Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Emily's Tattoo

Emily Arnold used to be the assistant curator at the Orange County Regional History Center. She decided to get a tattoo on her right bicep of a gorgeous bird. Since she is an artist she was very discerning about who should create the tattoo. She decided that Steve Roberts of The East Tattoos was the man for the job. One of Steve's major influences is the work of John James Audubon which made him the perfect artist for the job. Her boyfriend who also worked at the History Center kept her company through the long agonizing process.

The East is an appointment-only private tattoo studio located just north of Downtown Orlando in Ivanhoe Village. Overlooking beautiful Lake Ivanhoe, The East offers a completely personalized experience in a relaxed and comfortable space. Each of the artists work independently; scheduling our own appointments, setting our own prices and corresponding with our own clients.

Two of the tattoo artists from The East stopped by as I was working on a mural on Ivanhoe Park  Brewing. They asked how I planned to do the line work on the mural, and I explained that I was debating about using Krink markers or acrylic paint applied with a brush. One of the artists did graffiti and he said the Krink markers fade quickly over time. He had first hand experience from work he had done in the past. Because of that conversation I abandoned the Krink brand and have been doing the line work with a brush. 

Since getting the tattoo, Emily and her boyfriend both left Orlando. The arts in Orlando left their mark.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival

The eighth annual Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival was held in the Mills 50 area. Lunar New Year events are based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which calculates both the motions of Earth around the sun, and the moon around the Earth.

The parade assembled near Track Shack on Mills Avenue and then went down Thornton Avenue ending at the parking lot behind The Cameo Theater, home of Snap Gallery on Colonial Drive. I was teaching an Urban Sketching class at Crealde School of Art on that morning and considered taking my students to the festivities to sketch, but the timing was off. By the time we would have arrived from class, the parade would have been over. Instead I had my student sketch in Panera's which is a much calmer setting.

Immediately after class I drove over to the parade. A large red an yellow balloon arch marked the entry to the event. Food and merchandiser tents were lined up in the parking lot and the place was packed. On the main stage a drum chore was setting the tone. I finally decided I had to sketch the arch and the tent where the dragon heads were stored.

Orlando Urban Sketchers had decided to come to parade as well to sketch but I didn't see anyone at first. After I sat and started sketching I was approached by a sketcher who wanted to watch as I sketched. I explained my thought process a bit as I set up the composition. Once she started sketching as I well I got lost in my process.

For the longest time this seemed like a boring sketch location, but then a group of youths in red tee shirts started getting dressed in bright yellow pants. It turned out I was watching two dragon dancers getting ready to perform. Once the head was put on the dragon came alive and a large crowd gathered all around me. The dragon was rather silly often falling down and always getting in the face of small children. One little Chinese girl was mesmerized and she followed the yellow dragon around grinning the whole time. The dragon looked at the sketch in my lap and so I lifted it up so she could see it right side up. She nodded her head with delight.

This is the year of the pig. I didn't see any pigs at the festivities but Pam brought out Darcy, her new puppy. The dragon was curious about Darcy and danced in front of the her. The puppies eyes bugged out in amazement. She tried to hide behind Pam's legs and when the dragon once again approached she darted away as fast and as far as she could. Since she was on a leash she didn't get to far. For her first social outing Darcy got very over stimulated.

It turned out the Urban Sketchers were at the event. They were apparently gathered in the shade behind the main stage. They had their sketch throw down photo op, but I was still in the midst of my one and only sketch surrounded by dragons, so I didn't get over to where they met. I made the mistake of wearing a black tee shirt to an event in a black tar parking lot in the insanely hot Florida sun, but I survived. The dragon parade is definitely a great sketch opportunity and I am glad I made it. After the sketch was done I ordered some Pad Thai and Pam and I watched a yo-yo choreographer doing some major moves to rap music. It might sound strange but it was fun to watch.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 18, 2019

Nude Nite 2019

Nude Nite Orlando was held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on February 14-16. Pam Schwartz and I went on Valentines day, the opening night. I wanted to go nice and early to sketch before the place got really crowded. A ticket at the door is $35 and I didn't have that much cash on hand. We had to get cash from a cash machine in the parking lot. Note that the bar a Nude Nite also only accepts cash. I didn't get a drink since I was sketching the whole time I was there. '

Nude Nite feels so much smaller than past years. It was at the fairgrounds last year as well, but I didn't sketch because I got the dates wrong. My feeling walking around the event was that there was little bang for the buck. I have to say however that artists were just setting up for the night. I quickly decided to sketch Mandi Ilene Schiff as she was body painting. She was set up right in the middle of the warehouse which offered easy sketching access. She was painting a tiger face on they model's chest. The color she added was a greenish glitter paint.

