Monday, March 31, 2014

Sion Dayson

Sion Dayson was the resident writer in the Kerouac House for the winter 2013 writer in residence. She was working in the Kerouac House through the holidays and into the new year. Sion came to Orlando from Paris.  When I visited, she had just finished work on her first novel, When Things Were Green, and was exploring new ideas. Her friend, Frédéric Monpierre, was also on hand. He is a filmmaker and he wandered around shooting footage with his digital DSLR camera. Every time he took a shot, the camera would beep loudly. It was like R2D2 kept complaining every few minutes. Regardless there was a certain magic as three artist each explored their craft.

Before Sion settled in to write, there was a knock at the front door. Two middle aged men wanted to know if they could walk through the house. She obliged, bringing them to the back of the house where Jack Kerouac wrote the Dharma Bums.  Apparently this is a regular occurrence. When the literary tourists left, she finally settled in to work. I rather enjoyed the fact that she wore bright pink slippers while she worked.

She was working on an essay about the emotional scars that everyone carries with them. There was a long moment where she paused to gather her thoughts. She held her hands under her chin almost as if she were praying. She stayed like that for the longest time before she once again attacked the page with her pen. I was intrigued by her forceful grip on the pen making it seem like she were etching her words into granite.

Sion Dayson is an American writer living in Paris, France. Her work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, Utne Reader, The Wall Street Journal, Numero Cinq and several anthologies including Strangers in Paris and Seek It: Writers and Artists Do Sleep, among other venues. She has been a past winner of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant for her fiction and her novel manuscript placed on the short list for finalists in the William Faulkner Wisdom Competition. She earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can find out more about her work at her website,

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, March 30, 2014


On Friday February 14th I joined my wife Terry and her friend Elaine Pasekoff as they explored Renningers Antiques Fair. This is an Annual pilgrimage that has been going on for decades. Usually Bob Newlin would fly in from Washington DC, but he was snowed in by an intense snowstorm. We stayed in a Best Western the night before and got up at the break of dawn to hit Renningers. Elaine always makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and she used the hotel jelly packets to complete the task at breakfast.

We parked in the grass being directed by two attendants who were arguing with each other. There was a small entry fee and our hands were stamped. I immediately started hunting for a sketch while Terry and Elaine shopped. I settled on this antique sign dealer. His name was Rick Shields and the company was called Southern Pickers. The company slogan was "we buy rust." This lot was in the valley just as you entered. Up the hill were all the food vendors with an ice cream cone being the most obvious landmark. Elaine and Terry found me and they left their purchases next to my chair so they didn't have to carry them around.

I was seated in front of "Rustic Stuff of the South". Jerry Douthit was building wooden cases that could encase snugly fit coolers. The hammering attracted costumers and the rustic looking cooler stands were quite attractive and functional. The hot sellers had Gator and Seminole football logos. Since I was sitting in the direct sun, I rushed the sketch so I could find some shade. With the sketch done, I approached Rick and asked him if he had a business card. He said he had handed them all out. I then showed him the sketch and he reached into his pocked and pulled out a card. He explained that he had to ration them. He asked me for my card an I told him that I had handed them all out. Later in the day, I discovered a bunch of business cards in my wallet.

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, March 29, 2014

Orlando Folk Festival

On Sunday February 9th, I went to the 12th Annual Orlando Folk Festival at The Mennello Museum of American Art 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, Fl. The had rained the previous day so everyone was happy for the sunshine. After talking with Tod Caviness and his wife Christin for a moment, I immediately focused on the kids painting a fence Tom Sawyer style. Of course Tom Sawyer only had white paint while these kids had their pick of the rainbow. Some kids would focus on a small area with laser beam attention to fine detail while others used the brush with bold bravado. I believe this fence is re-used every year and the paint is growing as thick as the continental crust. A volunteer would fill plastic cups with paint and put an artist's smock on each child. Don't mock the smock. Parents stood guard to be sure that the paint went on the wall rather than on other children.

