Friday, January 17, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 18 and 19, 2020

Saturday January 18, 2020
10am to 6pm Art Deco Weekend 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fl 33139. Free. A free community cultural festival with more than 85 events during "the best 3 days on Ocean Drive" each year. Come sketch with us! For those who enjoy sketching or would like to learn how. All skill levels are welcome! We are thrilled to include for the first time the Urban Sketchers in our Art Deco Weekend program with a series of Sketchwalks, urban sketching demonstrations and “drink and draw” events. Join us as we draw the architectural gems of the Miami Beach Historic Art Deco District and the essence of the 1920s Art Deco Weekend Festival Events.
10am to 4pm Free. Camellia Show. Orlando Garden Club Clubhouse at Loch Haven Park 710 E. Rollins St., Orlando, FL (between Advent Health and US 17).
7am – 10 a.m. Enter camellia blooms (ANYONE)!  Volunteers available to assist with registration. (Location: Orlando Garden Club)
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Camellias plants for sale.  (Location: Clubhouse Area)
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Camellia 101 Class – Robert Bowden, director of the City of Orlando’s Harry P. Leu Gardens (Locations: in Clubhouse Library)
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Camellia Show is officially OPEN to the public.  See thousands of competition blooms up close! (Location: Orlando Garden Club
4 p.m. Camellia Show closes

6pm to 9pm Free. Chair-ity Auction. Wayne G Sanborn Activity Center, 815 S Alabama Ave, DeLand, FL 32724. Bid on one-of-a-kind chairs creatively altered by local artists to benefit the Art in Public Places Program. Join us for music, silent auction, beer and wine tastings, food and fun! Tickets can be purchased at City Hall/ 3rd Floor or online.  For more information call 386/626-7112

Sunday January 19, 2020
10am to 5pm $18 to $21. Otronicon Interactive Tech Expo. Orlando Science Center 777 E. Princeton St. Orlando, Florida 32803. Otronicon is a celebration of the intersection between science and technology and shines a light on innovative technology being developed in Central Florida. Otronicon highlights resources available through a collaboration between educational institutions, the tech and manufacturing communities and their impact on our lives and their potential to drive the future, individually, regionally and globally.

10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801.  Local produce and goods. A great start to the morning downtown.

1pm to 3pm $9 FREE for Enzian Members! Film Slam. Enzian Theater, 1300 Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL 32751. Central Florida Film Slam (CFFS) is a program designed to provide filmmakers in the Central Florida region an opportunity to showcase their work on the big screen at Enzian Theater! Held six times a year, the Central Florida Film Slam is an unrated, independent film showcase and competition open to all regional filmmakers and students.

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, January 16, 2020

Visual Fringe

The Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest is January 9-12, 2020 inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center at Orlando’s Loch Haven Park.  I saw several Facebook posts about the Visual Fringe tent and had to head out to see it for myself. The Visual Fringe is headed up by the incomparable actress, Melanie Leon whose comedic prowess has livened up several of the shows I have sketched at Fringe and around town. In front of the Visual Fringe tent were about a dozen orange lawn chairs so that an audience could sit of they liked to watch all the at happening.  I was happy to sit in a chair (theater seat) and started sketching. Melanie and George Cudo were seated in front of me. She joked with me and made me feel very much welcome.

I sketched Warren Hart (Famous After Death) who was working on a bold robotic image painted on a board covered in newspaper clippings. I loved the Famous After Death tag an wish I had thought of it. Also working was Osha Awesome who was doing a mixed media piece with melted crayons. Famed beside her were several framed Yin and Yang symbols with rainbows of melted wax.

After sketching Famous After Death, I checked out his portfolio on the table. It was a thick book full of gorgeous bold poster imaged from movies and other themes. I heard that he produces the work in Illustrator but he also explained that the iPad and Procreate have changed the way he works. He is desperately hoping that Procreate eventually gets vector based features which means images created could be blown up to any size. Since I have fallen in love with the program as well, we had much in common. It was awesome to meet another artist who is embracing technology in their everyday creative process.

Tonight is the last night of the Fringe Winter Mini Fest. To see a show you need to buy a $3 Mini Fest Button. Show tickets are separate and prices vary. Some shows I had sketched before during the 2019 Fringe.

The remaining shows...

12:45am Staged Reading Series: Gertrude Stein's Do Let Us Go Away, a play.

12:45am Staged Reading Series: Spider Queen.

2:15pm Winnie's Roch Cauldron Cabaret.

2:30pm 90 Lies an Hour.

2:45pm The Myrtle Sisters - Out of Time.

4:00pm St Kilda

4:20pm Danny Darkly's California Screaming.

4:30pm The Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman.

5:45pm Six Chick Flicks. (SOLD OUT)

6:15pm Eddie Poe.

6:15pm The Lightweight.

