Monday, September 30, 2013

NV Bar and Lounge

On Third Thursday, September 19th, I went to NV  to see the art opening for G. Lemus. Tr3 Mark Harris curates the shows at NV along with Brad Michael Biggs. The bar is gritty with a fantastic exposed wooden slat wall. G. Lemus came from Honduras and making art helped him adapt to a new culture where he didn't know the language. In the military his comic sketches of the Drill Sargent were confiscated but he became the official platoon artist. He founded the B-side artists in Orlando with Swamburger. This group of artist were the first to bring art to the clubs and bars in Orlando.

G. Lemus was inspired by the expressive work of Jean-Michel Basquait.  The work in this show featured thick rich paint. Many of the pieces were primarily black and white featuring images of aircraft and flight. In one painting titled "On the Trail of Greatness", Luke Skywalker seemed to be flying a modern day jet instead of an X wing fighter. Another painting of a nautilus shaped craft was titled "Victory over Love is Flight". The artist wore goggles as he moved around the opening talking to patrons. He was offered a mural assignment in which he would supervise middle school and high school kids to do the painting.

The artist hired beautiful women to pose as flight  attendants. The whole idea of the show was based around flight. Take you dreams and let them sore. The artist was the pilot and the girls were the flight attendants passing out a menu (his art) with peanuts attached to it. The DJ brought her own equipment and set up at her station at the top of the staircase.

Tr3 and I were discussing a showing of my sketches at NV. Rumors circulated that evening about the possible show and it was quickly established through a quick series of texts, that the planned dates of the NV show were too close to the dates of a solo show still in the early planning stages at The Gallery at Avalon Island. Other than showing my work in a U-Haul (Mobile Art Show), this was my first experience in planning to show my work downtown.  There seem to be unwritten codes of conduct that I overlooked. I'm hoping to have my work on some walls when my book on Urban Sketching comes out in early 2014.

Mark your Calendar, The G. Lemus show at NV (27 E Pine St  Orlando, FL) can be seen anytime before  Sunday October 13th at 2am. Grab a drink and see some art.

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, September 29, 2013

Molding a Classical Sculpture

On Saturday August 3rd, I went to the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens (633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, FL) to watch sculptor Peter Forester create a mold from the classical portrait bust he had sculpted in clay using a live model in just six hours several weeks prior.

The clay sculpt was transitioned into a “waste mold,”  Plastic shims were shoved into the clay sculpture dividing the bust in half. Peter then mixed plaster in a bowl and he flung it by hand onto half of the sculpture. Plaster spattered everywhere in the process, even onto my boots and sketch pad as I worked, Once a plaster layer had hardened, he then build  re-bar supports around the sculpture to make sure that the plaster mold he was building would not break apart. Then he kept building up the plaster mold gradually with many messy layers of plaster.

Peter said: “The clay model is only a means to an end; it represents the concept that the artist is striving towards. For this purpose I think it is essential to employ an intermediary step that is no longer used, to put the clay into plaster. The plaster will embolden mistakes not seen in clay, which the artist may correct before attempting to complete the master; hence the final product is the 'master piece'."

Once half the sculpture covered in a thick solid mass of plaster, the process was repeated on the opposite side. When dry, the two halves were split apart. Then the gorgeous clay sculpture was destroyed as it was scooped out from the molds. That has to be nerve wracking to destroy a sculpture that had taken six hours to create. The insides and seams of the mold were then coated with a non-stick surface. The halves were then bound together and  a thin layer of plaster was poured inside. Peter kept the mold in motion being sure plaster filled all the negative voids. This hollow plaster piece was the masterpiece which a foundry would use to create a final bronze pour.

What followed was insanely difficult work. The mold couldn't just be pulled apart. Peter had to destroy the mold, chipping down and trying to uncover the plaster master he had just created. Only a thin layer of blue plaster warned him when he was close. This was back breaking work and chips flew everywhere. The model for the sculpture, Byron Walker, is also a sculptor and he happened to have an air powered chisel in his truck. Peter let Byron chisel his way down to his own face. The air chisel was insanely loud like a jack hammer. A small gouge was taken out of the nose but such minor dings could be repaired. It took several hours to chisel away all of the plaster mold.

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
― Pablo Picasso

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, September 28, 2013

The Taming of the Shrew

Having sketched the early stages of the set build, I decided to sit in the same Loge seat to sketch "The Taming of the Shrew" on September 25th. Actress Melissa Mason addressed the audience before the play began. This production would be staged in the 1880'swild west because Shakespeare's play has much violence and a headstrong woman would make perfect sense in an early settlement where anything goes. The play was written in 1594.

The production was a comedic romp that employed some of Shakespeare's favorite gags such as switched identities. Melissa played the beautiful Biance in  blonde curls and a pink dress who had many suitors. Lucertio (Chris Ryan), wealthy landowner Germino (Brandon Roberts), and local Hortensio (Chris Metz) are all trying to win her hand. Bianca's father Baptista Minola (John Ahlin) however insisted that Bianca could not marry until her sister Kate (Deanna Gibson) was married. Kate was a bartender who preferred a foul mouthed brawl to any kindness.

At the center of the show is a high stakes battle of the sexes. Rancher Petruchio (Geoffrey Kent) is persuaded to pursue Kate. Bianca's suitors covered all costs and if he succeeded he would profit from Kate's rich dowry. The courtship was close to witnessing a WWF wrestling match. Endless impassioned fights were played for great comedic effect. Eventually the rancher wins Kate's hand. Having married her, he begins to try and break her, just as he would a wild stallion. He denied his new bride food, sleep and fresh clothing while still singing her praises. This resulted in his getting a black eye but over time Kate was coaxed to admit gratitude. I grew more annoyed as Kate softened. I preferred seeing her fiery western independence.

When Lucentio won Bianca's hand, the men at the reception make a wager about who has the most obedient wife. Surprisingly Kate is the only wife who comes when summoned. Petruchio wins the bet, his cowboy hat full of money. But the couple have also won each other, discovering mutual respect on the tale of conflict.

I must admit that there were moments in the play where Shakespeare's words were lost on me. With so many characters changing their identities, I at times lost track of who was who. Kate's final speech however was beautifully worded and inspired. Mark Your Calendar! The Taming of the Shrew is running through October 6th in the Margison Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E Rollins St  Orlando, FL). Tickets are between $20 and $40.  

Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, a one man show, will open October 9th and run through November 10, 2013. This should be a perfect play for the Halloween season.

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, September 27, 2013

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Weekend Top 6 Picks
Saturday September 28th
11am to 7pm Harmony Music and Arts Festival. Free. Harmony Town Square. A wide variety of local professional artists and craftsmen along with a solid line-up of musicians on hand showcasing their talents.

 4pm to 11pm  BLOODY JUG BAND. Donations will be gratefully accepted. The Tin House Ranch (3300 Stone Street Oviedo Fl). We will be playing around the Five O'clock hour at this fun Venue along with some Favorite Last century ROCKERS that DID NOT FADE AWAY ! In the persons of~Birnam Wood~Rick Birbeck~POW' R TRIP~and the mighty TIN HOUSE ! Featuring Mr. Floyd Radford and special guest Cat Valentine. This is a Y'all come event, with camping, drum circle and dancing and refreshments so bring the family and make a day/night /sleepover adventure of it.The gates will be open at noon to accommodate campers.

8pm to Midnight Science Night Live!  $15 and free parking in the parking garage. Admission is FREE for members! Orlando Science Center (777 E Princeton St  Orlando, FL) An evening reserved only for adults, enjoy everything you love about Orlando Science Center with grown-up-inspired programming. View stars and planets through the giant refractor telescope in the Crosby Observatory (weather-permitting). Experience 3D films in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience. Conduct lab experiments in Dr. Dare’s Laboratory. Delight in food, beer and wine available for purchase It’s an “adult swim” of the science variety! Join us and see how grown-ups do the Orlando Science Center!

