Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jordan & Jared's Wedding Reception

Outside the ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel on Lake Destiny Drive up in Maitland the plaque read, Jordan Martin and Jared Clark Wedding reception. I entered and scouted the room for a spot where I could sketch. Rachel McCurdy, a wedding designer at An Affair to Remember, was quick to introduce herself. She helped me pick a spot, making sure I wasn't in the way of the wedding cake or bar. I had been commissioned by the brides aunt, Linda Sheftel, to do a large 18 by 24 inch sketch of the occasion. I was a bit nervous about trying to complete such a large sketch in the duration of a reception so I had arrived several hours early to get the stage set lightly in pencil first.

The room was a constant flurry of activity. Tables were set and glasses filled with water. I would sketch the table setting then someone would come along and move all the cups. Rachel and her assistants were unpacking lanterns and a nautical cork float that would be draped in front of the bar. The wedding cake or perhaps the grooms cake was a mountain of donuts. The DJ arrived and began setting up his sound equipment. He was pleased that there was such a large dance floor. The videographer introduced himself and asked me a few questions about my work.

I could hear the reception crowd growing larger in the hallway where hor dourves and drinks were being served. Staff positioned themselves around the room and stood at attention. The DJ shouted, "It's showtime!" and the doors were opened. As people seated themselves, I sketched frantically getting them in the composition. Throughout the night people walked up to see what I was up to. I would crack a joke or acknowledge any praise while keeping my hands moving. Color was quickly blocked in with a one inch brush.

The wedding party was introduced and groom's men and brides maids entered with unexpected drama. One groom's man waddled in like Toulouse Lautrec while a brides maid "wheeled in" her groom's man like a wheel barrel. Another couple walked in backwards then vogued for photos like Charlies Angels. I knew that the newly married couples first dance was the focus of my sketch. They danced slowly as people crowded around the edge of the dance floor. I focused on Jordan and Jared. They danced slowly, kissing and smiling at each other. Jordan's sister gave a toast in which she kept getting choked up and crying. She related an incident where Jordan seriously injured her back and Jared stayed with her in the hospital, never leaving her side. The best man's toast unearthed the groom's wild side.

After diner the dance floor got packed as everyone did the electric slide. The bouquet was tossed and the garter cinched up. The bride got a special treat when all the groomsmen danced around her doing a strip tease. They piled all their dress shirts on her and one groomsman gave her a lap dance. The women in the room screamed! With the dance floor packed, and the music getting louder, I realized that my sketch was done. I packed up my supplies and left as the bass vibrated the walls.

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Gift for Music

Mary Palmer opened her home to host a recital by Dr. Gary Wolf on Piano and Mati Braun on Violin. Gary Wolf was Distinguished Professor of Music at UCF and he is Professor Emeritus of music at UCF and is Artist-in-Residence in the Music Department of Rollins College. Mati studied at Juilliard in New York City. He was principle violinist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and he was a violinist with a the New York Philharmonic from 1969-2006. They played Sonatas from 18th & 20th century. Veracini, Mozart, Beethoven & Sibelius. Introducing Beethoven, Mati said, "Beethoven's music is therapeutic. If I play music at a hospital it would have to be Beethoven. This piece is almost lighthearted although Beethoven was a very serious man."
Perhaps fifteen to twenty people sat in the living room to listen. Mary collects African drums which added splashes of bright color around the piano. This event was a fundraiser for "A Gift for Music." AGFM is an offshoot of A Gift for Teaching. Sally Carter the director of A Gift for Music was at the recital to explain the program. This program offers violin lessons twice a week to students in six low income schools around Central Florida. 460 students benefit from the program each year. Third grade students are offered beginning violin classes and fourth and fifth grade students are given the opportunity to continue violin training in advanced classes. The AGFM Orchestra gives advanced students a chance to perform on stage. Students can choose from violin, viola, cello or bass. They rehearse Saturday afternoons and perform several times a year. Students are loaned instruments for home practice. A Gift for Music has touched the lives of over 7,200 students and their families in Central Florida. When a child blossoms and finds a way to express themselves through music, we all benefit. Donations to help keep A Gift for Music running are always accepted.
"What I have in my heart and soul must find a way out. That is the reason for music."
- Ludwig Van Beethoven

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Executive Director

For a recent advertising illustration assignment I was asked to sketch an executive behind his desk. Rather than search for that executive online doing an image search, I decided to ask friends on Facebook if they knew of an executive who might not mind my stopping by to sketch him on location. Genevieve Bernard suggested Frank Holt, the executive director of the Mennello Museum of American Art. Frank was fine with me sitting in his office and sketching as he worked away on his computer.

His office is has colorful vibrant walls. The orange wall behind him ties in perfectly with an orange curtain featured in the painting that hangs on it. Gorgeous orchids were bursting into bloom. I like his desk which is simply a thick sheet of glass supported by saw horses. The room was simple and elegant much like the vibrant museum itself.

On display now at the Mennello is "Style & Grace" exhibition of American Impressionist paintings and sculptures collected by Michael and Marilyn Mennello. This really is an amazing collection of paintings by some of my favorite "Ash Can" artists, like Robert Henri and George Bellows. Sometimes I feel like that is the time when I should have been working as an artist. But hey, make the most of the time you have, right?

Friday March 30th there is a reception for IMPRINTS: 20 Years of Flying Horse Editions. A celebration of UCF's limited-edition fine art book printing press, with a printmaking studio set up in the museum for workshops. 6-8 p.m. Admission $5, free to members. Continues through August 12.

Saturday, March 31st share a cup of coffee with the Artist: Mary Whyte. We are thrilled to have the teacher, author and "investigative watercolorist" from South Carolina discuss her book, Working South: Paintings and Sketchings by Mary Whyte , a series of interviews and portraits of blue-collar workers whose ways of life are diminishing. She is in town for the UCF Book Festival. The event is 10:30a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Reservations requested. Admission $5, free to members.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Holi is a religious springtime Festival celebrated by Hindus. It is also known as the Festival of Colors. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month. The main thing I know about the festival is that it is a whole lot of fun watching people throwing brightly colored pigments at each other and using super soakers and water pistols to squirt bright tinted water as well. In Orlando, a large soccer field next to the Citrus Bowl becomes home for this colorful carnage each year.

I parked on a side street on the opposite side of the stadium and walked toward the festival. The field is surrounded by a chain link fence with green mesh which blocked my view as I approached. The news had predicted a 50% chance of rain. The overcast sky meant I would be able to sit out in the open as I sketched. Last year there had been loud Indian music but this year the field was eerily silent. There was a tractor trailer bed parked at one end of the field and I assumed it would be used as a stage. I spoke to the event organizer and he said there had been a number of last minute setbacks. The DJ was running late and the truck bed was a last minute substitution for the main stage.

