Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let Them Grow

Jennifer and Jason Helvenston planted a lush vegetable garden organically in their front yard in Orlando.   But in November, the city, which aspires to be the “Greenest City in America”, notified them that their harmless garden violates city code, and they have to tear it up and replace it with grass, or face fines of $500 a day.

On January 8th of 2013 a new City Vegetable Garden Proposal was written. Most of the garden would have to be eliminated and now the city started regulating the back and side yards as well.
 This is a summary of the restrictions of the City's Proposal.
1.  The government shouldn’t be telling gardeners what they can or can’t do with the land they own as long as there are no quantifiable impacts.
2.  The Proposal is a conviction against edible annuals while all other annuals are unrestricted.
3.  The Proposal is a clear strategy against edible gardens by pushing them under the roof line of the building or in its shadow while at the same time requiring year round success.
4.  The Proposal is an assault against the financially less fortunate that cannot afford expensive fences and raised bed structures by pushing their edible gardens even further into the shadows of the building.
5.  The Proposal is discriminating against ALL edible plants by requiring higher standards and special definitions than any other plant in the City's Landscape Code.  By discriminating against the plants that we eat, they are discriminating against gardeners.
6.  The Proposal is a discredit against sustainability.  The City's code will allow max. 60% environment crushing grass but only max. 25% edible annuals with no impacts. 
The best and fare solution for the City is the simplest.  Edible plants meet the same standards and requirements as all other plants.  An edible ground cover gets treated the same as any other ground cover, an edible annual gets treated the same as any other annual.  Each yard in the City of Orlando must be "kept and maintained" to the same levels as any other yard.  There should be no higher standards for food. 
 On February 28th there was a crucial City Counsel meeting on the proposal. I went to City Hall where there was a peaceful demonstration for the right to have a garden. Many protesters wore green as a sign of solidarity. Ryan Price was there holding a yellow pepper from his garden. He has a small garden in his front yard and luckily he has not yet been bothered. College students Jonathan, Adam and Troy were with Ryan. The college students are studying the medical benefits of plants. Jennifer Helvenston showed up with a basket full of vegetables from her garden. Protesters talked about their gardens with pride. Julie Norris was their with her daughter Maya holding a sign that said, Mommy, why can't we grow vegetables? She has a gorgeous garden on her Thornton Park property.

A spokesman said that the City Proposal had once again been rewritten so the meeting would just consist of a reading of the new proposal with no vote. All the protesters went inside city hall to watch their city government at work. The Helveston's small home garden has suddenly become the flash point for a national debate. Orlando leaders moved closer at the February 26th meeting to allow residents to plant vegetables in their front yards, but gardeners remain worried that City Hall's benevolence will come with too many rules.

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, February 27, 2013

Audabon Market

Every Monday from 6-10PM the Audubon Market sets up in the parking lot of Stardust Video and Coffee (l842 East Winter Park Road Orlando FL). Some vendors offer locally grown fruits and vegetables while others have local crafts. Flowers and plants sit beside homemade pillows. The variety changes from week to week. On top of all that there is often free music. There is a warm communal feel as friends meet hug and talk. A mom carried her child on her hip as she spoke to a vendor. A poet with a grey beard and staff wandered offering poems for a price.

When I finished my sketch I went to a food tent and ordered the least holistic item at the market, a hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard.  When I turned to go back to my table, I bumped into Mark Baratelli and his friend Tom. I was a bit embarrassed that the hot dog I just ordered looked puny compared to the size of the bun. When I was finished eating, a woman offered me some free Wild Flower Saint John's River Honey because she liked the sketch. If you go to the market, be sure to get some local honey from the Bee Lady. On the drive home, I popped open the yellow lid and sucked on the nipple to taste the sweet nectar.

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, February 26, 2013

Oscars at the Enzian

The Enzian Theater held a "Red Carpet, Bright Lights Oscar Watch Party." Terry got dressed up in high heals that structurally resemble the Eiffel Tower. I decided to dress up with a suit and black shirt. Although the Enzian parking lot was close to full, there were only a few people at the Eden Bar. Terry had read somewhere that the theater wouldn't open till 7:30PM so we had a half hour to kill. The bartender didn't notice us waiting to order a drink but he did notice a 20 something pair of college girls who sauntered up to the bar after us. I wanted a beer but all the beer taps were out. The bartender was very apologetic. I settled on a white wine. Dina Peterson greeted us at the bar. She was meeting friends who were saving her a seat inside.

It turned out that the Enzian was already packed. I wanted to sit on the sides of the theater so I could sketch the audience. All those seats were reserved for members.  There were only a few seats in the far back corner of the theater where I would have only been able to sketch the backs of peoples heads. I decided to stand at the front of the theater to sketch the patrons in the pit. When the Oscars officially began, the theater went black. I fished a book light out of my bag and continued working. About the time Brave won as the best animated feature film, my sketch was done.

I joined Terry at the back of the theater. We were sharing the table with another artist named Dan Tilstra. He does watercolor certificate borders for Florida Hospital. The intricate work is a market I had never considered. His son wants to someday become a Disney Animator so he asked me to show him my sketchbook. His son seemed to think that working for Disney was an impossible dream. I assured him that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

 Kristen Stewart arrived at the Oscars on crutches. Rumor is that she stepped on a glass that cut her heal. Presenting, on stage, she looked completely wasted on pain killers and smiled with disdain. Her hair stylist did a horrible job, making her look like a hot mess. My favorite moment was when Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress award and then tripped trying to climb the stairs in her Dior Haute Couture dress that billowed out from her hips like a parachute. Hopefully the designer will take note and realize that women do have to be able to move when wearing a gown.

The ceremonies went on agonizingly long and by the end of the evening there were more car commercials than winners. When Ben Affleck accepted his award, he said in a flurry of emotion to Jennifer Garner, his wife in the audience, that, "I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases," he said. "It is work but it is the best kind of work, and there's no one I'd rather work with.'' You just knew he would be sleeping on the couch that night. By the time Argo won as the best picture, I couldn't wait to escape the theater. My ass was in agony from sitting so long. Dear Academy and advertisers, Argo f*#ck yourself.

