A few weeks ago my family and I saw one of the most wondrous sights: thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies. They were clustered together in trees high on a mountainside in rural Mexico, the same mountainside they visit every year as part of their migration from southern Canada and the US. (that's about as far as my limited Spanish got from our tour guide...but still pretty good, right?) The sun wasn't out and it was a bit chilly, so the butterflies were mostly clumped together like densely packed leaves. A few had gone to butterfly heaven and thus were available for my kids to examine more closely. All in all, a very cool once-in-a-life-time thing. And mad props to my gang of five little horseback riders and hikers for making the trek, and to our friends for helping us with our little ones on the horses. Maybe the bright orange on a gray sky had something to do with my turn back to brighter colors in the studio?
Last Monday a few dozen of my friends and people I had never met before came together a bar in Mexico City's Polanco neighborhood for an evening of wine and Jana Lamberti art. The owners of Barniz Bar saw my art at the Pozo de Vida benefit dinner last fall and asked if I would show my work in their salon for January and February. This would include an evening of drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and meet-the-artist. I agreed and so glad I did-it was such a fun night. One more sweet vignette. My husband drove my two eldest daughters to the show so they could see mom and her art. On the way, one asked my husband "Dad, is mom famous?" He replied, "Not yet, sweetie." Brought a smile to my face.
Have I mentioned I love blue?
Fun fact. Mexico City traffic in December before the holidays is HORRENDOUS! But at least it enabled me to snap this pic. I drive by this hand-crafted beauty every day on one of the main roads that leads downtown.
here's why i love silk - it's imperfectly perfect. look above. the lines aren't straight, the dye runs and goes in directions that sometimes surprise even me (and I've worked exclusively with silk for over the past 7 years), the colors aren't ordered...and i love it. I love everything about the way the dye and silk interact. I especially love the challenge (because it's so unforgiving) of shaping a piece towards a vision just as much as I am able too...and then letting it evolve into something all its own.
I change diapers... a lot. No, that's a gross understatement. I've been changing diapers for around 8 years. Chew on that. or don't. Anyway, recently I put up this piece above my twins changing table. And I thought to myself... WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS SOONER? Now I look at their cute faces and some art. Win - win.
I had five kids in four years - my twins gave me a nice surprise at the end. So from 2010 to 2017 I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding. I didn’t come up for air until recently. I hear this is pretty common among friends of mine with twins, it takes at least two years. Also, in this time, I had only gone away once without family and it was for work – my art show in florida this past February.
Well, this September was hard. I mean real hard. The twins were sick (as in almost hospital sick), the Earthquake happened and ALL THE KIDS were off school almost two weeks and hubby was traveling. Guys, HUBBY NEVER TRAVELS! I was drowning. Close to breaking. Hubby took a red-eye home after the Earthquake and said to me…plan something. Go away. Go with Megan – my friend who also happens to live in Mexico – Monterrey. So we talked, Megan and I, and booked a quick four day trip to Puerto Vallarta.
Guys , I’m here, right now. Writing/blogging on my computer as I hear the crash of waves in the background and look up to see a breathless view. The first night I slept over 12 hours and my friend had to wake me up in the morning. Last night I slept over 10. I feel like a different person already. Yes, I miss the kids. But I haven’t been away from them to relax….ever.
I love my kids and my family so much it hurts. I can’t picture my life any differently...but it’s a race. Every day is a race and after the twins, most times, it’s felt like a constant fire alarm. I am so thankful for right now – this very second of sitting here at the computer by myself (while megan works too) and just enjoying being. And I’m so thankful for that wonderful amazing husband of mine who encourages me to do things like this (and who I’ve encouraged him to do the same with Megan's husband…and soon!).
I like donating my art for good causes. I also like doing things semi compulsively without 100% knowing what I’m doing. But I never expected a "silent auction" to turn into a "live auction."
Let me explain. A couple weeks ago my friend texted me “Want to go to a Gala in support of El Pozo de Vida?” I thought, Gala, FUN! Adult night out in support of an good organization that fights against human trafficking? Done. My friend also mentioned there would be a silent auction and I was all...i’d love to donate a piece of art. Would you like one? My friend said JANA THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.
Ok, so my Spanish kinda sucks. I don’t know what Pozo de Vida means. I got Vida (everyone should thanks to Ricky Martin) but Pozo- no idea. I briefly thought about the piece I wanted to give…because giving art is good for two reasons. It helps the nonprofit - supports their cause. And let’s be honest, it’s good for marketing. I briefly thought about which piece I should give. Wanted something framed well, that had been in the studio for a while but semi-matched my current style, and that I still loved (because I don’t still love all my work…I grow, I change as an artist…it’s normal).
So I picked this one piece I was asked to do a few years ago. My pastor at the time was talking about the women at the well and wanted me to paint an image that went along with that passage in the bible. I painted this. The image represents the women looking down into the well. Later that night, my husband says to me – what piece did you end up donating? I said this one. I love it. It’s framed well. Matches my current work somewhat. He looks at me and says, “you know el pozo means in wellspring of live in Spanish, right?” ah…what? Shut up. This piece was meant to be. This was God having a little giggle.
We went to the event. They told us because the piece was so special (I told them the story) it was going to be part of the “live auction” – not the silent auction. Queue MY NERVES! They were going to have me stand up in front of a few hundred people (which I'm totally fine with by itself). They were going to talk about my piece, my art, and they were going to auction the piece off IN FRONT OF ME. Guys, if you’ve never been to a live auction THIS IS NERVE-RACKING!!! I looked at hubby and was all..Ok, time to leave? And he’s all …nope, nice try.
My nerves couldn’t take it! I needed to get up for a bit, so I went to the bathroom. While there this women looks at me and says, “I’m going to buy your painting! I want it. It’s mine!” and I’m all…YAY!!! DO IT! I leave the bathroom after talking about important issues such as hair color with my mother in law and see my husband walking toward me mouthing the words, “Jana your painting is up!” ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. I quickly return to my seat.
They ask me to stand up. Then they explain a little about my art. I sit. The bidding starts. What ensues next is what seems like watching a movie on fast forward part. Hands raise – women in the bathroom is trying to outbid another person – yet another person. I fell like I’m watching a ping pong match. They close it. Women in the bathroom wins for several hundred dollars over the asking price. I feel like the heavens just opened up - for me and el pozo de vida - and a deep sigh of relief comes over me.
My husband looks at me and says, “ok could you just bottle this up?" “This” meaning the feeling of selling the highest price item at the event.
I experience self – doubt as an artist. “will anybody like my work? Will people continue to buy my work?" Self-doubt is real and it washes over me all the time while painting/working. That's why I'll try do keep a bottle of the post-live-auction feeling handy on those down days.