Saturday, June 30, 2012

Printmaking Workshop

The Mennello Museum of American Art (900 East Princeton Street) is exhibiting IMPRINTS: 20 Years of Flying Horse Editions through August 12th. Here in Orlando for the past 20 years, the University of Central Florida has nurtured Flying Horse Editions, a collaborative research studio committed to creating significant works of art by leading and emerging artists who fuse traditional and innovative printmaking processes. Artists come to Flying Horse Editions to work in the graphic media of intaglio, woodcut, lithography, letterpress and silkscreen.The results are highly collectible, limited-edition, handcrafted fine art prints and books. There are only a dozen or so fine art presses in the country, and Flying Horse Editions is one of the most distinguished on the East Coast.

Artists from Flying Horse Press have been offering workshops at the Mennello museum. This session was about making monotypes, which is the specialty of UCF “Artists in Action” Michelle Garay and Anna Cruz. Michelle showed us Nathan Redwood’s Like Air, as an example, the print used a lino-cut for the tree trunk, collograph for the ground and a mono-print for the sky. We learned how to manipulate printer’s ink so that it looks like brushstrokes along with other tricks of the trade that make unique, one-of-a-kind prints.We were introduced to Reductive Mono-printing. Nathan's a print on display in the Museum.

Students were given two sheets of paper. They cut out simple shapes on one sheet. For instance the woman seated in front of me cut out a leaf shape. The negative shape, or the paper outside the leaf shape, was placed on a sheet of Plexiglas and a brayer was used to roll the ink onto the Plexiglas. When the paper was removed, only the leaf shape was inked. Q tips were used to smear and remove some ink to add texture. The positive leaf shape was then placed over the inked leaf shape and a new color ink was rolled down. When the paper was removed the printing plate was ready. A clean sheet of paper was lightly spritzed with water and placed on top of the printing plate. The plate was rolled under pressure. Then came the reveal, as the paper was pealed off. Mono means there was only one print made. One student went so far as to print a rendition of the human brain. There is an undeniable childish delight when the print is finally seen.

Printmaking is not just for kids! The museum has set up its own print studio. Enjoy coffee and pastries in the morning while you create your own art prints, . No previous experience is necessary. Cost is just $12 per person. Each class will have a different focus. You have one more opportunity to create art and treat yourself to something new! Get up bright and early July 17, 9-10:30am, with coffee and pastry.

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, June 29, 2012

Soft Exposure

Soft Exposure happens on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Frankie Messina has taken over as host for Soft Exposure at Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Dr College Park). Naomi Butterfield used to host this open mic night but she recently moved to Gabon. Frankie has added his own flair to this night of poetry and prose. When I arrived, he was still setting up. He had a stack of vinyl records and he spun his favorites as people arrived. Billy Holiday's silky voice greeted me. Frankie runs a local arts support organization called Apartment E. Formed in 1993 it offers local love and support. He came up with phrase "City Beautiful" and he owns the online domain.

Artist Janae Corrado set up a display of her oil paintings and pencil sketches.  Her work has a flavor of the surreal while remaining grounded. Frankie asked her to talk about her work between readings. She was hesitant but finally stepped up to the mic. Her work is personal and she tries to keep titles and themes open as she is working on a painting. She has been painting for five years now but has been an artist since she was a child. She feels the Orlando art scene has plenty of talent, much of it unrecognized. The Florida art market tends to be driven by tourism with the exception of Miami which might be its own country. The largest painting she brought was of a woman with horns in front of a bare tree. The model for this painting was Kassandra Kharis. Kassandra was an amazing local artist who took her own life several days ago. I was shocked and humbled by the news from her friend Tracy Lulu Brown. Kassandra's work is dark and mysterious. She appeared in an isolated sketch I did in Blank Space. I spoke to Janae briefly about Kassandra and her eyes lit up as she talked about how Kassandra wore antlers to an opening to look just like her painting. Laughter and joy in memories masked the loss.

Joe Rosier started the evening off with a poem he wrote at Fringe about a microphone not in use on the empty outdoor stage. He lamented the lost opportunity and endless potential that went unnoticed. Frankie read an amazing poem about lines. Like the line in the sand, the line we are meant not to cross. I wish I had heard this poem as I worked on the Mennello Museum line mural. There were emotional sparks flying in the poems. Several times my eyes burned and had to be wiped dry on my sleeve. Several tourists were in the room. They flew from Australia to Orlando to attend an Avatar self help course. They read from a group exercise handbook. I felt a bit uncomfortable as the material had a cult tinge to it, but in the end their message was of compassion and understanding which is what any art form should aspire to. A poet apologized for not writing much recently. He then recited The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. I love this poem, which I first read in high school. Now that my hair grows thin and grey, the poem has added impact and meaning as I search and scratch out images every day.  Curtis Meyer ended the evening with an emotional spoken word piece about the inventor of the inner circuitry in microphones. The thrust of his poem rushed forwards and back like a DJ spinning vinyl to a rap beat. The evening had come full circle.

I left feeling inspired and uplifted, yet sad that talent could burn so bright and often go unnoticed in an indifferent world.

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, June 28, 2012

Black & White

The Food Truck Cafe occurs every Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, located at the intersection of State Road 17-92 and Maitland Avenue in Maitland. Typically anywhere from 5 to 8 different Food Truck concepts will participate. All of Food Trucks are unique, all them are independently owned and managed, and the dishes I tried from Big Wheel were delicious. Current participants include: The Korean BBQ Taco Box, The Crooked Spoon , Big Wheel Provisions , Redeye BBQ , The Treehouse Truck, and The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck.

The parking lot at Lake Lilly park was packed but I lucked into a close spot as someone pulled out. I was there to see Black and White with Beth Black on violin and Jim Bass on keys and guitar. The food trucks were lined up along the waterfront and there were tables set up on the cement boardwalk so people could sit and enjoy their meals. Between the clusters of tables was the performers tent. I know Beth because she volunteers for the Florida Film Festival. They performed a variety of covers. Beth had a sweet singing voice. The parks department had a menacing red lock box set up to accept tips for the performers. Children took delight in the live music sometimes swaying and dancing. As the sun set, the light sparkled on the lily pad encrusted lake. Lines for the food were short and the event was very family friendly.

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, June 27, 2012

There Will Be Words

On the second Tuesday of every month authors gather at 7PM at Urban ReThink, (625 East Central Boulevard), for a literary prose throw down called There Will Be Words. The event is hosted by J. Bradley and judged by three unsuspecting audience members picked at random. Most of the people who pack the audience for There will be Words are authors who are themselves competing. It is an event that I am now addicted to, since listening to stories told live seems far more interesting to me than watching reruns on TV or watching movies where computer effects are the star attraction.