The two stages for folk singers were behind me, so I got to relax to their gentle harmonies. People set up blankets and lawn chairs in the shade to listen. A family on a blanket near me had a bunch of kids who were getting antsy. I boy threw a stick that hit me in the back. The mom said, "Say your sorry Bobby." He remained silent. "He really is sorry" she said. The kids started playing tag and I began to feel I was in the middle of a war zone. One little girl tripped over my art bag. They really weren't looking where they were going. With the sketch done, I retreated to a quieter neutral zone.

I spotted Emily Empel and her friends and I sat to chat with them for the last set. Emily had been a presenter at Pecha Kucha on the same evening I had presented. It was interesting to hear her take about how the evening went. From my perspective Emily's presentation had been flawless. But she confided that she had been very nervous that night. I think I had been to committed to what I had written and Emily felt the same. Other presenters memorized their talks while others just knew key points that they wanted to cover. Becky Lane, a speech coach at Full Sail had encouraged me to just have key points but I was already too committed to the exact words I had written. Regardless, looking back at the video, the presentation went pretty well. I'm glad I stepped outside my comfort zone. I need to do that more often.

When the band finished playing I headed home. l bumped into Carl Knickerbocker who had his "Art Car" at the festival. He used large magnetic sheets to cover a car with his bold Suburban folk images. He has a short film in this year's Florida Film Festival titled "The Last Orange Grove in Middle Florida." I can't wait to see 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

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday March 29, 2014
1pm to 3pm Free. Thor Book Signing at Snap!  Inside the historic Cameo Theater, (1013 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL).Thomas Thorspecken, the artist and producer of Analog Artist Digital World, will sign copies of his new book, "Urban Sketching, A Complete Guide to Techniques." There will be a guided tour of the exhibit with the stories behind many of the sketches in the exhibit. There will also be a "Digital Scavenger Hunt." Guests will be given a list of questions when they arrive, and the answers can only be found by scanning the QR codes on the sketch labels using a smart phone. The answers can be easily found in the Analog Artist Digital World articles that the QR codes link to. The first guest to answer all the questions correctly will get a free copy of the book.

6pm to 9pm Tickets are $100 for members/$130 for general public and sponsorships still available.  For tickets and more information, click here. pARTicipation  Maitland Art Center (231 Packwood Ave W, Maitland, FL). One of Central Florida’s most intriguing and popular fundraising events, the A&H’s Participation is an innovative sensory experience; one where artists turn tables into art installations and guests dine with the selected artist. Guests learn from the artist and create their own works of art in an evening of elegant dining, performances, and art, all in the beautiful setting of the A&H’s Maitland Art Center campus.

6pm to 9pm Free.  McRae Art Studios Spring Open House & Sale. 904 Railroad Ave. Suite 200, in Winter Park FL.During the open house, the public is invited to meet and talk to artists in their studios at McRae, the oldest and largest artist collective in Central Florida. More than 1,000 artworks will be on display including paintings, prints, photographs, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry and pottery.

Sunday March 30, 2013
10am to Noon. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever. We are inviting Orlando to come with us on a fun filled bike ride of awesomeness on the last Sunday of the month. Dress like a superhero, hop on a bike, and follow our scavenger hunt list of Good Deeds as we all try to save the world with small acts of kindness.