Only a few merchandise tents were set up. I decided the tent closest to the stage was my best bet to start sketching. Children were already soaking each other with pigments. I was wearing an old white T-shirt and old white pants that were paint rags. A teenage girl approached and hit me full force with her super soaker. I was surprised by the force of the stream. When I sat down and started blocking in the sketch, her little eight year old brother started squirting me with his small water pistol. I was able to block his shots with my hand. Once people saw what I was working on, I became Switzerland and there was a cease fire.

From the tent, they sold sodas, coconuts, colored pigments and colored water for pistols. I was surprised when the whole Psycho City Derby Girls roller derby team greeted me. Jeff Ferree and Bucky Garrabrant were there with a group of friends. Jeff pointed towards his friends in the middle of the field. "Yeay, we are the ones who look out of place." he said. But brightly splashed with pigments, they blended right in. I felt bad that they couldn't experience the full brunt of the festival. Only 20 to 30 people were throwing pigments at any given moment. That didn't stop people from having fun soaking each other in small groups. Children of the tent merchants crowded around me to see what I was drawing. Their mom stopped over and asked me the name of the blog. Rather than try to remember it all, she assigned each child a word to remember. She pointed to the oldest girl, her word was "Analog", the next girl recited "Artist", and the next girl recited "Digital". A young boy walked up and said, "What?" "Not what!" They shouted back, "World". The mom pointed to each child in quick succession and they had it down pat.

The organizer told me that they had expanded the festival to run over both days on the weekend. With this sketch done, a family got on stage and began singing a Hindu chant with drums as accompaniment. It started to rain and I decided to come back the next day. The next day it rained however and the festival was canceled.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sexual Harassment

All the Full Sail staff were required to take a seminar which outlined Full Sail's policies on Sexual Harassment. Kathy Blackmore invited her crack team of instructors from 2D Animation to meet for lunch at Mellow Mushroom on Aloma before the seminar. It's always nice to get together as a crew to laugh, gossip and discuss ways the course might be improved over time. My Hawaiian pizza was delicious. As a crew we then arrived at Full Sail live before anyone else showed up. The back rows were the first to fill up. There was plenty of uncomfortable joking about harassment and slowly the room filled. I left the 2DA crew, thinking I might sketch from the front row. Kathy informed me that much of the presentation would be a video, so I changed my focus and decided to sketch the growing crowd.

Sexual Harassment is bad. It was defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A lawyer went through his 29 power point slides being sure to read each of the bullet points. About 70% of women and 20% of men have experienced sexual harassment. About 15,000 charges are filed each year. The bottom line was that Full Sail employees must report all harassment if they are aware of it to the Human Resources department or a quick call to the Full Sail president.

The video showed a fictitious court case in which a female employee was filing a sexual harassment charge. She met a guy at a company picnic and they talked. She let slip that she used to work for a 900 number. The audience murmured. The guy kept asking her out and she declined. He parked outside her home one night for several hours. She contacted HR and they suggested the guy stop. He didn't. Eventually the guy was fired, but the woman got cat calls from the rest of the shipping department. She decided she had to leave.

The Full Sail staff were asked to break up into groups of six to act as juries. The interesting thing about the video is that the case left room for interpretation about weather HR had done enough to stop the harassment. The juries all agreed that she was the victim of sexual harassment. They varied widely in the matter of how much to offer in damages. One jury offered $300 in compensatory damages, $300 in punitive damages and $300 in back pay. The video jury offered $75,000 in damages. Larry Lauria on the 2DA jury offered 10 million dollars in damages, but it was a hung jury because no one could agree on the final amount.

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

Monday, March 26, 2012


"Red" is a Tony Award winning play written by John Logan the screenwriter for "Hugo" and "Sweeney Todd." It is supposed to be "an electrifying drama that spans the spectrum of human emotion, centering around the life of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko." Rothko was a Russian-American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter". Jeff Ferree told me about the production and he let me know which day that the completed set would be getting a spattering of paint. Set designer is Bob Phillips was there dressed in an old Hawaiian shirt. He supervised as Robbin Watts, the head scenic arts and scenic apprentice is Ashley Gilbert flung paint all over the walls and stage. Everyone padded around the stage in their socks. He couldn't resist flinging paint himself. "It's cathartic." he said.

The first three rows in the theater were covered with drop cloths and I sat in an aisle seat just behind the "spatter zone." I started the sketch by catching Ashley as she spattered the walls from high up on the ladder. This seems to be a recurring theme for me, sketching creative women on ladders. Everyone's shoes were gathered up and placed at the back stage door. All three artists started spattering the floor, trying to avoid painting themselves into a corner. Spattering is a fast paced dance with wide sweeping strokes of the arms and constant pivoting. This was a delicate dance that was well worth the price of admission.

Red is running now through April 22 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Get your tickets now!

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Justice 4 Trayvon

An estimated 8,000 people gathered in Sanford's Fort Mellon park to rally for justice in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Reverand Al Sharpton had flown to Sanford to support the cause. Originally the rally was going to be held at the First Iconium Baptist church, but organizers realized that the church couldn't support the expected crowds. With such a huge crowd, I realized I couldn't get close to the stage. Instead as community leaders spoke, I wandered inside the crowd that filled the stadium sized field of grass. I didn't look towards the stage, instead I looked back at the crowd of people behind me.

I decided to sit down and sketch these three teens holding signs for Trayvon. The Hollister T-shirt was similar to the one worn by Trayvon in the photo seen everywhere. They were about his age and probably went to the same school. Grief counselors have yet to advise students on how to handle the events surrounding the shooting and death of their classmate. A teacher calling roll, called out Trayvon's name having forgot he wouldn't be coming back. She broke down and cried. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain followed and shot the unarmed teen when he was walking home from a convenience store carrying iced tea and skittles. A witness heard Treyvon crying for help just before he was shot.

On March 23rd thousands of students from roughly 50 schools in Florida staged walkouts to protest the killing. Meanwhile, the petition demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman, Martin’s shooter, surpassed 1.5 million signatures, making it all time fastest-growing petition in’s history, according to the group. Supporters of Martin’s family organized a “Million Hoodie March” last Wednesday in New York City. Hundreds of participants wore hoodies to the march which sought to protest both the police handling of the shooting and racial profiling in general.

Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, stood on stage with Al Sharpton and tearfully said, "I stand before you today not knowing how I'm walking right now, because my heart hurts for my son. Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son. Thanks so much for your support." "This is not about black and white. This is about right and wrong."

