Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blank Canvas at OMA

On the first Thursday of every month the Orlando Museum of Art opens it's front gallery for local artists. It is an evening of art, food, drink and entertainment. This evening featured ten artists who would begin with a blank canvas offering patrons a chance to see their creative process. Walking the room, there were several painters, a print maker, jewelry maker and a sculptor working in the center of the room with a model. The model was all legs in a bikini. I circled around the sculptor and his model several times but I couldn't find a place to plant myself so I moved on.

The print maker was using leaves and other natural found objects to begin her multi layered prints. A painter blocking in a traditional portrait didn't appeal to me. A young woman strummed her guitar. I finally settled myself next to a jewelry maker to sketch this group of artists working on three large space themed canvases. The closest canvas depicted a satellite circling Earth. The painter let a little boy put down some bold strokes of blue on the painting. The planets on the central painting began as faintly fogged in orbs on a dark canvas. As I sketched the planets were painted in thick impasto.

Denise Lebenstein a friend from college days was in town and she leaned against the wall behind me. I hadn't seen her in 20 plus years. I interrupted the sketch to give her a hug. I told he I'd seek her out when I was finished with the sketch. She checked out the museum with her friend Patti while I worked. Joe Rosier took a break from selling drink tickets and he shook my hand. Laughing, he wanted to know why I wasn't sketching the beautiful model in the middle of the room. A puppeteer from Pinocchio's Marionette Theater introduced herself. She said she saw me sketching a performance of Aladdin's Magic Lamp. I don't remember ever sketching that show. As she spoke, I kept wracking my brain, confused.

As I finished up, Denise stopped back to check on my progress. I put away my sketchbook and ventured out into the rain with her and Patti to get some Vietnamese food at Viet Garden. We had fun recollecting memories about our times in art school in NYC. It's odd how selective memories can be. She remembered that we once went to a Broadway show on New Year's eve. Watching the play we could hear the crowds gathering in Times Square. The play over, we ventured out into the massive crowd. We tore up our programs and used them as confetti at midnight when the ball dropped. I had totally forgotten about that night. Neither of us could recall the play.

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

No comments: