Thursday, August 17, 2017

History in a glass.


The first History in a Glass took place on June 22 at the Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801. History in a Glass pairs fun and fascinating historical collection artifacts with delicious hand-crafted cocktails. Three bar districts - Downtown, Mills/50 District, and Winter Park - battle for the championship to see who can win people's choice in designing the best custom cocktail based on a story from the history of Central Florida. Three ace mixologists from each district will go head to head with their colleagues, the winner advancing to the series finale in December.

In the first competition mixologists from three popular downtown Orlando establishments – Hanson’s Shoe Repair, The Woods, and The Courtesy Bar – received a brief biography of Billy Bluebeard, Orlando’s first swan to create their drink from. Billy was brought to Orlando in 1910 by Charles Lord and placed at Lake Lucerne with his mate Sally. They were a rather romantic pair and Billy took quite an interest in their domestic affairs. Sally would sit on their eggs, but each day Billy would come by to relieve her so that she might swim about the Lake and stretch her legs.  One day, Billy was running a bit behind and Sally decided to take off before his arrival.  Their eggs grew cold, Lord knowing they would be dead, removed them from the nest. Upon finding an empty nest, Billy was furious. He swam out to Sally in the middle of the lake, grabbed her by the throat, and held her head under until she died.

Billy was given a new mate, Mary, who was quite a bit younger than he. Billy grew ill and was taken to a veterinarian. Once he was better, he returned home to find Mary with another swan! Unfortunately Billy wasn't quite the fighting swan he once was, and the new, younger Charlie wasn't having any of Billy's attitude. Lord made the decision to remove Billy to another lake where he eventually passed away.  Some say it was old age, others say Billy died of a homesick broken heart.

In 1933, the proprietor of W.H. Swan Company had Billy stuffed and placed in the foyer of his department store where he stood until becoming one of the very first donations to the History Center.

Mark your calendar! The next History in a Glass, "Hog Wild" Edition is Thursday, August 24 at 6 PM - 9 PM. Not far from the present-day History Center’s door, razorbacks once rubbed their backs on the steps of Orange County’s wooden courthouse in the 1870s, when Florida was a wild frontier. Florida still has an estimated one million feral pigs on the loose. Just recently in the news, wild hogs are still running amok in Brevard County! Come cheer on your favorite bartender from the Mills 50 District in a competition to create the best history-inspired beverage. The winner will advance to the series finale in December.

Admission tickets include great music with a DJ, three hand-crafted cocktails, and tasty cuisine from a local restaurant. Member tickets are $20, general admission $25. This event is for guests 21 and older. For details, call 407-836-7035. Doors open at 6 p.m., cocktail competition and drink service start at 6:30.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

First Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop at the Orlando Public Library.

This is a very quick sketch I did in the Orlando Public Library (101 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801) at the First Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop. This  first of 10 weekly workshops focused on using simple shaped to place small intimate objects on the page.  We used the magnolia room as a studio for the first two hours.  There we sketched from busts of Abraham Lincoln and small statues of American Buffalo. We experimented with blind contour and using a simple shape to define the shape before focusing on detail.

For the last hour I sett the students free to explore the third floor of the Library. The  goal was to catch an intimate detail and I let the students interpret that as they pleased. I did quick sketches for each student offering suggestions on what to consider as their sketch progressed. Then I settled in and did this quick sketch. There wasn't time to add color, so on this rare instance I finished the painting back at my studio days later.

We all gathered at the rainbow of books at the end off a hallway for a group photo with everyone holding up their favorite sketch. I am having fun creating worksheets and course materials for these 10 workshops. The Worldwide Urban Sketchers organization was founded 10 years ago and they are celebrating by offering 10 long term workshops at cities around the world. The goal is to encourage more artists to carry sketchbooks and discover the world, one drawing at a time.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop 2 at Dixon Toconderoga.