An art installation by Aubry Roemer consisted of a long roll of white paper on the floor. He painted nude models with blue paint and had them lie on the white paper to create body prints. He then also outlined the prints with large blue brush strokes. He also wore a mask although I am not sure why. A coffin with a plastic skeleton was set up. The premise was that guests could write notes on pages from a book and then put them in the coffin.  The notes would be burned after Nude Nite. I suppose that burning negative thoughts could be a form of therapy.

As we were getting ready to leave, one performer languidly hung from the ceiling with fabric ribbons. She did splits and spun. When her routine was finished she gracefully floated down to the floor as if weightless.

My favorite art was simple nude sketches on some form of Mylar. They were on sale for only $150. On the far wall behind Mandi was a huge photo mosaic for about $5000. A woman arched her back as if the Pieta. Another similar mosaic had lots of Bambi fawns. I lost interest since performances didn't get under way until after 9pm. We decided to go out for dinner to finish off the Valentines evening. We went to Phò Vinh (657 N Primrose Drive Orlando Fl 32803) and I had Bún Càri Gà which is a delicious soup with rice vermicelli with chicken in a coconut curry broth. It was sooooo good, the highlight of the evening.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Boris and Marla E Talk Art Shit

Boris Douglas Garbe and Marla E Artist held an informal talk at The Nook on Robinson, (2432 E Robinson St, Orlando, FL 32803). Boris's dog Lump slept on the chair behind the hosts. Boris runs the Art Gallery at Mills Park (1650 Mills Ave N, Orlando, FL 32803). He used to gather artists to paint live at the Timucua White House as bands played as well, but he stepped down from that position. Marla E is a staple of the Orlando arts scene creating large textural paintings. She explained that she used to be a faux finish and mural artist and she discovered that she loved painting on very textured surfaces.

Boris is learning as he goes running the gallery. He feels that galleries cater to the same audience over and over. He realized that young people don't go to galleries and he is trying to reverse that trend. Of course he discovered that when he does get a younger crowd, they don't spend money. He is passionate about artists that use their art as a platform for change. He also has decided he will exhibit men and women equally. He has gotten some flack for this from women artists who want to just be considered artists, not as a underprivileged demographic that needs charity.

Boris and Marla have teamed up to produce a series of radio broadcasts about the Arts scene in Orlando. They have also just produced their first podcast called "Kiss my Art" which is frankly a fantastic title. Orlando has grown up enough to develop a bit of an edge.

What was most heart warming about their talk was when they talked about their lives. Marla was married to the love of her life, but he died young, leaving her heart broken. She turned to her art and it lifted her from the brink. She started inviting people to visit her studio and over time her art blossomed. Boris's mom was in the audience which added a personal touch to his life revelations.

There were several trivia questions where people in the bar could win free art prints. Anyone who had posed nude for an artist was invited to collect the prize. The room was silent. I have painted myself nude but I thought that would be bending the rules. Finally a woman went up and described posing nude on a beautiful beach for a friends photo.

Overall this was a fun chance to learn a little more about what makes the Orlando Art scene tick. The Nook has some lovely small painting hanging on the walls right now. None of the paintings are framed square. The images fit in trapezoids and diamond shapes.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Flower Essence Yoga

Kristine Iverson a founder of Crow Practice, invited me to sketch her Flower Essence and Yoga Class at Bloom Florist (325 West Gore Street Orlando FL). Crow Practice stands for Coordinated Response On Wellness. The focus is on Stress Management Workshops and yoga. (CROW) practices the art of bringing unique experience to their clients’ needs, while adhering to authentic traditions and practices.

Participants at this workshop got free water donated by Body Armor. Pam Schwartz joined me for  this invite only wellness workout. She did the yoga while I sketched. This was a very relaxing yoga practice session. Between yoga postures participants could pass around essences of floral scents in perfume bottles. They would rub the scent between their palms warming it up, and then inhale deeply. All the yoga mats were lines up in the back of the florist shop warehouse. Some areas of the warehouse were refrigerated rooms where thousands of blooms were stored. The building already had an enticing scent.