7:30pm How to Really, Really, Really Love a Woman.

8:00pm Larry.

8:00 My Left Tit.

9:15pm Becoming Magic Mike: An Action Adventure Comedy.

9:45pm Flori-DUH.

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, January 15, 2020

Interview on the Ted Show

I sketched a Lip Sync Battle at The Abbey and it turned out that one of the celebrities who performed on that night was Ted Bogert who is the host of a podcast called the Ted Bogert Show.  In my sketch Ted was dresses as Tina Turner with an amazing flaming orange wig and tight black dress. He later explained that he had to duck tape that wig on. Anyway, he loved that I documented the evening in my unique and and he invited me on his podcast to learn more about what I do.

He had multiple guests lined up for the day and his website has a streamlines way of getting guests to share their social media profiles and info. He tapes his show in the Citrus Club in the BB and T Building (255 S Orange Ave, Suite 1800, Orlando Fl). His email warned that there can be no ripped jeans of flip flops in the Citrus Club. Since I never wear either I was safe and it was good to know that I didn't need to wear a dinner jacket. It was however quite cold that morning so I ended up wearing a hoodie. Hoodies wee not directly mentioned as being forbidden so I took my chances to keep my ears warm as I walked downtown.

Ted's invite said I should just mention to the person at the front desk that I was there to see him. The guard at the front desk in the lobby had no idea what I was talking about when I said, "I am here to meet Ted." I checked my iPhone to re-read the message and realized that Ted meant I should ask up o the 18th floor. When I arrived at the Citrus Club the woman at the front desk pointed me towards Ted. He was offering wedding venue advice to a woman at his table. After a quick intro, I sat at the table next to theirs and started sketching the view out the window. I  seldom get to see downtown Orlando from this high up so I was excited to sketch. I started the sketch knowing I had at most 15 to 30 minutes to work.

A new skyscraper has just recently been finished across from the Amway Arena so that became my focal point. It has an interesting modular shape with sections of the building being different values and colors a bit like a Rubik's Cube.

The interview was held in the Wine Room. Ted had his phone on a tripod in front of the floor to ceiling window and a building across the street offered magnificent reflected sunlight. He briefed me and let me know about a couple of questions he might ask towards the end of the interview. We chatted, joked and before I realized it the show was over. At one point we were talking about my nick name Thor and how that became my nickname at Disney, long before the Marvel movies came out. Then we talked about creating and creators and the phrase Creathor was thrown into the mix. It was such a fun show to do. Our missions to promote the arts are so similar. I was preaching to the choir when I was talking to Ted. Afterwards I shared the podcast on  my social media saying it was a fun irreverent time. Ted thought that might have a negative connotation. I suppose that is the danger of quick sound bites on Social Media. The meanings can be confused if the whole story isn't told. Thanks Ted for the opportunity, It was a fun way to kick off the New Year.

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, January 14, 2020

Grand Canyon

When the bus stopped rolling, it was a short walk from the parking lot to this overlook at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Rather than push forward to the staging area on the rock overlook I was more fascinated with sketching the crowd at the rim. Pam pushed ahead and took some amazing panorama photos. She asked another tourist to take a photo of her alone on a rock outcrop and the photo lakes in a stunning 180 degree vista. Clearly this would be an amazing place to return to to do a series of painting.

When this sketch was done, we took a hike along a trail and found an amazing photographers studio built into the side of the canyon. Built in 1906, it is known as the Kolb Studio. Brothers Elsworth and Emery Kolb got permission to build the studio from the owner of Bright Angel Trail. For the next 112 years the brothers explored the canyon from every conceivable angle with their cameras. They made a living selling their photos in small leather bound books for $3 each.

Besides taking still photos, the brothers decided to also explore the Colorado River filming the adventure using the new medium of motion pictures. The brothers toured the eastern United States presenting a successful film lecture series. People packed the theaters to hear about their great adventure. A 1913 lecture tour in Ohio proved unsuccessful and the brothers fought bitterly about the loss. Their already tense relationship grew even more heated, causing them to split the business. A coin-toss granted Emery the studio and Ellsworth moved to Los Angeles. Emery stayed in the canyon home with his wife Edith and daughter Edith.

Big business in the form of the Fred Harvey Company, which wanted a monopoly on tourist trade at the canyon, and the National Park Service conspired to close down the Kolb Studio over the years but the enterprising lovers of nature and adventuring spirit which built the studio persevered, overcoming every hardship.  The Kolb family lived in the studio until 1976 when Emery died. After his death, the National Parks Service acquired the home. Today the building is used as an art gallery, bookstore and information center. Sales from the bookstore help renovate the structure.