2pm to 5pm. The entry fee is $8 with $1 off per canned food item(up to 3 cans) More than 3 cans are of course welcomed. Poca's Hottest 3rd Annual Hot Sauce Cook Off and Can Drive. Will's Pub & the attached Track Shack lot (1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL.) This years cook off/can drive is in conjunction with Mills 50 District and 1 in 4 Strike Against Hunger to raise awareness of the hunger situation in Orlando (many Orlando families are skipping 1 out of four meals due to poverty) and to collect food to provide to Ferncreek Elementary students and their families.As usual there are only 3 rules to the cook off:
1) You must use at least one of Poca's Hottest sauces in your recipe.
2) You must provide at least 60 1oz portions (approx.1/2 aluminum chafer pan full)
3) You must be willing to share your recipe & provide a copy of it with your entry (the winning dishes will be featured in Poca's Hottest 2014 cook book)
There is no cost to enter a dish in the cook off and all entrants will receive free entry to the cook off.
Prizes will include the full collection of Poca's Hottest sauces (over $100 value)
One 2014 Poca's Hottest T shirt
The coveted Poca's Hottest trophy ;)
A featured spot in the Poca's Hottest 2014 cook book
And best of all one full year of bragging rights ;)

7pm to 10pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 (cash only) at the door. SEASONS Mix & Mingle Cabaret! City Arts Factory (29 S. Orange Ave Orlando FL.)  The SEASONS Mix & Mingle Cabaret is a night of open ended entertainment. Join us for one show, or stay for all four! Either way you won't leave disappointed and you will be able to show your support for new and original works coming out of the Orlando theatre community.Come meet the cast and hear a sneak peak performance of material from the highly anticipated Orlando Fringe Festival debut of SEASONS The Musical! Also come enjoy the beautiful galleries of the CityArts Factory in downtown Orlando along with special guest performers: Summer Aiello, Meghan Moroney, Mark Taylor, Sarah Hanchar - The Happy Pink Girl!, and the amazing comedic talents of Mark Daniels! The evening will be topped off with the unsinkable master of ceremonies: Mark Baratelli!
The evening will include a cash bar, raffles including Christian Louboutin scarf, SAK Comedy Lab tickets, Spooky Empire tickets, and more! We will have items for sale from Seasons merchandise to jewelry. All proceeds from the night will benefit Seasons.

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, March 27, 2014

Maxine's on Shine

I went to Maxine's on Shine (337 Shine Avenue Orlando FL) of February 8th, to listen to Roger Docking on Guitar. Maxine's is a local gem and is booked solid on weekends so reservations are strongly suggested. Since I was on my own, I found a spot 2t the bar. Maxine was at a fundraiser for the Ballet, but her husband greeted everyone warmly. I ordered an Orange Blossom beer and started sketching. For dinner I ordered the lasagna which was quite delectable.

Roger Docking recognized me. I had sketched him in the past because he was once a member of Andy Matchett and the Minx. That band performed together one last time several months ago at the cardboard art festival.  Andy explained to me that Minx was the last name of his former wife so the bands name was a bit archaic. They also used to use tons of confetti and toilet paper in their performances. Clean up after a show would be a nightmare. At a preview of my retrospective, Suzannah Gilman was talking about her recent experience watching Sting and Paul Simon in concert at the Amway Center. She had seats in the second row only a few feet from the stage. "Sting had to be the sexiest man I've ever seen." She said. She pointed out how well defined his arm muscles were and his pants showed off the muscles in his legs. She then demonstrated a subtle hip gyration Sting used in the performance. It wasn't a thrust, but more of a gentle grind. Andy practiced the move himself and I suspect it will find it's way into his next performance.

Another performer Joe Lamy, and his daughter came in half way into the first set. He sang harmony, following Roger's lead. I find that there is often a theme to my sketches. I pay attention to artists who are often unrecognized and perform as background ambiance. I think I identify with the artists who create beauty even if no one is listening.

My lasagna and drinks came to $28.71 and it was well worth it. The bill was enclosed in a book with a picture of the Mona Lisa on the cover. The title of the book was, "Stress, The Good and the Bad, Guilt Free Tension Control." Sketching is my tension control but also a constant source of stress. I should have read a chapter. Perhaps it was a sign.

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, March 26, 2014

Jimmy John's

Whenever I need to grab a quick bite downtown, I get a sub at Jimmy John's which is right across the street from City Arts Factory. This is seriously the fastest fast food imaginable and the subs have plenty of veggies like cucumbers. By the time the fountain drink is poured, the sandwich is ready. Between orders, the staff is busy cutting meats and veggies to keep the orders going quickly. All the slices are layered on sheets of wax paper so they can be added to a sandwich in one quick movement.