On this evening, I sketched James Fleming,  who read a highly entertaining and funny story called, God Damn Bears. It was an excerpt from a memoir called Too Much Sunshine, Memories of a Boyhood in the Age of Regan. You should listen, it really is hilarious. Warning however, it wasn't very politically correct. It is a strange story in which fear becomes legend in a small rural town. Bears, get a bad wrap.

Authors spared head to head in heated literary heats until at the end of the evening, a victor was announced. I didn't really follow the scoring, anyone who listens in, wins. As the light outside faded the stories gained heft and weight. If I remember right, J. Bradley won that night. I don't see the point in judging. It is simply enough to expose the creative culture that continually bubbles to the surface here in Orlando.

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, June 26, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Shut Down by Police

On June 19th, Mark Baratelli, of The Daily City, gave me a tip that a food truck event in the Milk District was being shut down by police. He felt that all the proprietors in the neighborhood were behind the event since it brought in a crowd. Apparently a business in the neighborhood did complain and there were reports that Code Enforcement was there. In Miami, food truck corals draw huge crowds to the trendy gallery district. I immediately drove over to see what was going on. As I approached the Milk District, I noticed a food truck driving away. The event was called Tasty Tuesdays and involved food trucks in a parking lot at the corner of Robinson and Graham. There was a small crowd of 20 to 30 people milling about. Some people were finishing off plates of food. Two police cars were parked in the middle of the road blocking traffic. Officers stood in the road with their arms crossed waiting for the food trucks to pack up and leave. Melissa's Chicken and Waffles food truck closed up and pulled out of the parking lot as I sketched. A camera man from Fox 35 News started shooting video.

Saigon Sizzle on the left side of my sketch packed away a table and supplies and then backed out of the lot. I asked  the guy who was helping guide the driver why they had to leave. "The police say we are blocking traffic." he said. "We assumed the organizer had all the right permits, but I guess not." Slowly the crowd disappeared as the sun set behind the T.G. Lee's Milk towers. A mosquito kept tickling my left elbow. I rushed to finish the sketch before I lost all my light. The Flattery, a black food truck was parked on the sidewalk and was the last to leave.

The Daily City contacted Commisioner Patti Sheehan and this is what she had to say. "City staff is working with Tommy to try and get the issues resolved.  There was a complaint from a nearby business.  I was aware of parking concerns, and I had spoken to OPD about it, but I was unaware of the code provision that does not allow sales from the city right-of-way.  The trucks were warned, but a few decided to pay the fine and continue selling. I would rather work this out so that all of the codes are understood and followed, and the event can continue. I do not think this is a bad omen for food trucks in general, just a hiccup with a group trying to promote an event that needs to be a little more familiar with our rules." Read the rest here...

Tasty Tuesdays in The Milk District had this to say on Facebook, "One of the businesses on the street complained one too many times. Worst case scenario, next week the trucks will be in the Spacebar/Sandwich Bar, Etoile Boutique/Milk Bar, and Doggy Day Care parking lots. Best case scenario, we're back on the street - we will keep you all updated. Small businesses for the win!"
Yum! Yum!  I drove home and had a hot dog for dinner. I was starving.

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, June 25, 2012

Hindu Cowboys

On the second Friday of every month there is Culture and Cocktails at the Maitland Art Center. In May, the band was the Hindu Cowboys. I had seen this band once before at a Friends of the Philharmonic, Jeans and Jewels fundraiser. This was my first opportunity to sketch them. Terry planned to join me, but she was late, so I started sketching even as band members set up speakers and equipment. They played an assortment of originals and covers. My wife, Terry Thorspecken, arrived and spread open a blanket on the grass beside me. I was working in one of the larger Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, so it took a bit more time to splash down color washes. I managed to finish by the time the band finished their first set.

Terry wasn't in the mood to see any art, so I walked into the Maitland Art Center on my own. On display was student work all of which was of cropped in forced perspectives of home exteriors. The work was painterly and bold. Much of it was quite impressive so the teacher must have had a strong and definite premise. I then went across the street to the Mayan courtyard where there was a poetry reading. The lit page illuminated the poets face from below. Folding chairs were arranged in the courtyard and an audience of perhaps 20 people listened intently. The poet read about the irony of being called a "domestic partner".

The Hindu Cowboys began to play again. Terry was gone. I listened to several songs and then decided to leave.

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, June 24, 2012

Wine, Women and Shoes

It was my wife Terry's birthday. Thanks to Maria Diestro, I got two press passes to Wine, Women and Shoes since Terry adores a good pair of high heels.  What better birthday could there be than spending an afternoon sipping wine and shopping for shoes?  The woman at the reception table wished Terry a happy birthday.  That was an unexpected sweet gesture.  Maria must have made a note on the list. The event was a fundraiser for Second Harvest Food Bank held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel. We arrived a bit early and agreed that I should get my sketch done first. I decided to focus on this Parisian style ottoman that had been set up. There were very few places to sit so I figured it would be a popular spot for women to rest their legs after standing in high heels. Besides myself there were only a few other men in the room. "Shoe Guys" held shoes on platters and they walked the room showing off the wares.

Vintners showcased samples of their wines and there were food stations. I never found time to try any of the food since I was sketching. One of the "Shoe Guys" turned out to be Matt McGrath a friend who often produces Play the Moment productions. That must have been a fun gig, being a male Vanna White for hundreds of women. I was glad Terry had someone to talk to while I worked. She purchased a pair of shoes that she adored. I decided the sketch was done when the runway fashion show began. Terry saved me a seat. A woman seated in front of us said to Terry, "You're so lucky your husband joins you at this type of event." I sipped my white wine.

It was an afternoon of Fashion and Compassion. Second Harvest Food Bank provides access to food and other grocery products in order to meet the needs of hungry families in six Central Florida Counties. They promote and support the development of partner agencies’ ability to fulfill their missions.  They mobilize leaders and communities by bringing visibility to the invisible problem of hunger and poverty, and they develop more holistic and county-specific solutions to hunger in Central Florida. Bidding was fierce during the auction. All of the proceeds  from Wine, Women & Shoes benefited Second Harvest Food Bank. Before we left, we sat in the photo booth.

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, June 23, 2012

Pink Hair

Denna Beena and Travis Fillmen had Denna's sister and her husband over to meet folks before the wedding for an evening barbecue, and screening at their place. When Travis started up the grill, the flames leaped up and then the thick billowing smoke followed guests.

