Monday, March 27, 2017

The Bloody Jug Band at the Florida Music Festival


The Florida Music Festival at (Wall Street Plaza II Stage, 266 Wall Street, Orlando, Florida) boasted over 125 individual showcases and promoted the community of music. Each night, the fesival invited individuals, artists and all music enthusiasts to come together to celebrate an artist or band that defines their genre. Over a dozen stages took over Downtown Orlando from Thursday, April 21 to Sunday, April 23 rocking all genres from Pop, Hip Hop and Alternative Rock to Country and Blue Grass. All participating showcase venues had free admission.

I stopped to sketch the Bloody Jug Band, a local group whose hard edged rockabilly music is always a blast to hear. The band draws inspiration from historic jug bands of the 1920’s and 30’s as well as the darker side of Blues and Rock n’ Roll.  The band carves out its own niche in a genre of music that has never seen such a bloody incarnation.

I wedged myself up against a palm tree and started drawing. There was a crowd down Wall Street, but, not much of a crowd right in front of the stage. A young girl shot photos of the band. This sketch was done just using bright primary colors to cover the page as fast as possible. Since blood is in the bands name, I decided that all the band members would be blood red.

When the sketch was done, a local female singer talked to me for a while and gave me her card. We became Facebook friends, but I still haven't sketched one of her performances. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of so much talent. I got a wrist band when I entered in the fenced off Festival venue area, but I never did get a drink. When the bloody Jug Band set was done, I just kept adding color to my sketch.  The next band had set up and was playing as I walked through the History Center Plaza towards my car to drive back home.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blue Box Zombies.


Downtown Orlando has 27 blue boxes painted on sidewalks which are the only places where begging or panhandling is allowed. The blue boxes can only be occupied during day light hours. They tend to be at intersections where there is very little foot traffic. I have been documenting each of these blue boxes by sketching Orlando Performers using them as a stage. Some musicians who busk, or perform outside have been told that they can only perform in a blue box. I am big fan of "The Walking Dead". I have documented zombie walks on International drive and started to think, that zombies would be a perfect fit for a blue box.

Denna Beena, who helps at the annual Spooky Empire Zombie walks offered to gather some zombies for a blue box. This blue box is across from the new Amway Center. The skull zombie holding the brains sign is actually a professional who works on International Drive. Zombies gathered gradually as the sketch progressed. Some were fresh, without much rotten flesh but others were rip, with loose flaps of flesh and plenty of dirt. One had a tin can for collecting donations. Several cars honked their approval but no coins dropped into the can. A car full of tourists stopped and shot some photos out their car window. They got a taste of a typical downtown Orlando scene.

There were yellow construction posts with yellow and white ribbons between them. The zombies presses up against the ribbons but didn't leave the box. One ribbon snapped and we put it back in place once the sketch was done. One zombie had a bum leg and a very distinctive limp. Deena is the zombie with the bright pink hair. There were gallons of blood just in case a zombie wasn't bloody enough. If there were zombies in every blue box in Orlando, then perhaps people would become aware of what they are, why they are there and how ridiculous they make our city seem.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dance Theatre of Orlando presents Change


I went to a rehearsal for Change at ME Theatre (Marshall Ellis Theatre) 1300 La Quinta Drive #3, Orlando, Florida 32809. The choreography was by Marshall Ellis, and the show featured the popular hard hitting music of Bon Jovi. I recognized every tune. Many of the stage lights pointed right out at the audience, so my baseball hat was critical in blocking my eyes from the direct light. Light mist made the rays visible.

No more excuses. No more magical thinking. No more self-sabotage. You know it won’t be easy, but so what? You’re committed to the goal. Love is the only thing that can make a change in your life. The story line was supported by original video sequences, many of which were shot in the neighborhood. The story followed,a young man who was breaking out and starting life on his own. He lived loud and spiraled as he frequented dance halls. He eventually found true love which is how his life got back on track. The most beautiful dance sequence feature the female lead. Her performance was powerful and lyrical, truly inspired.


There are two more performances of Change.
Tickets are available.
Tonight, Saturday March 25 at 8:30pm.
Sunday March 26 at 8:30pm.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 25th and 26th.