Sunday September 29th
10am to noon Super Joy Riders. Free, bring your cape. The corner of East Central Blvd and North Eola Drive Orlando FL. You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en mass around the city as they check off their scavenger hunt-like list of Do Gooder Duties; collecting litter, helping senior citizens cross the road, returning shopping carts, basically performing small acts of kindness for an hour and a half of hilarity and love.

4pm to 8pm DUSTOBERFEST 2013. Free, but be sure to order some bratwurst and beer. Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 E. Winter Park Road, Orlando, Fl). Come EAT! DRINK! DANCE! DRINK! EAT! DRINK! DRINK! and listen to oompapa music until you’re sick of it! It's a special day for all as we present our Quazi-Deutschlander shenanigans… brats, kraut, beer and lot’s of people running about in their lederhosen! It’s like Oktoberfest… but really, really lame.

5pm to 7pm Celebration of the life and Talent of Artist Berto Ortega. Albin Polasek Museum And Sculpture Gardens (633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, Fl). This event is a potluck gathering. Please bring an appetizer/finger food style dish, along with a beverage to share. For this event, we are urging those who are willing, to bring their Berto original art works in order to share with others at the event. This event will be a wonderful opportunity to see how many lives Berto touched.

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, September 26, 2013

Tu Tu Tango

Cafe Tu Tu Tango (8625 International Dr, Orlando, FL) is designed to feel like a Spanish artist's loft, it evokes a time when artists found inspiration and community in sharing food, drink and philosophy with one another. The bohemian lifestyle fashioned life as a grand celebration, a feast of the senses to be shared and treasured. Together, artists found kinship over meals shared on appetizer-sized plates, over drink, music, and conversation.

One of the things that truly makes Cafe Tu Tu Tango unique is the menu. Not only do they serve up creative fare that captures exotic flavors from around the world, but they do so in small, appetizer-sized portions that were meant to be shared. Choose an array of dishes for your table, and let the party enjoy them communally. Experience a spectrum of the world's most tantalizing tastes together. Savor both the food and the company. This is what life is all about.

I went to the Cafe because Ashlie Lawson, the director of marketing for Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique pointed out that Samuel Rivera, the Gallery owner, arranged for artists to work at the cafe. I had eaten at Tu Tu more than ten years ago and now I was curious. I sat at a table that had a view of an artists work area. About three artists work live as guests eat and chat. Local artist Julio Sanchez Julsan began organizing his paintings in his work space.  I have seen Julio's work before at FAVO. It is bright and colorful folk art with a modern edge. My goal of course was to catch Julio as he painted. I grew impatient as he made phone calls and surfed the web. I finally drew him as he was staring at his cell phone screen. After probably an hour and a half he finally did put a brush stroke to canvas. I erased the cell phone and put a brush in his hand.

On the table a Windsor Newton jar held all the utensils. Paintings were hung everywhere but most were truly awful. An odd green elephant stood next to a primitive butterfly. A ghastly painting of a clown face brought me back to my childhood in which my parents had two paint by number clown faces hanging in the basement. I suppose one of my older brothers or sisters must have filled in the numbers. But they were a classic example of middle class bad taste. The food however, came out almost immediately and everything was delicious. A belly dancer worked her moves several times that night but my center of interest was Julio so I never caught her. As a local, I lost sight of this place but it is a great place to hang out with friends. Mark Your Calendar! Every Friday Tu Tu Tango has a "appy hour", that is appy as in appetizers, with two for one drinks and $3 appetizers!

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, September 25, 2013

Red Chair Affair

I went to the rehearsal for the Red Chair Affair at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center (401 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL) on August 23rd. John DiDonna directs this showcase of over a dozen performing arts organizations that kicks off the 2013 and 2014 seasons. With so many performers back stage, you might think there was chaos, but the rehearsal ticked along on schedule while I sketched.

The first group onstage to rehearse were the Power Chords from the Orlando Repertory Theater. Every one of these teens had personal mics hidden in their costumes, so there was a long series of sound checks. On the evening of the performance they sang "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel.  It was a bit odd seeing this reflective song choreographed with flash and glitter. These kids do know how to belt out a tune however. The next group up was ME Dance performing "Journey". I've seen them perform this high energy dance before in their loose 80's "Flash Dance" attire. The large black wing curtains obstructed much of my view of their performance.

The performing group that took me most by surprise were the NuLook School of Performing Arts. They danced to a piece called "Okamoto High Fashion". The dancers wore black and white checkered tights and French berets worn at roguish angles. The dance was angular and hip with crisp staccato movements. It was unexpected and inspired being performed by kids who must still be in high school. The Brass Band of Central Florida was loud and energetic. The band master apologized to me when all the band equipment was piled up in front of me. I told him it didn't matter since I was just adding color to the sketch at that point. I considered sketching in the drums and other instruments then decided against it.

The Enzian Theater screened a short documentary called "A Brief History of John Baldessari". One of this artist's pieces is now hanging at the Orlando Museum of art. The ladies of Disenchanted sang several of their Disney princess inspired songs. This show, with music and lyrics by Dennis Giacino is likely headed to Broadway in NYC.

Autumn Schaefer Ames who was the Executive Director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida just recently had a baby and she is stepping down. Rae Ward has filled the position. Regardless, Amanda was back stage as the assistant stage manager helping Brittany Wine control the chaos. Once you get a taste for live theater, it is hard to let it 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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ivanhoe Trivia Night

0n Tuesday August 27th, Ivahhoe Trivia Night kicked off at The Hammered Lamb. Each week the event will help raise money for Ivanhoe Village and there are prizes for the winners. It's easy to play; you just need to put your thinking cap on. HOT TIP: Each Monday an answer to one question will appear on the Ivanhoe Village Facebook page and Twitter (@IvanhoeVillage). So be sure you're liking and following! Arrive early, stay late! Happy Hour is 4:00 PM-7:00 PM. Then after Ivanhoe Trivia Night, plan to stick around for open mic night!

Ivanhoe Village Manager, Scottie Campbell, was the MC firing off the trivia questions. The bar was full and the competition fierce. Some contestants took to bold posturing to intimidate the competition.  Here are a few of the questions from the premiere event. See how you do. I'll list answers in the comment section over the weekend. No Googling the answers.

1. What country has the most patent applications?
2. Mount Thor has the greatest purely vertical drop. What country is Mount Thor in?
3. Who was the first person inaugurated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1936?
4. The song "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith was written after seeing which 1974 film?
5. Who wrote the book, "Ivanhoe"?
6. What is the name of the park across the street from the Hammered Lamb?
7. Word Jumble... NAAJNEFDO.
8. What president was in office when Marilyn Monroe died?
9. What country drinks the most alcohol?

A train rumbled by and everyone had free shots on the house. It tasted a bit like grapefruit. Mark Your Calendar! Get your trivia fix every Tuesday night 6pm to 8pm at the Hammered Lamb (1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL).

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, September 23, 2013

I Believe in You! Performance, Art and Dance Party

I went to The Space (1206 E Colonial Dr. Orlando FL) on August 24th, right after "The Red Chair Affair" at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center (401 W Livingston St  Orlando, FL). Jessica Earley had organized a one night only performance driven event with a committed group of experimental artists who love what they do and love you too. Several artists were invited to perform, they each then curated another artist to show visual works.

 The Space turned out to be a small apartment right above a pizza shop near Mills Avenue. The front door was locked, so I went out back where a crowd was gathered. Mark Baratelli was just leaving. He reported that the event was packed and very hot. Having never been in the space, I had to go up to get a sketch. Admission was $2. The place was more than hot, it was a furnace. My stiff collared dress shirt became semi transparent with sweat. I whipped my brow with my tie.