After eating, my wife Terry, decided she wanted a pink streak in her hair. Denna always has a supply of pink die, so they went up to the kitchen for the procedure. It only took five minutes so I didn't catch Terry. Another girl decided she wanted streaks in her long blond hair and I managed to catch her. Terry's hair is a dark brown now and the pink was barely detectable.  That was actually good since she works in a fairly conservative business.

 Denna and Travis have two cats and they set up an aerial boardwalk for the cats up in the rafters. The boardwalk was designed like one of the zip line aerial obstacles at ZOOm Air Adventures at the Sanford Zoo. Their black cat watched the hair dye operation from on top of the cabinets.

A large TV was rolled out of the garage onto the side lawn for the outdoor matinee screening of The Muppet Movie. Once it was dark a second darker film was put in, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Terry had no interest in that movie so she drove home and I stayed to watch. It was a very strange, sick film about two hicks on vacation who find themselves in situations where college kids die in violent bloody ways by accident. Tucker and Dale though innocent, always end up looking like psycho killers. It was shocking and funny. Everyone sat in their lawn chairs screaming and laughing.

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, June 22, 2012

Kevin Hing's 50th Birthday

50 years is a major milestone and cause for celebration. Kevin  Hing had me do a sketch of him and his dad at the traditional Irish music session at Claddagh Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Road). Since I needed to scan the sketch before I gave it to him, he suggested I drive out for his 50th birthday celebration in Clearwater which is just south of Tampa. This was a chance to see how my Toyota Prius performed on a longer road trip.  This was a chance to stretch out her legs on the open road. I drove for an hour or so in the quiet cabin towards the setting sun. A draw bridge raised leaving me waiting for some time to get on the island.

The home was right on the Inter coastal waterway. There was a very diverse crowd. There were conservative politicians out by the pool and plenty of musicians mingling in the kitchen. Vicki Gish and Scott Vocca thanked me for the print I had given them. They had it framed and it went on the wall for the first time that morning. I arrived a bit late because of the drive, but my timing was perfect because the food had just been put out. There was plenty of BBQ and I loaded my plate. I got a soda from outside, but when the Irish music started, I switched to the thick rich Guinness beer. Kevin thanked everyone for coming. He was happy to share this island paradise with so many of his friends. He got a bit choked up  as he spoke about how lucky he was and people filled the silence with applause.

Irish musicians from all over the state of Florida came to Kevin's birthday celebration.  Besides the Orlando Klan, there were musicians from Tampa and Clearwater. As they started to play, the sun dipped below the horizon and the sky burned orange. I sipped my Guinness between reels. As the evening grew darker so did my sketch. I'm half Irish on my mother's side. Her grand parents came from Corr Ireland and the music seems to be in my blood. When my sketch was done, I packed up my supplies. I have never stayed to the bitter end of a traditional music session. They must play very late into the night. Kevin confided, "Sometimes it's hard to tell if your playing really well or if you've just had too much to drink." My sketch seemed to take form without effort, then again I might have had too much Guinness.

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, June 21, 2012


Denne Beena tipped me off that zombies were going to be marching, well limping, down International Drive as part of Spooky Empire’s MayHem Show held At Wyndham Orlando Resort on May 25th through 27th. Zombies were going to gather at Pizzeria Uno at three in the afternoon. When I drove into the Uno parking lot, there wasn't a zombie in sight. I almost left thinking I got the day wrong but then decided I might as well get a slice since I was there. I went inside and found myself surrounded by zombies.

Make up artists were hard at work turning civilians into zombies. Air brushes were used to make the skin look sick and pasty.  Eye sockets were darkened and open wounds sculpted to a festering perfection. I can't quite figure out why so many women wanted to look battered and beaten with makeup accentuating their cleavage. I bravely didn't avert my eyes. I had to get the facts, just the facts ma'am.

It was boiling hot outside. There wasn't a shady spot in sight from which I could sketch the gathering army of the undead. I stood in the shade of the Pizzeria and sketched the zombie hunting superhero next to me. There were zombie clowns, some sheriffs and intestines and body parts hanging at uncomfortable angles. I couldn't sketch it all. Someone shouted out, "Five minutes till we march!" I'm always rushing against time. A guttural murmur rushed through the crowd. It was far too hot for a zombie march if you ask me. Dead flesh baked in the Florida sun and bloody make up oozed with sweat. Pale flesh began to bake red.

Next to me a bicycle was covered with colorful parrots. The owner would get the birds to perch on a zombie for a photo and a fee. A cockatoo preened a love bird. They didn't resemble the undead in any way. Finally the hot crowd of zombies began their march down International Drive towards the Wyndham hotel. With two sketches done, I decided to head home. Traffic came to a stand still  on International Drive as tourists gawked at the crowd of zombies moaning and shuffling down the sidewalk. Another typical day in Orlando.

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, June 20, 2012

Jury Duty

I got a summons for Jury Duty. I seem to be on the short list. The card I got in the mail said I could call the evening before my service at which time I would find out if I needed to go to the courthouse or not. A recording announced that any jurors with a number 2 to 364 would have to report to the courthouse. Darn it! The number on my summons was 55. I would had to go in at 8AM the next day.

I don't get up before sunrise very often to the drive downtown was an adventure. The summons said I could park in the courthouse parking garage but instead I parked in my super supremo suburban side street spot.  The long walk to the courthouse finally got my body awake. There was a Channel 9 News truck in front of the courthouse with it's satellite dish raised. "Great." I thought. "With my luck I'll end up on some controversial case that goes on for months." I was thankful that there was no line into the courthouse, but there was the usual eternal switchbacks to get people through metal detectors and x-ray machines. "Put your cellphones, belts and wallet into a tray when you get to the front of the line!" a security guard shouted. He repeated himself every few minutes. This is what it must be like waiting to get into hell. I didn't set off a metal detector but a guard didn't like the look of some fingernail clippers I had on my key chain. Apparently the nail file was an imposing weapon. He bent the file back and forth until it broke off. If you see me around town with dirty fingernails, don't judge me. It is a sacrifice I made to fulfill my civic duty. Thankfully my pencil sharpener went undetected.

Suite 108 held the jurors until judges called for them. We were asked to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance and then raised our right hand to be sworn in. Swearing in basically boils down to, "Don't lie to get off a jury." Then we had to watch a video that explained the Voir Dire process, or lawyers finding the right jurors. It was stressed that we couldn't eat, drink or read in the courtroom. "Sweet!" I thought. "They didn't say I couldn't sketch." There was to be no Tweeting, Facebooking or Blogging. "Hey, wait a minute, I blog about everything!" Mainly the judge didn't want us to disclose our thoughts about the case.