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Treyvon Martin Justice Rally

27 days ago George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed, the unarmed, 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was returning to a gated Sanford community in the city after buying candy at a convenience store. He was unarmed and was wearing a hoodie. Zimmerman called 911 and was told by the dispatcher that he shouldn't follow the youth. He followed anyway and shot Trayvon in the chest, killing him with his 9mm pistol. Zimmerman has said the teen attacked him and he shot him in self-defense. Trayvon was unarmed, only carrying Skittles and iced tea. A witness heard someone yelling for help. A shot followed and the yelling stopped. Trayvon was on the phone with a girl from Miami as he was being followed, the girl stated Martin said, “I think this dude is following me,” and then ran to get away from him. She said she heard Martin ask Zimmerman why he was being followed, and shortly afterwards the called ended. When she tried to call him back, there was no answer. Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime.

The day before the Rally, City commissioners voted "No Confidence" in police chief Bill Lee who did not arrest Zimmerman. The police chief said that he is temporarily leaving his job to let passions cool.
Reverand Al Sharpton came to Fort Mellon Park in Sanford to address the crowd. His mother had died that morning. He said, "My mother raised me to stand up and fight. She would have been ashamed of me if I wasn't here tonight. This mother has to bury her son. Mothers are not supposed to bury their sons. We love our children. We may not have as much as others, but we have each other!" The estimated crowd of 8,000 people cheered.

He continued, “Some people said to me in the media — ‘Let me get this straight,’ they said. ‘Reverend, it seems like there’s a lot of people who are angry — are you afraid of violence?’” Sharpton preached to the Central Floridian crowd. “I said, ‘No. I’m afraid of the violence you already had.’”

“Violence is killing Tray Martin,” Sharpton continued. “Don’t act like we are the ones [who are] violent. We didn’t shoot nobody.” Al began a loud chant that swept through the crowd, yelling "No Justice!" The crowd responded "No Peace!" The chant continued, growing louder as more people joined in. "Enough is enough!" he shouted. Zimmerman should have been arrested that night!"

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Young at Heart Chorale

Directed by Jodi Tassos, the Young at Heart Chorale is a dynamic group of seniors ages 55 and over who love to sing. Their repertoire covers many styles and genres but specializes in favorite standards and show tunes. This group presents programs for a variety of community organizations throughout Central Florida.

Young at Heart rehearses at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park (225 S. Interlachen Avenue) in the Fellowship Hall, an easily accessible room on the first floor. I wasn't sure where Fellowship hall was, so I wandered into the church office and a secretary guided me down the hall to the singing rehearsal. I could hear the harmonious voices echo down the hall. Rehearsals are on Tuesday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuition is $50.00 per semester and best of all, there’s no audition necessary! The Young at Heart Chorale maintains a busy performance schedule throughout the year, as well as a busy social calendar.

On the day I went by to sketch, George Sumrall was playing piano. He was filling in for Gail Fote who usually played, but she was on vacation. Chere Force had given me the tip about this singing group and when I entered the hall, I saw her and waved. She came over before I started to sketch and welcomed me. Jodi noticed me and asked, "Do you intend to sing." Flustered, I said, "No, I don't want to throw anyone off, I'm here to sketch." Jodi was delighted. She shouted out, "Remember everyone, smile and look like your having fun, because you're being sketched!"

The group began by singing "Alexander's Rag Time Band." When they started singing "Putting on the Ritz", I couldn't help myself and I sang along. I figured, singing off key with "putting on the Ritz" was kind of expected. My monstrous singing put the Young Frankenstein to shame. Other show tunes included, "I dream of Genie" and "Beautiful Dreamer." The singer seated directly in front of me was very serious and he often offered advice when he felt a harmony was off pitch. Jodi would run the group through that section again till it felt right. What she stressed more than anything, was, "Have fun!"

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beyond Fear and Desire

The Deland Sculpture Walk is a really nice partnership between Stetson University, the Museum of Florida Art and the City of DeLand. Linda Brant responded to the call for artists and was selected with her bronze and steel piece called "Beyond Fear and Desire." Her sculpture, created in 2011, was installed last October in Pioneer Park on the corner of North Woodland Boulevard and East Rich Avenue and was supposed to be there two years. Rich and Lilis George sponsored the sculpture. An inverted rusty automotive leaf spring sat at the top of a thick steel base support, looking a bit like an oxes yoke. Above that a circular disk with a large central hole and many smaller holes framed the bronze which looked a bit like a female crucifix with two snakes.

Last week, the bronze centerpiece of her sculpture was stolen. Officer Wise of the Deland police was notified and a report was filed. He was supplied with close up pictures of what the centerpiece looked like. Ray Johnson of the Museum of Florida Art said that the museum carries insurance for such instances. The beautiful bronze centerpiece was obviously not "beyond desire." I went to the location the day I heard about the theft. It looked to me like the 1/4 inch thick rod that held the bronze had been cut with a hack saw. Linda thinks they might have used a torch to cut the metal, either way this was a brazen theft done right in a public park.

Linda said, "I'm not sure what I plan to do about the damage - replace or rework it somehow, I guess. It was a one of a kind bronze, so no mold to fall back on!" This isn't the first time I've heard of art being vandalized and stolen in Central Florida. This sort of stuff seems to happen all too often in the Sunshine State. I wonder why so many artists are leaving to go to larger cities?

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lindy Exchange

The Orlando Lindy Exchange is a yearly Swing Dancer's dream marathon. For close to a week, swing dancers from all over the country converge on Orlando to shake their hips and kick up their feet. Damon Natch Burke is my tech guru and he helps organize the event. I found out there would be a free dance in the Lake Eola band shell and I had to go down to sketch. Walking around the lake, I could hear the energetic retro beat and soon I saw flashes of color as people twisted and turned on stage. There were up to 50 dancers on stage and boy did they know how to dance! When the song changed, people would switch partners to add some variety to their steps.

It had been boiling hot all week, but on the day of the dance, the temperature dropped drastically. An ice cream vendor stood at the foot of the stage offering his ice cold treats. I had a sweatshirt on and when I slipped into the shade, I started to shiver. Still, when couples strolled past me away from the stage, they were glowing with sweat. It was getting towards sunset, yet when Damon walked by with his dance partner, he said they had forgotten to eat since the night before. They were heading out to find some breakfast. A couple saw that I was sketching, and they stood directly in front of me and "vogued". He said, "Check out this move!" and he leaned his dance partner back, arching her back over his arm. I laughed, and said, "That's great, now hold that for about 15 minuted!"