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, February 25, 2013

Folk Festival

On Saturday February 9th I went to the Mennello Museum Folk Festival to do a sketch before I went to work. When I arrived bright and early, vendors were still setting up. Two large dog sculptures by Dale Rogers were standing nose to nose in the center of the lawn. Twenty 8-foot-tall, 10-foot-long dog sculptures made of rusty steel are found all around the museum. The red collars with nametags on the sculptures indicate those dogs that have been “adopted” to benefit local animal charities. The Sculpture Garden is always open and dogs on leashes are welcome. The dogs remain on exhibit through March 3, 2013

Dan Savage at the Sabal Palm Press table was busy selling the Florida environmental books on display. He had a natural knack for small talk and he made a sale as I was sketching.  Highwaymen painters had several tents set up behind me. I noticed a woman starting to do intricate lace work and wished she had been working earlier. She would have made a good sketch. Gordon Spears was walking tent to tent trying to find out which vendors vehicle was blocking traffic in the museum parking lot.

The sound stage had it's first performers doing children's songs. As soon as I finished my sketch I had to head off to work. Children in Indian costumes started dancing to a drum beat. They were doing a butterfly dance. The Mennello Museum sent out a heart felt "Thank You" to all the talented people that made the festival possible.

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, February 24, 2013

Biloxi Blues

Walking down Plant Street in Winter Garden, I was surprised to find a Dixieland Band playing in the central gazebo. A few older couples sat in folding chairs watching. I didn't have enough time to do a sketch, so I kept going. At the Garden Theatre, I asked Sherri Cox, the front house manager, a huge favor because I wanted to sketch the stage from the second floor lighting booth. She was wonderful and made the arrangements. I just had to wait till it was closer to curtain time before she guided me up. I watched everyone enter the theater. It was an older crowd. Some of the men might have served in WWII themselves. Upstairs, I was seated on a tall stool next to a huge black metal spot light and some device that looked like it catches sound waves. This was the first time I saw Biloxi Blues and it was a treat.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, Biloxi Blues is the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama by Neil Simon and the second in the trilogy which includes Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound. Biloxi Blues follows the story of Eugene Jerome as a young army recruit going through basic training during World War II and the harsh lessons he must face while stationed at a boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi. Antisemitism among the recruits was a recurring theme throughout the play which is ironic since America was at war with the Germans who were exterminating Jews.

The play is directed by award winning-playwright and acclaimed director Rob Anderson. This is Anderson's directorial debut with both the Garden Theatre and Beth Marshall Presents. The role of Epstein will be played by C.K. Anderson, the son of Rob Anderson. C.K. starred in the lead role of the Beth Marshall Presents production of The Diviners last season at just 14 years of age. I must say that the young actor did an amazing job playing Epstein, who questioned the reasoning behind every training method used by the Drill Sargent Toomey, played by Tyler Cravens.

Towards the end of the second act, I heard torrential rain pounding on theatre's roof. Maybe I noticed it more than the audience below since my ears were so close to the ceiling. It distracted me from the romance blossoming between Eugene, Carl Krickmire, and Daisy, Julie Snyder, on stage and I wondered how I would get back to my car without the sketch getting soaked. The rain stopped long enough for me to get to my car and then it poured on the drive home.

 Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon has one last performance today, Sunday February 24th, at 2PM in the Winter Garden Theater (160 West Plant Street).

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, February 23, 2013

RAW:Artists Orlando Presented DISCOVERY

RAW events are multi-faceted artistic showcases. Each event features a film screening, musical performance, fashion show, art gallery, performance art and a featured hairstylist and makeup artist. These artists are all local, hand-picked talent who have been chosen to feature at RAW. RAW's mission is to provide up-and-coming artists of all creative realms with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity so that they might be seen, heard and loved. RAW educates, connects and exposes emerging artists in 64 artistic communities nationwide (and counting!) through monthly showcase events.

I was working to 9PM on February 7th and I wet straight to The Abbey, (100 South Eola Drive, Orlando, Florida), from work. When I arrived, the place was packed. This was definitely the most crowded RAW event I had been to. I scouted around to find a spot to sketch from. There was an unoccupied couch and I made a mental note to return to it if I didn't find a better sketch location. There was a motorcycle behind the sound guy but I didn't get a great look at it with the crowd pressing in. With so many artists exhibiting their work, there were only narrow isles to move around in.

I returned to the couch only to discover it was art for sale. It was splattered with paint and glitter. I decided to stand next to the "Art Couch" to draw. Parker Sketch was working on several paintings of cocktail glasses. He works in series applying paint thickly. Of course any time someone expressed interest in his work, he would be drawn away to take on the role of salesman. He had a tip jar out full of bills. It's exciting to see so much interest in art from the night club crowd. Artist Matthew Sutton stopped to talk to me. He said I should set up a booth. Matthew's work was traditional pencil renderings, pen and ink and marker work of comic book super heroes. He probably does well at Comic Con. Ashley Rolfe one of the RAW promoters noticed me working and said hello. It was the first time I met her in person. I usually check up with her every time a RAW event is coming to  Orlando. As I was packing up to leave, there was a fashion show taking place on the main stage. It was getting late, time to get 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

Friday, February 22, 2013

Parking Lot Blues

On February 5th after getting off work at 9pm, I decided to go downtown to One Eyed Jacks to sketch Korndog's Rock Band Karaoke. The Orlando Weekly listed the event as free so I figure it was a fine spot for a late night sketch and a drink. As I walked to the bar, I noticed these two musicians jamming at the entrance to a parking lot. "Darn", I thought, "Those guys would make a great sketch". I decided to keep on task and kept walking to One Eyed Jacks.

At the entrance to the bar I was carded even though my salt and pepper hair is a dead give away that I'm over 21. My ancient beat up license, which was probably issued before the bouncer was born, caused him to do a double take.  He called over another bouncer to take a look. I was finally given clearance and as I was walking in he said, "That will be two dollars." I turned and said, "Your kidding, right?" Well, the Weekly was wrong. I wasn't about to pay a cover for bad Karaoke, so I left.

I made a bee line back to the parking lot which is right behind the Greek Orthodox Church near Lake Eola (150 East Washington Street). Cole was teaching Kenny new riffs on the guitar. I leaned against a light pole and sketched them. Cole told me that he had been an artist once. He went to Hawaii with a portfolio and left it in a hotel room by mistake. He turned to his second love which is music. Kenny sang a solo at one point and he had a great voice. It in amazing where talent crops up in Orlando. Kenny helps organize the homeless feedings behind the church where there is often music.

Some lady was walking her toy sized dog and it took a crap on the wood chips while Cole and Kenny and myself watched. When she realized she was being watched the women said, "You wouldn't happen to have a plastic bag would you?" She and her dog slipped away to her luxury condo. Cole and Kenny laughed at her expression afterward. "She never planned to clean up after her dog." Was their conclusion.