Saturday March 25, 2017
8pm to 11:30pm Free. Later Never Now - Album Release Show. The Geek Easy 114 S Semoran Blvd, Ste 6, Winter Park, Florida 32792. Milk Carton Superstars celebrate the release of their new album, Later Never Now, with this show at The Geek Easy, Saturday, March 25. Joining them on the bill are The Marc With a C Trio and Jordan Esker and the Hundred Percent.
Later Never Now is a collection of sound waves captured during 28 recording sessions which took place over a 10-month period. It is presented as a 38-minute album of recorded music by Milk Carton Superstars, consisting of 15 songs ranging from one to four minutes in individual duration. It features an assemblage of instrumentation and vocalization provided by the songwriters and accompanying participants. It exists digitally as well as in 12-inch vinyl and compact disc formats, the latter two of which will be available at this show.

9pm to 11pm Free. Nerd Nite Scribble Fest. 1915 E Colonial Dr Orlando, Florida 32803. Headliner announcement: O_Super. Nerd Nite, formed in 2003, is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking presentations– all while the audience drinks along in a casual atmosphere.
Speakers present for 15-20 minutes each on a fascinating subject, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. Following each presentation is a brief Q and A with the audience. Nerd Nite currently operates in over 106 cities around the world.

10:30pm to 12:30pm Get a drink and some food.  Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL Hot blooded Flamenco dancing to live guitar.

Sunday March 26, 2017
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park, East Washington Street, Orlando, FL.

Noon to 2pm Free. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

2pm to 4pm Free but order coffee. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 N Bay St, Eustis, FL.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mike Quick Band at Dexters.

I once had a friend in Winter Park who liked to hang out at Dexter's (558 West New England Avenue Winter Park FL 32789). She liked to sit at the bar and read. Men would always approach to find out what she was reading. It was her form of a Venus Fly Trap. The printed page was always more interesting. She was a very private person who liked being out in public. She also liked to hang out and listen to live music. On this evening, the Mike Quick Band was performing. During the performance a few people would get up and dance. Once a few bodies were moving on the dance floor, others could follow. It was a lively night.

Mike Quick performed on guitar and vocals, Annie Piper was on bass, Juliano Rosa was on drums and Paul Brandenburg was on Sax. Their website stated that they are searching for new ways to express themselves, through the instrument of soul. Isn't that what we all are trying to accomplish? Tips went in a bucket. It is fun to sketch when the beat is right because the lines dance on the page often falling where they should without any thought. After a beer or two, and a complete sketch, I was willing to get up and dance alone in the crowd with my eyes closed, forgetting everyone around me and moving to the beat. The room was hot and the music oozed through my pores. Movement and self expression are always good, be in on a small scale or on a dance tight floor.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Life Insurance

I teach drawing fundamentals at Elite Animation Academy, (8933 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando Fl). Sometimes I teach story boarding, digital painting in Photoshop, and traditional hand drawn animation. This Academy has been growing with a new space opened in Tampa. With this new growth, the founders decided to offer a free life insurance police for employees.

After a full day of teaching, the insurance agent sat down with each employee to explain their coverage. As I waited for my turn, I sketched the conference in progress with Jason and his R2D2 lunch bucket. I had just recently separated from my wife, so it made no sense to list her as my beneficiary. The reality of this seismic change became became weighty as the life insurance policy was explained. There is only one way out of this life. My hands have a price.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Elite Perspective Class


At Elite Animation Academy, 8933 Conroy Windermere Road, I teach a drawing fundamentals class for middle school and high school kids who are getting portfolios together for college. In the last class I was pleased that an adult was brace enough to sit in with the kids to refine his drawing skills. this class was about 1 Point, 2 Point and 3 Point Perspective. There were plenty of drawings done with rulers to define a floor plane, but I also encouraged the kids to also look for perspective angles with a looser eye.

In the early classes they often sketched from maquettes of movie animated characters. In this class they then had to lay out a floor plane grid and try to sketch multiple characters on that grid. It is the essence of what I do sketching on location every day. People become pieces on a chess board and I place them where I need them in the composition. I can't resist the temptation to sketch when the students are really engaged in their work. My sketch employee the same principles as the lesson plan on a larger scale than the assignment. Students gestures fascinate me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mina remembers Eddie Justice

Mina Justice is the mother of Eddie Justice who was one of the 49 people who died at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. She recently moved into a new home in a suburban development that is just now being built. Pam Schwartz and I drove through the development which was mostly barren earth with driveways leading to nowhere. Surveyors were dividing up the plots of dirt.

That Saturday of June 12, Mina was working. She had 3 retail jobs to get by. He stopped by her place that day at 1:45pm and Eddie mentioned that he planned to go out that night. She always supported his lifestyle and he had a way of always breathing life and humor into a room. ''I got to enjoy him for 30 years, my son and me were like this." She hugged herself.

