Monday, August 16, 2010

Vegan Bake Sale at Stardust

On my first day back in Orlando I headed out to Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 East Winter Park Road) for the Audubon Market where I knew there was going to be a vegan bake sale benefiting animal rights. I arrived at about 6:30PM and some of the vendors were still setting out their wares. The sun was getting low on the horizon but it was still baking hot so I was immediately on the look out for a shady spot to sit and start sketching. I looked at the goods in all the booths and then was stopped in my tracks by a tall man with a flowing gray beard who was selling poetry. I was fascinated by his strong features and I know I need to seek him out some day to sketch. He handed me a slip of paper with a poem about Independent American Patriots. I started reading as I walked away. I heard him shouting behind me something about buying American Savings Bonds. I later found out that he kind of expects some payment if you read his work. Whoops, I thought it was a free sample.
It is hard to settle on a definite spot to sit down and start a sketch when you are faced with a space filled with tents. I didn't want to just sit in the midst of what might later be a high traffic area. I found myself standing near the music staging area and noticed a woman diligently writing texts on her iPhone. She was sitting on a retaining wall which looked like a comfy spot to sit and the spot offered a view of the whole outdoor market. I sat down beside her and started sketching. She seemed very focused so I didn't want to interrupt her. She looked up while I was sketching and commented on how cute the dogs were. I glanced over at a large poodle that had been recently shorn and put him in my sketch. We introduced ourselves and she was kind enough to compliment me on the early stages of this sketch as I was still blocking things in.
Her name was Allison Stevens and we talked as I continued to sketch. It turns out she was there to sort of survey the event since she would be setting up a booth the following week. She works for Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. She informed me that Shipyard is going to set up a brewery right here in Orlando and next week she will be offering free beer samples at the Audubon Market. Her job seems to be to market and help spearhead this new brewery. She said the brewery will offer many local jobs and it is also inviting local brewers a chance to use the facility to craft new tastes. I had tried several glasses of Shipyard beer several weeks ago at a late night comedy club. I had picked the beer for the simple reason that I liked the color of the tap handle. Craig Marris walked up with his hair ablaze. He and Allison spoke for a while while I continued the sketch. When he discovered what she did, he shouted out that he loved Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale which comes out in October. I perked up since I had tasted this beer last year and really liked it. Allison got out her iPhone and pulled up a photo of all the Pumpkinhead Ale that was sitting stacked high on pallets in a warehouse like the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Allison started telling us a story about a student named Taskar Divine, who used to sit outside the girls dorm every day with a sketchbook. He had a mad crush on a girl and he sat there every day hoping she might notice him. All the students thought he must know everything that went on in that dorm and his sketchbook must have been full. It was later discovered that he never once did a sketch nor did he jot down a single note. He had sat idle and never got the girl. The story made me wonder what strange thoughts might be running through people's heads about me as I sketch them every day.
Then Travis Blaise stopped over. He said he was going to get a beer and Allison waited with baited breath to find out if he was getting a Shipyard beer. He ended up getting an impossible to pronounce German beer that came in a tall beer stein. Alison made a comment about how some people pick a beer based on how tall the beer stein is.
It turns out Travis and Craig are working on character designs for a film they are working on. Travis and Craig both pulled out their sketchbooks and started whipping out amazing sketches of demonic beasts for the film. They would show each other what they had worked on and then they discussed which features worked best for the film.
Robert Johnson took to the stage and warmed the crowd up as the sun set and the night grew a bit cooler. I quickly worked him into my sketch. Craig Marris talked nonstop so this sketch took much longer than expected. It was nice however to find out about how some of my fellow Disney artists had fared over the years. As I was dashing color onto the sketch the second musician took to the stage named Matt Kenyon. His cover songs of Simon and Garfunkel and the Beetles were familiar and comforting. As he sang "I am a Rock" I felt my own sense of isolation. It was a solemn way to end the night, but Terry called and told me I had been sketching for too long, and I should come home. I had spent too much time talking and laughing. She missed me, because we had just been on vacation. To finish my sketch, I put a leash on the dog, packed up my supplies and left.

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

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