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.".