Then we waited, and waited. A batch of 16 jurors were called and sent to a courtroom. Then 16 more names were called. Thankfully, I dodged the bullets so I could get the sketch finished. At 11:30AM we were given a break for lunch. I got a couple of slices of pizza and walked around Lake Eola. The second time going through security, I forgot to put my keys in the basket. I was patted down and just about strip searched. When I got back to the Jury holding pen, we were all told we could leave. Our service was complete. The only lawyers I saw that day were young paralegals right out of college at the table next to mine at the pizza joint.

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, June 19, 2012

Fringe Poetry Smackdown

The Poetry Smack Down happened at the Fringe outdoor stage. Tod Caviness was the host. Judges included Beth Marshall, Michael Marinaccio, Eric Yow and several other producer-directors. Tod lead off the event with a spoken word piece about Orlando called Swamp. It makes Orlando sound like a pretty cool place to be. None of the poets at this event relied on sheets of paper or iPhones. Their words were deeply rooted in their memories and the cadence, beat and flow were well rehearsed. These were monologues from the heart, some raw and some humorous.

A heavy set woman got on stage and she knocked any preconceptions to the ground as she spoke passionately about her queef.  This is a word so seldom heard, or uttered, that my computer insists it is spelled wrong. At first the audience was in shock, but soon everyone was roaring with laughter. Beth gave high marks for this passionate poem about a woman's right to let go. A male poet followed her with his passionate poem about how he would like to f*ck the whites from his woman's eyes. He later spoke of religion and intolerance with insight and level headed reflection. You never know what to expect at a smack down.

My wife was covered in gold. We had been to a James Bond themed party earlier that day. With her Gold Finger, face, hands and sequined dress she fit in perfectly on the green lawn of fabulousness. She sat with her literary friends while I sketched. The face paint was starting to make her uncomfortable however so, as soon as I was done with my sketch, we had to go.

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, June 18, 2012

Casino Royale

The Friends of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra held a Casino Royale fundraiser at Villa Conroy. Tickets were $100. My wife, Terry, painted herself gold for the event in honor of the James Bond film Gold Finger. When we entered Villa Conroy, the first song on the sound system was appropriately, Gold Finger. Upstairs, blackjack and roulette tables were set up. The room was filled with art, both representational and abstract. A Chihuli glass lily pad was encased behind Plexiglas. Everyone was handed a hundred dollar bill which could be turned in for chips. Terry used my chips since she played while I sketched.

At the roulette wheel, Kristin Brandt, the Assistant Director of Development for the Philharmonic, was tentative about placing her first bets. She had never played roulette before. Her boyfriend  stood behind her coaching. She doubled her money. Then doubled it again. She was giddy and flustered, blushing. "Beginners luck" someone muttered as his chips were cleaned off the table. A crowd gathered and shouted as she won again. More chips were pulled out to be added to her pile.

Terry, the golden girl, mostly stuck with Blackjack. Towards the end of the evening she grew fearless and her winnings grew exponentially. At stake for everyone in the room was the lure of a gift basket. I scanned the other tables to see if anyone else had a stack of chips as big as Terry's. Kristin's stack had dissipated. The gentleman on the right side of my sketch had an impressive pile. With a minute to go before they closed the betting, Terry bet everything and lost. The gentleman took home the gift basket. Each of the dealers had Tupperware "tip jars". They were stuffed full or real green.

After the fundraiser, Terry and I went to the Kerouac House where we just missed the reading by resident author, Leslie Parry.  Former resident author, Catlin Doyle, was there as well. She was at the Atlantic Center of the Arts in New Smyrna Beach and she drove to Orlando for the reading.  I was fascinated with her life as a nomadic resident artist. After a quick bite and sip, Terry and I went to Fringe for a Poetry Smack down.

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, June 17, 2012

Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub

Every other Wednesday, musicians gather at Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando). This bi-weekly Traditional Irish music session is hosted by Scott Vocca and Vicki Birdfeather Gish. Keven Hing, who often drives from the West Coast of Florida to play fiddle with the group, asked me to come to a session to meet and sketch his dad who was in Florida for a visit. I arrived right around 7:30pm when musicians were just setting up. A small green sign above the corner booth read, "Reserved for Musicians." Vicki had ordered a print of the last sketch I did at the pub as a birthday present for Scott. I had to give her the print without Scott suspecting. We went out to her car for the clandestine exchange.

Guinness was poured thick from the tap and the music began.  Kevin arrived with his mother and father.  This was a rare instance where I had to include specific people in the sketch. I focused most of my attention on Kevin and his dad. The music made my job easy. The lines danced and flowed. As the bar grew darker as the sun set, Vicki grew concerned that I wouldn't have enough light. She went out to her car and actually found a light bulb of a higher wattage for the ceiling fan lamp above the table. After the original bulb cooled down, I replaced it and aimed the light at the wall. It gave the scene a warm glow. Matt Saunders beside Kevin played the flute and Vicki is on fiddle. There were eight or so musicians off and on throughout the night.

Kevin's dad used to teach folk dance, that is how he met his lovely wife. He asked, "Does anyone ever dances to the Irish music?" Kathleen Cavanagh, who plays the Villeann pipes responded, "Yes, when we perform at music festivals, my young daughter often dances." Although his arms were often crossed, I could tell that inside, Mr. Hing was dancing. There is magic in this age old tradition of playing in the pub. These are the remaining 2012 session dates...

July 4, 18
August 1, 15, 29
September 12, 26
October 10, 24
November 7, 21
December 5, 19

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, June 16, 2012

41st Annual Mayfaire by the Lake

I took the long drive to Lake Morton in Lakeland which is west of Orlando halfway to Tampa, I had never been to Lakeland before. It is a quaint little town of small bungalows and then gorgeous large homes around the lake. Boy scouts were charging for parking at a local church. I parked a mile away on a side street and walked to the lake. There were plenty of mobile food vendors and then 150 artists venting tents set up all around the lake.  I wandered the art fair quickly searching for a sketch opportunity. A couple playing Medieval instruments performed and a crowd gathered. I didn't stop since I suspected they wouldn't perform for long. Sure enough, when I returned five minutes later, they had stopped.