A young woman liked the sketch. She asked if I was cold and I shivered dramatically. She said, "If you want to warm up, then come on up on the stage and dance! You'll warm up fast." I was still messing with washes on my sketch, besides I don't know any swing moves. Chances are, I would get up there and trip up the whole swinging crowd. Fred Astaire, I am not. But, with a few lessons, I might be able to keep up with these hip swinging kids. I'll put it on my bucket list.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Bigger the Better

Nude Nite had so many sketching opportunities, that it was hard to focus my attention. A model lay prone as a female body painter scrolled intricate red patterns on her body. A tower of wire armature nudes spiraled upward with the artist continuing to add figures. Nude winged angels soared overhead. An aerialist spun herself on satin streamers from the rafters. I finally couldn't resist sketching as Stephen Palladino worked on an urban mural of a very big and busty woman. The wall was inside the abandoned warehouse dividing the two huge halves of the Nude Nite exhibit. A forklift was needed to raise him up as he added a tattoo of legs spinning around a heart on the busty mural's shoulder.

Since there was art on all the walls, I had to sit in the middle of the room, much like the guy seated on the red bucket. This meant plenty of people became curious, looking over my shoulder. I had to snap out of my "zone" fairly often to say "thank you" or to crack a joke so I could get back to work. To the left of the mural, behind that green partition was a large wooden table decorated with intricate metal work and divided into sections. A bottle was hard mounted to the table with an iron cage. The whole contraption had the looks of a Medieval torture device. The bottle was spun and a woman)s muscular boyfriend grabbed her by the hips, trying to position her as the bottle came to a stop. She laughed and leaned against him. They kissed passionately when the bottle stopped. I walked up to the table to see what the fuss was about. Written in the partitions, were instructions like "Nibble my ear", "Talk dirty to me", some I can't repeat since there might be children reading, and of course the classic, "Kiss me." I kept moving to make sure the bottle didn't land on me. I didn't see who had spun it after all.

I had a long drive back to Orlando from Tampa, and I decided three sketches were enough for one night, so I hit the road. The line to get in to Nude Nite was incredibly long. The evening was just getting started for many couples.

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Body Painting

At the Nude Nite warehouse in Tampa, I looked at some figurative art and then stopped when I saw body painter Cat Camp hard at work. She was working on a male and female model, alternating between them so they could each take brakes. Both models already had white bones painted in place. The male model had the number 6365 written on the center of his back with navy anchors jutting out from behind the shield. I asked him about the number when he was on a break. He works for the coast guard and last week a Coast Guard helicopter went down on a mission. He wanted this body painting to honor his fallen guardsmen.Cat outlined the rib bones and then his pelvis.

The female model spoke with me while I sketched. Seated in my artist stool, I had to look up at her. Ribs were painted on her chest with a flaming heart trapped inside. As we spoke, I made sure not to analyze the maze of patterns flowing over her breasts. She posed next for Cat who outlined ribs and accentuated details. Paint had smeared on her chest and Cat groaned. "I didn't touch the paint, I swear." she said. I thought the same. After an hour of being painted, the model's eyes began to tear up. She tilted her head back not wanting the tears to ruin the paint. The male model noticed and asked, "Are you crying?" She silently took a break to wipe her eyes. When she was gone, Cat said, "I've been painting bodies for two days straight, I'm a bit cranky. She's a delicate spirit." Later that night the female model was feeling lively and vivacious again as she posed for photos with guests. "I love seeing my art come alive" said Cat.

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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nude Nite Tampa

I gave myself plenty of time to drive to Tampa with I-4 traffic. As I got off the highway I realized I was several hours early. I passed endless warehouses until I came to the end of the road at a warehouse with a "Mad Max" styled vehicle. The owner of the vehicle does set construction for the DRIP Dance company. This was it. I decided to walk the neighborhood in search of a sketch. There were hundreds of garbage trucks parked in a lot, smelling pungent. Crows perched on the trucks probably looking for food as they laughed. I realized the ride in front of the Nude Nite warehouse was a far better sketch, so I hiked back.

The sun was getting low on the horizon as I worked. Performers began to arrive. A magician strolled by and a body painter stopped to see what I was sketching. Her model arrived in another car. When she turned to go inside, I read "Paws off" written across her short shorts with two paw prints on her buns. I saw Kelly Stevens, the event organizer got out of her car. I almost shouted "Hello!" but she had a thousand things on her mind. I felt more at home as performers arrived.

A photographer walked beside me as I made my way inside. It was his first time photographing Nude Nite and he was excited. Kelly greeted me inside and I slipped between the red velvet curtains and looked at the art with an unobstructed view. Nude Nite celebrates the human body in art. The event was multifaceted with sculpture, painting, performance art, body painting and characters walking the floor. It was the largest figurative show in America. I walked over and started another sketch.

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

Clyde Moore, AKA I Luv Winter Park, invited me to sketch the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival from the second floor French windows of, Downeast (130 North Park Avenue). The second floor of the store, owned by Don and Lettie Sexton, has been dubbed "The Attic." The attic features art from local Orlando artists as well as a wall devoted to Winter Park themed art. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is a huge three day event that features art from talented artists from around the country.
I had never been to "Downeast" before so I watched building numbers closely. When I saw 130, I walked upstairs, but the place didn't have a retail vibe. I felt like I was entering a home. The kitchen had dishes stacked in the drainer. I walked down a hall towards an office. It was a lawyer's office and the elder statesman informed me that his firm was at 130 South Park Avenue. He said North Park Avenue started one block further north.
Downeast had racks of women's clothes out on the sidewalk. I walked inside and quickly found the staircase to the attic. Clyde greeted me upstairs. He pointed out what he felt might be the best sketching angles. I chose to sit in the center French window which had an unobstructed view over the vast field of artist's tents. It was a beautiful day. Foot traffic was light as I started, but by the time I finished the sketch, there was a steady stream of pedestrians. Some women crossed the street to flip through the racks of clothes simply because the building cast a nice pool of cool shade. A piano player was tickling the ivories the whole time I worked, adding to the festive feeling of the day.
A huge stuffed Teddy bear named Parker stood in the window next to me. Occasionally children would notice Parker and they would shout and point. A couple of people noticed me sketching and they stopped and waved. I don't have the anonymity I once had. I could hear Clyde taking an endless series of photos as I worked. He must have enough photos to create a stop motion time lapse of this sketches creation.
I had to get to work at Full Sail as soon as my sketch was done, so I only was really tempted to linger for a moment to inspect the quirky and fun found object sculptures of John Whipple. Anna McCambridge Thomas was there and she introduced me to her mother in law who actually has one of my calendars. That made my day. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival continues today Saturday, March 17th, from 9 AM to 6 PM and then on Sunday, March 18th, from 9 AM to 5 PM. Be sure to stop into Downeast and say hi to Clyde or Lettie who were so gracious to share their "Room with a View.".

