On Valentines Day, I had to work in the evening from 6pm to 1am at Full Sail. That late night shift meant I wouldn't be able to take Terry out to Dinner. I also needed to figure out a daytime event to sketch. I looked in the Arts Fest booklet and the only event I could find was an exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in Maitland. Somehow, sketching at a Holocaust Museum on Valentines didn't work for me. I decided at the last minute to call Terry at work and ask her if she would like to meet for an early dinner at 3pm. She met me at the Grand Bohemian.
The Grand Bohemian main dining room was being decked out with red table cloths and linens for the evening's festivities. We were offered a table in the bar area. Terry had accepted the fact that I had to work late and didn't expect any special Valentines treat. When I called, she realized she did appreciate the chance to spend time together. The orders took a long time to come out but we relaxed in the midst of a busy work day. Terry was hungry and her order came out first. We shared her dish of eggs and ham on a thick slab of toast until my chicken dish came out. The waitress put on an extra piece of chicken to make up for the wait. My dish was delicious with a sweet caramelized glaze and plump potatoes with greens.
A woman at the bar was showing off a new line of flavored vodkas to the bar maid. As we finished our meal, the bar began to fill. Several of Terry's co-workers sat at another table and ordered drinks. Late afternoon employees in business suits drifted in from work. The sun light sweeping in through the windows got warmer as the sun set. I kissed Terry goodbye and she marched back to her office in high heels, a bright red blouse and a vibrant black and white stripped skirt that looked like it just came off a model's runway.
I trudged back to my truck to head off to work. I had an hour to kill so I stopped into Avalon Gallery to look at a group show of watercolors from members of the Central Florida Watercolor Society. I brushed past work that was too pedantic and sweet but I did find some inspiring work. I studied a rough landscape by Ken Austen, and I really liked a painting called "American Craftsman" of an old Orlando home. I learned a thing or two from the paintings on display, leaving me itching to splash some color around. Jeffery Shonkwiler, the gallery director, was seated with Donna Dowless in the cushy gallery seats. Donna is Orlando's ambassador of love. Much of her work incorporates a heart shape. As I left, Donna said to me, "Beautiful day, isn't it?" I replied, "It sure is!" Walking towards Lake Eole I realized it truly was a gorgeous day.
Walking around Lake Eola, I stopped at the swan boat dock and realized, that I had to sketch. The light was golden. Couples walked out on the dock in a constant stream. No one used the black mini Venetian Gondolas. As soon as a swan boat returned to dock it would fill with another loving couple looking for adventure. A black and white swan swam near where I was sketching. A couple was shooting photos. The boyfriend suggested to his girlfriend that she get a shot where the swans necks formed a heart shape. She waited behind the lens for that magic moment. The white swan reared up in the water flapping its wings. It honked loudly and then lunged forward at the black swan, snapping it's beak. The swans weren't lovers, they were two males competing for territory.