Outside bicycles are lined up for deliveries. I'm usually here after rush hour on my way to some art event. While doing this sketch, some guy must have assumed I was a manager because I was sketching. He asked where the bathrooms were and I pointed. After he was done, he lingered and mumbled to himself in annoyance. One of the staff told him he would have to order something or get 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, March 25, 2014

Mystery Sketch Theater

Mystery Sketch Theater happens every first Wednesday of the month. I went on February 5th. The sketch session happens in an empty warehouse in Winter Park, (784 Cherry St, Winter Park, FL). Kiki Aran was the model for the evening, dressed in a purple gown with a huge golden collar-breast plate and beltFor the February session, she was first dressed as Wonder Woman and then a female Ozymandias (comic version).

 Kiki is a college professor by day and a cosplay crafting junkie by night. Best known for her Zero Suit Samus cosplay, her interests include FPS and Survival horror games, cerebral anime, DC Comics, and anything BBC. You can find her on FaceBook, or you might have seen her at Megacon 2014.

As always there was a competition and artists were given the challenge of sketching Kiki in a battle with corgis, that is right, those stumpy British pups. The winner walked away with
Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, "My Neighbor Totoro" DVD. Since I already own the DVD I don't feel too bad. I was nowhere near finished when it came time to put the drawings on the model stand. I needed every minute to finish what I had started. As usual my attention shifted to the creators rather than just the model.

It always feels good having the luxury of a model who stays still.  I need to get out to these sketch sessions more often. The next Mystery Sketch Theater Presents, Tokyo Belle on Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00pm. The Warehouse is at 784 Cherry St, Winter Park, FL 32789.

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, March 24, 2014

The Cottage at Lake Lilly

Dawn Shreiner took over the Artist Critique and Conversation series at the Maitland Art Center from Josh Garrick. Dawn asked me to be a panelist on the evening of January 28th. The Facebook invitation said that the Critique would be at the Cottage at Lake Lilly, 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland FL.  I decided to get to the cottage early and sketch. As the sun set, it projected wonderful golden beams across the lawn. Big ugly ducks waddled right up to me to see what I was up to. Maybe they thought the paint was food. They eventually lost interest.

I found it odd that no one entered the cottage as I sketched. It was getting close to the start time of the critique as I finished up. Dawn finally arrived and I joined her on the porch. A small card was taped to the door that said the location had been changed to the Maitland Art Center. "Josh darn it!" Dawn said and she took off. I shouted out that I would be there soon.  I threw down a few more washes on my sketch then packed up to head over.

This artist development series offers artists a unique opportunity to have their work reviewed by a panel of professional artists. Camilo Velasquez was the other panelist. Ironically Camilo was the guest panelist the last time I was a panelist over a year ago. There were only three artists who wanted feedback on their work so the session was quick and to the point. Delores Haberkorn showed a large painting of a Christ like figure floating in space cradling a fetus in his out stretched hands. He stared out at the viewer in an unnerving way. We stressed the need for some soft edges and warmth in the fetal form. I pointed out that Christ should probably look at the child in his grasp. This painting was a big departure for Delores, so it was exciting to see her tackle new ground. Dawn offered insightful feedback on composition and maintaining a center of focus. Another artist showed paintings done from photos and there is always a sort of uncommitted calmness to work filtered through another photographer's lens. Another artist showed a sumi brush painting of a horse. I thought it was direct and bold but would become simpler and more direct after she did several hundred of them. I encouraged her to find a horse barn and do these brush paintings from life. Camilo advised her not to mimic a culture that developed the style over hundreds of years.

Camilo ended by saying there was plenty of love seen in all the work shown. Our comments were meant to help guide the pieces towards completion, but as long as each new painting was approached with love, then the artist is on the right track.