I am certain that any artist who enters this studio instantly feels the amazement and wonder of what it would be like to create in such an inspiring studio setting. Besides the amazing collection of photos on display, there were also large scale paintings of the canyon. A boat, the brothers used to photograph the Colorado River, some of the original cameras, and other artifacts brought the history alive. The place inspires me to want to find or create my own grand adventure.

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, January 13, 2020

Bus to the Grand Canyon

While in Las Vegas, Pam Schwartz and I decided to take a bus to the Grand Canyon. The drive was about four hours. The driver gave us an epic and comedic account of the history of sites along the way. 46 minutes into the trip we passed the Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam has been generating power for the past 80 years. The 5000 man workforce had to reside in the middle of the desert and Bolder City was constructed rather than rely on Sin City 46 minutes away. If all the concrete used to build the dam was instead used to build a full sized highway, that highway could stretch from coast to coast. Work on the dam began in 1931 which was a year of record breaking heat. Daily, the temperatures rose to up to 119 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the rest of the trip a movie played on the bus's overhead screens. We couldn't see the screens from our front row seats, so I kept sketching.

About half way through the trip the entire bus poured out and ate at an all you can eat buffet. The food was not memorable and there was plenty of it. When we poured back into the bus, the restaurant grew dead silent. With a four hour ride I probably had time to do a second sketch, but instead I watched the scenery fly by as we approached the vast Grand Canyon.

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, January 12, 2020

Crealde Urban Sketching Class

My Crealde Urban Sketching Class begins Sunday January 19, 2020 starting at 9:30am. This is a sketch of the classroom. Outside the window you can see one of my students sketching on a sunny day. Inside I was demonstrating to another student how to block in the room quickly in a composition and how to place a figure. The primary reason for this quick sketch was to demonstrate how to leave large shapes on the page pure white and then apply a light wash over the rest of the sketch to make those shapes pop.

Each morning we start by exploring a premise in the classroom and then in the last half or the class we move out into the community to sketch on location. Just getting students to realize that when they draw on location, no one is judging them. I might offer insights, but I don't judge the work. Each student has their own approach and temperament and the variety we see across the board is part of what makes drawing on location with other artists so exciting.

Last semester I started asking students to share their work on Instagram.  This allows them to share work with each other and possible hear from a much wider community of artists. On Instagram I also share all the rough class notes and composition sketches I do for students. That was students can see what was shared.

The past few weeks I have been pouring over thousands of my early student sketches and it has been an eye opening learning experience. Some of the sketches I did back in my 20s and 30s are bold and daring and it is making me want to experiment more with my work in the next year. I worked much larger in my youth, usually on 18 by 24 inch sketch pads. I scaled down when I started sketching once a day starting back in 2009. Part of the reason was to be sure that I could scan the drawings on my flat bed scanner. I think I might grow much faster as an artist if I return to working larger and find other ways to work around the limits of scanning technology. So here is to a bigger and bolder 2020.

The next 6 week Urban Sketching course has been canceled due to lack of enrollment.

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, January 11, 2020

Becoming Dr. Ruth

June 9, 1997, Washington Heights, NY, Apartment of Ruth and Fred Westheimer. Dr. Ruth (Eileen Dessandre) was packing to move. Her large bay window had a glorious view of the George Washington Bridge. I liked how the book shelves mirrored the shapes seen in the bridge. The arches of two shelves were like the opening in the bridge support structure and even the square and then vertical arrangement of the shelves mirrored the overall shape  of the bridge support. All the books and chachkies were white. I had sketched the books being created in the scenic shop weeks before.

As Dr. Ruth packed she talked to the audience. Her husband Fred, the love of her life, had died so she was planning to move. This was a one woman show and she held my attention for the full 90 minutes. As she spoke of her youth, photos appeared on the apartment windows of her parents and their life right before the rise of the Nazi Party. Her father was sent away to a work camp after Kristallnacht, but Ruth was saved by being sent by Kinder transport to Switzerland. When packing for the escape from Germany Ruth inexplicably packed a dish rag fro her mother's kitchen. Chocolates she had packed were confiscated and eaten by guards. At 11 years old she ended up in a Swiss orphanage where she became a caregiver to other children. She was not allowed to attend a local school but a boy smuggled books to her so she could study at night.

She recounted her first kiss with a young man whose name she could not disclose since she was still friends with him and his wife today. She was married three times and she discovered that the need for family and the need for touch were things she needed most since she had been denied her family and she wasn't touched for years after she left Germany. The love of her parents sustained her, but she never saw them again. The last letter she got from them as in 1941 and though she sometimes hopes that they survived the holocaust, it is unlikely.

After the WWII Ruth moved to Israel living on a kibbutz. Hard labor on the kibbutz was as hard as the labor in Switzerland. Israel however represented hope for the future. One fact that surprised me was the fact that she had been a sharp shooter for the Haganah (Israeli Paramilitary). She was a really good sharp shooter. Also because of her petite stature she ran messages since there was less of a target for an enemy to shoot at.