There was a performance going on when I entered but there were so many people packed in the room, that I decided a sketch would be impossible. I went into a room filled with art and sat with my back against a closet door to sketch.

 Performing artists included, Jessica Earley, Jack Fields, Ashley Inguanta, Melanie Lister, Stephanie Lister, Hannah Miller, Jorgen Nicholas Trygved, and Christin Caviness. Hannah curated art by Winter Calkins. Winter had a fascinating piece that used cigarette butts as a sort of pointillism to depict someones lips and jaw. I was pleased that Winter knew of my work.

The large piece to my left was by Jack Fields. It had intricate crochet work, a sort of wizards hat and eyes peering out from everywhere. Flip-flops were enshrined on red velvet pillows. In the center of the room, letters were torn and re-assembled behind Plexiglas. The one line I could read said, "I hope you can say sorry." The room itself was painted to look like the inside of a human body. Ribs and muscles were painted everywhere. The room had been used in a film and the walls were painted to show that the character was going insane. The film is now being submitted to film festivals.

Terry stopped in briefly with Matt McGrath. They couldn't stand the heat and left to go to a bar. With the sketch done, I walked around and said hello to Becky Lane and Tisse Mallon. Jessica Earley had mascara running down her cheeks. She looked like a battered wife or junkie. The disheveled look must have been for her performance piece.  She had been concerned about how many people would show up. I believe she maxed out the capacity at The Space. I know that Christin performed a dance piece in the hot crowded space. Afterwards she went outside to collapse and catch her breath. Ashley gave her last poetry reading before she moved to NYC.  I thought that I didn't see a single performance. As it turned out, I had sketched Jorgen Nicholas Trygved doing an adaptation of "The Artist is Present" in which he Skyped in silence with people in a neighboring room. Now I know why he sat there so long staring at his computer. This was the performance that most intrigued me when I read the invitation, because I had been in NYC on the final day of Marina Abromovic's "The Artist is Present".
I soaked up the ambiance like a wet sweaty sponge.

As I left, the dance party was pulsing in the back room DJ'd by Jorgen. Terry wanted me to meet Matt and her at a bar, but my fancy leather loafers were giving me blisters. I think I over dressed and I was spent.

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, September 22, 2013

Great Irish Hooley

Over Labor day weekend, Monday September 2nd, I went to Raglan Road (1640 North Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL) for the Great Irish Hooley. Raglan Road is located on Pleasure Island near Downtown Disney. A Hooley is a unique Irish Festival jam packed with the best of Irish Music and Entertainment outside of Ireland. This sounded to good to be true, so I braved the Disney Tourist crowds to get a sketch.

When I pulled into the Downtown Disney parking lot, it immediately began to rain. I pulled out my iPhone and pulled up the weather radar app. Sure enough the radar showed a small rain cell right over my location. The clouds were moving fast and the radar showed a wide open expanse once the storm passed. The radar updates every five minutes and I waited in the car with the rain pelting loudly on metal. After fifteen minutes the rain slowed and I started over to Raglan Road.

As luck would have it there was an awning that provided perfect cover right across from the pub. The lightning rods on every corner of the pub seemed ready for any strike. The outdoor stage was covered with tarps and I assumed I would be sketching a rained out event. One of the Irish dancers, Daniella, spoke with tourists in front of the pub. She took an interest in my sketch and then spoke with Disney Coworkers who were exploring the parks on their day off. He was leaving his Disney job soon and she expressed regret about having to see so many people always leaving. A manager checked with the bartender, and nerves bristled that she would start telling employees gathered outside the pub what to do. The manager noticed me sketching and walked over. Luckily she just glanced down, said, "Nice" and walked off.

Someone joked with the bartender, saying, "You look lonely. Seven dollars for a Guinness! No wonder you look lonely!"  He ordered a drink anyway. The stage was cleared and Johnny Norton and Justin Murphy began to play. A crowd formed quickly in the street to watch. Declan Masterson followed that act playing lively music for jigs and reels. The dancer, Daniella began doing a jig in front of the band, then people in the audience joined in. This turned out to be an amazing performance by traditional Irish musicians who had been flown in for the four day event. Though off to a soggy start, this turned out to be a hell of a good time. I heard the interior of the pub is absolutely gorgeous so that may warrant a return visit.

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, September 21, 2013

August Critique Group

Parker Sketch organized a monthly Art Critique group at The Barefoot Spa (801 Virginia Dr., Orlando, Fl). The group is a supportive and constructive discussion group about art. Work of about 12 artists is looked at and discussed. The opportunity to show art is on a first-come, first served basis. You do not have to show art to participate. You do not have to be an artist to participate. If you are interested in art and want to meet other people who also enjoy art, this is a great event.

The group looks for newer art, that is relevant to what you are doing now. If you bring more than one, please make them all be part of a series. We are either looking to talk about one piece, or several together as a group. It doesn't matter what kind of art you do, we have had oil painters, paper makers, glass artists, found object sculptors, video artists, watercolor painters, ceramicists, artists who draw and collage, jewelry artists, print makers, etc. It also doesn't matter how much experience you have. We have included artists who have never shown and artists who are nationally recognized competition winners.

The point is to get people from many different styles, backgrounds, and experience levels together to talk about everyones' work! 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 art individually, and talk about it for about 10 minutes. Though time is short, the idea is  to spend the evening talking about everyone's art!

I arrived at the critique a bit late but I was astounded to find a front row seat still open. The first artist who's work I saw was Heather Ashworth.  She had a portrait and a diptych of a woman who's hair blew aside and became tree branches and blossoms. There was some concern that she didn't spend much time on the clouds painted in the portrait. Some artists wanted to see a smoother transition between hair and branches as well. Bethany Taylor Myers showed a Hopperesque painting of a neighborhood. She wanted advice on perspective and since I had just been writing on the subject, I offered her a thumbnail and brief advice. She was concerned about painting telephone lines that would cross in front of the house. Several artist agreed that if the lines don't add to the story they could be left out. Jean Claude showed a bold black and white depiction of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He got an amazing amount of detail with the scratch off technique. Thomas Jacobson Artist showed a huge painting of a yellow sun flower. A mysterious orange glow hinted at illumination by fire. A skull and flowers painting was creepy and mesmerizing in its detail. He is also a tattoo artist and his work is intricate and amazing.

Parker Sketch was the last to show his art he had a large roll of canvas that unfurled depicted a cup of gin and tonic. He did the painting by walking around it on the floor and attacking it like Jackson Pollack. There were some wonderful abstract passages that came from the sheer physicality of the process. Mark Your Calendar! Parker plans to pin this huge canvas to the wall as part of his joint show with Shannon Holt called "Just One More..." The opening is September 19th from 6pm to 9pm at City Arts Factory (29 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, Fl). The next critique group is September 26th from 6-9pm at Barefoot Spa.

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, September 20, 2013


On September 6th I went to the final performance of Oklahoma at the Northland Church (530 Dog Track Road Longwood FL). Since I had already sketched the huge stage, I rushed up for a front row seat on stage right. As people continued to filter in, I started sketching in the stage. I knew how the opening act would unfold so I had a good idea where the actors would be staged. There was also a lone stool onstage which became the scenes anchor. A mother and her little girl sat to my right. I apologized to her that I'd be sketching for much of the show. She didn't mind. As a matter of fact, her little girl was scribbling much of the time as well.

Aunt Eller played by Alice Smetheram sat in the stool.  The romance between Curly and Laurey played by Wes Miller and Cassidy Tompkins, became obvious though they jokingly tease each other. Their teasing turns to an argument and Aunt Eller shouts out "Why don't you just kiss her?"  Curly asked Laurey to go to a box social dance with him that night, but she refuses, feeling that Curly had waited too long. He attempts to persuade her by telling her that he will take her in the finest carriage money can buy, "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top", but she teases him about it until he says he made it up to get back at her, and Laurey flounces off, not realizing that Curly really has rented such a rig.