Since moving to Florida my sense of small has been dulled by allergies and the humidity. From where I was sketching, I could not catch the scent off the essences as they were passed around. I have taken yoga before so I was familiar with the yoga poses. I stretched a bit as I sketched in my artist's stool. In my mind I was doing a very limited form a yoga as I sketched.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, February 15, 2019

Weekend Top 6 Picks for February 16 and 17, 2019

Saturday February 16, 2019
All day. Free. Tampa Bay Fresh Fest.  1721 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. also at 903 17th ave Tampa FL 33605. Twenty or more of the most talented artists from Tampa bay and beyond will create murals at at least 5 different locations around Tampa heights, Ybor, and downtown.
Artists will be starting as early as the 8th so make sure you get out there and see the art come alive before your very eyes, but the focus is the weekend and Saturday the 16 being the main event.

8am to 1pm Free. Parramore Farmers Market. The east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View. Purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

10am to 4pm Free. Commander's Call. Museum of Military History 5210 West Irlo Bronson Hwy Kissimmee FL 34746. This ongoing program is held on the 3rd Sat of each month is designed to appeal to families, military memorabilia collectors, history buffs, re-enactors and others interested in military history. In addition, persons interested in displaying, trading or selling their military items such as honor coins, swords, photographs, military buttons, scale model boats & planes, military art, uniforms or other equipment register in advance by calling the museum to reserve a spot. Re-enactors & veterans are welcome to come in uniform to add to the history & authenticity of the military experience. Non-military booths such as health care providers, home improvement, local attractions or other businesses are invited to be vendors for minimal donation.
INFO and Register: 407-507-3894 or to register your table space.

Sunday February 17, 2019
10am to 4pm Lake Eola Farmer's Market. Lake Eola Park Orlando FL. Produce, food vendors and crafts tents.

Noon to 3pm Donation based. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Listen to Opera Singer Shirley Wang and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

3:15pm to 5:15pm Free. Life Screenings International Film Festival. Winter Park Library 460 E New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Selected films are chosen on the basis that they show a world we love to live in. Each film is a one-minute gem.
Rules & Terms
● Life Screenings is a festival that showcases inspiring, uplifting, and thought-provoking short films.
● Selected films will need to be provided in digital format via dropbox or google drive.
● Films submitted in languages other than English must include English Subtitles.
● While the work submitted remains the property of the creating artist, Life Screenings reserves the right to use submitted footage or stills to promote the festival. Filmmaker also permits use of images or video taken of them at the festival.
● All filmmakers will be notified regarding acceptance into the festival by email.
● We are looking for films under 61 second.
● Films are chosen on the basis that they show a world we love to live in.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Lake Mary Historical Museum

I dropped off a painting for exhibit at the Lake Mary Historical Museum, (158 N Country Club Rd, Lake Mary, FL 32746) for the 6th Annual Local Artists Exhibit which featured original  paintings, sculptures and mixed media works on display, from emerging to well established local artists. Rather than rush right back to the studio, I decided to settle in and complete a sketch.

The Lake Mary Historical Museum exists to preserve and promote the history of the city and the surrounding area. Efforts to maintain and enhance the museum are accomplished by members of the Lake Mary Historical Society and other volunteers.

The museum houses a collection of artifacts, photographs, documents and other materials related to the history of Lake Mary and the surrounding communities. The artifacts housed in the museum have either been donated or are on permanent or temporary loan.

Mark your calendars, from February 23 to March 23, 2019 the museum will exhibit Scouting in America, which will celebrate more than 10 years of the organization that has brought so much to central Florida. he exhibit will share the values and all programs that Girl Scouts organizations offers to the world. An exhibit of uniforms, artifacts and materials related to history and legacy.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


I went to the opening night performance of Hamlet by William Shakespeare at The  Orlando Shakes, (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803). My memory of the play was limited to the notion that at some point, Hamlet talks to a skull. The plot is rather simple. The ghost of Hamlet's father appears to Hamlet and demands revenge against the uncle who killed him. Hamlet talks endlessly about revenging his father's death, and then follows through. His every monologue conveys how unhinged he is about the need to avenge his father's death. I was a bit frustrated that Hamlet had a perfect chance to revenge his father and decided it was too easy so he waited. So many passages have become a part of popular culture.

