Saturday, July 18, 2020

Raising funds for charity through art

My Spain art project received a lot of positive responses among friends on FB. As much as that was fun and gratifying, I felt that to continue just amassing drawings was a little self-indulgent. Not that drawing for yourself is wrong, but I had this urge to do something more with it, if I could.

During this pandemic, people have stepped up. Some serve on the frontline, some volunteer their services, others give blood, etc. I’ve done none of these. All I’ve done is donate to charities but that felt inadequate. Then I had this idea: what if I were to sell my art for charity? That would raise more funds than what I can give as an individual.

So over the past month, I put up 5 lots of drawings for sale, each with a minimum donation sum.  All proceeds went to one of 4 charities, of the buyer's choice:
1) TWC2
2) HealthServe
3) Willing Hearts

In all, I drew 31 pictures, sold 22 and raised almost $2,600 for charity.

The outcome was way more than I expected. When I first came up with the idea to do this, I was filled with self-doubt. Was I being overly ambitious? How many pictures would I be able to draw in a month? What if they’re crap? What if nobody buys? Or worse, what if people buy only out of pity??
But as I prayed about it, I realised the questions were all wrong because they were focused on me. Surely if I want to help the poor and the marginalised, the focus should be on them. I believe that if the heart is right, God will make all things possible.

So I told God, “Ok, I’ll draw whatever I feel led to, with no targets, no strings attached. You bring the buyers. Let each of the drawings speak to someone special.”

And so I drew. Every day, I would surf the internet looking for photos that inspired me or got me excited about drawing. It sounds odd but my feelings changed daily. Sometimes, I see a nice photo and set it aside, only to feel cold about it the next day. I don’t know why. Many of the drawings were experimental – the Eiffel Tower came about because I was curious if I could pull off the architectural lines and proportions. I played around with different types of paper, style and subjects (animals are hard, gosh).

31 pictures in under a month sounds like a frenetic pace even to me. I can be a tad obsessive (ok a lot) but honestly, it wasn’t like I rushed to churn out as many drawings as possible for the sake of sales. I looked forward to drawing every day, so I just did. And because I only drew what I felt like, it was FUN. Some drawings turned out more successful than others, but you know the strange thing? Some of the drawings I liked didn’t sell, while others that I didn’t think would sell, did. A few buyers told me a specific drawing called out to them which I thought was pretty amazing.

In the beginning, the hardest part about this project was not the work, but parting with the drawings. Especially since I don’t think I can ever replicate some of the drawings, so I did feel a pang letting go of them. I asked God, “Remove my attachment to the drawings and let my heart for the needy be bigger.” And remarkably, he did. Now when I finish a drawing that I think turned out well, I no longer feel the urge to keep it for myself. I’m honestly happy to give it away. (Well, except for one which I loved so much I actually did another so I could keep the original.)

It’s such a cliché to say it’s more blessed to give than to receive, but I really did feel happy every time I sold a drawing and donated to a charity. And the payoff that I hadn’t counted on was that my skills improved. I was most aware of this when redoing a picture I did 2 months ago – I’m more confident about what works and what doesn’t, and shading, which I used to struggle with, comes much more intuitively now.

I'm posting this to record and share the project with blog readers, even though I know hardly anyone comes here now is 😆 Here are some of the drawings I sold:

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