Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Drunken Monkey


I no longer hang out at the Drunken Monkey to sketch and enjoy a cup of coffee. A past sketch I did mysteriously appeared on their internet sever to welcome anyone wanting to use that service. The trouble is that the image was lifted off line without consulting me and without paying for the reproduction rights for its use.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Monday, September 24, 2018

Magic Beyond the Mouse


In May of 1989, The Walt Disney Company added an animation studio in Central Florida.  Spearheaded by animation industry expert, Max Howard, the Florida studio grew from a crew of 40 to more than 400 in the mid-90s, before closing in January 2004.

The studio was responsible for the box office hits: Mulan (1998), Lilo and Stitch (2002) and Brother Bear (2003) and contributed substantially to films such as, The Little Mermaid (1989), Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and many more, reinvigorating the animation industry and The Walt Disney Company.

The artists and staff at the Florida studio fostered an atmosphere that bottled a type of magic that is hard to put in words, but anyone familiar with the facility can attest that working together, this team created a family that no other Disney environment has.

I teach an Urban Sketching class at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32835). The primary goal of the class is to introduce young students to the idea of carrying a sketchbook everywhere they go. Elite was formed by a former Disney Feature Animation artist and its mission of delivering traditional and digital art courses remains true to this day. It is a place where students can build a portfolio of work should they choose to pursue a career in movie making or game design.

A few blocks away from Elite, is Art of Fitness (5154 Dr Phillips BlvdOrlando, FL) which was also formed by a former Disney Feature Animation employee named Ron Beta. Ron decided to mount an exhibit by former Disney Artists showcasing their art since the Disney Feature Animation Studio closed in 2004. In 2004, the Orlando Disney Studio was  just starting production on a new project tentatively called My Peoples or A few Good Ghosts that was about a folk artist living in Appalachia that made puppets out of re purposed parts. For instance Abe Lincoln was made from an old broom. I was slated to do the key drawings for a villainous possum and I was gearing up to find the final look of the character.

I invited my Urban Sketch students to sketch the installation of the exhibit. In my sketch you can see a full wall of wildlife paintings by Aaron Blaise and some mermaid watercolor paintings by Ronnie Willford lined up at the base of the mirrored wall. I had simply framed one of my Urban Sketches to add to the show. In all, twenty one former Disney Artists exhibited work in the show. When the Disney Studio closed, these artists proved that there is magic and meaning to life after the Mouse. Hopefully my students took away the lesson that working for any particular a studio isn't always the crowning moment of an art career. Every artist who remains curious is always evolving.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Uprising: Pulse to Parkland


Pam Schwartz and I attended two screenings at the Global Peace Film Festival. The screenings were at the Bush Auditorium on the Rollins College Campus. The first film was "Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane". It was produced by Kim A. Snyder the same documentary film maker that made "Newtown". Father Bob Weiss was featured in Newtown. In the days following the Sandy Hook Massacre that took the lives of 26 children and teachers on December 12, 2012, he was tasked with burring 8 of those children. Interviewed in this film he broke down as he said that it was an honor to be able to do this for the families. After the tragedy he was still needing to heal himself while having to answer parishioners questions and grief.

He received a letter from Father Basil O'Sullivan from Dunblane Scotland where in 1996 sixteen school children were gunned down by a gunman. Through a series of letters, the two forged a bond sharing their similar experiences in having to deal with the trauma and recovery. Father Basil agreed to fly to Newtown for the one year anniversary. One year after such a tragedy can be re-traumatizing and he decided to go in solidarity to offer his support. My favorite scene had the father reading the same sermon he presented in Dunblane after that tragedy. The audio of that sermon from the past cross dissolved with the present audio. At the Dunblane sermon,  Charles Prince of Whales was in the congregation. After Pulse, I saw members of our community reach out when others face the same kind of tragedy.

The second film, "Uprising: Pulse to Parkland" was about two Florida Communities united by grief and anger from deadly mass shootings. After 49 lives were taken at Pulse, gun legislation was proposed and quickly died in Tallahassee. Part of the problem was that the legislature wasn't in session at the time. When 17 lives were taken at Margory Stoneman Douglass High School  the movement for sane gun legislation once again ignited. March for Our Lives swept up the Peninsula and marched into the Nation's Capitol. The Stoneman Douglas Students demanded an end to assault weapons and a stop to gun violence in America. The NRA however is a strong force in America with many politicians paid off and in their pockets. The battle for gun legislation is a long and continuing battle. Other countries around the world are shocked by America's murderous obsession with guns.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Billy Collins Reads at Rollins College


Billy Collins was appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. In 2016 he retired from his position as a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York after teaching there almost 50 years.