She met a boy, and together they emigrated to NYC and within two weeks she had won a scholarship for students who survived the holocaust. She studied with a passion and eventually discovered she wanted to get a doctorate in sex therapy. A radio station asked her if she would talk at a meeting about sex therapy and she gladly did so for free. That meeting resulted in them asking her to begin a talk radio show and the rest is history. She was non-threatening and wise with a thick accent. She was and is also very funny. When one woman caller explained that she did not like to "go down" on her husband, Dr. Ruth advised her to get whipped cream or chocolate syrup. Also a banana was great for practice.

This was a well paced show and it as fascinating to learn about this woman who always bounced back from any adversity. She is an inspiration, and the show is a delight.

Becoming Dr. Ruth runs through February 9, 2020 at The Orlando Shakes (812 E Rollins St
Orlando, FL 32803).
Tickets are $32-$55.

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, January 10, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday January 11, 2020
9am to 10am Free. Community Workout in the Park. Gaston Edwards Park, (1236 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL). Part of the Ivanhoe Village Self Care Month-All Fit Orlando is pleased to offer a FREE community workout. All ages and fitness levels welcomed over 14 years. Workout is fun, free, and about 45 minutes long. Please bring water and yoga mat if possible.

1pm to 4pm Free. Community Open House at Sandscove.  (7213 Sandscove Court Suite 9, Winter Park, Florida).

2pm to 5pm Free. Share Your Talent Art Extravaganza.  (6123 La Costa Dr, Orlando, FL). 

Sunday January 12, 2020
10am to 4pm Free. Orlando Farmers Market Lake Eola Park East Central Boulevard and North Eola Drive, Orlando Fl. 

6pm to 8pm $18.50 Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens (3755 W. Seminole Blvd., Sanford Fl). This limited engagement cultural event will dazzle guests with over 30 larger-than-life sculptural LED lantern displays featuring plants, animals, and traditional Asian elements, including a nearly 200-foot-long dragon.Through January 12, 2020.

9pm to 10pm Free but get a brew. Late Nite Laughs Comedy Showcase Copper Rocket Pub (106 Lake Ave., Maitland Fl). Hosted by Goran Joksimovic.

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, January 9, 2020

Lion's Pride Taste Test

The Media Taste Test at Lion's Pride (123 W Church St, Orlando, FL), offered a sampling of the delicious cuisine and cocktails from the diverse menu. Lion's Pride is a sophisticated soccer pub and fan den. This taste test VIP event was held on the second floor of the pub. There were comfortable couches and TV everywhere. From the table we were seated at you could overlook the lower floor and the entire wall was covered with a series of TVs that linked together creating one huge screen. I should think that other than seeing an Orlando Pride game in the stadium, this must be the next best thing. As media samples the food and drink a mascot roamed the room. On the far wall there was a large mural of a lion's head with a flaming main of fur. The square plate had a sophisticate oriental flair.

The Menu:

Our exclusive lean ground Black Angus chuck and brisket burger sliders are served with Monterey Bleu cheese, arugula, avocado, Applewood smoked bacon and BBQ sauce.

Crispy, made from scratch chicken wings served with your choice of BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki or traditional hot wing sauce

Slow-smoked beef brisket served with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, scallions, queso blanco and chipotle-aioli sauce

Delicious flatbread topped with Marinara sauce, grilled Angus Beef Sirloin Steak, tomato, spinach, sliced sweet onion and Monterrey Jack Cheese

Chef Recommended, New...

Our exclusive ½ LB lean ground chuck and brisket burger, crispy onions, bib lettuce, and ripe tomato on toasted brioche

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, January 8, 2020

Drink and Draw

Sarah Jane Rozman hosted a Drink and Draw at The Nook on Robinson (2432 E. Robinson St, Orlando, Florida). I host an Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) once a month as well so I decided to stop in to see how this Drink and Draw differed. The biggest difference was that a winner got $$$ for their bar tab! The artists in attendance all were given a theme so all the at produced tied together. Finished pieces were taped to the wall. Since I was working on this sketch, I didn't follow the rules.

The good thing about this venue was that the Drink and Draw directly followed Tasty Tuesday which is a food truck event that happens each Tuesday in the parking lot behind The Nook. This guarantees that Tuesday nights are going to be pretty crowded. I knew Sarah since she used to work at Art Systems in the print department. Unfortunately the color printer seldom worked so I started getting my prints at RT Art instead.

In 2019 I let ODD lapse since Orlando Urban Sketchers were hosting so many successful sketch events. Unfortunately those outing were almost all on days I was teaching art at Elite Animation Academy or Crealde School of Art. I still try and sketch every night so my best chance to meet fellow artists is to start hosing ODD events again once a month.

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