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cotton Club

The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem New York that opened during prohibition. The club featured some of the greatest African American entertainers yet it generally denied admission to African Americans. Boxer Jack Johnson first opened the club in 1920. Full Sail students helped convert Full Sail Live into the Cotton Club for the night. Robin Nicole, dressed in a sleek white dress, announced that she was the president of the Full Sail Black Student Union. Cliff, the VP, had a natural gift in keeping the audience charged. When he got on stage he asked everyone to come up front and fill up all the round tables that had been set up in front of the stage. Robin asked for a moment of silence while they showed a video of African American performers who had recently died. Images of Bo Diddly, Don Cornelius, Ertha Kit, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston flickered on the screen.

Then it was time to sing! "Adonis" was the house band that had formed just 2 months prior, consisting of Full Sail students. The music paid tribute to Black History Month. The performances were passable but I wasn't blown away. After the jazz-themed portion of the evening ended, the Producer’s Guild would transition things into 2012 with a Beat Battle Competition, in which producers went head-to-head with their tracks, allowing the audience to choose the grand prize winner. I didn't stick around for the battle. I preferred to linger in the nostalgia as I packed up my antiquated art supplies and walked out to the parking lot to head home.

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

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dickson Azalea Park

Dickson Azalea Park (100 Rosegarden Drive) is in full bloom. I couldn't resist sketching on a sunny afternoon sitting in the dappled shade. Church bells in the distance clanged incessantly. The park was full of Azalea bushes blooming vibrant magenta, pink, red and white. When it came time to sketch however, I became fascinated with the huge moss covered roots of a live oak tree. The roots were exposed because a stream had washed away the dirt. Roots clutched and twisted, trying to reach out for new found ground. Fresh green shoots burst vibrant green on the opposite bank in direct sunlight.

I seldom do intimate studies like this. I'm usually preoccupied with sketching quick glimpses of events around town. Yet sitting and observing nature has its place. This cropped in vantage point began to feel abstract as I worried less about what I was painting and I got lost in how I was painting. I could learn much from slowing down more often and focusing on subtle intimate details instead of events.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Salvador Dali Museum

The Dali Museum is in Saint Petersburg Florida. The city has a definite "Artsy" vibe. The museum is right next to an airport. It was actually a bit chilly on the morning I was there. I got to the museum before it opened and decided to sketch the building and gardens before going in. The cement "bench" was in the sun. I leaned back against a light pole and warmed up as I sketched. The architecture of the museum is fascinating, with a glass dome wrapping around the back of the building like an octopus. The garden was arranged as a maze with surreal melting benches. A gentleman admired my work. He tripped on some grass and fell on top of me. I broke his fall. I got a comment from a reader the other day saying that my work is kind of literal, and they would like to see me work in a more surreal or impressionistic style. As soon as man discovered how to make art, there was the art critic.

In the lobby there was an old vintage car that had a mermaid in the back seat. Windows were dripping. The driver wore a heavy metal divers helmet. From the book, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" I remember reading about Dali showing up at a party in such a diving helmet. The faceplate got stuck and Dali almost suffocated to death.

A security guard made me leave my artist stood downstairs when I checked in. I wouldn't be relaxing and sketching any galleries. The collection has work from Dali back from his student days. I respect the fact that Dali was expelled from art school because he felt he knew more about art than his teachers. Some of his paintings were huge. One piece showed a woman standing and looking out at an ocean through a cross shaped window. There was a small portrait of Lincoln hidden in a panel. Later from across the room I saw the painting again in a whole new light. The hole huge 20 foot high canvas was a portrait of Lincoln but I couldn't see it from up close. These sort of inspired surprises are when Dali is at his best. I remember hearing that Dali got annoyed that the paper used at Disney Feature Animation had peg holes in it, when he was doing developmental work for Destino back in 1946.

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Epic Burlesque Battles of History!

Ruby Darling agreed to pose as Marie Antoinette at my home studio. Well, I decided to have her pose in the living room since there were some nice throne-like chairs. While she changed into costume, I downloaded a timer application for my iPhone. I entered in a five minute and 20 minute pose setting.

When Ruby came out as Marie Antoinette, resplendent in purple, gold and maroon, my pet cockatoo, Zorro went nuts! He fanned his tail and raised is crest in apparent surprise and anger. Her crest was taller than his! He shouted like a banshee! Ruby and I laughed, but I finally had to banish him to the bathroom so I could concentrate.

Ruby and I worked on three five minute poses before settling on this sensuous pose. Ruby made the costume from scratch using plenty of hot glue. She would do an amazing job designing period costumes for a film. It's a shame most period pieces are filmed in England.

On March 31st, Skill Focus: Burlesque will take you on a most bodacious journey back through time with "Epic Burlesque Battles of History". Come watch your favorite nerdlesquers shake, shimmy and grind as some of history's most influential figures. It's a sexy lesson in history unlike you'll ever find in any textbook.

Blank Space (201 E. Central Blvd. ) will open it's doors at 9pm, show starts at 10pm. Seating is limited, so order your tickets in advance or get there early and enjoy some of Blank Space's enormous craft beer selection.

$10 at the door, 18+ only. Teachers get $1 off with valid faculty ID.

You can order tickets now at

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marionette Making Workshop Stringing

People worked at various paces trying to keep up with Hannah Miller who was teaching them how to make simple marionettes from fabric, string and beads. The hardest part was the stringing, and Hannah had to explain that in a puppet making workshop there was usually one person who was the master of stringing. Jeff Ferree restrung his puppet several times until he felt it was right. Hannah walked the people who were ready out of the conference room into the main floor of Urban ReThink. Mirrors were set up so people could see their puppets perform. People giggled as they saw their areations come to life. A couple faced each other and the puppets bowed and curtsied to each other. Jeff let me try his puppet which seemed bigger than most. The strings to control the hands were threaded through a hole at the front of the cross bars. I tugged the string and both arms rose. Walking the puppet took some skill but having the head look around brought an instant spark of life.

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marionette Making Workshop

As part of ArtsFest, Hannah Miller offered a free Marionette making workshop at Urban ReThink. I heard that this workshop was sold out quickly and tickets were limited. Thankfully, Hannah, AKA Thunder Hag, understands my sketching obsession and she was open to having me observe. On the white board, Hannah had written the names of two puppet masters who's work influenced the workshop. Albrecht Roser is a German puppeteer who believes that the puppet drives the motion, not the puppeteer. Robin Walsh had an affinity to using fabric, especially silk in the construction of her puppets. She explained that the puppets we would make today would be ugly but functional. Hannah pointed out that the puppets movements were based on a pendulum swing and each puppet would have its own way of moving depending on what it was made of.