The Mayfaire by the Lake art festival was pretty much what I expected from an outdoor art festival.  Some of the art was bright and playful and some I just didn't fully appreciate.  It was a beautiful sunny day for a fair. There was a stage set up outside a civic building. Young girls were dancing to the Disney Tarzan sound track. Parents and a small audience relaxed in lawn chairs. I finally decided to sketch this painted swan sculpture. The Lakeland skyline was painted on the swan and I could show the artist's tents in the background. More importantly, I was in the shade. By the time I finished sketching, vendors were starting to pack up.

Admission to the Polk Museum of Art was free that day. The museum was open for only one more hour when I got there. Security asked me to check my bag at the front desk and I was happy to loose the load. There was an exhibit called, Sketches & Steel. It showed the process of abstract sculptor Albert Paley. I took everything in at a glance, sketches, cardboard 3D studies and small iron studies for huge monolithic sculptures, some of them 100 feet high. There was a room of children's art that I rushed through. I was on a mission to Find a room of juicy paintings. 0n the second floor, there were photos of families and their possessions from photojournalist Peter Menzel's extraordinary 1995 work Material World: A Global Family Portrait. It makes for an eye opening book that shows what is truly important to people from different cultures all around the world. As I left the museum, I noticed an Art-O-Mat. This was a cigarette machine stuffed full of small art works. For $5 I was tempted to get an original piece of art, but I was too lazy to get a token in the gift shop.

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, June 15, 2012

Magnolia Park Bluegrass Festival

Terry and I drove up to the Magnolia Park Bluegrass Festival right next to Lake Apopka (2929 S. Binion Road Apopka). This was the 13th Annual Music Festival sponsored by the Orange County Parks and Recreation. It cost just $3 to  get in the park. Huge old Live Oaks offered shade with the long branches draped with Spanish Moss. Terry and I brought our camping chairs and we found a spot and relaxed.

There was a tractor trailer container that was converted into a stage. Three sides of the container folded open using strong air pistons. Support struts anchored the setup leaving half the wheels off the ground. The stage was set up at the edge of a football field sized sink hole which was dry since it hadn't rained in weeks.

The first act on the stage was The Ramblin' Rose Band.  Formed in 1981, this is a family-based band spanning three generations from Bowling Green, Florida. I loved that Loretta Wilson, the mom, now in her 80's kept right up with her daughters as she played Rhythm Guitar. Between sets, Renee Riddle on fiddle reminded the audience that there is free Bluegrass music every Friday Evening behind the Twistee Treat on Maguire Road in Ocoee. I sketched there once and now I want to go back for more Parkin' Lot Pickin'.

Terry and I stayed all day. We ordered BBQ from a food truck and got some ice cream to cool down in the Florida heat.  In all, six bands played that day. There was Moonlite Express, Pine Creek, Porchdogs, Seminole Ridge and New River Bluegrass. [As the sun sank towards the horizon, The Ramblin' Rose Band returned to the stage. I moved  closer towards the stage and did another sketch in a small sketchbook. It was a high energy day of pickin' and strummin'.

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, June 14, 2012

The Avengers

Terry and I drove to the West Orange 5 Movie Theater (1575 Maguire Road, Ocoee). It was the opening weekend for The Avengers, so we arrived early expecting a line. We were actually the first in line. The theater had a major renovation since the last time we were there. Once we had our tickets, we had to wait outside. Terry read her magazine in line and I sat on a bench to sketch the line as it formed.

A crowd flowed out of the theater. Sung Kim, a former co-worker from my Disney Animation days saw me and said hello. He had just seen The Avengers and he loved it! "It's about time." he said.  Another former Disney man, Paulo Alverado and his family were waiting in line. Two men started to argue in the parking lot. One guy was pissed off that the other guys young children didn't keep quiet during the movie. The guy holding his two year old son at his hip shouted back, red faced, "There were people with cell phones and others talking and you have a problem with my kids! Let me get your license plate!"  Since he couldn't defend his child's behavior, he certainly could avenge it. I'm not sure if they enjoyed the movie. No punches were thrown.

We saw The Avengers in 2D the first time and then returned a second time to see it in 3D. It was amazing both times.

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, June 13, 2012

Wonderland Tea Party

Lesley Silvia teaches photography at Full Sail. I first met Lesley and her husband Jared at the Kerouac House. Jared is a writer. Leslie decided to host an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party for her birthday party. The tea party was held in a large pavilion at Secret Lake Park (200 Ivy Road, Casselberry). Terry and I used an iPhone GPS to drive to the Secret Lake. We arrived at a softball field and parking lot. There was only one other car in the parking lot. This couldn't be it. We decided to drive off and find another road that approached the secret lake. No wonder the lake was secret. Paper bag mushrooms lined the approach to the pavilion. A white rabbit and topiary decorated the tables. It was a lavish affair.

A dozen or so of Lesley's friends were gathered in the shade of the pavilion. It was a hot humid day. Women were given bright top hats that Lesley had made with paper and hot glue. Men were given newspaper bow ties. Vegan cupcakes were being arranged on the center table and Lesley had jars of raw tea that we could scoop up to make our own tea bags. A coffee machine supplied the hot water. Jared set up several large fans that offered a welcome breeze.  I made iced tea by soaking my tea bag in a half cup of hot water and then putting in ice cubes.

Many of the people gathered were artists and Leslie gave each one of those Russian nesting dolls that stack inside each other. Markers, colored pencils, brushes and paint were supplied so anyone who wanted to could create a masterpiece. Terry created one of her patented smiley face creations. There were some fabulous creations. One had monster's heads that could be rotated to sit on various monster bodies. After tea, finger sandwiches and cupcakes, a few people braved the sun to play bocce ball on the lawn. Terry and I rushed off to see The Avengers movie.

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, June 12, 2012

First Thursdays

Teachers and students from Full Sail had an exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art for First Thursdays. I wasn't aware of the call for entries since I haven't looked at my Full Sail e-mail account for over five years. I'm pretty sure there are over 5,000 unread e-mails that I would have to catch up on. Snap an annual photography festival also had a photography exhibit in one of the back galleries. Admission to the museum for First Thursdays is $10. I had a Snap press pass so I figured I could use that to get in. I also put my Full Sail teachers lanyard in my pocket figuring I could claim I was an exhibiting artist if the Snap press pass failed. Every month I approach the museum to be turned away at the front door. I'm like a raptor always testing the gates. I recognized many of the faces of the volunteers.