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, February 21, 2013

Whitney Broadway

I decided to learn what I could about the Maitland Art Center's Artist's in Action program. The program reflects the spirit of founder André Smith’s Research Studio and the current mission of the institution. This program provides non-residential studio space to  established or emerging artists for the professional practice and research of fine art. This program is an exciting opportunity to interact with Center’s community of artists and art enthusiasts while working in this uniquely rich and historic environment.

A fixture at the institution for many years, the acclaimed Artist-in-Action program takes place at the historic Maitland Art Center (originally André Smith’s Research Studio). In Smith’s day, famous artists were invited to live and work at the Research Studio in the winter months, including luminaries Milton Avery and Ralston Crawford.

Whitney Broadaway grew up in Sebring, Florida and received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a focus in Printmaking from the University of Central Florida in 2010. During her degree, Broadaway studied printmaking, ceramics, and the book arts extensively. She has interned with the Museum of Florida Art and Culture as well as Flying Horse Press. Whitney is currently the Book Conservator for the Special Collections & University Archives department of the UCF Libraries. There she is in charge of conserving and repairing material, as well as coordinating and judging the annual Book Arts Competition.

Whitney's studio at the Arts Center was bright and light filled. Whitney's recent prints integrate elaborate floral patters similar to work done at the turn of the century. One plate had delicate line work where she had to carve away the areas around the lines which takes amazing patience. As she worked on carving lino plates, she sang along with the tunes on her laptop. I began singing along as well. Pink Floyd began playing and Whitney told me about a video that had the Dark Side of the Moon dubbed over The Wizard of Oz and the music synced perfectly. A huge steel print press stood in the corner of the studio. It once belonged to André Smith so it is a historical relic. It has sat unused for years and Whitney is trying to let the Arts Center committee realize that the press needs to be used so all the working parts are active and lubricated. I felt like a bit of a dinosaur working next to this young artist, so I can identify with the idea that no matter how old you might be you should stay active every day.  I hope the press wheel once again turns to create a new generation of prints.

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, February 20, 2013

African American Art Opening

On February 1st, I went to the opening of African American Art at the Mennello Museum of American Art, (900 East Princeton Street Orlando, Fl). The exhibit, on loan from the Smithsonian Institute is titled, "African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond". The exhibit presents one hundred works dating from the 1920s through the 1990s by forty-three black artists who participated in dialogues about art, identity, and the rights of the individual that engaged American society throughout the twentieth century.

As I sketched, I heard a brief explanation about the installation in the middle of the room.  The chair and cabinet were supposed to belong to a world traveler. Objects in the cabinet come from exotic places around the world. A map shows three isolated islands where the traveler stayed. Everything was fictitious. It was a way for the artist to escape everyday life and imagine a life of travel and leisure.

New York City artist Joseph Delaney had a 1941 painting of Penn Station at war time. The painting was bisected horizontally down the middle with the upper half showing the architecture and the bottom half depicting the crowds in motion. Joe Biggers had a large painting called, "Shotgun Third Ward" painted in 1965. A church stood burnt as people gathered in the street. The sun was setting behind the charred rafters. The painting was mostly monochrome except for hints of violent red throughout. It is the most haunting image I have ever seen of the burning of African American Churches during the civil rights era. This happened within my lifetime, so the dark souls capable of that act could very well still be alive.

The show is on exhibit now through April 28th. The museum is open,  Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and Sunday Noon to 4:30 p.m. If you go to the Museum website, there is a coupon you can print for free admission to the exhibit.

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, February 19, 2013

Florida Film Festival Kick Off Party

On January 30th, the Enzian Theater, (1300 South Orlando Avenue  Maitland, FL), hosted a Kick Off Party for the Florida Film Festival. Press was on hand as CEO, Henry Maldonado, welcomed everyone to the Kick Off for the 22nd annual Florida Film Festival. The Festival is a fabulous celebration of films and filmmakers, indulgent experiences in food and wine, and a wonderful mix of parties and special events. This years Festival begins April 5th and continues for ten glorious days.

A large gust of wind caused the inflatable movie screen he was standing in front of to warp and topple backwards. He didn't notice at first but the reaction of the audience caused him to turn and look. "That thing can't fall on me can it?"  Staff rushed to secure more guy wires. Henry checked with Elizabeth Tiedtke to be sure he covered everything. There was a short preview film but none of the films that will be in this years Florida Film Festival were unveiled.

After the press preview, the lawn outside the Enzian filled with more people to watch "Cannibal The Musical"  on the inflatable screen. I hadn't seen this film which was made by Nick Parks one of the South Park writers. I did see a Fringe play last year based on the film so I knew to expect a very odd and funny movie. I was seated leaning back against a handrail to the back steps to the theater. Half way into the film one of the chefs almost tripped over me as he went out for a smoke.

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, February 18, 2013

The Daily City Best of Orlando 2013

Best Thomas Thorspecken Sketches (2012)
 Thanks to the Daily City readers who voted for the best AADW sketches of 2012!
1. Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (August 27th)

2. Weeki Wachee Mermaid Show (March 5th)

3. The Fountain Works (February 29th)

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

Fight Like a Girl

About six years ago, Carla Young got the phone call that nobody wants to get...

"The tests came back, and you have cancer."

As Carla explained, "I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that had already metastasized to my bones. I was devastated to say the least. After calling my parents to break the news, the next thing I knew I had to do was go to theatre downtown. We were in the middle of rehearsals after all, and I couldn't just not show up. Plus they were my second family. I needed their support. To me, theatre is not only a place to watch people perform but also a place to let you forget about your troubles if only for a few hours. During the next few years, I came to realize it was also a place of healing. No matter how bad I was feeling, it would magically disappear the second I walked into the theatre."

Denna Beena of Pink Hair Productions suggested I go to Theatre Downtown, (2113 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida ), to sketch the fundraiser for Carla's medical bills. The fundraiser was a musical cabaret featuring songs from shows Carla had stage managed such as "Annie", "The Wiz", "Chicago", "Altar Boyz" and "Avenue Q" along with some of her favorite shows such as "Wicked", "Seussical The Musical", and "Rent".

