Monday, July 23, 2018

Star of the Sea Youth Hostel of Nantucket

If you don't want to pay a kings ransom to stay on Nantucket island, your best bet is the Star of the Sea Youth Hostel (31 Western Avenue Nantucket, Massachusetts 02554 ), just a short walk from Surfside Beach. Glen Weimer let me stay with in in his rental cottage. I walked over after relaxing on the beach After doing a sketch and relaxing on the beach, I decided to walk over and see how the other half lives.

The Life Saving Station at Surfside, the first of its kind built on Nantucket Island, was originally constructed in 1874 in a Carpenter Gothic style with Stick Style embellishments. It was enlarged in 1884 with addition of east and west wings and an enclosed cupola. The first rescue was on March 9, 1877 when the entire crew of the W.F. Marshall was brought safely ashore. The incidence of shipwrecks off Surf side diminished toward the end of the 19th century and in 1921 the Coast Guard abandoned the station. During World War Two the station was used again by the Coast Guard as an outpost for beach patrol. In 1963 the property was purchased by American Youth Hostels Inc. and has since been used as the Star of the Sea Youth Hostel. 

The hostel is a quaint barn like structure with a steep pitched roof, and huge orange doors that open out towards the beach. Dunes and a home hide a direct view of the beach across the street, but it is a very short walk over the dunes. A large group of kids in bright yellow jerseys were getting ready for a bike ride. Each bike had a triangular orange flag. Other guests relaxed around the picnic tables planning their day. This is a summer-only hostel open from May 18 - October 15, 2018

The Nantucket hostel is a little slice of paradise. They have everything you need to settle in for a little rest and relaxation. Chairs or boogie boards are available so guests can hit the beach or rent a bike and cycle around the island on one of the many bike paths.

Guests come from around the world so you never know who you might meet during the free breakfast. At the end of the day you can grill up a tasty feast and trade stories from your adventures as the sun sets over the island. There is a female dorm and a male dorm and a stay is about $42 for the night.
  • Incredible beach side location
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free continental breakfast
  • Fully equipped, shared guest kitchen
  • Access to chairs and boogie boards

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, July 22, 2018

Surfside Beach on Nantucket

Surfside Beach is a short drive from Glen Weimer's cottage on Nanucket. He let me  borrow his car and I packed a beach umbrella, sunscreen and a blanket along with my sketch supplies. I set up early and watched as people arrived to soak up the sun. This  is a rare moment where I was sketching not to document a particular event, but just sketching for the joy of sketching. Line didn't seem as important in this beech scene.

With the sketch done, I closed my eyes and relaxed while breathing in the salt air. This incredible island it a true escape. It was a warm beautiful day, and I needed to recharge my personal battery.

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, July 21, 2018

Street Performers in Nantucket

After a full day of exploring the Nantucket side streets, I went downtown in the evening and sketches several street performers. Street performers are not encouraged in Orlando and they are banned by an ordinance in Winter Park. In Orlando performers are told they must move to blue beggars boxes which have been painted on sidewalks in 27 obscure places downtown. Evening strollers occasionally dropped a tip in the open case. Having an open case in Orlando would get you shut down by police unless you were in a blue box.

It was nice to sit and listen and sketch the acoustic performance. The arts can flourish in plain view of the public on Nantucket. The performers were curious about my sketch, so we chatted for a while between sets. They come out too this downtown spot quite often to jam together.

I was fairly familiar with the streets between downtown and my friend Glen Weimer's house, so I hiked back to his place. It had been a productive day, so it felt good enjoying the night air as I hiked. I like he gloaming hour when the silhouettes of the homes are barely visible against the evening sky.

There is something magical  about Nantucket. The architecture reminds me of Charleston which has tons of history. The sea faring history of Nantucket is visible everywhere. Although the rich move in every summer, there is a balance among the native islanders. There is also plenty of untouched natural land on the island. There are no monolithic mansions like in the Hamptons. Instead all the homes feel like they have been on the island for hundreds of years.

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, July 20, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for July 21 and 22, 2018

Saturday July 21, 2018
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 and 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.

7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free. The Hate Bombs 25th Anniversary Party! The Veranda at Thornton Park
707 E Washington St. Orlando FL 32801. Your favorite creeps together again! Original lineup — PLUS — 25 years of Bomb-bastic artwork by Greg Reinel, Scott Sugiuchi, Jim Leatherman and more! All ages. Doors at 7pm. Show 8-11pm.