The second Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop was held at Dixon Ticonderoga's headquarters (615 Crescent Executive Ct #500, Lake Mary, FL 32746). Dixon Ticonderoga is best known for making those ubiquitous 2B yellow pencils that you will find being used in most classrooms and many artists studios, mine included. It was a rainy afternoon on a Friday but all the attendees braved the weather and rush hour traffic. Rachel Fox, Dixon's Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator greeted us in the lobby and guided us to a small classroom set up on the first floor. The room is clearly for younger students with bright picnic tables and a salt water fish tank in the corner, but it suited us just fine.

Rachel showed us some of the art products we would be able to play with and then escorted us upstairs to the Ticonderoga museum and curator, executive assistant Donna Cochran, who offered us a brief tour of the art work that the company has collected over its 200 year history. The jewel of the collection is a Norman Rockwell painting that was one of 3 paintings stolen from the Ticonderoga offices in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1975. This one painting titled "Grandfather and Grandson." was later recovered by police but the other two have yet to be found. The painting has since been cleaned and is worth an estimated 4 million dollars.

In the museum was an old green machine with a hopper that was used to sharpen pencils. The pencils would be rolled over a cylinder of sandpaper. Our time in the museum was limited, so we all immediately set about sketching artifacts and the scene. Everyone was encouraged to take photos of some of the incredible artwork created using the Ticonderoga pencils.

Dixon is one of America's oldest companies, created by a merger of the Joseph Dixon Crucible Corp. with the Bryn Mawr Corp., a Pennsylvania company dating back to 1794 when the company built the first highway in America between Philadelphia and Lancaster. The highway was 62 miles long.  Joseph Dixon began making pencils in the 1830s. Dixon used Cedar wood from Cedar key until the supply ran out. Graphite was mined from the town of Ticonderoga in Upstate New York. During the Civil War, soldiers needed pencils so they could write home. Quill pens with ink weren't a good option to be used on a battle field. In the early years, machines turned out 86,000 pencils a day. The company also made wooden boxes for the model T when it was first rolled off the assembly line. The crayon company willed this automotive order from 1914 until the 1960s. The Dixon Ticonderoga company has since expanded to include other art supplies like Prang, Das, Oriole, Lyra, Daler Rowney, and Canson.

Back in the classroom, we put watercolor on the sketched since wet media wasn't allowed in the museum. I handed out workshop material that covered one, two and three point perspective, I invited everyone to take one of the sketches from the collection and do a sketch that showed the horizon and vanishing point used by the artist. I also asked them to take one item from the collection and interpret it 3 different ways using the three different perspectives. We were encouraged to use Dixon art supplies and at the end we each were given a Canson sketchbook. Students were asked to write an article about the experience and share it on the Orlando Urban Sketcher's Facebook group page. Each of these workshops is a new adventure. Each attendee is quickly becoming an Orlando sketch correspondent.

The Third Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop will be at the Orange County Regional History Center on August 19th starting at 6PM. We will be sketching models of Historic Orange county architecture to further hone our perspective and composition skills. Tickets are $35 and available from Eventbrite.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Do Good Date Night at Second Harvest.


Kristen Manieri who founded the Orlando Date Night blog hosted a Do Good Date Night at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (411 Mercy Dr, Orlando, Florida 32805). Couples were invited to a night of pitching in for a good cause combined with date night fun with your sweetie. An hour was spent sorting food during this very busy time of year. Skids full of large boxed items were lined up on the left and couples walked down the line inserting items in a baggie as they moved to the right. Finished bags were sealed and then packed into boxes on the right. It became a playful and then efficient assembly line with a bit of a competitive spirit.

Then the second hour was spent enjoying gourmet bites (burger slider station and more) and sipping one great beer or wine, which were included with the $20 tickets. Additional glasses of wine or beer could be purchased. Entertainment was provided by Curtis Earth Trivia, who led a fun trivia game complete with prizes for the top three winners.

The Do Good Date Night is a 100% non-profit event series that joins couples with local non-profits through a fun and connective volunteer project. Couples volunteer for about an hour and then enjoy food, refreshments and entertainment.