I got to Theatre Downtown about an hour late since I was working a late shift at Full Sail. Everyone was in the spacious lobby area relaxing on couches and mingling. I found Denna and she let me know that the second half of the show would be in the theatre itself. I went in and found a seat close to the piano and I started sketching the empty stage. I heard a raffle going on in the lobby and then the young actors started getting themselves seated. It turned out I was seated where the singers sat before they went up to the mic. I felt self conscious, but I couldn't stop the sketch now. An actress leaned over and told me she appreciated my work and I relaxed. Staci Stout, who was seated right next to me, got up and sang "Don't Rain On My Parade." Many of the performers were teens yet they belted out the songs like pros. The entire Company rose and began singing "Seasons of Love" from Rent. They asked Carla to stand and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The room radiated love.

Carla Young Continues to fight for her life with the support of family, friends and a loving theater community. You can follow Carla's progress on the Fight Like a Girl page. Should you want to help, go to Carla's fundraising site where to date, $5,606 has been raised towards the $20,000 goal. Even as her medical bills escalate, Carla dreams of paying it forward. If the goal amount is reached, she will donate $2000 of that to Compassionate Hands and Hearts which is a local organization designed specifically to help breast cancer patients and their families.  They helped her a while back, and she would love to be able to help somebody else in need.

P.S. On April  13th, I heard that Carla Young passed away.
"The world is a slightly lesser place tonight. R.I.P. Carla Young. You were truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, inside and out. The mark you made on so many lives will never be forgotten." - Paul Castaneda

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, February 17, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Improv

Sunday January 27th I went to Urban ReThink,(625 East Central Blvd, Orlando FL) for Sunday Afternoon Improv. I didn't check the invite closely and I thought I was going to sketch some comedians. Patrick Greene and Jim Ivy introduced the event which will be happening quarterly. Jim explained that the theme of the show was, "Of the Earth". Musical sounds would be created with natural objects like stone, wood, water or metal. Jim was the first to perform. He sat on stage in the retro 60's chair and opened his laptop. The laptop generated sounds and then he began to play what looked like a Frankenstein altered clarinet that had a long PVC body. Perhaps it was a flute played with a reed mouth piece.

All of the performances were improvised and experimented with found objects. At one point a pizza pan was amplified. Dan Reaves performed second followed by Christopher Flavo and A.J. Haring. Just about everyone in the audience was a musician.

Daniel Gruda experimented with pots and pans and a tea kettle. The whole time he adjusted an electronically generated tone using a foot pedal and tons of wires. A skull decorated his microphone. With a second sketch finished, I decided I should get home. As I left, more speakers were being loaded out of a car. In all the improv went on for a good four hours.

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, February 16, 2013

Nude Nite

On Valentines Day, I got to the opening of Nude Nite Orlando at about 10PM, which was a late night out for me. It had been raining all day and it was still drizzling. The event was held at an abandoned warehouse at 639 W. Church St. Orlando, FL. This is several blocks west of the Amway Center in Parramore. Gentrification has pushed its way west but several blocks still had rundown tin roof houses and abandoned properties. I decided it hadn't been a good idea to park downtown and walk west to the warehouse.

I knew I had arrived when I heard loud music and saw light shining out of cracks in the warehouse foundation. A crude sign outlined in rope was nailed to a tree, it read, "Jesus Saves." There wasn't a line to get in. Attendance was surprisingly light. I walked around the perimeter of the warehouse searching for my sketch subject. A nude woman in a gas mask was posing on a pedestal. I considered sketching her but she kept moving in slow motion. She would be a frustrating subject. Wendy Wallenburg and Linda Saracino greeted me. They seemed very excited about a male dancer's performance.

I started blocking in a second sketch of a woman being body painted near a golden tree. My attention as I sketched however was drawn to a woman seated in a U shaped ottoman in the background. I erased my sketch and moved closer to her to sketch. She was regal, poised and still. Periodically she would raise her arms up to imitate the pose in the photo hung in front of her. I liked when she relaxed, looking off in the distance. The green light gave her an odd glow. When she took a break, a group of girls asked me if it was alright to sit in the ottoman. "I don't see why not." was my simple response. They started posing for photos imitating the picture. One girl took her sweater off to pose causing a chorus of giggles and photos.

I heard the performers on the main stage where a crowd of people had gathered. A DJ and his girlfriend introduced themselves. I had just met them at a DRIP Art Night event and I had even sketched the girl as she danced in her polka dot undies. She looked like Halle Berry. Someone else asked me if I was from the Maitland Art Center. Odd question. "I've been to the Art Center, but I can't say they sent me." I replied. He explained that in past years, there had been artists sketching a model at Nude Nite. I was the only artist he saw creating art.  A woman asked if she could leave her drink next to me as she shot photos. I said, "Sure". She commented on how small my palette was. I replied, "It's not how big the palette is, its how you use it." Of all the art I saw, I made a note of two sketches by artist Ray Richardson from Kissimmee. One was of a nude Cinderella and the other of a nude Snow White munching on a candied apple. Both women were overweight, looking like desperate house wives looking for attention.

I was using a new fountain pen. I discovered a major flaw in its design when I tried to twist the cap off to put the pen away. The twisting motion caused the pen to spit out a huge gush of ink onto the sketch. "Mother F*@$er" I muttered. Just then Kelly Stevens the event organizer walked up. She liked the sketch and I let my frustration and annoyance melt away. The spill was actually a blessing, because I started painting with pure thick pigment which is something I should do more often. As I was getting ready to step back out into the rain, I saw Kelly on a stage posing with patterns of light dancing on her outfit. A computer generated image was being mapped and projected onto her as she posed. Someone held up a mirror so she could see herself. She was laughing and having a great time.

You have one last chance to experience Nude Nite tonight from 6PM to midnight. There is plenty of parking near the warehouse.

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, February 15, 2013

Taste Jazz

Since I have been working till 9PM at Full Sail, I have been searching for late evening sketch opportunities. Monday Night Jazz at Taste (717 W. Smith Street in College Park) has become a standard Monday Night ritual. They have an early set from 7PM to 9PM and then a later set from 9:30PM to 11:30PM. My sketch is usually finished before the evening of music wraps. All sorts of musicians gather in the bar area and different musicians rotate in for each jam session.

I order a Blue Moon beer and some tater tots to munch on as I sketch.  The young couple at the table in front of me were obviously on a date just getting to know each other. As always the music was lively and spontaneous. My goal at these late night sketch outings is to get a quick sketch done then get home before Terry goes to sleep.