This play was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime, and still ranks among his most performed. It is also Shakespeare's longest play with this production running three hours with a 15 minute intermission. I completed most of the sketch in the first act and did most of the watercolor washes during the intermission. This production had actors rushing off and on the stage in quick succession. The cast was on the large side with 17 actors. A huge puff of stage smoke engulfed the audience where I sat when Hamlets ghost appeared.

The play was produced in the round with extra bleachers added to the Margeson Theater. I sat in the added bleachers and unfortunately that meant most of the actors faced away from me directing their performance the audience opposite my position. Junior Nyong'O from Nairobi  performed the title role. He brought a frenetic energy to the production focusing on Hamlet's more twisted, disturbed and sinister motives. Ophelia (Susan Maris) also became completely unhinged when experiencing grief. A pestle with poison, sword play and misfortune plague everyone in the final act. Tragedy wiped the stage clean.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Illegal Art in Winter Park

I went to the The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (445 N Park Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789) for Spring Friday Nights. The Museum's annual Rites of Spring Celebration included free admission, live music, tours, and more.

Of  interest to me was, The Domes of the Yosemite, the largest existing painting by Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), which was making its post-conservation debut at the Morse through a special loan from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont. The monumental 1867 painting, which had not been seen outside the Athenaeum since its installation there in 1873. The huge painting was created in the context of the Hudson River School. These loosely affiliated landscape artists produced grand, romantic images of New York’s countryside. In this genre, no artist’s work was more luminous, theatrical, or better loved. The painting was commissioned for $25,000.

I settled into a seat and started sketching the monumental painting along with a round Tiffany stained glass window that dominated the gallery. I had finished the line work and was blocking in some color when a guard stopped me. She was concerned for  the wood floors and asked me to stop. I have never spilled a drop of color doing my tiny watercolors, but she must have considered me an anarchist and or a slob. I added a few color notes like, Grey, Ochre, Orange, etc to let me know what my plan had been when I started painting. I then went outside the museum and sat on a bench to block in the colors there. That was an illegal act since sketching on Park Avenue is illegal in Winter Park. I walked back into the museum one more time to check the color scheme and went out to paint again. Outside it grew dark as the sun set. I grew discouraged and left. I haven't returned to the museum since.

The Bierstadt is no longer at the Morse. Winter Park has an crazy back woods ordinance that prohibits the creation of art in it's downtown streets. It seems the Morse also considers sketching, an illegal act. My simple act of sketching on the public bench outside the Morse was an act of civil disobedience punishable with a $500 fine and or 30 days in jail. Welcome to the Central Florida arts scene.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 11, 2019

No Borders Art Competition 2

I went to The Geek Easy (114 S Semoran Blvd, Ste 6, Winter Park,Fl) to see what No Borders Art Competition was all about. It is a great concept involving two artists competing head to head with 30 minutes to complete a canvas.

No Borders Art Competition began in April 2015 with two competitions every 3 months. One competition was on a 4ft x 4ft canvas with a 30 minute time limit the other was on a 6ft x 6ft canvas for 1hour. Each artist was  equipped with enough tools to complete their pieces while also challenging their creativeness.

The 6ft x 6ft canvas might was a bit of a challenge for some artists so "The Tournament" was created. It consisted of 8 artists on the 4ft x 4ft canvases that have never competed at our show before. The winners of that show would then compete against the previous 4 winners on the 4ft x 4ft canvases.

The original rules applied:
4 Black markers with different tips
One color marker
4ft x 4ft Smooth White Canvas

Artists were judged on 5 categories:
1. Creativity and Originality
2. Neatness
3. Time Management
4. Use of Color Marker
5. Overall Balance

The Crowd got to pick The Peoples Champ before the judges ruling is announced.

The judges were: Chris Rodriguez, Stazo Oner, and Josue Ortiz. Josue was the person who got me interested in the event.

The host for the night was Ozones own, Madd Illz, The house DJ spinning 90's hip hop was  Cubby (Chris Mendez) and Dean Rod Uno Rodriguez.

The competition was off to a late start. I sketched the stage waiting for the competitors to take the stage. The first competitors were, Nice Darrell and Jessica Butler. Nice's canvas was more complex and dream like, being hard to read from a distance in certain passages. Jessica's canvas was more straight forward with a blue whale. My vote was for her piece which had more appeal. I didn't stay to sketch the other 6 competitors. I  just wanted to get a flavor for the festivities. It is certainly an event I would love to sketch again.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at