Each participant had a bag of supplies. Inside was fabric, beads, string, and a control bar. The fabric was used as the body of the puppet. Beads were threaded onto the corners and became hands and feet. The head required special attention since three screws were positioned for mobility and control once the puppet was strung. April Tennyson was assisting Hannah. Both puppeteers once worked at Pinocchio's Marionette Theater in the Altimonte Mall. April asked me, "Where should I stand to get in the sketch?" "Well," I said, "The best place would be to stand behind Hannah." She stood behind Hannah and smiled broadly as she took a heroic pose, holding up some fabric. I laughed out loud and tried to ignore her until she "acted natural." I hope Hannah didn't think I was laughing at her lesson.

Jeff Ferree who is a puppeteer who had a show at Fringe last year in the smallest venue, a closet, sat next to Hannah and struggled with the head of his puppet. To me, he is a puppet master but even masters want to expand their horizons. The couple seated closest to me seemed like a married couple. They giggled like kids as their creations came to life. The woman was always two steps ahead of her partner, and she would step in and help out on occasion. Some folks arrived late and April tried to get them up to speed.

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

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flying Horse Editions

I had been told to sketch Flying Horse Editions by several readers. When I contacted them, Theo Lotz quickly said, "Yes, come on down!" Flying Horse Editions is located in the UCF Center of Emerging Media building right across from the Bob Carr and the old Amway Arena. For some reason there was an old steam locomotive in the parking lot of the Arena. I was happy I didn't have to pay to park. Simple pleasures. The hallway leading to Flying Horse Editions had computer workstations for student. Right in the entry there was an old wooden press that could have been used for the Gutenberg bible. I immediately wanted to sketch, but no one was using the press so I went inside.

Theo, dressed all in black, introduced himself and showed me around. The room was immense and immaculate, filled with dozens of presses both old and new. They do limited edition fine art prints here of the highest caliber. They had just finished 2 run of 15 prints by artist Carmon Colangelo. The boxed set was bought by the Saint Lewis Museum of Art. Student Ashley Taylor was working the press right in front of me. She was experimenting on a way to reproduce some spiral patterns by artist Tom Nozkowski using relief printing techniques. Elizabeth Moorefield was in constant motion, talking on the phone and working on her laptop. Larry Cooper was building boxes that would hold prints.

Theo asked me if I wanted a scoop for my story. "Of course I do!" I said. "Well, Ashley just found out she is getting a full scholarship at the University of Florida. We are all so proud of her!" he said. Ashley smiled shyly. I was fascinated by the large trays of old letterpress leads. The typeface was an old western font. I wondered what they had been used for. Theo suggested I come back when there was an artist in residence. Things get crazy when an artist is given free reign and people stop sleeping. This place was a treasure trove of sketch opportunities and I look forward to returning. I congratulated Ashley as I 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

Friday, March 9, 2012

BB King's

I heard that the 5th Orlando Lindy Exchange was having a free swing dance at BB King's. BB Kings is in Pointe Orlando on International Drive. Terry and I go to the movie theater in that complex sometimes, so I have seen the club but never been inside. Large primitive folk paintings of music legends decorate the exterior. When I got inside I asked about the swing dancing but was told that the dancing had happened the night before. Rather than leave, I decided to stay and sketch the evening's live entertainment. It was early, maybe 6pm so, only a few tables were occupied. The host seated me at a counter directly facing the stage, but I decided I wanted an off center angled view of the stage. I took the menu and utensils and moved to the Johnny Cash table in a corner. Each table had a primitive painting of a musical celebrity. Johnny's face was hidden by the ketchup, mustard and napkins.

Selwyn Birchwood was performing. He had a solid dome of hair and his white outfit stood out in the otherwise dark room. Stage lights illuminated the stage in yellow and magenta. Huss Rodham on bass was silhouetted against the bright blue curtains and I couldn't see Curtis George on drums. He was hidden behind a piano. Selwyn grew up in Orlando and he performed some original songs about the Florida heat and gators. Most of the music was covers of classic blues, and he shouted out for requests.

I ordered a dish of Pesto pasta and it came out fast. I stuffed fork fulls in my mouth as I worked and when the stage went dark between sets, I ate in earnest. Good food. The Coke buzzed through my veins as I sketched. When the second set started, I pulled out the paints and splashed color on the page. A little girl stood beside me watching my every move. She finally lost interest when her food arrived. Her mom commented on the sketch saying she liked it, then she stood by the stage to shoot a cell phone photo. A waitress expressed interest and asked if I do "faces". I have been known to draw a face or two.

Parking at Pointe Orlando cost $4. Some electronic ticketing machine barked metallic orders at me until it had my money. Getting out of the garage was a nightmare. As I got ready to back out of my spot, some woman stopped directly behind me waiting for my spot. I ended up doing a ten point turn in the tight quarters and she kept inching closer in her rush to get to the evening's entertainment. There were no signs for the exit. I drove in circles trying to find my way out with people and cars cutting me off at every turn. I finally decided to drive to the roof of the parking structure figuring I might spot a ramp down with no obstructions. It worked in theory but 15 minutes later, I drove past the parking spot I had struggled to exit. I was in the twilight zone, or a Seinfeld episode. The only signs were those that demanded money. I used my compass to try and steer only towards the north east corner of the parking structure and I sighed with relief when a ramp finally lead me down. As I drove onto Universal Boulevard, I vowed, "Never again, NEVER again."

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

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Aiguille Rock Climbing Center

I went to Aiguille Rock Climbing Center (999 Charles Street, Longwood) in the early afternoon. As I drove up, I noticed a group of high school students walking down the street in the same direction. I guessed that they were going to climb after school. I was right. The manager behind the counter asked if I planned to climb. I replied, "No, I'm here to sketch." I explained to her about the blog. Her only warning was that I couldn't step on a blue mat without lessons. There are picnic tables set up for observers so the place is perfectly set up for artists.

Several men were being taught how to use the ropes and harnesses. They had to learn several knots and how to safely use the equipment. Dozens of green ropes draped down from thick sewer PVC tubes suspended by two by fours. No one actually supported their weight in this training area. The rock climbing center is housed in a huge warehouse. Large false rock walls thrust up to the ceiling along the longest wall creating a man made canyon. After the basic rope training the newbies were walked up to the face of a wall. They climbed for the first time under the watchful eyes of an instructor. Safety and climbing etiquette were stressed again and again. One of the climbers got rambunctious and started kicking himself away from the wall, like you might see in a Rambo movie. The instructor calmly explained that he was taking unnecessary risks. One climber had done that too much and ended up crashing through the wall. He wasn't injured too bad.