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, February 14, 2013

Elite Animation Academy

Elite Animation Academy  (The Shoppes at Windermere 8933 Conroy-Windermere Road
Orlando, Fl above Costello's Pizza ) is an art and animation program designed for animation students. The Academy is instructed by former Walt Disney Studios Florida  Animator Paulo Alvarado, a graduate of the prestigious Ringling College of Art and Design located in Sarasota, FL.  At  Elite Animation Academy we are “Developing Young Minds through the Art of Animation."

Elite promises to  provide young students the education and the tools necessary to create a portfolio to enhance  animation skills and take it to the next level, should the student want to pursue a career in animation, graphic or game design.  Classes are after school, with convenient afternoon hours for parents and students.  We focus on basic to intermediate levels with an emphasis on history, theory, and sketch along with Animation exercises each week after the topic.

The Elite Animation Academy classroom used to be The Art Room, which has moved to a new location. Elite Academy was founded in July of 2012 with the first classes taking place in the Ascension Church (4950 South Apopka Vineland Rd., Orlando FL). The interest and demand grew so fast that they realized they had to find a permanent home.

I found out about the opening day of the Academy when I bumped into Paulo and his wife while shopping at Publix Supermarket. Dominic Carola and his wife Love were at the opening along with many other former Disney Animation Artists. It was like a small reunion. A line of computers were under constant use by the kids who were there. They were using a basic drawing program and playing video games. One game was controlled with hand gestures. The computer's camera must have sensed the hand movements. It was odd seeing kids swatting the air with their hands. Several former Disney Artists couldn't resist doing a digital drawing of their own. One wife seemed quite enamored watching her husband sketch on the computer.

One artist told me about an animated short he is working on called "Crackerland" it is meant as a spoof of the old Florida down home attractions before the big theme parks took root. There was punch and cookies in the hall. Dominic's children were middle school aged which immediately made me feel old. The last time I saw them they were babies.

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, February 13, 2013

Cardboard Art Festival

Saturday January 26th was the second day of the Cardboard Art Festival at the Orange Studio (1121 N Mills Ave, Orlando). This was a day for the kids to experience the exhibit and make their own cardboard creations. The carpeted area that had been the dance floor the night before  now had folding tables cluttered with the detritus of creativity. Parents were helping their kids cut the cardboard and robots began to take form.

I decided to sit back under some cardboard carnivores and sketch  Nathan Selikoff's tall cardboard man marionette. Kids, young and old alike, couldn't resist pulling the strings. Having control of a giant's movements can be addictive. Event sponsor, Mark Baratelli walked up to me and announced,  with a Marlene Dietrich flourish, "I do it all for the kids." He then leaned against the wall and checked his cell phone for messages about the next Food Truck Bazaar happening that night. Later, he was ready to leave holding a thick stack of Food Truck Bazaar signs. He was off to his next event.

Evan and Chritie Miga helps kids into the new Dog Powered Robot dune buggy for photo ops. An old record player nestled inside a cardboard TV was playing Polkas and The Tiki Room music. The music added a surreal, playful atmosphere to the proceedings. Like in a Disney theme park, individual robots from Dog Powered Robot came out from back stage to pose for photos with the kids. Someone shouted out for a group photo and all the kids stood in front of me with their creations.

As Terry and I left, I saw Mark get back out of his car. I thought he had left some time ago. I shouted out, "You didn't get very far!" He shouted back, "That's the story of my life! You didn't need to point it out."

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, February 12, 2013

DRIP Art Nights

DRIP ( 8747 International Dr. Suite 102, Behind Denny's and Senor Frogs, Orlando, Fl) has hosted several very successful art nights. There was LIVE art, body painting, art sales and music. I parked a good distance away and walked to the venue. The 8PM DRIP performance was over and there was no cover to get in for the Art Night event. Bodies were being painted everywhere. Artysta Lulu was standing on the bar and doing chalk drawings on the black walls. Mila Belle was body painting and dancing up a storm. Melissa Kasper had on a pair of insanely high platform shoes. I saw another pair of platforms that were designed with metal re-bar that would make a woman a foot and a half taller.

Break dancers started spinning on the dance floor as the DJ pumped up the volume. Black lights made peoples white shirts glow blue. DRIP dancers and body painting models posed in their undies and bras. The dancing really heated up as I finished my sketch and packed up my supplies. DRIP Creative Director Jessica Mariko, joined all the women dancing Gangnam Style as if riding horses. As I left the lights flashed red and green and the entire room was laced with sexy dancers. Paint was everywhere.

Treat your loved one to a Special Valentine's Day Experience on  February 13-16, 2013.
Looking for a way to impress your date on Valentine's day that doesn't include the same old dress up, buy a box of chocolates and go to a regular restaurant for dinner?  
*A four course Dinner-by-Color
*Full DRIP performance
*Dessert party
*Make-your-own Valentine station.
*A white DRIP t-shirt 

Limited to an intimate crowd of only 100 people per night. Reserve your tickets before Feb 13th and we'll include a $10 gift card from Fairvilla's Sexy Things per person!

Ticket prices:
Wednesday, February 13: $65 per person
Thursday, February 14: $90 per person
Friday, February 15: $80 per person - *Special All Female Cast
Saturday, February 16: $80 per person

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, February 11, 2013

Dawn Rosendahl

In the Orlando Arts Magazine, I learned that there is a resident artist program at the Maitland Arts Center. The work of Dawn Rosendahl was on the cover, so I contacted her to see if I could stop by to learn about her work and do a sketch. Artist and architect J. Andre Smith established the research studio in 1937. The studio acted as a haven for artists of national prominence in the winter months, The tradition continues today with the Artist in Action program.

Dawn's studio door was slightly ajar, so I knocked lightly and went inside. The room was perhaps ten foot square and one wall had large barn doors which would be helpful if you worked large. Robin pointed out that there was a mural painted on the opposite side of the doors, so they were never used. A skylight offered extra illumination. Dawn was working at a folding table where she was surgically altering a book. She used an xacto knife to carve into the book  at times unearthing illustrations and creating stair stepped forms like rice paddies in China. A series of circular cut pages folded back resembled a clam shell. A large pile of fresh books and encyclopedias sat in the corner of the room next to her. She had a one foot diameter cardboard tube that was about four feet high in the opposite corner. She plans to create book totem poles.

Dawn studies art at the American Academy of Art and the Art Institute in Chicago. She worked as a sculptor at Disney World, doing the scale sculpted studies of the swan and dolphin for those respective hotels. She told me a story about a creative who couldn't get approval on a project because an executive kept insisting the color used didn't match a pan tone color swatch. To get the approval, the guy decided to paint over the pan tone swatch. The project was approved.