He read a selection of his poems at Rollins College, Tiedeke Concert Hall. His poems about everyday occurrences are witty and direct yet they often unveil something sublime and profound. Humor and insight mix in fun and unexpected ways.

I have had the pleasure of having dinner with Billy and Suzannah Gilman on several occasions. They both inspire me to want to continue to create every day. That is a rare gift from a friend or acquaintance. Billy has published 10 collections of poetry and they have garnered an amazing following. His work speaks for itself, go pick up one of his books and enjoy. His latest publications include Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, Aimless Love, and The Rain in Portugal. I had Billy sign my sketch since they both will be worth something someday.

Billy's next reading will be, What Poets Talk About When They Talk About Love, in the Tiedeke Concert Hall on February 17, 2019 at 2pm. Tickets are $25.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for September 22 and 23, 2018

Saturday September 22, 2018
8am to 3pm Free. Orlando Super Kids Classic. Special soap box derby races with special needs children. Manheim Central Florida 9800 Bachman Road South Orlando Fl. sunshinestatesuperkids.com

7pm to 9 pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

8:30pm to 10:30pm Free but get a drink. Amy Watkins and Open Mic. The Geek Easy 114 S. Semoran Blvd Suite #6, Winter Park, Florida 32792. Open to all: Musicians-Lyricists-Artists-and Poets of all kinds. Bring out the cape and have some fun.

Sunday September 23, 2018
10am 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 2pm Free but get food and drink. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

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


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Global Peace Film Festival Opening Night Party


On September 18, 2018 the Global Peace Film Festival opened here in Orlando. On that evening there was a screening of the film, "Every Act of Life" which profiles the world renowned playwright, Terrance McNally's pioneering five decade career in theater focusing on the struggle for LGBT rights and his pursuit of love and inspiration at every age. The festival is in its 16th year. In these times of deep division, the festival focuses on our resources which are just an arm's length away in our family, neighbors, friends and throughout our communities. All week films are being shown in venues at Rollins College, The Winter Park Public Library, The Center, Valencia College, and Downtown Orlando.

Pam Schwartz and I got a table with a view at the Enzian Theater on opening night. The film had not let out yet, so the Eden Bar was half full. Then the theater doors opened and the festival goers filled the bar. There were light bites and the room was suddenly a buzz with activity. At a table in front of us, photographer Peter Morey was having a discussion with Jim Lussier. Peter spent ten years shooting photos of Nelson Mandela and an exhibit of these photos is opening on tonight, September 20, 2018 at City Arts Factory. 2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Photos in the exhibit feature Mandela's inauguration, meetings with dignitaries, and even shots of Nelson at home with his family.

I intend to get to a screening of "Uprising: Pulse to Parkland"  by local film maker Vicki Nantz. The film is about two Florida communities united by grief and anger from deadly mass shootings. It is about the national uprising against the gun industry and the politicians who profit from gun violence in America. That screening is on Friday September 21, 2018 at 6pm in the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College.

Check the online Film Festival Schedule to find other amazing thought provoking films.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

FAVO Every First Friday


On this evening, I installed the 49 portraits of the victims of the Pulse massacre at Falcon Bar. I then had to drop some art at Faith Arts Village Orlando (FAVO), 221 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32801 and I decided to stay to get a sketch. FAVO is an old motel on Colonial Drive that has been converted into 36 artist studios. On the first Friday of each month the studios are open to the public. It is an opportunity to window shop for some amazing original art.

Some artists set up tables in the parking lot as well. There is also a food truck or two and tables to sit and eat. There is also music. This month, Cindy Barr (on guitar), Jim Hull (on the Bodhran) and Sharon Harlimer (on violin) played under a tent. They performed Irish folk tunes and other selections. A banner had been printed up and hung on the chain link fence that said, "FAVO Cares" to honor those who lost their lives at Pulse.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Shakes 30th Anniversary Gala


The Shakes (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803) pulled out all the stops to create an amazing 30th Anniversary Gala this year. Gorgeous blue and pink curtains were hung at the entrance and a shimmering silver carpet was rolled out to the entry door. High columns of glistening crystals lined the walk. Inside a line built up for picking up programs and bidding numbers. Food stations were set up throughout the Shakes both inside and out. I settled in immediately at a standing table to sketch since I knew that time would be limited.