A lonely farm hand named Jud, played by Tim Evanicki, becomes obsessed with Laurey and he asks her to the dance. She accepts to spite Curly although she is terrified of Jud.  Tim's performance was amazing. He must have operatic training and he was always a menacing presence. The Orlando Ballet collaborated with Central Florida Community Arts to bring about a graceful dream ballet as Laurey as she lamented her choice of suitors.

The production was painfully long and I discovered that my choice in seats meant staring at backsides during the more crowded scenes at the box social. With an army of performers however, it was easy to get swept away by the music. Mark your Calendar! On September 20 and 21 at 7:30 and September 22 at 6:30 CFC Arts will be presenting The Music of Rogers & Hammerstein at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Tickets are $10 at the door. The Orlando Ballet 2013 season will kick off with "Tribute" on October 18-20th at the Bob Carr.

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, September 19, 2013


Oklahoma written by Oscar Hammerstein and music by Richard Rodgers  was performed as a semi-staged concert on September 5th and 6th by Central Florida Community Arts. I went to the final dress rehearsal on September 4th at Northland, A Church Distributed (530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, Fl). The interior of this church is absolutely cavernous. Some volunteers were busy placing inserts in the programs. The concert would benefit victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes There was a 300 voice choir, 70 performers along with a 100 member orchestra. Most performers were volunteers. The guest conductor was Clay Price.

Joshua Vickery, the co-founder and executive director of CFC Arts welcomed me. This organization had set up its first headquarters in the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (1111 N. Orange Ave. Orlando Fl ) a building it shares with the Orlando Ballet. They had to move out recently because the building is plagued with a mold problem. The building is set right across the street from Lake Ivanhoe and it's foundation is actually below lake level. Any time it rains, the ground floor floods. I've seen the flooding myself several times when I've sketched at the building. Now CFC Arts and the Ballet need a new home.

The scenes played out on the arched stage the pushed out towards the audience. The musical began with Curley, played by Wes Miller and Aunt Eller, played by Alice Smetheram, singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" at Laurey's farmhouse.  That was the moment I decided to sketch. When the entire cast sang "Oklahoma!" the shear scale of the concert became clear. It had been a long time since I saw the movie production so I followed the plot with interest. The production was surprisingly long. When I finished the sketch Act II had not yet begun. The cast was given a break and I decided to call it a night. I would have to see the ending at a performance.

Mark Your Calendar! CFC Arts will be presenting "The Music of Rogers & Hammerstein" on September 20 at 7:30pm, September 21 at 7:30pm and September 22nd at 6:30pm. tickets are $12 for advanced online reserved seating or $10 at the door. Performances will be at the Orlando Repertory Theatre, (1001 E Princeton Street, Orlando, FL).

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, September 18, 2013

Dizzi Bone

Dizzi Bone is an energetic boxer that is owned by Kristen Wheeler and her husband Shane. Kristen is the photographer for many of the arts groups in town, and Dizzi accompanies her on many of those shoots. I first met this pup at a photo shoot for a Boudoir Bombshells calender. As models pursed their lips into sexy vowels, Dizzi did what she does best, she spun in circles. She became petrified when red, white and blue balloons began to fill the studio for the July 4th shot. A cleft palette gives her a face only a mother could love, yet she is the unofficial mascot for many Central Florida arts groups.

I went to the Wheeler's yellow Victorian house with a white picket fence in Eustice to sketch Dizzi. She was very excited when I arrived, spinning around the house, but she finally settled on the couch as Kristen made some gumbo in the kitchen. The lamp was given to Kristen by Beth Marshall. The shade is rumored to once have been used in a bordello. There was a large tumor is on Dizzi's front leg and a smaller cancerous growth was on her butt. She doesn't always get to sleep on the couch so being sketched meant she got a models privilege. Movie posters and cinema paraphernalia decorated the home. The downstairs bathroom was dedicated to Marilyn Monroe. A cat made herself comfortable on my artist stool and then batted a cat nip toy around the room as Dizzi snoozed. She would often keep one eye open just in case.

Dizzi needs surgery. The large tumor on her elbow, a small one on her hind quarters, and several other growths on her body need to be removed. The estimate Kristen was given includes pre and post care, surgery itself, medications, blood work, EKG etc. But Kristen and Shane were not approved for CareCredit so we will have to pay for everything up front. They will also have to order a custom DogLegg  for post surgery to aid in the physical therapy. With everything it comes to around $1000.00. The couple of course will be contributing what little they can, but with your help they can get her through this immediately with less stress. The amazing boxer girl is loved by so many people and Kristen can not imagine a moment without her. Help the couple heal her so she can live out the rest of her years in peace and pain free. A gofundme page was established to help raise funds. To date $775 was raised of the $900 goal.

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, September 17, 2013

The Taming of the Shrew

Jeff Ferree suggested I stop in at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater to sketch the early stages of a set build. Jeff told me the inner structure was like a giant erector set and his description was spot on. A large crew of people had to work as a team to raise the large platform panels into place. It was like a good old fashioned barn raising. Wood planking was ready to be put down on the stage floor. Jeff showed me the blue prints for the set which would become a wild west town. The Scenic Designer is Kat Conley.

The show is a fresh take on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Set in the Wild West and directed by Orlando Shakes Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. "The sweet and amiable Bianca can have her pick of suitors, but only once her sister, the much less charming Kate, is married off. Fortune-seeking Petruchio rises to the challenge, but can he tame this fiery-tongued shrew? Set in the tumultuous Wild West, Shakespeare's unruly comedy gallops onto the Margeson Theater stage in a lively, high-energy battle of the sexes with a couple hell-bent on confusing and outsmarting each other right up to the play's unexpected conclusion."

 Mark Your Calendar! The Taming of the Shrew began September 11 and runs through October 6, 2013 at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. Tickets, priced at $17-$40, are on sale now at (407) 447-1700. On Thursday September 26 you can stay after the performance for an informal moderated discussion with the cast and members of the artistic team. On Sunday October 6th go to the prologue series which starts 30 minutes before the show. An actor will lead the audience through a discussion of the plot, themes and major characters in the production.

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, September 16, 2013

Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique

Via Facebook, I got an invitation from Ashlie Lawson a partner and director of marketing at Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique (55 West Church Street, suite 114, Orlando, Florida) to paint live on Wednesday nights. For $10 artists can set up outside the gallery which is in the breezeway between Urban Flats and 7-11 in front of the fountain. All local artists are welcome to join the resident artists every Wednesday night to paint live. It is the perfect time, (7pm to 10pm) and day to take advantage of Wind Down Wednesdays at Urban Flats which is a very crowded outdoor happy hour only a few steps away from the gallery. The live painting event is a great opportunity for artists to gain exposure and build up their presence in the arts community. If anything is sold, then the gallery gets a 20% commission for gallery efforts. If you bring another artist, the gallery offers commission discounts.

On Wednesday August 28th, I went to the gallery to sketch. Ashley referred to Loft 55 as a micro-gallery. Apparently these are all the rage in NYC and Chicago. The space is only about three feet deep, just enough room for you to stand back a little bit from each painting. It is all store front and the work is easily viewed without going inside. A large pyramid shaped fountain trickles in front of the entrance. I started sketching immediately and I waited patiently for the other artists to set up and start to work. Artists who painted that evening included Danny Rock, Leroy Santos, Robert Moore and Darrell Johnson. I spoke to Darrell for sometime about his art. He uses intricate ink line work and watercolor washes so we had much in common.

