Friday, December 30, 2011

Music at the Morse

Free music at the Morse Museum (445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park) has become a holiday sketching tradition for me. On select Fridays through April musicians perform, filling the Museum with music. Of course the last time I tried to sketch in the Morse I was asked to stop sketching since I was sketching on a digital tablet. So this time I didn't bring the tablet. Last time I couldn't use my artist stool either but I'm an eternal optimist so I brought it along. When I arrived I asked the woman at the reception desk if there was any way for me to get close to the performers. They were high up in a balcony so I hoped I might stand in a hallway up there. The receptionist remembered me from last time. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. There was "No room up there" she explained.

I would have to settle on a long shot sketch. I sat back against a wall next to the entry door and started blocking in the sketch. After several lines a guard approached. "We need this area clear for foot traffic." he said. "I'm going to have to ask you to move forward to that part of the gallery." I negotiated to move forward just about five feet next to a table with museum fliers. This spot turned out to be better since fewer people walked in front of me. Of course people stopped at the table for extended periods filling out membership forms. I sketched around them.

A woman approached me. "Great" I thought, "Here comes the Museum Director to ask me to leave." It was actually Julie Koran. She is a Facebook friend and participates in a monthly event called Dinner and a Conversation. Jennifer Miller organized this event 20 years ago. It is always fun to meet a Facebook friend in person for the first time. She knew of my work and just wanted to say "Hi." I relaxed. The sketch was going well. The museum guard took a peak and said he liked what I was doing. Shannon Caine who was one of the flutists came down and spoke with me as I was throwing down the final washes. She was gracious and told me about upcoming performances. The other flutists were Kelli, and Mary. The Music for Three Flutes Only was a custom collection by the staff arranger. As I left, the guard held the door for me and said, "Merry Christmas." My heart warmed. We weren't working at crossed purposes. Tonight there is the Sweet Sounds of Jazz Trio (flute, guitar and upright bass) from 4pm to 8pm and admission to the museum is free. A perfect, relaxing way to prepare for the New Year.

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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