The next critique takes place on Tuesday, March 25th at 6:00 PM
Featuring Lead Panelist Rebecca Sexton Larson
March Guest Panelists: Famed Gallerist Mindy Solomon
210 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland

The Art & History Museums – Maitland (A&H) proudly hosts Artists’ Critique & Conversation, an exciting initiative to assist in the professional development of local artists.   Artists’ Critique & Conversation is held bi-monthly, on the 4th Tuesday of every other month at 6:00 p.m.

Artists’ Critique and Conversation is FREE and the public is encouraged to attend. A bar is available with beer, wine, water and soft drinks.  Artists of every medium and skill level are encouraged to participate in the critiques.  Each critique will review up to 9 artists, and all artists must sign up in advance. Interested artists can sign up in advance for one of the nine slots by emailing 

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, March 23, 2014

Player 1 Video Game Bar

Once, when Amanda Chadwick returned to Orlando, she invited friends to the Player 1 Video Game Bar (8562 Palm Pkwy, Orlando, FL) for a night out. I became obsessed with the ancient Star Wars Vdeo Game. I flew down the trench of the Death Star multiple times until I was able to destroy it with a single proton torpedo blast down an exhaust port. I had played this game as a teen and getting back in the cockpit of an X-Wing Fighter was just like riding a bicycle. All the killer instincts come right back. Terry tried the game after me, but she just didn't have a knack for dodging the Death Stars defenses. I shouted at her to watch out for the cannons firing from the gun turrets. Even with my coaching, she kept getting shot down. She had much better instincts for Pac Man.

I returned to the bar to sketch on another day.  Player 1 is billed as the ultimate video game lounge experience! After four decades of Video Gaming a few things are clear to the owners:
Arcade games must be played in their original format- joysticks, buttons, and a lo-rez TV screen in a big custom cabinet! Playing online has it’s drawbacks, nothing beats playing against opponents sitting across the room. Video Games deserve a place to celebrate the art and history of the #1 form of entertainment in the world. Beer is king…ales to lagers and everything in between!

There was a cover to get in, but Disney employees get a discount. Luckily I was wearing my John Henry Disney Crew Jacket, so I scored the discount. I ordered a beer and got to work. It was early in the evening and the bar was deserted. The place is located in a strip mall just beyond Disney property, so it is a trek for most locals. I'm not certain tourists would know how to find it. One guy sat at the bar fingering a joy stick as he watched the game play above the bar. The beer taps were surrounded by video game themed action figures and memorabilia. Since I work in a University that is helping teach the next generation of game designers, I can understand the appeal of Player 1. I decided to leave the Death Star in peace and I left when the sketch was done.

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Southwestern Allure: The Art of the Sante Fe Art Colony

The Mennello Museum of American Art (900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, Fl.) kicked off it's 15th anniversary season with the opening celebration of the first exhibit in their series devoted to "The Art of the American West." Southwestern Allure: The Art of the Santa Fe Art Colony considers the development of Santa Fe as an art colony through the artists who visited there and helped establish the city as an artistic center, tracing the colony's formative years from approximately 1915 up to 1940.

When artists from eastern locales began to settle in the Santa Fe area, they discovered a rich culture and a wealth of picturesque imagery. Southwestern Allure focuses exclusively on the art and artists of the Santa Fe colony, presenting the best of the artists’ work and showing the distinct artistic climate of this unique locale and the qualities that distinguish it apart from the rest of the state. The city has a majestic landscape and multicultural environment, which proved a matchless blend of inspiration. The exhibition presents a thorough picture of which artists went to Santa Fe, what they found compelling about the environment, the work they produced, and the prevailing artistic trends, from Realism to Modernism, which they applied to Southwestern subject matter.