On display in the Gallery were paintings that revolved around the theme of autism. Artists were given three months to create a painting of their meaning of autism. 100% of all sales went to The Academy of Autism. This sort of selfless giving sets Loft 55 apart as it makes a difference in the Orlando community. Since all the resident artists donated their artwork, Ashley showed her appreciation by inviting them for the judging and ceremony of the "Artist for Autism Challenge" on August 29, 2013.  There were some appetizers and a few refreshments. All art work was judged the night of the ceremony by three local advocates of the Orlando Arts and Culture community, Barbara Hartley the Director at City Arts Factory, Ashlie Rolfe, Showcase Director at RAW Artist and Samuel Rivera  Owner and Curator of Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique. The first place piece was a collaboration between Travis Smith and Ralph Verano. The second place piece was by Peter Van Flores III. All of the art from the "Art for a Social Change Project" will be exhibited at the Academy for Autism once it leaves Loft 55.

Ashley is an artist herself and she was a constant whirlwind of activity as I sketched. She sold several paintings, spoke to every artist and was returning art to an artist from a previous exhibit.  She set up fans outside the gallery to keep the artists comfortable in the twilight heat. She was working on small square paintings that were abstractions of flowers against a light blue sky that worked together as a triptych. All the artists bring different sensibilities to the gallery. Beautiful women in high heels clomped past the gallery to the downtown clubs. Other less fashionable locals used the water fountain I was sitting next to, or tried to use the bathroom which was unfortunately locked.

Mark Your Calendar! If you would like to join Ashlie Lawson and her resident artists on any Wednesday night, contact her by email: or by phone: 321-298-3806. Downtown is buzzing with creativity, be a part of the hip art scene.

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, September 15, 2013

Wind Down Wednesdays

On August 21st I went downtown to go sketch a Yelp Happy Hour. Colleen (Blue) Burns is the Yelp community manager who organizes such events. These get-togethers are a great way to meet fellow Yelpers, those people whose write reviews about restaurants and just about any venue - for friendly conversation, lots of laughs and experience new local hangouts. The event was to take place at Eternal Tap (116 W Church St, Orlando, FL). As I walked down Church Street I couldn't find and building numbers. I did however notice this large crowd of people gathered outside 55 West. This had to be a crowd of Yelpers.

I got busy sketching from a second story balcony.  An afternoon rain shower had just passed and the pavement was still sparkling wet. Drinks were available from under the green tent and loud music pulsed inside the establishment. I got to watch the social exchange as guys moved in to speak to women. The women were dressed to the 9's but some of the guys felt it was fine to show up in blue jeans. I was in jeans myself but I was separate from the happy hour scene.

A policeman stood vigil at the Church Street circle waiting for drunken mischief.  It began to sprinkle and the gathering quickly darted inside. With the sketch done I peeked inside. This was Urban Flats (55 West Church Street Orlando FL) which is a chain restaurant. Lights flashed and the walls vibrated from the deep base in the music. Bars along Church Street were just starting to fill up. Eternal Tap must be further down Church Street, closer to the Amway Center. Pan handlers had moved into their positions for their daily take. Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique (55 West Church Street Suite 114 Orlando FL) was just a few steps away. I had met Ashlie Lawson, partner and director of marketing of this Micro-gallery just a few days before at the Solar Games open house. Mark Your Calendar! Every Wednesday artists gather outside the gallery to paint live and talk about art to passers by. Artists set up about 7pm and then paint late into the night. Hit a happy hour and then hang with some artists.

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, September 14, 2013

The Artist's Survival Guide

The Artist Survival Guide, organized by Brendan O'Connor, is an Urban ReThink Signature Series event recurring monthly. It aims to provide artists and the artistically curious with the building blocks needed for professional creative careers in Central Florida, and will culminate in a printed Artist’s Survival Guidebook after 12 months of programming. Artists art enthusiasts, and the artistically curious gathered to find out about the building blocks needed to be successful in Orlando and Central Florida.

The first installment was an introduction to the Arts in Central Florida. Panelists included: Jessica Bryce Young the Arts and Culture Editor at the Orlando Weekly, Devin Dominguez the Director of Development at the Art and History Museums of Moorland, Flora Maria Garcia, President and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida, Donna Dowless, Official Ambassador of Love for the City of Orlando an accomplished local artist and art supporter, and Terry Olson, Director at Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs, at the Maitland.

Flora noted that the arts in Orlando, tend to be overshadowed by the theme park industry. Private funding isn't as high as it is in similarly sized cities. The problem is that people in Orlando come from other states so when they invest in the arts they first consider their home state or city. People come and go from Orlando in a constant stream. Donna insisted artists need a stiff spine. If a creative idea is shot down, the artist should realize that "No" is just the first step. Keep asking and pitching ideas until "Yes" is the answer. Jessica noted that since Orlando is a smaller city, it is much easier for an individual artist to make a difference. Terry briefly spoke about a program that Cole NeSmith started that brought the arts to the streets of Orlando every day for a week. Devin restated something Andrew Spears had told her, that an artist needs to be creative daily. Donna pointed out that one thing most artists need, and some never find, is a "voice" that permeates all of their work.

The gallery scene in Orlando still is a mystery to me. Most paintings I see are on the walls of bars and restaurants. I've read of instances where patrons have censored and stolen art on restaurant walls. It amazes me that artists pay to exhibit their work at City Arts Factory. Donna said that the cost to exhibit art work used to be much higher.

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, September 13, 2013

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Weekend Top 6 Picks
Saturday September 14, 2013
7am to 9am. Run. Party. ROCK! Free to watch. Lake Concord Park 95 Triplet Lake Drive Casselberry, FL. Rock n' roll reigns supreme at the 2nd race of the Track Shack Running Series! The Autumn Rock n' Run 5k features the high energy, live music runners and walkers love. Event proceeds benefit cultural arts organizations in Casselberry.

11am to 3pm. Galactic Encounter Day. $18 Saturday and Sunday. Orange County Regional History Center 65E. Central Blvd. Storm troopers and more! Star Wars Fangasm!

11:30am to 1:30pm. Rally In The Park To SAVE The Capen House. Winter Park's Central Park, adjacent to the rose garden. They'll be activities for the kids, speakers, music!

Sunday September 15, 2013
10am to Noon. SeaWorld protest!! We will gather in the grassy median at the entrance to SeaWorld SeaWorld Orlando 7007 SeaWorld Dr., Orlando, Fl. In the wild, Orcas live in large , intricate social groups and swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean. Orcas at SeaWorld are confined to enclosures that to them are like bathtubs, and these animals are unable to engage in most natural behaviors. Join ARFF in speaking out at this peaceful protest All signs and leaflets will be provided.

4pm Southern Fried End of Summer Shake up. $10-$12 Mills 50 Venues, Wills Pub, Lil Indies, Peacock Room. Southern BBQ and live music.

9pm to 11pm Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. Free. Natura Coffee and Tea 12078 Collegiate Way Orlando FL. 407 482-5000

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

Solar Games Open House

At Taste of the Nation, I met Bradley Bulifant, who is the Executive Producer of  The Solar Games. On August 16th, I went to an open house at 37 N. Orange Ave. Suite #603 Orlando, FL where the game was being presented to Full Sail Masters students and faculty. The idea I imagine was to recruit thesr students to further develop the game. At the open house, I got to meet the creative team behind this project.

The game involves solar powered cars racing in an exotic Haiti landscape. The premise is, that, "The  year is 2033. Global climate change efforts of the past 20 years have failed. The environmental apocalypse has arrived and its causing surreal and comedic events. The global community has one last hope by creating a race for change, an environmental Olympics...The Solar Games. A social impact video game that creates renewable energy access solutions.

The Solar Games will work to catalyze a sustainable solar program and partnership network by using 50% OF GAME PROFITS for a 0% interest fund for micro finance institutions (MFI) in Haiti. This fund will allow MFI's and Haitian installers to supply, install and warranty solar systems for medical clinics, schools and households with electricity access.