This time I showed my press pass and said I was there to report on the snap exhibit. The volunteer looked for my name on the list. My name wasn't there. She told me she would have to consult with someone. I stepped aside as others filed inside.  I assume the woman that greeted me was a public relations person for Snap. She put a wrist band on me and I went in. I sighed with relief, now I could get to work. I wandered through the Full Sail show fairly quickly. The most impressive work was a large Trope-L'oeil by Shawn Rinehart, of bottles, tools, a pulley and assorted hardware. The three foot high image was created in the computer. It was beyond photo real. A sexy female pirate Marquette also caught my eye. Tom Buzbee had a large painting of abstract spirals that was intriguing. They seemed to be a visual commentary on order and chaos. Hugo Giraud had a nice drawing with ink wash that I liked.

There was no one else in the back gallery looking at the Snap photography exhibit. They must have been crowding around the food and drink stations.  The photos were all rather large in format. A black and white shot of the streets of India stood out. There was also a series of photos of people in trailer parks. Wendy Wallenberg let me know she had a piece on display. On display in the main gallery was an exhibit called, "Reflections paintings of Florida, 1865-1965".  There were plenty of juicy oil paintings that left me wanting to push paint around on a canvas. A painting called, Moonlight on the Ocklawaha by Charles Christian Eisele was dark and mysterious.

The band I decided to sketch was called, The Cornucopia Jazz Project. Matt Festa was on sax, Jeremy Birdsall was on the keys and Orlando Sanchez was playing the bongos. The music was lively and I had fun sketching to the beat. Chere Force and Rory stopped by to ask why I didn't have a piece in the show. I really don't have a good excuse.

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, June 11, 2012

2nd Annual June Bug Poetry Festival Open Mic

On the first Monday of every month there is a poetry open mic at Tatami Tea and Sake Lounge, (223 West Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park). The event was hosted by Russ Golata. I arrived a bit late and Russ, dressed in a red Avengers T-Shirt, gave me a warm meaty handshake and pointed out the sign in sheet for me. I found a seat at one of the remaining high bar stools and started lightly penciling in a sketch of the first poet. He read a rather long piece about the gears on a bicycle. I didn't commit to sketching him since I figured he would be done any minute. He finished and there was warm applause. Then he sat in the seat directly in front of me blocking my view. I'm such a dope, I didn't consider that possibility. I erased all my pencil marks and moved to the Susi bar right next to the stage.

The next reader was Amy Aviles. Apparently Russ had called her while she was making dinner and he insisted she come down to read. I was captivated by the intricate tattoos on her arm. I cursed my short sightedness because I couldn't make out the word that was inscribed in delicate swirling detail above a male portrait. She read her poems off her iPhone and the relaxed beat and cadence of her poem had the flow of spoken word. Another poet related that there had been a death in her family. She sat on stage and read a poem about living with pride in spite of illness. Her second poem about knowing a man, related the intricacies of a relationship well lived in spite of life's demands and limitations. It was bitter sweet. A young poet named Logan Anderson read poems filled with youthful angst. His second poem had a musical backup from his iPhone. Curtis Meyer performed with eloquent speed and fervor, his spoken words sparking at lightning speed. I liked his analogy that poets were like super heroes, their observations being their power.

As I left, Russ let me know that I was welcome back anytime. Curtis announced a new poetry event later that evening down on Fairbanks and another author announced she was having a book signing on June 16th from 1PM to 3PM at Stardust Video & Coffee. The room was filled with new faces. With so much going on, it is hard to keep up doing just one sketch a day. Walking back to my car, the rhyme and flow of poets words still rang through my mind. An event like this demands and inspires creative thought. I seem to only have time for the subtle layering of facts. Who could sit at home passively watching TV when there is energy like this around town? Seize the day.

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, June 10, 2012

Michael Hawley Jazz Trio

On Monday nights at Blank Space, the Michael Hawley Jazz Trio would play straight ahead Jazz standards on stand up bass, electric guitar and drums. Blank space had over 150 craft beers and great local art. Best of all, there was no Cover. I arrived after working at Full Sail around 9:30PM. The band hadn't arrived yet, so I ordered a tangerine beer, sat back and started sketching the room. When the drum set rolled in I sketch that and finally I added the performers when they started playing.

 I had recently been spoiled by an amazing jazz performance by The Professors, but with a beer under my belt and my lines dancing on the page, I was a happy camper. I couldn't decipher any specific theme to the art on the walls, but there did seem to be plenty of curvaceous women with bright red lips.

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, June 9, 2012

Wills Pub

A concert was scheduled Will's Pub (1042 N Mills Avenue), but at the last minute, Mark Sultan (of King of Kahn and BBQ), the leading act canceled. The $8 cover was dropped to $3 which was enough to entice me out to do a sketch. When I got to the front door I found out the cover had been dropped all together. I was issued an orange wristband. I ordered an Orange Blossom Pilsner and sat at a side table to sketch people as they lined up at the bar. It seemed like so many friends were reuniting. Dollar bills were hung with care behind the bar. Bottled beers glistened inside the coolers.

 After I was done sketching, I immediately packed up to go, because I knew Terry was waiting at home. As I walked out I noticed The Golden Pelicans, were set up and ready to perform on the main stage. This was a prime sketch opportunity, but it was time to be getting home. Tight Genes were going to perform as well later that evening.

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, June 8, 2012

A Taste of Jazz

Every Monday starting around 9pm there is free jazz at Taste (717 W. Smith Street, College Park). When I arrived, the drum set was just starting to get assembled. I ordered a beer at the bar and started sketching the empty stage and the paintings on the walls. All the paintings were of celebrities. Who actually hangs a painting of Marilyn Monroe or Marilyn Manson above their couch? As more musicians arrived, the buzz began to build in the room. A tall African American man, named Zion, entered the room with a leopard skin cap and an open jacket with no shirt underneath. He was shouting and happy. He shouted, "I will be throwing money on the stage tonight!" He had been given a watch by his woman and he wanted the world to know. He showed me his watch and it was as big as a saucer covered in gold and silver.  The inner gears were exposed. He shouted out, "look how beautiful she is!" as he gestured to the woman in the doorway, and she smiled. Then, as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone.

I heard the drummer say that all The Jazz Professors from UCF were going to perform. Jeff Rupert, the program director was on tenor sax, Bobby Koelble was on the guitar, Per Danielsson on the keys, Richard Drexler played bass, and Marty Morell, the band leader, was on drums. Flying Horse Records put out a live recording from the UCF-Orlando Jazz Festival of this group, The Jazz Professors remained on the Jazz Week charts for 17 weeks, peaking at 19. The music began and my lines danced as I tapped my foot and swayed to the beat. These guys were great! I had stumbled upon an amazing performance. People were shouting and clapping in appreciation. Everyone was lost in the free flowing adventure of smooth improvisation. The air was electric. With my beer and sketch finished, I decided to leave after the first set. On the drive home, I realized I was hungry for another taste.