Through the works included in the exhibition, a range of styles are presented, encompassing the Santa Fe Old Guard, such as Carlos Vierra, Gerald Cassidy, and Warren Rollins, the Realism of Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, and John Sloan to highlight only a few of the prominent artists. I was so pleased to see so many of the Ash Can artists I admire on display. Southwestern Allure features almost 50 outstanding artworks carefully selected from leading public and private collections. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue is organized by the Boca Museum of Art in conjunction with independent curator Dr. Valerie Ann Leeds, a specialist in American art of this period.

In the corner of the back gallery, a kiva (bee hive) fireplace was set up. Close to a dozen candles flickered while images of Madonna and Christ gave it the feeling of an alter. Genevieve Bernard pointed out to me that the candles were actually flickering diodes. From where I sat they looked completely real. A Robert Henri portrait of a beautifully chiseled Indian woman looked on with her eternal gaze. Several chiefs with their prominent head dresses flanked the other side. A gallery goer paused to finger his phone and he forgot about the art. Mark your calendar! This show is on exhibit through April 6th. Don't miss it. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $1 for students.

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, March 21, 2014


Show is open through April 11, 2014. Gallery hours: Thursday-Saturday, 11AM – 4 PM, and by appointement.

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

Weekend Top 6 Picks

One last reminder, TONIGHT is the Opening Reception for "A Certain Point of View", a retrospective exhibit of sketches done by me of the Orlando arts and culture scene. The opening is at Snap Space in the historic Cameo Theater (1013 E. Colonial Drive Orlando FL) from 7pm to 10pm. The show remains up through April 17th. If you can't make it to the opening then stop by on the weekend. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, 11AM – 4 PM, and by appointement.

Saturday March 22, 2014
Noon to 6pm Free.  Art in the Park 2. Dickson Azalea Park 100 Rosegarden Drive, Orlando, Fl. Rain or Shine artists gathering to create in nature, in public.
not a vending opportunity. Time to play, and hang out, and talk about ideas.

8:30am to 6pm Mega Con. March 21-23 $25 one day wrist band. Orange County Convention Center, North Building, Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL. Comic book convention.

6pm to 8pm Free. An Evening with Artist in Residence 3 Elysia Mann. Maitland Art Center 231 Packwood Ave. Maitland FL. Elysia will discuss her work and process.

Sunday March 23, 2014
1pm to 3pm Free, just order something. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 North Bay Street, Eustis, FL.

2pm to 4pm Free. Jake Fernandez La Finca de Parchman performance piece. Maitland Art Center, 231 Packwood Avenue West, Maitland, FL. Seven Days and Sixteen Hours at Parchman Farm," this piece explores isolation, and what happens to the creative process when the artist is isolated from all personal interaction. Fernandez will work in a secluded studio space on the Art and History campus. The studio has no windows; only bathroom facilities and a cot for sleeping. Fernandez will be provided with rag drawing paper, water, dried food, a blanket and pillow. This alternative space will include a closed-circuit camera, so the process can be observed at

4:30pm to 6:30pm $12. Roller Derby  OADR vs. Thunder City Derby Sirens.Universal Skating Center 866 S. Goldenrod Road, Orlando, Fl. Come watch the women of Orlando Area Derby Revolution take on the ladies of the Thunder City Derby Sirens. New season, new venue, same hard-hitting derby action!

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, March 20, 2014

An Evening with Rebecca Rose 'Sculpturings'

On January 30th, Rebecca Rose gave a talk about her creative process at Snap (1013 East Colonial Drive, Orlando FL). Rebecca is a bit of a hoarder. She collects anything small and representational. She has entire drawers full of these tiny trinkets from a Lilliputian world. She used to be a painter, but an elective class in jewelry making changed that. In one assignment for class she re-imagined what a ring should look like. Her teacher was astonished and he asked her where her inspiration came from. She knew she was onto something.

She had to take a long hiatus from making jewelry however, because she didn't have the necessary equipment.  She spent several years selling paintings until she could afford the needed furnace, molding equipment and other tools of the trade. A documentary was shot that shows every step of her creative process which is part art, science and alchemy. From the first sketch to the finished piece cast in pure silver, she spend endless hours devoted to her craft.