Artist Robin Pedrero stopped in since she was dropping off a painting. She and Dawn had a discussion about pricing  art work. Robin felt that if a prospective buyer was willing to spend $75 on a painting, then they could just as well afford to pay $200.  I am of the opinion that art work in Orlando is  all to often under priced and under valued. It was nice hanging out in an artists studio and having another artist visit. It made me feel that there is an artist community 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

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Art Crtique Group

Parker Sketch organizes a monthly Art Critique Group and I always find the lively conversations enlightening. The January critique was held at the The Barefoot Spa (801 Virginia Dr., Orlando). This is a group of artists talking as peers.The discussions have included pricing, finding materials, technique, framing, exhibition opportunities, and, yes, traditional critique. We are trying to mix different artists and get them talking about art! We will be looking at every one's art individually, and talk about it for about 10 minutes. I know it is short, but the idea is not only to get other people to talk about your art, but to spend the evening talking about every one's art!

Jean Claude was the first artist to show his work. Using spray paint and an xacto, he works on Plexiglass. Several pieces would change color if illuminated from behind. He works outside a gallery down in Kissimmee. His work was bold and flat. Vanessa Lisa showed some delicate pencil renderings. Mark Larsen, a photographer, had returned to his craft in the last three years. His photos featured clouds and abstract watery imagery. Artista Lulu had traveled all the way from Tampa to come to the art critique. She showed a cartoonish image of a ballet dancer standing on a tiny world. Tiffany Dae showed some of her gorgeous surreal work. She is moving to Miami where she is bound to find the arts scene to be incredibly vibrant.

The artist I chose to sketch, was Phillis Taylor Harris. She had just finished filling one of the Sketchbook Project sketchbooks. The Sketchbook Project sells artists tiny sketchbooks which the artists can fill and return to go into the sketchbook library in Brooklyn NY. Phillis's sketchbook was filled with angry abstractions that were done as she went through a divorce. It turned out that her husband was abusive and a sexual predator. He worked as a psychologist, so women seeking his help would get unexpected treatment. The family home was isolated which allowed him to trap his victims. Phillis's sketchbook is intended to help victims of abuse to recover and heal. Several people in the room pointed out that Phillis should look into publishing the book with part of the royalties going to an abuse victim recovery center or shelter. I advised her to not submit the sketchbook to the Brooklyn library because they would then claim ownership to the copyright.  I agree that her book could be helpful for a person recovering from abuse. I hope she can find a publisher.

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, February 9, 2013

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine, hosted by Bryce West and the Friends of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra featured a preview performance by Michael Andrews and Swingerhead.  The event began at 7PM at the home of Bryce West. Parking was at the First Baptist Church Windermere, Lakeside Campus (8464 Winter Garden Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL).

When I got to the church parking lot there was a shuttle bus waiting. I climbed in as the only passenger and the took off down a dirt road. We arrived at a gorgeous lake side mansion and after I picked up a name tag, Bryce showed me some of his art collection. He had a portrait of a cleric by Gainsborough in the dining area where food was ready for guests. Another portrait of Marquis Drogheda was by Reynolds. A mysterious dark Dutch painting by Petrov Van Schenbel depicted skaters in a moonlit landscape. The light from a chandelier caused the oil glazes to glare making the painting hard to see.

I set up pool side to sketch the staging area. By the time Michael Andrews performed, the sketch was solidly blocked in. My Funny Valentine will be a concert featuring Michael Andrews, his band Swingerhead, and the Orlando Philharmonic on February 9th at 2PM and 8PM at the Bob Carr. Michael explained to the audience that many of the songs were by Marvin Hamlisch for a new musical of "The Nutty Professor". The play has been seven years in development. It was just performed in North Carolina and is Broadway bound once the producer gets the finances worked out. Michael has been working with Jerry Lewis to bring this musical to the stage. Michael said he got into entertainment because of Jerry Lewis and now the 86 year old is his mentor. Jerry's mentor was Charlie Chaplin who took the young comedian under his wing.

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, February 8, 2013

Mrs. Warren's Profession

The Mad Cow Theatre is staging George Bernard Shaw’s scorching tour de force, "Mrs. Warren’s Profession" which tells the story of Kitty Warren, a mother who makes a terrible sacrifice for her daughter Vivie’s independence. The clash of these two strong-willed but culturally constrained women is the spark that ignites the ironic wit of one of Shaw’s greatest plays. The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2013.

Sarah Lockard is starring as Vivie and she asked me to come to a rehearsal to sketch the assistant director Melissa Cooper.  I went to the Mad Cow Theatre an hour before the rehearsal was to start so I could get the sketch done before the dress rehearsal. I walked into the theatre and started walking back stage. From behind me I heard "Can I help you?" I explained that I was looking for Melissa. I watched a tech adjusting a stage light from high atop a ladder as I waited. Melissa greeted me and when I mentioned the sketch she lit up. She tried to ask director Eric Zivot where we should do the sketch but he was heading out to get dinner.

Sarah was bringing in a Victorian lace blouse but she hadn't arrived yet. Melissa sat in a stern hard back wooden chair and I started sketching her portrait as we waited for the blouse. Melissa was posing as Honoria Fraser a character who doesn't appear in the play, but the final act is staged in her office. Melissa was wearing a black Nike "Just Do It T-shirt and it was hard to resist sketching it. Sarah arrived in a flurry with the blouse. Melissa slipped it on right over her T-shirt and I sketched it in.

The rehearsal was about to start so I lost Melissa as she had to get the stage props set. She returned later and I started adding color. Sketching seems eternally slow when there is so much commotion back stage. Actors started appearing in their period costumes speaking their lines out loud to themselves. The priest seemed quite pleased with the sketch. Eric, the director, however felt she should look more formal. I had enjoyed sketching Melissa's thin chiseled features so much that I had her smiling. Melissa posed one more time looking stern as she pursed her lips.

The dress rehearsal was a full run through of the play. Sarah was impressive with her haughty high society airs. The set, designed by Lisa Buck functioned as both an exterior and an interior. Between acts furniture was moved and panels added to change the look. I will not revel any story points other than the fact that Kitty Warren's voice breaks into a crisp street urchin rogue when she discusses her profession with her daughter. It is like watching a high society female Jekyll and Hyde.