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, June 7, 2012

The Year of the Sketchbook

I spent three days at the Namta Art Materials World International Conference and Trade Show at the Orange County Convention Center. The floor was never really packed, but there was a constant flurry of activity at the Stillman & Birn booth. The line of quality sketchbooks were introduced at last year's conference and they must have made an impression. The sketchbooks cost a bit more, but people are realizing that artists are willing to pay more for the quality. Paper matters, feel the difference. When Michael Kalman showed a colleague one of the early sketchbook, he was told, "You hit a home run with the paper."

A person stopping by the Stillman & Birn booth said, "This is the year of the sketchbook, I half expect the easel manufacturers to introduce a new line of sketchbooks."  This year, Strathmore and Canson both introduced new lines of quality hardbound sketchbooks. These new line of sketchbooks are scheduled to hit stores in July. I went to the Strathmore booth and thumbed through the prototype sketchbooks. A sales manager explained the different lines, paper weights and page surfaces. What really mattered to me wasn't the numbers or convoluted naming conventions, I wanted to see how the paper held up to lines and washes. I already know that the Stillman & Birn books make my work sing so I've developed product loyalty.

Jason Das, an Urban Sketcher from Brooklyn NY was flown to the Convention by Stillman & Birn so he could work the floor looking for sponsors for the Urban Sketching Symposium in July. Jason stopped by the booth and I got a chance to flip through his most recent sketchbook. I get a visceral thrill from seeing artists sketchbooks. There is no pretense of existential artistic concepts, just raw sincere observation. Another artist named Donald Owen Colley was working at the Faber Castell booth. He uses Faber Castell Pitt brush pens to do his drawings in old ledgers. The book he was drawing in was from the 1860s. The pens are good for putting down warm and cool gray tones. I picked up a few Pitt pens and immediately started playing with them. The bold blacks in this sketch were put down with a black Pitt pen. Owen was hit by a car as he was walking in the International Drive area. Florida almost killed him. There were artists painting and sketching in many of the booths. I felt like a kid in a toy store.

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, June 6, 2012


Namta, the Art Materials World International Conference and Trade Show was held right here in Orlando at the Convention Center. I was invited by Michael Kalman to use their line of premium sketchbooks and explain to prospective distributors how I liked using them.  Stillman & Birn, based in New Jersey, produces premium quality sketchbooks. Their sturdy binding and wide range of paper weights make them ideal for urban sketching with dry and wet media. Michael is the nephew of Philip Birn (1911 – 2004), a highly admired Viennese bookbinder who brought his Old World craftsmanship to New York City in the 1950s. From his plant at 270 Lafayette Street, Birn pioneered the concept of the black hardbound sketchbook, which he marketed throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Michael and business partner Oscar Hernandez relaunched the Stillman & Birn brand in December of 2010.

I've been having a blast test driving these sketchbooks. The paper is thick and rich and accepts watercolor washes on both sides of the pages. Michael explained that a sizing is applied inside the paper as it is made and also on the surface of the sheet. This lets the transparent watercolor washes glow like I've never seen before. The books come in five varieties, Alpha, Beta, Gama, Delta and Epsilon. The sketchbook that I take everywhere with me now is the Alpha hardbound sketchbook. It measures 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches and I suspect it will always be in my bag from now on. The paper is 100 lbs or 150 GSM and it has a subtle texture that I like.

The sketch above was done in a new line of sketchbooks that was introduced at the trade show. It is a hardbound Delta series with 180 lb, 270 GSM paper. I've never seen a hardbound sketchbook with such a heavy weight, cold press paper. The book is 8 1/4 by 11 3/4 inches, which opens up as a huge spread. This thick paper doesn't buckle at all with heavy water color washes. The sketchbook is a prototype and the actual sketchbooks will be in stores later this year. At this conference I got to sketch and talk about art with fellow artists and distributors, which made it a pretty sweet gig. It felt good knowing that the sketchbooks that were stuffed full of my sketches, helped sell the product.

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, June 5, 2012

Best of Orlando 2012

Press here to Vote! 

The Orlando Weekly "Best of Orlando" poll is active through June 27th. I of course hope you will vote for Analog Artist Digital World as the Best Local Blog. They ask for a name and address, but that wasn't a big deal. You have to vote in at least 15 categories, and you can't use the same answer in more than 5 categories. The list is dauntingly large, so I am writing down my votes in this blog post to help you get a jump start. Most of my votes go to places I have sketched. The sketch above was done in Tanquerey's, which got my vote as the best local dive bar. If I left out any notable local establishments,  then please leave me a comment. You can vote from anywhere in the world, and encourage your friends to vote. The following list is not all inclusive, it is just intended as a jump start. Of course your tastes might vary.

Food and Drink
Best French...............Chez Vincent
Best Greek................Mediterranean Deli
Best Tai.....................Viet Garden
Best Vietnamese.......Viet Garden
Best Barbecue..........4 Rivers Smokehouse
Best Cupcake............Rhapsodic Bakery
Best Tea house..........Dandelion Communitea Cafe
Best Pub Grub...........Fiddler's Green
Best Vegan.................Loving Hut
Best Food Truck........Big Wheel Food Truck
Best restaurant when someone else is paying...Chez Vincent

Arts and Culture
Best Art Night (recurring)...Mystery Sketch Theater
Best Art Gallery..................Gallery at Avalon Island
Best Arts Advocate............Parker Sketch 
Best Dance Company.........Drip
Best Arts Event/Festival.....Fringe
Best Local Playwright........Aradhana Tiwari
Best Local Artist.................Dawn Schreiner
Best Movie Theater.............Enzian
Best Mural...........................Who's Line is it Anyway?
Best Museum.......................Mennello Museum
Best Poet/Spoken Word Artist... Tod Caviness
Best Theater Company..........Orlando Shakes
Best Theater Space................Jamie Mykins Theater

Music Nightlife
Best Club DJ..........................DJ Nigel
Best Folk Act.........................Jubal's Kin
Best Jazz Act.........................Monday Night Jazz at the Grand Bohemian
Best Music Club....................Back Booth
Best Music Festival...............Southern Fried Sundays
Best Mainstream Rock Act...Andy Matchett and the Minx
Best Open Mic......................Tom and Jerry's
Best Pop Act..........................Britt Daley
Best Bar (smoking)................Will's Pub
Best Craft Beer Bar................Redlight Redlight
Best Dive Bar.........................Tanqueray's
Best Gay Bar...........................Parliament House
Best Pub/Taproom...................Will's Pub
Best Sports Bar........................Sportstown