The next Do Good Date Night is coming up in Orlando on Friday, September 15, 2017. Tickets go on sale 8/24. The Do Good Date Night series is expanding into Tampa, FL and Asheville, NC.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bass Pro Shops


I needed a new pair of hiking boots. The soles of my old set had literally started to flap loose. I was beginning to look like Charlie Chaplin's Tramp. Before getting the boots, I decided to get a sketch of the large fish tank in the middle of the huge Bass Pro Shops warehouse store. Bobcats, deer and bears roamed above in a taxidermy diorama. Water cascaded down the false rocks into the tank. Behind me, rows of guns were for sale, but I'm not in the marked for an assault rifle.

While working on the sketch, a friend from Boston called whose back had seized up, making it impossible to get out of bed. Someone had to go over and help with getting dressed. It was apparently an awkward scene. Being on my own, the thought of not getting out of bed and staring at the ceiling was a rather terrifying thought. On the other hand, I was in the middle of the sketch and wanted to get back to it. I listened, but kept my hands active. That evening I sent several get well presents. My friend made a full recovery.

I found the boots I needed and went to the register. My credit card didn't work. I asked the cashier to try a second time. I had to leave bootless. That evening I was contacted by my bank. My identity had been stolen and someone had tried to make purchases with my card out of state. The bank had canceled my card. Thankfully the incident didn't cost me any money, but it was a major inconvenience. This was the second time my identity has been stolen. Last year someone filed a tax return in my name and got a refund. In this digital age identity fraud seems to run rampant. I have turned to using cash,which is a solid, old school analog way to make a purchase.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Merry Widow at the Rep.


I went to a dress rehearsal of The Merry Widow, directed and re-conceptualized by Eric Pinder, and conducted by Aaron Collins. Pam Schwartz and I searched for and found an open stage door. The cast could be heard warming up their voices in the distance. A life-sized model of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sat tireless back stage. It was a challenge to find a way into the theater without walking onto the stage. I could see that the cast was dressed to the nines from the wings. This production features the best vocal talent in the area with members of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra in the pit. I was excited to sketch the pit in action. Not many productions feature a live orchestra so predominantly. The steam punk themed set must have been left over from the previous show. Perhaps it was intended to indicate the complicated gears of love.

Leading lady, Hanna, (Claire Tendl) inherits a fortune from her late husband. The year is 2005, and she is so wealthy that everyone who is anyone in Silicon Valley is vying to get into her inner circle in order to gain access to a piece of her wealth, in the range of $300 million. Believing that a new marriage is the best way to secure her inheritance, business mogul friend, Baron, (John Segers) springs into action with the help of his own wife, (Eliza Healy Dopira) to find Hanna the right husband. It proves to not be as easy as it seems. The clever widow has her sights set on the charming and reckless Daniel, (Kevin Romero) a former college flame. There is only one problem, he has no intention of sacrificing his bachelor lifestyle for the comfort of marriage. He has a "wealth" of ladies to keep him entertained, and not even the promise of Hanna's fortune can pull him away from his drunken escapades. Rendezvous are rampant. Complications abound.

The cast of about 20 often filled the stage with a party atmosphere. Claire Tendl's singing was amazing. Kevin Romero acted with a drunken vaudevillian bravado, his body often struck in an arching curved gesture. The modernization of the show was most obvious in the third act which took place in a strip club called Maxim's, complete with a stripper's pole, on which Dawn Humphries gave an athletic performance. I wouldn't mind this being an Olympic event. Money was thrown everywhere, as the other dancers gyrated on several chairs. Then the club abruptly emptied leaving the lead couple, Hannah and Dan, playfully holding onto the pole and spinning around it together.

The Merry Widow will be presented in the Edyth Bush Theatre at the Orlando Repertory Theatre (1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803). Tickets are on sale now with local Orlando shows August 10th through the 13th. There will be two satellite shows in Melbourne and Vero Beach August 19th.



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 12th and 13th.