In a training area a muscular climber hung upside down from a chin up bar. He pointed his toes and shifted his legs from one side to the other using his abdomen muscles. Damn, I feel flabby, at least my fingers are getting a workout. A large group of climbers sat around a short central wall where they could test their climbing skills without getting too high. Fingers and palms were coated in chalk and then they would try to climb up an inverted groove. The plastic finger holds must be moved around often since someone was drilling new ones into the walls as I worked. Strips of red tape seemed to mark hold placements. Plenty of people fell as they challenged themselves. At one cliff like overhang one climber hung suspended by one arm, his legs swinging like a pendulum until he thrust his free arm up to a crevice.

It seemed like this was a regular ritual for many of the people here. Landing flat on your back wasn't something that slowed these climbers down. They would dust themselves off, laugh about it and anxiously wait for the next chance to climb the overhang. This sport seemed to require concentration, strength, patience and an innate knowledge of how to push the boundaries where some might feel fear. Even the staff undergoes rigorous training. There is always something new to learn. No climber is perfect, they are all humbled by gravity.

I didn't climb, I was having too much fun sketching, but I can now put this on my bucket list of things I'd like to try. I think I need to work on my abs and arm strength. I'll keep lifting that heavy art satchel till I'm ready.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Benoit Glazer

Benoit Glazer and his wife opened their home, the Timucua White House, starting in September 2000, to bring free music to the Orlando community. I've sketched many of these concerts and have always been pleased to discover new talents. Benoit and his family believe and promote the following...
Art and music belong to everyone.
Art and music are the highest manifestation of our humanity.
Art and music should be enjoyed in the most intimate venue: the living room.
Every community is better when art and music are performed and nurtured within it.

After one concert, I discovered that Benoit was composing the sound track music for an independent film called "7 Lives of Chance" that was filmed right here in Orlando. This film, written and directed by Banks Helfrich, is about a woman who loves balloons and is unable to let go of the past. Her life would be so much easier and less painful if she could let go and watch her worries drift away with the breeze. The sound track features light and breezy violin music giving the story a distinct European flair. Benoit jumped at the chance to compose the music.

I sketched Benoit on the weekend as he worked in his sound studio. A collection of violins and trumpets lined one wall. A window looked out on the main stage area in his custom built acoustically designed "living room." His flat screen computer monitor was tilted vertical so he could see all the tracks. The family was watching a neighbors dog. The Benoits also have a greyhound and this dog made the tragic mistake of nipping at the greyhound while it slept. The greyhound was jolted awake, and bit down on the the other dog's head. The children took the dog to the vet at a great expense. The dog lay on the floor with a big band aid covering the bite. The dog was restless, and occasionally Benoit would have to soothe it, making sure the dog didn't scratch at the wound with it's paws.

After each concert, Benoit mixes a CD to thank the musicians for performing. He began mixing a CD for singer Ashley Lockheed. Chris Rotmeyer was on piano, Ben Cramer on Base and Allen Vache on clarinet. Benoit informed me that Allen is a very big deal, having performed with the Jim Cullen band. The music filled the tiny sound studio as Benoit adjusted the levels again and again. I was surprised when he asked my opinion on the levels of one track. I was just as surprised when he agreed with my humbly assessment. Benoit adjusted the levels using pure instinct. He doesn't consider himself a perfectionist, he just knows when it feels right.

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

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Way of the Cards

The Way of the Cards will have its World Premiere on April 27th at 8:30pm at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center- Mandell Theatre (812 E. Rollins St). This play is written and directed by Orlando native, Aradhana Tiwari. Aradhana has always had a rare ability to utilize the creative talent around her to its full potential. This sketch is from a Project F rehearsal held in a green screen stage at a TV news studio in town. The actors were writing down personal experiences, each of which influenced the direction of the production. The cast was very much a part of the creative process.

I saw an early staging of The Way of the Cards back in September of 2011. This was an early draft of the play, but it already had a serious dramatic punch. Notes from a talk back at the end of that show may have helped as Aradhana went back and re-wrote and tweaked the structure of the play. The play has the unique premise that the interpersonal relationships and power struggles in a family can directly correlate to the stages of a single hand of Texas Holdem. The head of the household is “Sass” Arlington (played by Beth Marshall), may have been the “First Lady Of The Vegas Strip” at one point in her poker career, but now she is simply a tired hack who plays on a riverboat. Her son, "Tip"(played by Anthony Pyatt), is a surly cereal chewing teen who best relates his thoughts by teaching the subtle tactics behind the cards. Sass's distraction as she struggles to recreate her former winning streak leads to tragic consequences.

Here are the show dates, this is one local gem you will not want to miss.

April 27th through May 6th
Fri 4/27- 8:30PM
Sat 4/28- 8:30PM
Sun 4/29- 2:30PM
Mon 4/30- 8:30PM Industry Night
Thu 5/3- 8:30PM
Fri 5/4- 8:30PM
Sat 5/5- 2:30PM(Matinee, no night show)
Sun 5/6- 2:30PM

General Admission: $15
Industry Night: $10 (Guaranteed seating with previous reservation, we are also offering a walk-up admission of pay what you can, it's not guaranteed seating, but you can pay whatever you want!)

Fri/Sat/Mon- 8:30PM
Sun/Sat(5/5)- 2:30PM

To purchase tickets please visit our website at

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weeki Wachee Mermaid Show

Weeki Wachee is a crystal clear spring west of Orlando straight out 50 towards Tampa. The drive out slowly unveiled the true old Florida with tin roofed houses under huge Live Oaks and ancient pickups with just the right amount of rust. Weeki Wachee has been a unique roadside attraction for over 60 years. When it first opened, the mermaids had to stand roadside to try and attract visitors.

"Fish Tales" the underwater mermaid show was housed in a theater right beside the spring. The stadium seating sloped down to a huge arched glass wall that looked under water into the spring. A miniature castle was perched on the slope of the opposite wall of the spring. A girl rose from the depths and waved to the audience. A snorkeler held her air hose. As part of her "mermaid training" she had to swim straight down into the spring against the flow of water rushing upward. She held her breath the whole way. When she reached the bottom she tugged the air hose twice so the snorkeler could help bring her up. It was an unnerving demonstration of will and faith. She held her breath for over two minutes then did a graceful back flip to prove she was not in a rush for air.

When mermaids performed, turtles and fish would swim nearby. Sometimes a mermaid doing a somersault might bump her head on a turtles shell and she would gently push him away. The final number was a rousing underwater ballet to "Proud to be an American!" A Merman rose from the depths with an American flag as a cape. He spread his arms and grinned ear to ear. The show is campy and over the top fun.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Prop 8

Beth Marshal Presents brought Prop 8 to the Orlando Shakes. Prop 8 was passed in California stating that marriage can only be defined as the union of a man and woman with the goal being to procreate. Protesters lined the entry walkway towards the theater entrance. They shouted their protests of equal rights to love. There was a surreal irony to the demonstration since most Prop 8 demonstrators would be shouting their judgements and hatred.

