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.