Uncorked Live: The Story of How I Came to be the Featured Artist

A few months ago I was contacted by Mary Lou Zeek, an artist and art force in Oregon, asking if I would be interested in being the featured artist for the Family Building Blocks annual fundraiser, Uncorked Live. I was familiar with Family Building Blocks and I knew they did excellent work in our community; their motto is: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together. I did a little research on their annual auction and in pretty short order told Mary Lou I was definitely interested and to please put me in contact with the Uncorked organizer.

I had been working on three new large paintings (30×40 inches) and I thought any one of them might be a possibility. I was also working on a fourth painting (36×36 inches), that was coming along. A date was set of April 1st to decide on a painting. Because I have lots of work hanging in my house, it was decided that a committee would come to my house and select a painting.

The group walked through my house: upstairs, main floor, and downstairs, looking at their options. They settled on three possibilities, and my husband lugged each of them outside so they could be viewed in the best light. The three options included:

“Morning Clouds Giving Way to Sunshine,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 30×60 inches.


“It Smelled Like the End of Summer,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 30×40 inches


“Against a Cloud Lit Night,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 36×36 inches.

The ladies whittled it down to two selections and asked me to choose as they wanted me to select the one that best represented me. I chose Against A Cloud Lit Night because it was my most recent painting, but also because I had painted it with the auction in mind.

The painting was delivered to the photographer the first week of April, photographed and then returned to me to finish drying until the auction in mid May. Last week the painting was delivered to Zenith Vineyard, where the auction was being held.

The perks of being the featured artist for this prestigious event was having my art featured on the cover of the auction catalog and for my art to be on the wine labels of the bottles of wine, which were given to everyone in attendance. What I didn’t know was that my art would be etched onto a jeroboam of wine (a jeroboam is equivalent to six standard 750 ml bottles – who knew there was such a thing!). The etched label was gorgeous and even had texture.

Patrice Altenhofen, Executive Director of Family Building Blocks, holding the jeroboam of wine.

Uncorked Live was held last Saturday night, May 18th. It was a surreal evening; seeing my art on display, then being handed an auction catalog with my art featured on the front. Everyone in attendance received a bottle of red wine or sparkling chardonnay, both with my art on the label.

Two people asked for my autograph, first on the cover of the  catalog, and then later to sign a bottle of wine.

What a thrill.

I was anxious leading up to the actual auction, fearful that no one would bid on my piece. My painting was the fifth on the line up . . . .


. . . and it sold for $3,500. I later learned that two jeroboams of wine had sold for $850 each and one of the bottles was purchased by the owner of a vineyard who wanted it on display at her vineyard for the art rather than for the wine.

I was happy to have helped raise over $5,000 for this wonderful organization keeping children safe and families together.

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