Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maitland Art Center

I went to the Maitland Art Center Sketch Club for the first time attend the figure drawing class. It was early evening and a light drizzle had started. I was one of the first to arrive. I introduced myself to Bill Orr who is the fellow in the Hawaiian shirt in this sketch. Bill told me quite a bit about his past. He once lived in this very room back when it was divided up into small apartments. His room had a small fireplace and the window seen in this sketch. He served in World War II being part of a cavalry regiment. When the war ended all the horses were sold off in Europe rather than returned to the States. As an artist he made his living doing life sized paintings of horses. This preoccupation keeps him busy to this day. A few times during the class I peaked at his drawings and they are really good. I am sure I could learn a thing or two from this master, but the class is just an open drawing session with no instruction. Bill helped save the Maitland Art Center when developers wanted to level the site.

Although the nude model was a beautiful young woman, I unfortunately didn't look at her very much. I am more interested in the everyday mundane moments of peoples lives rather than a view of the classical figure. I still had to pay the model fee which I think was $15. It seems like a waste since I didn't glance her way very often.

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


Wally said...

Always enjoy seeing your sketches. I sat next to you at the Orlando Ballet Volunteer meeting and was please to see that even I made it into the sketch.

I notice on the Maitland Art Center Sketch you've misspelled the my friend Bill Orr's name. What he may not have told you is that he was one of the people responsible for saving the Art Center when developers wanted to knock it down and build on the land.

Thor said...

Wally I added the info about the developers. Thanks for the feedback.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Thor

I googled Bill Orr's name and was led to your site. We were great friends back in the mid-70's but sadly I lost touch with him over the years. I have a beautiful drawing he did of me on the night of my 21st birthday. He has been an important and unforgettable person in my life. I am now living in California. Can you help me get in contact with him? My email is Thank you for any help you can give me.


Trish (Mazurek) Brooks

Alan Ellaway said...

Re: your comment about paying the $15 model fee. Sorry if you did not take advantage of the model's presence to draw or paint her. But you entered a room with a naked person who was doing a difficult job. Not something you would expect to do on a regular basis. Why would you expect her to appear naked in front of you- interested or not- and do so for free?

Thomas Thorspecken said...

Hey Allen,

Of course I paid, but choose to sketch people with their clothes on.


Alan Ellaway said...

Hey Thor ,
Sorry, I only just read your response to my earlier comment. The reason I made the comment was because when you stated you had paid the fee, that it seemed a "waste" as you did not draw her. I was writing from a model's point of view. I kind of wonder why you went along to a nude drawing session, if you only are interested in clothed people? This might sound a little aggressive, and I apologize if it does, it is not meant that way. I have found that it seems taken from granted that if a model is nude then anyone can walk in. Secretaries, cleaners, I remember posing once and the building manager walked in accompanied by a full work crew who were there to discuss some project. They seemed very interested in checking me out, and I imagine making jokes afterwards. One of the artists apologized at the end of the session. Otherwise it didn't seem to occur to anyone that art models are not necessarily casual about their nudity. And don't provide it for free to any casual passer by. Just some thoughts... Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time and trouble to respond to my comment,
I wish you all the best,

Thomas Thorspecken said...

Hey Allen,

I'm surprised you still want to discuss my off hand comment. Anyway I said that I wasted the $15 by not drawing the model. I didn't say the model didn't deserve to be paid. I've paid model fees for over 30 years spending thousands of dollars in the process. My job in publishing a sketch every day is to promote Arts and culture in Central Florida. Since I serve that purpose I am usually invited to sketch and report on events. Since doing this sketch at the Maitland Art Center I have promoted this drawing session every week on the AADW online calendar. I however haven't had time to return since other events often catch my eye. If I hire a model it is more of a collaboration in which I have control over the timing of the modeling session. I however seldom use models since events offer a wealth of sketchable material.

If you read my new book, Urban Stetching you will see that I devote a chapter to capturing the entire studio setting as a way to prepare yourself to capture and report on events in any given city. I didn't go to this particular model session to do quick studies from the figure but to report on the sketch session itself and that is what I did.

I'm not a secratary, cleaner or lurker but a trained artist. I'm certain no one was making jokes at your expense. This is one thing Ive learned by sketching on location everyday. No one is there to judge and when they do comment it is always positive feedback.

I stand by my comment and I'm pleased by our conversation. I wish you the best in your modeling endeavors.


Thomas Thorspecken said...