Tickets are $34. Seniors and students with ID receive a $2 discount.
Opening Night is February 8, 2012.  Join us for a champagne toast after the performance.
Pay What You Wish Performance is Wednesday February 27 at 8pm. Tickets are $15.00 in advance and Pay What You Wish at the door. The Pay What You Wish tickets will be sold only in person at the Box Office starting at 7pm. Two tickets per transaction only. Tickets are limited until sold out.

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, February 7, 2013

Monday Night Jazz Jam

On January 7th, I went to the Monday Night Jazz Jam at Terrace 390 (390 N. Orange Ave. Orlando). Saxophonists, Trumpet players and trombonists lines the wall as I entered. Each in turn would step in for an improvised solo when the moment felt right. The Monday Night Jazz Jam features numerous TOP Musicians and Vocalists. There's nothing like it in Central Florida. The place was packed. I decided to just lean against the wall along with the musicians. Several of the musicians knew me so I felt at ease. Miss Jacqueline Jones stepped up to the mic and won the crowd over with her silky voice.

Yvonne Coleman who organized the event acknowledged all the talented musicians and even gave me a shout out. Tip jar donations benefited Dimarci Services, Inc. This non-profit organization helps to promote empowerment to individuals overcoming addiction and mental health challenges and adverse situations which interfere with productive life styles. They also provide community outreach and transitional, sober housing.

As it turned out, Terrace 390 was sold to new owners after this evening's performance. The new owners want to continue the event but they weren't certain that new staff, menu, etc. would be in place for such a large group. The Monday Night Jazz Jams will be on a short hiatus, and will resume in February. The New Owners of Terrace 390 are making some nice enhancements and will be ready to start on Monday, Feb. 18th.  After that we'll resume our regular schedule of the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month.   They have a GREAT MENU with special food and drink pricing.  No Cover!
 "Music is what feelings sound like." -Author Unknown

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, February 6, 2013

Mystery Sketch Theater

Mystery Sketch Theater, a live model sketch session, is held on the first Wednesday of every month at A Comic Shop 114 (South Semoran Blvd. Suite 6, Winter Park). On February 6th the model will be Ivy Les Vixens. Who's got more pink frilly things in her closet than Ivy? Not many, and that's why she's back to help us Celebrate Valentine's Day at our February session! Ivy is the powerhouse princess pussycat, ringleader of the Les Vixens, a post-modern burlesque experience. She thrives on glamor, go-go, glitter & girls. With more than six years entertaining the gay community, she has established herself as the energizer bunny of the go-go world, with the sweat, blood and hair flips to prove it. She performs every Saturday night at Revolution, dances at Rain on Tuesdays, and travels the country with a multitude of different entertainers, leaving a trail of sequins and glitter wherever she goes.

A Comic Shop recently received a restaurant license to serve food and drinks (including wine and beer). We will no longer be able to bring in outside food and drink (so they don't get into trouble). Please feel free to purchase snacks and beverages from them during our session.

Come early for a good seat. Those drawing tables go quickly! Sessions cost only $5 for two hours of drawing fun and prizes, and start promptly at 8PM at The Geek Easy, located inside of A Comic 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

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super Bowl

On Super Bowl Sunday Terry and I went to the Enzian Theater to see the animated shorts that had been nominated for an Oscar this year. My favorite short was called "Adam and Dog". It was set in a gorgeous natural paradise. The backgrounds were beautifully painted with bold digital brushwork. The dog explored the world with curiosity. In one scene he playfully chased fire flies. Adam and the dog meet and continue exploring the world together until one day Adam meets Eve. He leaves with her abandoning the dog. The dog eventually finds Adam and Eve as they leave paradise ashamed and wearing clothes. All the animals look on in wonder then disappear into the woods. The dog however goes out to meet the couple. Glen Keene was a consultant for the film which was directed by Minkyu Lee. Disney's "Paper Man" was a close second on my list.

On the drive home, Terry wanted to scout out a bar where we could watch the Super Bowl. World of Beer had no food, while Bar Louie had descent flat screen TVs and a great menu.  When game time rolled around, we went to Bar Louie (7335 W Sand Lake Rd  Orlando, FL). The place wasn't very crowded. Terry ordered a huge burger and I had a spinach dip with chips. She was drinking martini's while I had a Blue Moon with a slice of orange. I finished my sketch by half time. Beyonce wowed the crowd with fireworks and some sexy hip moves. Lights flashed, the stage flamed and I'm pretty sure she was singing for real. The Ravens had dominated the first half. I hadn't really noticed since I was sketching.

When the second half came, I put the sketch away and started rooting for the 49ers. There was a movie preview for a new J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek movie titled "Into the Darkness." The lights went black in the stadium. Probably a fuse was blown from the halftime show. I wouldn't doubt that all of New Orleans might have blacked out. A five minute delay stretched out to half an hour. I got to see replays of all the touchdowns I had ignored in the first half. Most of the patrons left the bar. The 49ers began a steady come back  after the lights came back on and in the last minutes of the game the stood 5 yards away from victory. Four plays at the five yard line resulted in no yards gained. A pass to the corner of the end zone wasn't caught and I slammed my hand down on the table and shouted sending cutlery and dishes bouncing loudly. They blew it. They had every opportunity and they blew it. It was a tale of two halves and probably the longest Superbowl ever.

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, February 4, 2013

PORN Art Exhibit at the Falcon

For the month of February, local artists are exhibiting PORN Art at the Falcon,(819 E Washington St Orlando, FL). This exhibit will be up for the entire month of February. I couldn't resist doing a sketch that ties in with the shows theme. From the event page on Facebook I found a dancer who was interested in posing for the sketch. He put out feelers to see if a female dancer was also willing to pose. The week before the show, I had the dancers pose naked on a futon in the studio. They posed in an sensual embrace and I sketched them feverishly. The sketch worked well. We had time to spare, so we tried a second pose where they embraced sitting up with her in his lap. Unfortunately his leg turned blue and fell asleep. The second pose was a bit too adventurous to hold. I didn't mind since the first sketch was acceptable.

The opening for PORN was incredibly crowded.  People spilled out into the street. Tr3 Harris told me he was jealous because he knew the models who posed for my sketch. I don't know how he found out their names, news travels fast in a small town. My sketch is being exhibited in the front room. An odd sculpted bull with a vagina for a head is above my piece. There was a woman wearing a Wonder Woman dress. I cursed myself for not having the room to fit her in the sketch I had started. Wendy Claitor helped me find a decent German beer to sip while I sketched. Morgan Wilson did a whole series of brightly colored slick oil paintings of women in porn. Two bright green women with magenta hair kissed, a purple woman was in a red blind fold, a middle finger was thrust up near a woman's panties, a purple woman lay recumbent, her breasts thrust up as if she were pulling her nipples. Karen Russell showed a rather tame woman's portrait that showed some bare shoulders. There was a magnifying glass to allow people to study a small golden sculpture. A man stood with a huge towel hiding his genitals. 3D glasses were available although I didn't try them out to see if any body parts might thrust out of any canvases. Bernie Martin joined me at my table and he worked on a sketch of a ballerina using watercolor.