The Solar Games Kickstarter has so far raised $13,305 towards the $346,532 goal. This game is the first in a series of planned social impact video games that will ultimately help areas around the world that need access to electricity. This is the first time I have ever heard of video games being used as a power for good.

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, September 12, 2013

Alfond Contemporary Art Collection

On August 19th the new Alfond Inn, a Preferred Boutique Hotel, opened in Winter Park (300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park FL).  Owned by Rollins College, a private coeducational liberal arts college in Winter Park, The was built with a $12.5-million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation.  Net operating income from the Inn will be directed to The Alfond Scholars program fund, the College's premier scholarship fund, for the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50 million, whichever comes later. The 112-room boutique hotel features Hamilton's Kitchen restaurant, a pool and fitness center, and 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The Alfond Inn is poised to become the new hub of dynamic Winter Park, which The New York Times recently called "a sophisticated alternative to Disney."

Baker Barrios Architects of Orlando were responsible for the Inn's architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. Built in the Spanish Mediterranean revival style, The Alfond Inn echoes the classic look of Rollins College and of Winter Park homes designed by noted 20th century architect James Gamble Rogers II. The use of arches, columns, decorative wrought iron, overhanging trellises covered with flowering vegetation and formal courtyards are the essence of the elegant Winter Park design vernacular. Throughout the hotel are artworks from The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College, established by longtime donors and alumni Barbara and Ted Alfond.

Since Orlando has very few museums or galleries, I went to the hotel with the express intent to view the art collection. It is an eclectic collection of modern representational and abstract work.  One piece, by Vik Muniz, was mounted behind glass and was based on "Absinth Drinker" by Edgar Degas. It was created using thousands of images torn from magazines. Had it been the original painting, I would have been impressed. On the opposite wall, "Color Coordinated Currency", by Michael E. Jone, consisted of a series of images of bills that were the same color framed together.  I asked at the front desk if there was a brochure that showed where each of the pieces from the collection were located. I was told that a brochure was in the works. I'm not sure how much of the art collection I saw.

The new waitress joked with the good old boys seated at the center table. One of them enlightened her on how grits should be prepared. Guests wandered by periodically and several admitted they were lost. I must admit this is a gorgeous hotel. Although there was an introductory "Welcome Rate" at the Inn that started at $99 per night, based on double occupancy, you will likely be charged over $189. I asked about the "Welcome Rate" at the front desk and no one knew anything about it.

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, September 11, 2013

Shadow Play

On September third, I went to Movement Arts Studio (1602 Philadelphia Ave, Orlando FL) to watch a rehearsal of a dance piece by Holly Harris. The two performers were Rebekah Lane and Ariel Clarke. Becky has an acting/puppetry background and Ariel is a contemporary dancer and instructor at Focus Performing Arts Center in Lake Mary. Both are representing Canvas Creative Movement Coalition at The Shift Unity in Motion.

Holly explained the premise behind the creative movement and dance piece. "A year ago I read through some silly fables from a book called, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day. A three-line poem in that book stood out to me called The Shadow."

'Once there was a man was was afraid of his shadow.
Then he met it.
Now he glows in the dark.'

"When Larissa asked me to present an experimental movement piece for The Shift, I immediately went to my idea board to find this poem. I thought I could lead an audience on an imaginative journey of sight, sound, and feeling through the art of creative movement. In the beginning of the duet, you see Becky reading and as she yawns she suddenly takes notice of her shadow for the very first time. She is connecting the black mass that is seen on the stage floor with the light coming from the lamp and it confuses and frightens her. One minute into the piece, her shadow is personified by another dancer, who at first alarms her but then reveals that she is simply an abstract continuation of her body and mind as they move in sync together. As the piece continues to develop, the shadow guides Becky into exploring the mysteries of the world that often go by unnoticed like a solitary shadow."

This rehearsal space is inside a huge warehouse with tapestries and gilded mirrors on the walls. Large blue fabric was draped elegantly over the long dancer's mirror. The rehearsal involved Becky and Ariel developing the first three minutes of the piece.One particularly memorable moment involved Becky walking in a wide arc ad Becky as her shadow matched her steps as she rotated on her hips on the floor. Movement was developed in a playful collaboration. Holly watched the dancers shadows to be sure everything worked.

Mark Your Calendar!  The Shift which involved pieces developed by six dance companies will be September 13th and 14th in the Goldman Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins Street Orlando FL) at 8pm. Tickets at the door are $20.

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, September 10, 2013

10th Annual La Maschera

Mark Your Calendar! The 10th Annual La Maschera event will be happening at The Abbey, 100 South Eola Avenue Orlando FL) on Friday September 27th 2013. Be sure to bring your favorite Mardi Gras mask and dress to kill. Tickets are $50. The partying starts at 7pm and goes till 11pm. The proceeds from this event will benefit the downtown Arts District.

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

Mary Love Projects

On August 18th, I went to the Center for Contemporary Dance off Aloma Avenue in Winter Park to sketch a Mary Love Dance Projects rehearsal leading up to "The Shift, Unity in Motion". For that particular show, she is doing some solo works, so there were only one or two dancers at rehearsals. This dance company has six company dancers and two apprentices.

 Mary Love Dance Projects will be doing three dances in The Shift, all are solos and distinctly different in their tone and emotion. Mary Love choreographed two dances, but at this rehearsal she was learning "Young and Beautiful" choreographed by Jennia ShanleyJennia greeted me at the front desk when I arrived at the dance studio.

The two dancers warmed up and stretched for a bit and then Jennia set up her laptop on a chair in the corner of the dance studio. She played a video of the "Young and Beautiful" dance routine which was about  three minutes in length. The goal for this rehearsal was for Mary to learn the entire minute routine. Jennia had improvised sections of the routine so she had to refresh her memory using the video periodically.

The music for this piece was by Lana Del Ray. Mary Love began in the chair admiring herself with a hand mirror and then the dance spiraled outwards like a nautilus shell. Every moment seemed physically demanding yet graceful. When Jennia stopped to go over a new section, Mary had a moment to regroup and catch her breath. I was astonished at how fast Mary retained the physical memory of each and every movement. Lana sang "Will you still love me when I'm not young and beautiful" with her sultry voice as Mary moved her arms in graceful arcs. Though just a rehearsal, moments gave me chills.

By the end of the rehearsal, Mary was spent, lying on her back to catch her breath.  She had learned the entire routine and will continue to rehearse this piece at least once a week if not more until the show. Mark Your Calendar!  "The Shift, Unity in Motion" will feature six local dance companies on September 13th and 14th in the Goldman Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins Street, Orlando FL) at 8pm. Tickets at the door are $20, and $14 for students and seniors.

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, September 9, 2013

Sara Knee-ds You!

On August 13th I went to Redlight Red Light (2810 Corrine Drive, Orlando, FL) to attend a fundraiser for barkeep Sara who had an unfortunate accident. While working out at the gym, she tore the lateral meniscus in her right knee almost in half. The injury left her unable to work, walk, or bike (which is her only form of transportation). The surgery and physical therapy required to get her back on her feet is going to cost between 7,000 and 10,000 dollars. While she has the love and support of friends in the time being, surgery is imminent and will need to take place in the near future to avoid permanent damage. Being that the price tag is a wee-bit heavy, Redlight Red Light hosted a benefit in her honor to help her raise the funds she needs to recover to get back to slingin’ beers and stealthy biking.

Some special kegs were tapped and all of the proceeds were donated to her surgery. Since I'm a fan of drinking for a cause, I ordered one of Sara's beers to sip as I sketched. Erica Abalos-Hernandez, formerly of Bee's Knees had some huge chocolate chip cookies for sale. She explained that there was a dash of sea salt on them which compliments the sweetness. I had to try one. It was so good, especially washed down with the beer. Later she walked the room with someones child on her hip. Sarah took her place behind the chocolate chip station with her crutches leaning up against a table next to her. I spoke with her briefly about biking in Orlando. She lives downtown and used to bike everywhere. She knows all the back roads routes to Redlight Red Light. She described her knee injure in some grizzly detail and I was glad I could help out in my way. The room grew crowded as I sketched. It was heart warming to see so many people coming together to help someone in the community.