Local Color
Best Kept Secret......................The Timucua White House
Best Local Charitable Group...Second Harvest Food Bank
Best Local Cheerleader............Jeffrey Pfaff
Best Local Website..................The Daily City
Best Local Blog......................Analog Artist Digital World
Best Local Publication..............The Orlando Weekly
Best Local Radio Personality....Julie Norris
Best place to take visitors from out of town...Stardust Video & Coffee
Best reason to live in Orlando...Sunny days in Winter
Best reason to leave Orlando.....Sunny days in Summer
Best use of public money...........Fixing Lake Eola Fountain
Best waste of public money.......Speakers around Lake Eola

Goods and Services
Best Adult Entertainment Store...Fairvilla
Best CD Store..............................Park Avenue Cd's
Best Comic Book Store...............A Comic Shop
Best Farmers Market...................Audubon Community Market
Best Garden Center.....................Palmer Feed Store
Best Spa.......................................Barefoot Spa
Best T-Shirts.................................Mother Falcon
Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor..........Black Chapel Tattoo
Best Vinyl Records Store.............Park Avenue Cd's

Sports and Recreation
Best Billiards Hall........................Sportstown
Best City Park...............................Lake Eola
Best Day Trip................................Cocoa Beach
Best Sports Team..........................Psycho City Derby Girls
Best Place to Bike.........................West Orange Trail
Best Place to Canoe/Kayak...........Wekiva Springs
Best Sports Complex....................Amway Arena
Best Yoga Studio...........................Yoga Matrix
Best Zipline...................................Zoom Air Adventures

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, June 4, 2012

There will be Words

The spoken word competition called "There Will be Words" at Urban Rethink got off to a late start. When I arrived, three authors were talking sports and politics in the lounge area. I listened in for a bit then wandered upstairs to start my sketch. Eight authors went head to head trying to win the votes of three audience members who were picked at random. The judges were picked when three wadded up balls of paper were tossed into the audience. Whoever picked up the paper became a judge. I sketched when Tod Caviness read. I figured I would get a chance to sketch him when he went onto the next round. Surprisingly, he lost in this first round. Eight competitors were reduced to four, then two who battled for the coveted bragging rights. The winner turned out to be Trevor Fraser the author seated in the blue chair. It was a fun night with some really quirky stories. I'm hooked.

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, June 3, 2012

Library Garden

I heard there was to be a paper flower making workshop at the Peacock Room (1321 North Mills Avenue). I arrived right after work which is early by nightlife standards. One room was full of paintings by Cameron Moore. He is a Full Sail instructor. The work was representational with a touch of the surreal. Skeletal horses were juxtaposed against dense forest scenes. There were some futuristic cityscapes and human figures were covered in patterns reminiscent of New Zealand tattoos.

The other room was full of fluorescent flowers. It stopped me in my tracks. The female bartender asked if she could help me. She thought I was looking for someone. I was just looking for a sketch. Rob Leaman was the artist who created the huge flowers in what he called,  the library garden.  Rob arrived with fluorescent paper and some Elmer's glue.A woman in a black and white dress stopped in. The white of her dress glowed light blue. He began demonstrating how he creates the smaller flowers by folding the paper.  Then five women showed up all at once and Rob showed them the intricacies in every fold. My digital tablet flashed a warning letting me know my battery was low. I looked around for an outlet but couldn't find one. This is the advantage of a paper sketchbook it never complains. Moments later the screen flashed off. The sketch was done.

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, June 2, 2012

Emotions Dance

Emotions Dance performed at the Fringe outdoor stage. I waited at The Daily City tent until they arrived. I finally saw a dancer stretching her legs using the temporary containment fencing as a ballet barre. Larissa Humiston, the dance companies founder gave the dancers a quick pep talk, and then it was time for the show. Larissa explained to the audience that the first dance piece was about a failed relationship. Amanda Miller and Courtney Coad were the dancers. As always the modern dance  was beautifully choreographed and full of emotion. I sketched Cortney when she turned her back to her partner and Amanda lay prostrate in desolation. I ended up sketching Amanda a second time as she stood gripping a curtain prior to another dance routine.

As I was finishing up my sketch, Amanda Miller and Jovan Davis asked to see what I was working on. Jovan seemed to be a real fan of my work. He bubbled with excitement. Terry joined in and said jokingly to the couple, "Back away from the artist." She steered the conversation for a few minutes till I considered the sketch done. Amanda then explained to me that she became over heated during one of the dance routines. By now Larissa had joined the conversation and she said to Amanda, "Yea, I saw that look on your face." Even with a few dry heaves, the show went on. No one in the audience, including myself, had any idea. The Emotions Dancers always perform "all out".

Larissa has begun to organize dance workshops with world renowned dancers at Turning Point dance studios. This dance company continues to astound me.

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, June 1, 2012


Pepe made an appearance on the outdoor stage at Fringe. Pepe is flamboyant and colorful. His spiky red Mohawk could be spotted from across the lawn. He spoke with a thick rich Spanish accent calling everyone, mommies and poppies. Logan Donahoo joined Pepe to talk about the Fringe show he was directing called, Cannibal! The Musical. Pepe is always funny. He made fun of the fact that he had been reduced to performing on the outdoor stage.

Ruby Darling, dressed in a Star Trek uniform got on stage to promote Skill Focus Burlesque. She performed a sultry dance number and the uniform went flying. She then told Pepe she had a superpower. A male performer got on stage with her and she said in a commanding voice, "Take off your clothes." He complied. Pepe perked up and shouted his glee. Women in the audience screamed and laughed. Skill Focus burlesque had been called to perform at the Fringe at the last minute when another show canceled. For this reason, they weren't even in the printed program. They had to rely on word of mouth and a little skin to promote their show.

I went to a performance of Hysteria Repeats Itself! Mike Maples was in the cast and the executive producer, Kelly Rands introduced himself when Terry and I entered the Blue venue. I knew that Hysteria would be a series of fast paced skits, so for once, I left the sketchbook closed. This was the first night's performance and unfortunately there were fewer than ten people in the audience. Much of the show was political satire. The performance was funny and intelligently written. Several Sondheim show tunes were given new lyrics that were fun and fast paced. Terry was laughing loudly. Later Mike commented that her loud laughter made up for the size of the audience. The next performance was sold out which made perfect sense.

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