Saturday, April 27, 2013

Earth Day Endangered Species

On April 20th there was a huge Earth Day Festival at Lake Eola. For the first time ever, I agreed to put up an artist tent to promote this site. I framed ten sketchbooks printed some business cards and figured I could sell some of the remaining T-Shirts from the Sonesta Hotel mural. The night before, I packed the car and at 7AM the next morning I was ready to head out. I had used the tent extensively when I painted an outdoor mural for the Mennello Museum over the summer. Now painting outside in the summer is insane and I'm sure the tent had saved me from overheating.

Hurricane Maria helped me find the spot to set up my tent. During setup, people helped each other out. For instance the tent next to me shared their sand bags which would help keep the tents from blowing over.  Rain was predicted but it was a bright sunny morning as I erected the tent. The sketchbook frames were hung back to back on electric wires. They spun in the wind like Calder sculptures. Compared to other exotic tents, mine seemed a bit barren, but that is what my art is like, no flash, just substance.

I had put a call out on Facebook for volunteers who could man the tent while I sketched. Janice Böhrk McIntosh and Patti Matchett answered the call. Janice agreed to come bright and early and Patti agreed to come in the afternoon. Janice arrived and I explained that she could sell some T-Shirts and hand out business cards to people that were interested. She was excited to get started and I walked over to the Ibex Puppetry area to sketch the puppets that would be in the Endangered Species Parade. In the background of my sketch you can see a tow truck removing a parked car. Business as usual it the city beautiful.

As I sketched the display, all the puppeteers posed for a photo. Of course it was tempting to try and sketch them all in, but I knew they would all be gone as soon as the camera shutter clicked. April Tennyson mugged for me but she knew I wouldn't have time to sketch her in. Necole Pynn who was at the Broomstick Pony tent had a kazoo. She asked me for a good kazoo tune and I wracked my brain to come up with "Jack the knife". She seemed pleased as she hummed the tune through the instrument.

The Endangered Species Parade began and all the puppets came to life. Heather Henson, the founder of Ibex Puppetry, took hold of the Manatee and breathed life into him. Her mother, Jane Henson, had recently died, but today was a celebration of life. To the beat of a drum the parade flowed past me with grace and rhythm. The children followed with paper puppets they had made in the craft tent.

With my sketch done, I went to check on Janice. She had sold every single T-Shirt and most of the business cards had been handed out. I was in shock and delighted. Within the first hour, all my merchandise was sold and she was telling everyone who would listen about my project to document Orlando Culture one sketch at a time. What a godsend. There is no way I could have accomplished that. All hopes and expectations had been exceeded.

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

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