I focused my attention on Capa Restaurant from Four Seasons. Capa is a luxurious rooftop restaurant at Walt Disney World resort. They were serving Cerdo, which is Pork Belly, Rhubarb, and Hazelnuts covered in a rich creamy sauce with bright prigs of garnish. It was like an extra thick cut of bacon lightly crispy at the edges. I sketched madly as they prepared plate after plate of food. For the most part I just drank Coke to keep my sketching buzz on. Pam Schwartz explored the various food stations and brought back samples. I Tried  Lamb shank that was delicious. Somehow a chunk of mashed potato got wedged between my palette and sketchbook. I only discovered it when I finished the sketch and started cleaning up.

Several patrons were charmed that I was sketching. One woman stopped to tell all about her two daughters one is bohemian and an artist herself and the other is a type A personality. Another couple started talking about the vibe of the arts scene in Italy. I started talking about Provence, confusing it for Italy because I was so focused on my sketch.

The fundraising portion of the evening was an amazing success. I had a print in the silent auction and it was sold, though I didn't see the final bid. The auction held in the theater itself offered several dream stay-cations and a dinner for 100 friends. These packages went for thousands of dollars. Bidding for the Shakespeare education programing was extremely lively. Tallahassee has cut the arts budget by more than 90% this year so fundraising is more important than ever.

Jim Helsinger and Scott Maxwell both told stories about Harriet Lake who has just died this year. It seems everyone who met Harriet has a story about her. She always made an impression. She used to always sit in the same front row seats and though she was offered comps she would insist on paying. However she would at times show up unannounced and want to sit in her seat. Because of this the staff of the Shakes always kept those tow seats open until the last minute.  Jim announced that a plaque will be added and those seats will forever be known as Harriet's seats.

In the Heights is now playing at the Shakes and in that musical residents of Washington Heights dreamed of what it would be like to win the lottery worth 96,000. The cast of In the Heights took to the stage to perform 96,000. In a stroke of genius Jim Helsinger asked how much money had been raised in the silent auction and the live auction so far. We were just about 5000 short of 96,000 dollars. Bidding was opened again and in the excitement over 96,000 dollars was raised.

The cast of in the heights then performed a cabaret that ended with the entire cast performing the opening number of In the Heights. I lined In the Heights for 10 years as a struggling artist in New York City, so I identify with the hopes and dreams of that barrio.  It was a rousing and fitting end to a very successful gala.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Monday, September 17, 2018

ODD 17 at Dexter's in Winter Park


Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) invites artists to go to a new bar or restaurant each month to sample food and drink and sketch. I was living in Winter Park at the time so I decided to go to Dexter's (558 W New England Ave Suite 100, Winter Park, FL 32789). My roommate went to this place religiously. There are often bands that perform but on this evening it was quiet. I usually go to ODD events a little early so that I get a good jump on my sketch before I start socializing with other artists. I ordered a beer and got to work.

As I was finishing the sketch, I realized that I had not seen any artists enter. The door was at the right of my sketch so I was looking towards the entrance and should have noticed and welcome any artists. I decided to put extra time into the watercolor on the sketch to pass the time but decided after a while that no one was going to show up. I  paid, packed up and walked back to my car. 

On the drive back to my studio, I got a text, "Where are you?" from an artist. I explained that no one had shown up and I left. What I didn't realize was that daylight savings time had just ended, so I was at Dexter's well over an hour before anyone else, and I left before the start time of the event I had scheduled. I had to apologize. I hope anyone who did get out to Dexter's got a decent sketch that night.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

Sunday, September 16, 2018

There Will Be Words


There Will Be Words produces a somewhat quarterly reading series called Saturday Night Special which combines prose and poets and a sporadic poetry slam called There Will Be Verse. The location of these shows rotates and proceeds generated from our shows go back to our featured writers.In this sketch Trevor Fraser is seated in a lounge chair prior to the event at Urban Think. Tod Caviness is at the mic reading one of his insightful and always funny tomes about Central Florida.

Jesse Bradley, the host, invites four writers each month receive ten minutes to read a work of fiction or non-fiction of their own creation. Authors read fiction and non-fiction between 1000-1500 words. The piece could previously be published elsewhere.

I enjoy going to sketch and I am always blown away by some awesome and unexpected story. Tapping into the creativity right here in Orlando is much more fun than wasting away in front of a TV.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com