tat, how sad. Two years later and completing the last of the divorce stuff he then out of the blue asks me about the pictures. He asked me if I had thrown them away. No of course I hadn't . Could I take them to his sisters house. No I couldn't I am way too busy. He then said well if you sell them just send us half the money.

I love these pictures and I hate that I used them to hurt him but in the end he only showed any interest in them due to the monetary value of them. I'd love them if they cost a fiver. I like the fact that I really appreciate things and can get so much pleasure from them regardless of cost. My house is full of things I bought, he bought, we bought. I won't get rid of them simply for that reason. I feel very fortunate to be able to still appreciate them and that my very tarnished view of him will not alter my relationship with my beautiful objects that in the end has turned out to be more real than he and I were.
Funny you should mention pictures. We had a rather horrible thing that I can only describe as "pop art" hanging in our home. I never liked it, my ex didn't discuss the purchase of it or where it would go, he just bought it and hung it. I've always disliked it, it wasn't anything special, so I questioned myself the other day why was it still here? I took special pleasure in taking it off the wall and ripping it in half, again and again. It didn't cost much and was only on paper not like one of your fine prints Rocksteady. Now in it's place I have lovely contemporary picture. I asked myself why it took so long - funny you should mention that - procrastination. Before my life totally changed I could make a quick decision, I knew what I wanted in most aspects of my life, but now I just bob along take sometimes ages to make a decision, because there is no one to push against, and I love it. Even my own mother took me to a store to buy a kitchen item, because I kept coming back without it as I couldn't make up my mind. It was a freezer for god's sake, what's so difficult about choosing one of those? I was told to chose one because I wasn't leaving the store without it.

I'm glad you were able to purchase more from your artist's family and meeting their daughter must have been fantastic. I wouldn't know a decent piece of art if it smacked me in the face!