 Sculpturings’ are beautifully created pieces redefined beyond their traditional sense, each piece with unique form and story. The pieces blend luxury with urban activism relevant to current social issues. Rebecca sketches, assembles, carves, invests, kiln fires, and casts her own work in her home studio. Rebecca’s work was exhibited at Select Fair in Art Basel Miami, Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco. Last year she was the Halstead Grant winner. In March, he work will appear in two gallery shows: "In Dreams: A Tribute to the Films of David Lynch", at the Spoke Art Gallery, in San Francisco, CA,  and "The Season of Spring", at the Flower Pepper Gallery, Curated by Daniel Rolnik, in Pasadena, CA.

Her rings are both art and jewelry. Each comes in a specially prepared bell jar for display when not being worn. She often leaves a magnifying glass near the display case so people can truly appreciate the intricacy in her designs. She was recently commissioned to create a ring commemorating the Winter Olympics. The prices on the pieces on display in January and February were extremely affordable. Considering their popularity, those prices are sure to go up soon. It was such a pleasure to meet an artist who loves what she does and was willing to share every step of the process. I hope to visit her studio to sketch her in action someday soon.

Mark your Calendar! My work is now hanging on these walls and I hope you come out to the opening on March 21st from 7pm to 10pm at the Cameo Theater (1013 East Colonial Drive 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, March 19, 2014


I stopped by Snap (Cameo Theater, 1013 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, Fl ) on the day before my retrospective exhibit went up. The gallery was open till 4pm. Emily Jordan and Diana Rodriguez were working as interns at the front desk. This was the last day that "Flight" was on display. As I sketched the last of the arts patrons explored the gallery. Three pieces of drywall proclaimed the gallery's mission statement: Contemporary, Creative and Spontaneous. Patrick Kahn, the gallery's founder had to step out.

Diana's son, Josiah Portillo, stopped in and hung out for a while.  As he and Diana talked, he decided to water the potted orchid on the reception desk with his bottled water. He then headed out to hang with some friends in the park. Diana offered him some money in case he wanted a snack but he said he would be fine.

I discovered later from Holly Kahn, that the lamp on the reception desk was from her son Luke's room. Emily and Diana were chatting and getting to know each other. Emily is a photographer who takes society shots for a local magazine. Diana is an actress and avid supporter of the arts. When she discovered that Emily had never been to the Fringe, she excitedly explained what the Fringe is all about. Diana suddenly shrieked and stood up. A large puddle had mysteriously formed and was spreading across the table. They both quickly removed books, paper and art. The potted orchid was leaking. Diana put the potted plant on the floor as they mopped up the spill. "How much water did Josiah put in this plant?" Diana said. On the floor the plant was still gushing out water.

Disaster was averted since the angle of the table made the puddle flow away from the art and papers on the desk. Just when things returned to normal, Patrick came back and the women were free to go home. Diana told me about a dress rehearsal for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams, which I will be sketching next week. Patrick explained to me that she is one of the most active supporter of the arts that he knows.

Mark your calendar and come on out to the opening of my retrospective showing of sketches of Orlando on March 21st from 7pm to 10pm at the Cameo Theater (1013 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, Fl). The show will remain open through April 17th.

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, March 18, 2014

Changing of the Art

A retrospective exhibit of the sketches I have done in Orlando will be opening on March 21st from 7pm to 10pm at Snap in the historic Cameo Theater (1013 E. Colonial Drive Orlando FL). I stopped by Snap on the final day of Flight, a group show of photographers and other artists. At 4pm the gallery closed and Patrick Kahn popped the first labels off the walls. He explained that this moment was always a bit sad, like the circus leaving town, but when the walls are bare again, his excitement builds. Its like when you open your sketchbook and are faces with a white page. There are so many possibilities.