When I ordered a second beer, my sketch started looking pretty good. Donated beer bottles filled a pew and several tables. There were silent auction items such as gift baskets, a meal for two at The Table (a value of $240) and $100 meal at Eola Wine Company. Donated items also came from Black Bean Deli, Will’s Pub, Dear Prudence, Oblivion Taproom, Wild Ocean Seafood, the Enzian, the Gnarly Barley, College Park Yoga, Stacole Fine Wines, Imperial, Sushi Lola’s, Lineage Coffee Roasting, and others. Artwork was also being auctioned off.

The Sara Knee-ds You! Fundraiser was a huge success. With everyone's generosity,  $6,500 was raised towards barkeep Sara's knee surgery and physical therapy. Sara said, "To everyone who attended on Tuesday, donated, raffled, drank some beer, brought me coffee, drove me around, made me food, offered me a piggy back ride, or sent some thoughtful words my way, my sincerest gratitude. Because of the overwhelming amount of support I’ve received from friends, patrons, and small businesses in our community, I will be able to fund my surgery. I wish I had more than words to express how thankful I am. Witnessing the generosity in people has been a wonderful, humbling, life changing experience. There is no feeling more amazing than realizing you are not alone. Thank you."

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, September 8, 2013

Barnes & Noble

I went to Barnes and Noble in Plaza Venezia (7900 W. Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL) on a Sunday afternoon to do a sketch for a London Publisher for a book fair. My job was to be sure I caught plenty of people looking through the books. The coffee shop was crowded, but they didn't want it to seem like people were reading a whole book while sipping coffee without paying. I wandered the isles and confronted with the terrifying fact that the place was largely deserted. Only one guy sat on the floor in the business section devouring a book. I circled him but decided that the business section was too barren a landscape.

I finally settled into the bargain section of the bookstore figuring people might consider these marked down books as a present.  The counter where they were selling Nooks was one isle to my right. That digital devise is slowly making bookstores obsolete. I'm guilty of getting Terry a Nook as a present and she just packed it in her luggage, happy it weighed less than any book. At the end of isles were end cap displays which publishers have to pay extra money to showcase their books. The books available in the end caps that I could see were classics like Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice. Many of the books to my left were self help books. One young woman flipped through a book called "Bad Girls, Great Sex" for the longest time. To my right were the Bargain Basement Books.

A woman looked over my shoulder for a bit and then told me, "I was just just been talking to my girl friend about wanting to do pen and ink drawings with watercolor washes, and then here you are!" She shouted to her friend, "Hey Sally, get over here! Forget that, come here, you have to see this." Her friend confirmed their conversation. I explained that my sketch was about half done. They asked what the sketch was for and I explained that it was to promote a London Book Fair. "You mean London England, not London Illinois where I'm from right?" It felt good knowing she would likely go home and pick up her sketchbook and start filling it with lines and washes.

My butt was aching from sitting on my artists stool by the time the sketch was done. I probably spent more time on this sketch because I had to capture so many books. There was a low rumble of Thunder and lightning flashed outside.  I decided the sketch was done, and I ran out to my car before the skies opened up.

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, September 7, 2013

New Moon Circle

On August 5th, I went to Dandelion Communitea Cafe (618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando FL) to sketch the New Moon Circle. Each and every New and Full moon, people gather to celebrate the cycle of time. The Moon Circles are non-religious, and open for people of any walk, faith, race or creed to come and enjoy. This a sacred space where you can express your true self with music, rhythm, dance and trance. These rhythm circles are geared for musicians that play softer drums like frame, tabla, jugs, bells or any other type of light percussion instruments. Guitar, sitar, didgeridoo, signing bowls, flute, harmonica, signing and laughter also have a home under the Bodhi Tree which is in the garden beside Dandelion Communitea Cafe. The circles are a way to celebrate harmony in the community.

Borrowing from Native American, East Indian, Middle East and Celtic traditions the music experienced here excites, sooths and nourishes and your mind, body and soul. The Drum circle is organized by the Florida School of Holistic Living. The school, seeks to connect our community with the planetary cycles that affect all of us, even in urban environments, such as seasonal cycles, planting cycles, and lunar cycles. They believe that by living in greater harmony with the natural cycles that guide us, we develop a greater relationship to the planet and thus it becomes easier to walk our path lightly upon her.

On this evening several dozen people gathered in a circle which was lit with an LED light strip. In the center of the circle was a  metal bucket full of candles. A young woman lit the candles as it grew dark. Storm clouds gathered darkening the sky early. I used my weather radar app on my iPhone and it looked like a small storm cell was heading our way. I sketched as fast as I could. It began to rain with sporadic large drops at first and then a waterfall. I put up my umbrella and kept working. A tent was erected and the remaining musicians huddled under it. Despite the thunder and lightning several women danced in the rain lifting their arms to the sky as they spun. The candles had long since been snuffed out by the rain, but when the rain stopped, they were dried off and re-lit. The drumming and dancing continued as I left with my soggy sketchbook.

Mark Your Calendar! On Saturday September 21st,  the Largest Drum Circle in the World  will happen as people around the world drum on Peace One Day 2013. Drumming in Orlando will begin at 10:30am. The exact location has yet to be determined.

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, September 6, 2013

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Weekend Top 6 Picks
Saturday September 7, 2013
7pm Silent Auction, 8pm Show PLAY-IN-A-DAY 2013 (Season Kick-Off). $15 Lake Howell High School Theatre (4200 Dike Road, Orlando FL). Beth Marshall Presents is thrilled to once again be in partnership with Lake Howell High School and Penguin Point Productions for our second year to be kicking off our 2013-14  season with a long-time theatrical community event: PLAY-IN-A-DAY! A group of 100 artists coming together to write, direct, act and fully produce 9 different short plays all with the same theme (given 24 hours in advance) to present an evening of fun theatrical enjoyment for the community.

11am to 6pm Big Bang Bazaar.  $5 Maitland Civic Center (641 S. Maitalnd Ave. Maitland FL). Local Arts and Crafts.

8pm Orlando Drum Circle. Free.  Orlando Brewing (1301 Atlanta Avenue Orlando FL).

Sunday September 8, 2013
Noon to 4pm Raul Colon Show. Orlando Museum of Art (2416 North Mills Ave Orlando FL). Children's book Illustrator. On view through November 3rd.

1pm to 3pm Film Slam. $5 Enzian Theater (1300 South Orlando Avenue  Maitland, FL). Films by local film makers.

10pm to Midnight  Sick Of It Presents: Rancid Karaoke Cover Set. Will's Pub (1042 N. Mills Avenue, Orlando, Fl). You come up out of the crowd and sing your favorite Rancid songs with a live band...YOU'RE the singer!

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

Casselberry House

The Florida Painters Group had their annual exhibition at the Casselberry House (125 Quail Pond Circle in Casselberry, Fl) in June. The show included paintings from 15 artists, who are mostly landscape painters. I went to the opening reception to see the work.

Show participants were: Ann Gale Holstein, Robert Ross, Carol Platt, Cathy Hempel, Cori Garret, Diane Walters, Gary Rupp, Gary Sisco, Karen Minnigan, Kim Ashby, Laura Bates, Lynn Tolar, Lynne Polley, Mary Martin, Orit Reuben, Rosa Bujali and Seemi Usmani.

The paintings that most caught my eye were by Robert Ross. He did a painting inside the  Capen House. This historic Winter Park home was slated for demolition, but locals are raising funds to save the house and float it across the lake Osceola to the Albin Polasek Museum where it would be lovingly preserved.