8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Free. Dive-In” movie series "Jaws". The Cady Way Pool is located at 2529 Cady Way, Winter Park.  The City of Winter Park has brought back their successful pool-based “Dive-In” movie series this summer, kicking it off with a screening of cult-favorite, Jaws, on Saturday, July 21.
The screening is part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s Family Fun program and will be hosted at the Cady Way Pool. It’s free and family-friendly; if your kids can handle animatronic sharks eating people.
Free popcorn and drinks will be provided.

Sunday July 22, 2018 
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mount Dora Village Market. Sunset Park 230 W. Fourth Ave. Mount Dora FL. Weekly artisans and farmers market.

Noon to 5 p.m. $7. Florida Wedding Expo. Meet with wedding professionals, enter to win thousands of dollars in prizes, taste gourmet food and decadent cakes, experience a runway fashion show, and much more. Orange County Convention Center 9800 International Drive West Orlando FL. 407-685-9800.

10 p.m. to Midnight. Free. GWADCIP$ Lil Indies 1036 N. Mills Ave. Orlando FL. Lo-fi, beats.

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, July 19, 2018

Nantucket Architecture

I explored downtown Nantucket on foot. So many homes had a Victorian flair and they all had the grey weathered shingles.

All the homes on Nantucket have the same grey wooden facades. Nantucket has fairly rigid design mandates. You cannot build as you please on Nantucket; houses must have pitched roofs, not flat ones, and they must be covered in unpainted shingles, which weather to a soft gray once they have survived their first Nantucket winter.

In 1983 a Nantucket island town meeting approved a local two percent tax on property sales to finance the purchase of open space for conservation and public use. Now roughly a third of the island is in the ''land bank,'' and officials have been quoted as saying that they hope this figure will eventually reach half the island's area.This land tax and land bank idea is helping turn the island's boom into a means of preservation rather than simply a means of development.

I hiked endlessly and there was a beautiful home to sketch one every corner. I finally decided to sketch this building because I liked the way the tree snaked skywards. A man was out painting his fence. If you paint in Nantucket it means you are rather rich because you have to repaint every year. The Nantucket winters will weather any paint. Every day was a sketch crawl of exploration. I would do 4 of 5 sketches every day as I familiarized myself with the island.

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, July 18, 2018

The Old Mill in Nantucket

The first sight Glen Weimer pointed out on the drive back to his place was the Old Mill, which is a historic windmill located at 50 Prospect Street in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Built in 1746, the mill is owned and operated by the Nantucket Historical Association as a museum. It is the only surviving mill of the four “smock mills” that once stood overlooking Nantucket town. There was a fifth Nantucket mill called “Round-Top Mill” on the site of the present New North Cemetery.

Smock mills have a fixed-body containing machinery, and a cap that turns to face the sails into the wind. The Old Mill was sold for twenty dollars in 1828 to Jared Gardner in deplorable condition for use as “firewood.” Instead of dismantling it, Gardner, a carpenter by trade, restored the mill to working condition capable of grinding corn. The mill was sold once again in 1866 to John Francis Sylvia, a Portuguese miller, who operated it for many years with his assistant Peter Hoy, until it fell into disuse in 1892. When the mill appeared on the auction block in 1897, the Nantucket Historical Association was able to secure the mill with a successful bid of $885. After multiple restorations, the mill is still in working order today, and believed to be the oldest functioning mill in the United States

Everything is within walking distance in Nantucket, so on my first day on my own, I walked to the Mill. I got to know Nantucket intimately as I walked place to place. Isolated on tan island the islanders are not in as much of a rush as the rest of the world. When the ferry arrives  from the mainland of Massachusetts, thousands of tourists flood onto the streets of Downtown Nantucket. The tourists are all in a rush to get settled and find the nearest beach. It is a flash of chaos that happens every day. I simply mention this because some of the cars roaring past me on my walks, were speeding to their destinations. If everyone took the time to walk where they were going, the island would be a much more peaceful place.

There was no cloth on the windmill's sails. Just the wooden framework was in place catching no wind. A huge pole behind the windmill was hooked up to a wagon wheel to turn the sails into the wind. I didn't think to check if the light breeze was coming from the right direction. I wondered how hard it would be to rotate the roof or cap into the wind. I imagined a team of horses and men pushing and pulling it into place. Then again, the roof might rotate freely with the right parts and lubrication. How cool would it be to build a tiny house from the plans of a Wind Mill and use the sails to help supply electricity? Of course a Florida hurricane could decimate the sails.