That evening at 2:05am she got a text from her son, it read, "Mommy I love you". He let her know that "They are in the club, they are shooting."  He let her know that he was in the woman's bathroom and that others were hurt. "I can hear the man coming, He will shoot me. Tell them to hurry up mom. I'm gonna die." Mina asked if the shooter was in the bathroom with Eddie, his reply was, "He's a terror and then the final message at 2:51 said, "Yes."

Mina jumped into her car after those texts and drove to Pulse. It is a long drive but she managed to get there in 9 minutes. She was driving fast. When she got close to Pulse, others were gathered, not knowing what was happening. Then she heard a loud boom. She ran down the road crying. She hugged strangers who were in as much pain. "He was the sixth person taken out, it was a nightmare." She said. Jennifer Nichols, a Pulse employee stayed with her all night long. Ultimately the FBI questioned Mina and she had to tell the story again. She has avoided the media, and moving into the new home helped isolate her.

"Since that night nothing has been the same. My heard is dark." She said. She hasn't been able to work. Her life is on hold. She showed Pam and I her son's room in the new home. The bed was neatly made and the room immaculate. A four foot high portrait of him hung on the wall. She asked us what we noticed most about the portrait and she pointed out his eyes. They seem to follow you, and there is joy in them. Eddie has never been in the room but it stands as a reminder of his warmth. The hallway was was covered in family photos.  He could be seen with his brother and sisters and he was holding Mina in another shot. Her son is with her everywhere she goes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ballet Class


I went to Emotions Dance Company, (105 Melody Lane West Casselberry Fl) to sit in and sketch a ballet class. This is the most difficult subject imaginable for a sketch artist since the dancers are in constant motion, but I can't resist the challenge. all the dancers face a mirrored wall so they can see their own form as they move. My challenge is to sketch each dancers unique physique. I'm always amazed by dancers dexterity and endurance. It makes me feel like a bit of a lull as I sit and only move my hand across the page. Orlando has a large dance community probably because of the theme parks and cruise ships. Many dances are very young since you reach your prime in the dance business at an early age. To maintain a life long career, a dancer would have to teach to nurture the dreams of a new generation.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival


I went to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and arrived shortly after noon of the first day. I found a nice spot on the merchant side of the street from which to do a sketch. Officially, I was breaking the law, that says no art can be created on that side of Park Avenue. I had my back to several magazine stands which kept any passers by from looking over my shoulder. Melissa Marie McCain had said she would be there and I do believe I saw a large feather plume in the crowd that had to be heard. I need to give her a commissioned piece called "The Rainbow Connection". It documents the many rainbows I have sketched in the wake of the Pulse shooting. The notion of locating someone in the crude at this festival is insane. The artist whose boot I sketched did the most amazingly photo real still life's. I jotted his name down in my cell phone, and spell check changed it to shouting. That isn't his name at all.

My favorite art in the show was by R. Michael Wommack. They were large pastels that showed areal views of suburbs at night. Each home had a glowing green pool it the backyards and clouds were unified puffs. An occasional window would have the blue glow of a television. They were all haunting and quite amazing. I stopped to talk to Stacy Barter, a Winter Park plain air painter. She had some amazing painting of a construction site. I asked her where the site was and she said she had gone to where the Whole Foods was being constructed on Orlando Avenue just north of Lee Road. It is the type of scene that attracts me as well. Don Santag had sold a large sunset painting of one of the canals that connect the many lakes in Winter Park. He confided that the Disney Feature Animation background painters had inspired his work. Seeping his large work made me want to start painting big.

I left for the festival with many layers because the morning temperatures were down in the 40s. By the time I left, it must have been almost 80 degrees. I was overdressed. I got a chicken gyro for lunch along with a green drink, Mountain Dew. Oh yes, I forgot to mention. The opening day of the Winter Park Art Festival fell on Saint Patrick's day this year. There were plenty of people wearing green. My Nantucket hat was green as was my artist stool. I decided to paint the sketch only using green and Orange.I was told Orange is the color of Northern Ireland. My mothers family came from Corr Ireland in the south, so there is more green in the sketch than orange.

The Winter Park Sidewalk Festival continues today and tomorrow from 9am to 5pm. There is plenty of amazing art to see so be sure to check it out. Just don't sketch on the merchant side of Park Avenue, you risk a $500 fine and 30ndays in jail. If you do happen to sketch, let me know and I'll send you the Winter Park Illegal Art logo to emblazon your image.