This image popped up on my Facebook feed this morning.
Four years ago I had just put myself out there using my artistic skills to benefit families that I would likely never know. I had painted a life-size tiger sculpture, and partnered with a team comprised of a business sponsor and a charity and me, an artist. We were one of 10 teams in this fundraising campaign to benefit 10 different local charities.
I know when this project and idea was pitched to me a couple months prior to this moment (by my team) I was a little unclear on what exactly was being asked and expected of me. But I trusted my team. They believed in me.
I said yes.
I didn’t know any different at the time, but I’d heard other artists complaining about the timeline to do the creative work on their tigers. As far as I’d heard, my assignment was to paint this tiger according to my team’s vision. The tigers were to arrive any day. That didn’t change my assignment. But apparently the fiberglass tiger sculptures were quite late in getting to us artists. They were to be done (painted, decorated, reworked creatively somehow) by a certain date in the very near future, set up on display for the community by that date and exhibited around town for the following few weeks at which point hundreds of guests and donors would pay for their ticket to gather and bid on these tigers.
So I got busy. It didn’t really matter when my tiger arrived for me to begin my work and creating and painting our team’s design on it. I knew that I had a job to do and my team to not let down. As I worked through the layers, and into the late hours of many nights, I’d get approval from my team on the visual phases as the design took shape.
And each time I would check in with them, their reply was, “Looks good!”, “Keep going!” and “Can’t wait to see it at the final event!”
I guess I expected a little more direction.
I guess I wanted more of their specific input, this was my first time getting involved with this event, and I really wanted to do good. Good in their eyes. Good in the eyes of those that would receive the financial benefits from our efforts. Good in the eyes of my personal tribe that would be there at the final event as my personal guests supporting me as they have my whole existence. I wanted to make them -my personal tribe of my close family members and my hubby- proud (proudest, even more than my team) of the new things that I was attempting.
Several things had happened as the event was underway. Drinks were flowing, networking and professional success stories were being exchanged, the silent auction had closed.
Then it was time for the 10 tigers to each be auctioned off.
And I remember when my tiger was brought on stage and the bidding began. I didn’t want to look, I didn’t want to hear the numbers being shouted out during the bidding. I just wanted to know that it had gone well.
I think my tiger sold for $6800!
All of that going to benefit the families that our team’s charity, Pascale‘s Pals, serves.
That’s a big number, and for me to go to my checkbook and hand-write that number on a check, made out to any one organization felt like an unattainable accomplishment. Especially as an artist that was brand new on this professional path and just launched that night onto the scene.
But seeing this picture from my fb memories confirms what I had hoped did in fact happen.
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion and the fast pace of a live auction, I was raised in the country and auctions are nothing new to me. Even still, farm or estate auctions taking place next to a cow pastures in the country still get me worked up. How high will the bidding go? What’s the story behind the item getting the bids? Why is it now being sold?
But this picture. I know I take after my mom…
where tears are more often a sign of joy and pride and hope, even in the midst of just life and the cards we’re dealt. (For me that meant losing a job just weeks before this event, some professional struggles of what next, and how I could serve best the family that I was still getting to know as my role of dad’s wife and stepmom to three). My mom raised me to find the happy, be proud of true efforts, and sometimes that means tears.
I am thrilled to be working in an industry that support the picture being worth 1000 words. I’m not sure how many words this blog post is, but this picture of my mom will always speak infinite volumes to me, serving as a reminder of how this journey started, even in the midst of so much unknown, saying yes to a team that believed in me, and she was all for it.