Saturday August 12, 2017
4 PM to 6PM - Free. Young Voices. JB Callaman Center, 102 North Parramore Ave, Orlando. Teen Open Mic Every second Saturday of the month.

9 PM to 2 AM - Free. Perseid Meteor Shower. Night sky. According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year. Typical rates are about 80 meteors an hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower's actual peak is around 1 PM EDT on August 12, which means that the night before and the night after will both have good rates; Cooke said the show would be slightly better in the predawn hours of Aug. 12, but that there would be a decent show both nights.

7 PM to 10 PM - $25 to $35. The Merry Widow. Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, Florida 32803. A modernized version of Franz Lehár’s Operetta. This production features the best vocal talent in the area with members of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Rendezvous are rampant. Complications abound.

Sunday August 13, 2017
10 AM to Noon -  Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class.  University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources.

Noon to 1 PM - Free. Yoga. North East corner of Lake Eola Park near the Red Gazebo.

2 PM to 5 PM - $25 to $35. The Merry Widow. Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, Florida 32803. A modernized version of Franz Lehár’s Operetta. This production features the best vocal talent in the area with members of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Rendezvous are rampant. Complications abound.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

ODD at Elixer.


The June Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) was going to be held at another bar on Orange Avenue, but that bar was closed. At the last minute I sent out a message on Facebook letting artists know that we would have to go to Elixer (9 W Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801) right down the block. Pam Schwartz and I arrived first and I started working on the panoramic view of the bar right away.

I got a text from Stella Arbelaez saying she would be there soon with her daughter Laura. Laura is taking a summer theater class and so they were right nearby. She spent the duration of the ODD event going over her lines at the next table. I tried to arrange a chance to sketch a rehearsal but the schedule never worked out.

Anna Ast also managed to find our group. She recently moved here from Russia and according to her, my book is used as a text book there for a group of artists who gather to do Urban Sketches. This is pretty exciting news, and I am hoping to see a copy of the book in Russian at a future ODD outing. Anna founded a cake decoration business here in Central Florida and her husband is a pilot.

We all just drew the bar for the first hour, and then I decided we all needed to sketch each other. I timed the drawings at 5 minutes, and artists had to face off to sketch one another. The artist being drawn, would sign the sketch made of them which makes for a simple way to learn the names of everyone at the table. One of my sketches was done blind, which means that I never looked at the sketch as I put lines on the page, only at the person's face. These sketches are always fun since you never know what you are going to get.


All sketches are available for sale as a print or original. Contact the artist for details.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Great Florida Road Trip Tacky Tourist Party.


The Orange County Regional History Center (65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32801) held an evening of historic proportions as they saluted the Tacky Tourist in Florida. The event was free for History Center members and a $10 suggested donation for others. Rain certainly did its part to thin the crowd and it was pouring when I arrived.

There was a book talk with Cathy Salustri, author of Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida. After the slide presentation the audience could test their Florida knowledge with trivia.  I was invited to be one of three judges for the Tacky Tourist Costume Contest. The winner wore every conceivable piece of tacky tourist paraphernalia, shopping bags were full of Disney plush toys and trinkets. Shuffleboard was offered in the lobby. I managed to win a round thus reclaiming my dignity as a shuffle board champion.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The I-4 Band at La Maschera Parisian.


The Downtown Arts District hosted a fundraising event at The Abbey (100 S Eola Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32801). Patrons enjoyed a journey back to Paris in the 1890s, when impressionist artistist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec created his most famous works of art. The birthplace of modern can-can dance, the Montmartre neighborhood is the symbol of creativity, pleasure, beauty, and celebration.

The I-4 Band was performing on stage when I arrived, so I set up immediately to sketch. The lead singer had on a gorgeous black dress that was quite reminiscent of the can-can era. Guests did a great job of dressing up in their Parisian best. I did a second sketch near the bar and was considering a third sketch of the dance floor, when friends invited me to their table. It is sometimes frustrating to only have time to do one or two sketches, when this event clearly had inspiration for dozens of them. It is important to learn, however, that sometimes it is nice to let go and just enjoy the moment.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.