After viewing the paintings I decided to sketch Louis Alfredo playing guitar. He was quite good and several people actually danced as he played. For the most part however people shouted at one another in the crowded space and didn't notice the incredible talent in the corner.

Cami Smith who is an industry outreach liaison at Full Sail introduced herself. When she found out I had worked at Disney Feature Animation, she asked me if I knew Aaron Blaise. Of course I knew Aaron who had co-directed "Brother Bear". He had taken a research trip to Alaska for that film and his sketchbook from that trip was absolutely inspiring. Aaron had gone on to work at Digital Domain in South Florida but that company went bankrupt before they could finish an animated film about an elephant. I heard Aaron was returning to Orlando. Cami informed me that he is hoping to produce a Computer Animated film called "Art Story" about a boy and his grandfather who travel into the worlds of famous paintings. She showed me the Kickstarter page and Aaron has successfully raised the $350,000 needed to further develop the story. I like the story's message, "Life is a blank canvas, now go paint your masterpiece."

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, September 5, 2013

Ballet Class - ME Dance, Inc.

I went to the Raskin Dance Studio (2143 Partin Settlement Rd; Kissimmee Fl) to sketch an open Professional Ballet Class run by William Marshall Ellis the founder of ME Dance. The class is open to all intermediate and advanced dancers every Monday Night at 8:30pm. The cost is $10 per class. I was surprised at how crowded the class got. Several dozen dancers stretched and worked at the bars. While stretching dancers got to gossip and catch up on their complex lives.

The ME Dancers would be performing at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center for the Red Chair Affair on August 24th. They woud be performing "Journey" with music by, you guessed it, Journey.  In this piece the dancers wear loose fitting 80's styled outfits while dancing to "Don't Stop Believing." Dancers who performed at Red Chair included, Rachel Aimee, Shannon MacLaren, Alex Schudde, Rachel McKeever, Stephanie MaMahon, Krista Wilson and Emily Williams. Marshall is preparing for the upcoming dance season. Incredibly most venues are booked solid. This is good news to know the Orlando dance scene is thriving but now that this new dance company has build a full repertory, they need a home to showcase it in.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Urban Art Museum: Kickstarting Party

Jai Gallery, (101 S. Garland Ave, Suite 101, Orlando, Fl), held a Kickstarter party for the Urban Art Museum on August 9th.  The Urban Art Museum is NOT a building, it is a project designed to enhance the cultural and artistic experience in the city of Orlando by providing public art installations  that are meaningful, and beautiful. It is art with a vision and a purpose. Gallery owners Coralie Claeson-Gleyson and Dennis Liddy welcomed everyone warmly to Jai.

Behind the stage, photos of Greek antiquities on aluminum were by local artist Josh Garrick.  His work will soon hang in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. The museum is ranked as one of the top ten museums in the world and t his is the first time an American has ever exhibited in this prestigious museum so this is a true benchmark. Mayor Buddy Dyer and Linda Chapin were at the opening for Josh's photos as well as George Kakava the National Archaeological Museum's curator who was flown in from Greece.

The project is spearheaded by architects James Cornetet and Wes Featherston, who have offices in the newly restored Cameo Theater. James took the microphone and briefly explained the project for the patrons in the gallery.  James told me that is important for people to "like" the Urban Art Museum on Facebook since a large number helps him promote the idea to local and national businesses. The first art installation will be by artist Marcos Cruz who specializes in using acid-etched aluminum. Marcos has pieces in the new Amway Center garage at each of the elevator doors. He had school children in Parramore create drawings which he then acid etched into metal. Unfortunately the school children never got to see the finished work that they helped create. It is a shame that the city didn't follow through by funding a reception where the kids could see the art installed. It might have made a huge impact for a child to see their art permanently on display in public. Marcos had some smaller pieces on display in Jai Gallery that had a flower pattern cut out of the raw aluminum. One piece was sold that night.

The Kickstarter raised over $4,000 which is enough to fund the first installation which will appear in the Mills-50 District at 934 N. Mills Avenue. There is a tight gap between buildings that pedestrians would throw bottles, beer cans and other garbage into. The plan is to have a tall vertical aluminum facade that would block the space and beautify the area. The metal sculpture might also incorporate a back lit display. Marcos explained that he might incorporate some of the visual history associated with the site. Hopefully the Urban Art Museum will continue to expand creating a more vibrant city.

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, September 3, 2013

The Holy and Obscene

On my drive to The Falcon (819 E. Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Fl), the skies to the north loomed ominous with lightning flashes and low rumbling thunder. I was on my way to see the first solo show of Morgan Wilson. I've seen Morgan's work a number of times around town, and I've seen her paint. This show was appropriately titled "The Holy and Obscene". Morgan paints beautiful women but each piece has a dark and sensual subplot. I admire the chances she takes by focusing on themes far astride of what is often seen in this homogeneous white bread theme park town. Tod Caviness who was at the bar with his wife Christin, bought me a beer, a Spitzen Oktoberfest brew that quickly went to my head. I hope they weren't insulted by the fact that I immediately wandered off to sketch.

I met Blair Richardson, a dear friend of the artist, who was the model for the center painting in this sketch. She confided that Morgan had asked to take pictures of her. When Blair asked what the photos were for, Morgan explained that it was a surprise. When Blair walked into the exhibition, tears welled up in her eyes when she saw the painting. A crown of  thick nails were driven into the painting.  Morgan was humbled to know that her work could elicit such a strong emotional response. She then joked, that maybe her friend was just vain. I doubt that. Each painting was in an intricate frame that accentuated the sensuality.

As I sketched, the exhibit became increasingly crowded. The Falcon barista, Wendy Claitor let me know that Melissa Schumann, the owner of the Falcon said that my beers were on the house.  Well heck, I'll have another then! I needed to refill my water brush, so I took out a vile and syringe that I use to get water in the brush handle. I like the fact that it makes me look a bit like a drug addict. I've done this a thousand times, but this time, I misjudged and pulled on the syringe plunger too hard. It popped loose sending the pink plastic bottle crashing to the floor and water sprayed everywhere soaking my sketch and pants. Artist Janae Corrado helped me recover the bottle and all the pencils that fell off my lap when I jumped up in surprise. Janae remarked that, "At least the beer didn't spill!" I really shouldn't drink and draw. I'm such a lush.

A red dot was placed under the round painting of a woman with a gold tiara that said "Fuck". Another painting was of one of the Yow Dancers all in blue with golden armor. A huge slug mounted a nude woman on all fours. Morgan posed for photos and discussed her work with patrons. Two guys seated next to me where discussing Morgan's work. She had decided to work on a sketch at a table outside and one of the men went out to watch her. When he returned, he said you can learn much about an artist by seeing how they work. He was fascinated by Morgan claiming she was more interesting than her paintings. I can't imagine why anyone would want to separate the two. He felt that many of the paintings resembled the artist. Apparently a painting of a woman with a ruffled collar had to be reworked multiple times because Morgan kept painting the penis too big. The guys joked that she needed to paint many more cocks till she got it right.

Morgan explained, "I tried to avoid being too 'preachy' with the theme, but there's definitely some undertones of religion and royalty! My work is meant to create a meeting place for the elevated and degraded, the holy and obscene. My most recognizable theme, through all mediums, is a pervasive sexuality. At times subtle and sensual, there is always a lurking secret begging to be discovered by my viewers, the incidental voyeurs. Peering into a world meant to mirror every dark velvety desire, even those unrealized or unimagined. I aim to remind the viewer that desire and despair are not deep-buried things: they exist in every detail of who we are. In a way, the things we love and fear are what make us more than simply human."

Mark your Calendar! Morgan's work is on display at the Falcon through September 26th. I'm a huge fan of this woman's work. Don't miss it.

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