Safe porn themed Hollywood movies, like "Boogie Nights", were being projected. At one point the guy in my sketch stood up and took off his jacket. He shouted, "Porn!" and started unbuttoning his shirt while shaking his hips Elvis style. He stopped after unfastening two buttons and sat back down. In many ways the show seems to have unbuttoned only part of the way. I was hoping to be shocked that Orlando had an undercurrent of lust and impropriety. I'm as guilty as any artist of keeping things PG in this theme park town. At least the show is a bold first step towards pushing the envelope.

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, February 3, 2013

Gator's Dockside

Terry and I went to Gator's Dockside, (5142 Dr. Phillips Blvd. Orlando, FL), to watch the football Playoffs with the San Francisco 49ers playing the Atlanta Braves. Surprisingly the place wasn't very crowded. As the game went on more people gradually filtered in. The guy at the table next to us watched the game alone and he argued with Terry about certain calls the referees made. Very late in the game, his wife and children joined him. Don't ask me who won the game, I wasn't facing the large flat screen TVs.

The guy at the table in front of us had an iPad still in its cardboard box. I guess he never takes it out to protect it from harm. He checked the iPad constantly throughout the game. Maybe there is a game statistics site that updates as the game is happening.  His girlfriend was busy talking to friends on her phone. I did my best to avoid catching any one's gaze as I sketched them. The second you catch someones gaze, they consider that an invitation to see what you are up to and your clandestine cover is blown.

I ordered a Tail Gate Burger and it was so big I couldn't open my jaw wide enough to take a bite of it. I ended up eating half of it using a knife and fork. The waitress kept me well stocked with Mountain Dew. Whenever there was an uproar I would glance at the TV screen. There was a moment when a players knee gave out and his leg twisted with horrific torque. It was played back repeatedly in slow motion. It was horrible to watch, but obviously I did watch when I could have been sketching. Today is the Super Bowl. I don't know who is playing but I'll be there to sketch and watch the commercials.

I just came back from the supermarket where I found out that the Ravens are playing the 49ers based  on all the helium balloons in the produce section.  I'll be rooting for the 49ers since I like their red and gold uniforms. As a kid I used to get a mini NFL helmet from a gumball machine every Sunday and I always liked the 49ers helmet logo. Mark my words, they can't lose.

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, February 2, 2013

Star Lite Film Festival

The Star Lite Film Festival, now at the Winter Garden Theatre (160 West Plant Street • Winter Garden, FL), features independent films produced for less than $200,000. Film maker and Festival organizer, Michael Poley invited me to the opening night kick off reception on Thursday January 31st. I got there a bit early, so after I picked up my lanyard, I went next door where Kelly DeWayne Richards was playing piano. The place was called Pillars and it was the opening night. Blue neon laced its way along the curvaceous bar and large stage lights were set up behind the piano. I really wanted to draw but there wasn't enough time.

A red carpet lead into the reception room. A photographer took shots of people as they arrived in front of the Star Lite poster.  The round tables has tiny golden Oscars, pop corn and incredibly small cards with the schedule printed on them.  The type was an infinitesimal two points in size which made it near impossible to read with the naked eye. Small magnifying glasses were there but the plastic lens distorted the view more than it magnified. Film makers and patrons arrived and soon the room was buzzing with conversation.

At 8pm, Robin Cowie, the producer of the "Blair Witch Project", will introduce the festival as well as a micro budget film that his company, Haxan, produced called "Midnight Son", a successful Micro budget Film that received distribution. "Midnight Son" cost $50,000 to shoot and when everything was wrapped, it cost $149,000 in total. Ed Sanchez another Blair Witch contributor was the writer. The film featured a ravenous artist who couldn't satisfy his hunger. Skin on his arm was horribly burnt from being exposed to sunlight. His night security guard job kept him from ever seeing sun light. He finally realizes that the only thing that could satisfy his hunger was blood. He meets a girl who is addicted to coke but his addiction to blood is kept secret. Every time they get close to intimacy, his blood lust gets in the way. You are left wondering the whole time whether he is a vampire or just anemic. He never gains any supernatural strength or powers, he is just an addict who needs his next blood fix. It sucks to be a vampire.

After the film, Robin took questions from the audience. When asked what he looks for in micro budget films, he responded that he looks for scripts with audacity, he likes writers that take risks, doing something unexpected. More than anything he likes to be surprised. He feels that the new global digital world makes it easier for a film maker to find his audience.

Today, February 2nd, is the third and final day of the festival. There is a full day of films being screened and panel discussions. Go check out some films. Individual tickets are $5-$7.
11:30am  The Racket Boys
1:30pm    Social Media Panel
2:30pm   The Spacewalk
4:30pm   2xUno
6:15pm   Equipment Panel
7:30pm   Waterhole Cove
9:30pm   Less Loss
11:15pm  Awards Ceremony

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, February 1, 2013

Miller's Field

Terry wanted to go to a sports bar to watch the payoff games. We decided to go to Miller's Field (7958 Via Dellagio Way Ste 10 Orlando). The Redskins were playing the Seahawks. If you are a football fan then you know who won. If you are a bystander, like me then you don't really care. As I recall it was a close game with an incredible drive in the final minutes of the game. Banks of flat screen TVs covered every wall of the bar. Terry and I ordered burgers and beer and I settled in to sketch. I would glance up at the TV screens whenever there was an uproar. This place actually has purse hooks at every spot at the bar.

Before I was completely finished with the sketch, the restaurant manager, Craig Miller, informed Terry and I that we would have to move. A large group from Lincoln Financial was going to take over the room. We were pushed aside to a side table and I grudgingly abandoned the sketch. Terry let the manager know that it wasn't a good practice to push aside paying costumers.  I simply will never go back. Eventually, the financial crowd did show up filling the room. At the end of the game when we got our bill, the manager did take the cost of the drinks off the bill so he did try and make things right. The next weekend Terry and I went out to watch the play off games again. We didn't return to Miller's Field.

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