Some six weeks ago, by the light of a slowly rising full moon, painter Ray Ellis stole away to a silent corner of Edgartown and settled in to capture an image of the swollen moon creeping up over Chappaquiddick. Facing down-harbor, he had a perfect view of the Chappy bank, dotted with lights from the houses nestled along its coast.

“The moon was just coming up,” Mr. Ellis said yesterday. Carefully, he captured the silvery reflection of the great white globe in the harbor, a lone sailboat suspended in the water.

The artist said he had been waiting for a full moon to paint the landscape, which he titled Silver Moon Rising. He had planned on donating a silvery scene to the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, in honor of the silver anniversary of its Taste of the Vineyard fund-raising event.

But as he sat in the springtime moonlight, he never imagined that the piece of art he was creating would soon sell for a quarter of a million dollars.

“Unbelievable. I just can’t believe it. I had the greatest thrill of my life probably,” said Mr. Ellis of this weekend’s Taste of the Vineyard patrons’ gala auction, where Silver Moon Rising sold for $250,000, the highest single bid in the history of charity auctions on the Island.

In past years, Mr. Ellis’ auction items have done well. Two years ago, a painting sold for what for the Trust then was a record-breaking $65,000. Another year, offers to watch the artist in action drew two separate bids of some $20,000. And bidders were also generous the year Mr. Ellis offered to bring the winner along on a painting trip and picnic lunch. He’s been donating work to the auction since it began a quarter-century ago, and altogether, he estimates, his items have fetched roughly a million dollars for the trust.

But the price tag for the painting that commemorated the event’s 25th year was just shocking, even to an artist who has enjoyed a great deal of success in his career. “Two years ago, we broke a record at $65,000, and I said maybe we’ll beat that. Well, it went up to 100, then 200, then 230,” marvelled Mr. Ellis.

He said his wife, Teddie Ellis, who acted as president of the trust some two decades ago, was in tears when the final bid was accepted. “I just kept shaking my head,” Mr. Ellis said.

The painting now sits in the trust’s Dr. Daniel Fisher House property on Main street in Edgartown, waiting to be claimed by its new owner. The 15-by-30-inch painting is in a gold frame, the title and artist’s name carved in gold leaf at the bottom center. It not only represents the most valuable charity auction item in the Vineyard’s history, but it’s also the highest-priced painting Mr. Ellis has ever sold. “It was, some people said, one of the best I’ve ever done,” he said.