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, July 17, 2018

Lama Yesha Palmo

When my plane landed in Nantucket, Glen Weimer, my host was still with a client doing body work, so I couldn't go straight to his home. Instead, I caught a taxi to the Family Resource Center, (20 Vesper Lane, L-1 Gouin, Nantucket MA). Here a Mindful Meditation Group was going to meet and I thought it would be a good way to unwind and relax after a day of flying. The room we met in was set up for an Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step program. the 12th step was "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions." In some ways Buddhist teachings are similar to the 12 steps. Buddhist thought holds that craving leads to suffering (the second noble truth). Twenty-five hundred years ago the Buddha taught that snippets of addiction, constantly wanting, ever craving this or that,  are the source of all human suffering. This craving can be reduced and eventually eliminated.

There were just two of us sitting in. The woman across from me had her fists clenched the whole time as Lama Yesha Palmo explained the meditation process. This was the first time I had practiced with someone in full robes. A candle was lit and we sat quietly. I sketched before and after the meditation. I consider sketching my form of meditation. Birds chirped outside and a dog barked a few blocks away. For once my body didn't ache and as I finished the sketch I felt a bit of peace. The session ended with the sound of a meditation bowl humming from the wooden mallet circling it's rim.

I would have left feeling satisfied, but afterwards the Yesha asked questions about our experience. The woman across from me also felt some contentment but she was told that she wasn't meditating properly. Apparently inner sensations must all be let go. I kept my mouth closed, I didn't need my experience to be criticized. I was far to new to meditation to have my experience picked apart and dissected. When I was finally let back out into the world with my suitcase in tow, the sun  felt good on my face and the breeze kept me cool. I didn't need so much structure to appreciate it.

I hadn't seen Glen since the early 90s. He pulled up in his car and we hugged warmly. It was amazing to see the life he had built for himself on this tiny New England island.

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, July 16, 2018

Heading to Nantucket

A month after the horrific attack that killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub, I was feeling burnt out from sketching vigils, fundraisers and community healing events in Orlando. Glen Wiemer, an old art school buddy offered me a chance to get away and take some time for myself up in Nantucket where he practices Holistic Bodywork.

I found a cheap direct flight to Nantucket right from the Orlando International Airport. I was recently separated and it turns out that getting divorced is a long drawn out process. Now two years later I am still in the process of preparing for the divorce. An art appraiser is determining the value of my art since it is considered part of the marital assets that need to be split.

The flight was uneventful and pleasant. I was excited for some time to soak up some sun and regain some strength to face the long road ahead.

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, July 15, 2018

Climb Time Construction in Kidstown

I returned a second time to sketch the construction of the Kidstown, Isaac's Family Climb time at the Orlando Science Center (777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803). Protective screens had been added to keep kids from any attempted jumps from up high. It looked like a complicated maze and I am too tall to walk through any of the corridors without hunching over. At this point I believe the play area was close to being finished. I was impressed with how the structure filled the room. Construction  workers were still using ladders and the lift to get up high rather than crawling inside the structure itself.

Foam had been taped around one of the support beams. Perhaps the lift had been banging up against it in the commotion of construction. This was a chance for me to stretch my perspective muscles as I tried to fit the entire structure into the sketch. At the grand opening of Kidstown, I saw the kids climbing inside this structure for the first time. It is very popular with the kids.

This $5 million project opened to the general public in late October 2016. It signals the completion of the first phase of the $30 million Unlock Science Campaign, a multi-year/multi-phase effort to renovate all the exhibits and expand resources at the Science Center.

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, July 14, 2018

Explore It at the Orlando Science Center

Explore It at the Orlando Science Center (777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803) allows children to build their own roller coaster. Loop de loops and bridges can be plugged together to create a dynamic gravity fed coaster. Kids have to really reach high after climbing several steps to get the red ball high enough for the launch. A dad decided to “help” his son build a coaster. It was clear the dad was more interested in the new design than his son.

The other device uses vacuum suction to inhale colorful bolts of fabric. The fabric snakes through transparent tubes and then is launched into the air where it floats down to the kids who catch them below. There was a constant line of kids waiting to feed the machine and then shrieks of laughter as they ran around trying to catch the fabric as it gently parachuted to the ground.Part play and part learning, Kidstown delights the youngest of visitors. Dads and moms get to play as well.

These sketched are going live because I am assembling art for a retrospective exhibit of my work at the Orlando Science Center which will open August 17, 2018. Each painting in the show will ave a label that links back to the article on Analog Artist Digital World. I am discovering that some of these paintings had not been shared before.

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