This play, written by Lisa Cordes, used court documents in the case to overturn Prop 8. When I got to the theater, Beth showed me where I would be sitting, right next to other bloggers and tweeters on the sidelines. I didn't have a good line of sight to the judge, so I ended up sitting on my artist's stool a bit further away from the stage. Daily City blogger Mark Baratelli had been out in the lobby curious about what was going on. He had been at an event across the parking lot at the Orlando Museum of Art but he was drawn to the hubbub at the shakes. I was alone in the theater blocking in my sketch before the actors got on stage. I texted Mark suggesting he join me in the bloggers section. When the play started, I finally realized that the bloggers were actually actors. Silly me. Their fingers floated above the keyboards to make it look like they were typing without creating noise. As it turns out, I was the court artist.

Lisa Cordes herself played a witness and I caught her in my sketch. Her wit and irony made it clear that she believed in the cause of any one's right to marry. The lawyers who defended Prop 8 did a very poor job and defense witnesses were often weak minded bigots. The bloggers were able to summarize otherwise mind numbing testimony so it could be easily digested with humor and wit. The most compelling testimony came from witnesses who longed to be able to publicly celebrate their love yet were denied by law.

In the end, the play remained unresolved since legislation is still pending. The testimony and evidence certainly left us all with hope that love could outlast bigotry. Chad Lewis and Jason R. Donnelly were to be married in the theater after the performance. Members of their families took up much of the second row of the theater. We all were asked to wait in the lobby as the theater was converted into a chapel. Nicki Equality Drumb and Rachel Equality Gardiner stopped over to say hello. An actor came over and thanked Rachel for being such a good audience member. He explained that he had been exhausted near the end of the play, but her enthusiasm fueled a second wind. She was a bit embarrassed, but that is what makes theater in a small town like Orlando special. The actors truly appreciate the audience. Every year on Valentines day they host "The Human Heart." Hundreds of people gather in Lock Haven park holding hands and forming a large heart shape. Candles are lit in the name of love and equality. I also love this couple since they go to the courthouse regularly to ask for the right to be married. Hopefully someday soon the tide will turn and the court clerk will finally say "yes."

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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mulan Screening 2DA

Each month at Full Sail, we have 10 classes instructing the 12 Principles of Animation in the 2D Animation Lab. On the last day of class, students get to enjoy a traditionally animated film as they put any finishing touches on their animation projects and flip books. Often students are illuminated by the warm glow of the animation disks as they sketch. There is usually a rush of activity at the animation cameras as scenes are shot and re-shot.

This month, the class decided to watch Mulan, a film which I put plenty of blood sweat and tears into. This was the first full feature film Disney produced entirely in Florida and the small crew had to put in an astonishing amount of overtime to get the film finished. It was trial by fire, and I loved the pressure. I stayed late without being asked to re-work all the keys in a scene that showed fish swimming underwater. By morning I finished the scene, locking down the stripes and patterns on the fish bodies. All that work garnered quick promotions. Ironically after all the water ripples were added, all that work was distorted, but I still feel pride any time I see it. I haven't experienced that kind of intense community creative effort since production on that film. I suppose my daily deadlines are my way to keep that pressure cooker active as I strive to grow as an artist.

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

Friday, March 2, 2012


"Topographies" a series of sculptures by Barbara Sorenson are on exhibit in front of the Orlando Museum of Art. These bright primary colored resin and metal creations will be on exhibit through April Fool's Day. On March 18th, "Art and Dance: A Pas de Deux" a piece inspired by Sorenson's Work will be performed in this court yard. The piece will feature Orlando Ballet Dancers choreographed by Robert Hill and Eric Yow.

On exhibit inside the museum is "Made in Florida" featuring three exhibitions and a gallery display. Work in the exhibit features artists who were inspired by the sunshine state. Florida's unique landscape and culture has inspired artists from all ages. The eclectic permanent collection features work of such acclaimed artists as John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux and Robert Rauchenburg.

I found myself in front of the Museum at dusk with an hour to spare since I planned to attend a piano recital across the parking lot at 7pm at the Margison Theater in the Shakes. This recital, which was part of ArtsFest, was to feature Hyung-Min Suh, the third place winner of the second Florida International Piano Competition. There weren't many cars in the parking lot. At 7pm I walked into the empty theater. The building was deserted. I checked out the intricate set that was built for "Romeo and Juliet". The set was gorgeous with a root-like structure holding up an isolated platform as well as the infamous balcony. Now, I really want to see, and sketch the play. This was the second time an ArtsFest event I planned to sketch was MIA. This year's Fest must be in some disarray after United Arts lost Margot Knight and Cory Warren. An unexpected disadvantage of drawing on a tablet at night is that big beetle and tiny gnats were attracted to the screen's light.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Madly in Love with Me Celebration

Around Valentines Day, I went to Dandelion Communitea Cafe to sketch the Madly in Love with me Celebration. Apparently this Celebration was happening in 22 countries and over 500 cities. In the parking lot there were some artists tents set up. Bonnie Sprung had some paintings and delicate scarfs with intricate patterns. Lauren E. Lee was just putting out some hula hoops when I arrived. I knew there might be a drum circle but the event was much smaller than I expected. The woman in charge of the Love Celebration sat alone lightly tapping her drum.

Four lanterns were placed around the fire pit. She took each lantern and walked it out to the edge of the small lawn where she said said a prayer. Her husband helped start up the fire pit. Someone took a container from a Tiki Torch and poured the liquid on the struggling embers. The liquid wasn't kerosine, it was water. After much struggle, the flame eventually burned bright. Since I was the only other person seated near the fire, I was coached in a drum beat prayer that had me imagine going back to the time when I first heard my mothers heart beat while I was in her womb. At first I thought I might have to fold my hands in in prayer, but I kept sketching. Incense was lit and someone moved it in arcs around my feet and body as I worked. This must be some sort of cleansing exercise. The woman acting as the master of ceremonies announced that at midnight, she and her husband would be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. They kissed.

Lauren joined us at the fire and she played saxophone while a little girl twirled, improvising her dance to Lauren's song. More people joined in for the final incantations, bowing their heads. It was a crisp, cool evening and before the sketch was done, I smelled of fire and incense. There were a few jokes about what self love might mean, but this gathering lifted that notion to a higher plane. I was given a white cut out heart with intricate silver patters swirling on it's surface. It will make a fine Christmas ornament next year. A large group photo was taken in front of Dandelion and after some coaxing, I joined in.

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