The two interns, Emily Jordan, and Diana Rodriguez, who were at the front desk, left at 4pm and then Patrick's wife Holly arrived with their two children, Luke and Juliet. Juliet saw my open sketchbook on the floor and she crouched down to look. "You drew that right now?" When I said "Yes", she stood and shook my hand with enthusiasm. I was surprised by her adult politeness and respect. Holly had put on blue surgeons gloves and she flipped through the sketchbook to let her kids see. Their enthusiasm was the best affirmation that I've felt in a long time. They have grown up around art thanks to their parents. Holly told me that Patrick used to keep sketchbook journals as a child. He passed on this tradition to his children and apparently Luke has displayed some unique talent in his journal. No wonder the kids loved seeing my sketchbooks.

The large photos were quickly but delicately removed from the walls and packed away. Holly helped Patrick and Vince Santilli at every step while Luke and Juliet worked at their computers, but Luke became impatient. "Mom, when can we go!" he shouted. The question was repeated multiple times until Holly decided to recruit him to do some of the work. She gave him a drill and let him assist in removing some of the screws in the masonry. He climbed the ladder and she climbed up behind him to be sure he didn't fall and to help with the heavy drill. This was serious "man's work" and Luke  loved it.

When it came time for the kids to go home, Luke shouted out, "Dad, we are proud of you!" Holly, next to me raised her hand to her chest and sighed. "It's moments like this when you realize it is all worth it." she said. It was heart warming to see this family working together to make a dream become reality. The next day, my sketches would go up on these walls.

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, March 17, 2014

Cardboard Art Festival

On Friday January 24th, I went to Cardboard Art Festival at The Orange Studio, (1121 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL.) This was the second year of the Festival and it was bigger and better than ever. The first thing I explored was an interactive wall by Nathan Selikoff. Cardboard tube gutters could be re-arranged on a pegboard to create a gravity maze for colorful wiffle balls. A large cardboard funnel at the top of the wall was always the starting point and it was high enough so you always had to throw the ball up. I missed the shot more than a few times and had to scramble as the ball rolled around on the floor.

Evan and Christie Miga created a huge storybook interactive display that told of an adventure using a series of dioramas and sculptures. There was a large cardboard octopus and a girl riding an immense bird. The wings could be flapped by turning a delicate crank. A moving street scene was depicted in one diorama that had a magnifying lens to amplify the view as you traveled down the street. The illusion was complete when you turned a cardboard tube that represented the street. There was even a Zoetrope that used a cardboard tube with slits in it that when spun, created the illusion of motion from a series of images inside the tube.

Doug Rhodehamel had a large collection of small cardboard robots on display. Nicki Equality Drumb and Rachel Equality Gardner had blue and pink male and female stand up photo ops set up with equality hearts. With supplemental blue mustaches and pink ribbons, everyone wanted their picture taken. Beautiful women wearing couture cardboard dresses strutted through the crowd. John Glassman Gardner was taking pictures of people that he then pasted in the windows of cardboard skyscrapers. Jeff Ferree created four foot tall Gumby like cardboard creatures that were quirky and brightly colored. It was a fun colorful show and once people started drinking and dancing, the place lit up. If you didn't go, you missed a hell of a good time.

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, March 16, 2014

Couples Cooking Class

Kristen Manieri, of Great Dates Orlando, invited me to sketch a couples cooking class held in the demonstration kitchen above East End Market, (3201 Corrine Dr. Orlando, FL.) I arrived about an hour early to sketch in the layout of the kitchen before the couples arrived. The demonstration was completely sold out. The $120 class fee per couple included utensils, recipes, ingredients and sit-down dinner for two, but BYOS (bring your own spirits).

Jes Tantalo, East End Market's Chef-in-Residence, was busy with preperations when Terry and I arrived. Terry went to explore East End Market and then Stardust Video and Coffee while I sketched. We planned to go to Drip on International Drive after my sketch was done. Kristen helped out by making recipe cards for the guests before they arrived. Her iPhone was used to fill the room with romantic Italian music. A large banquet table filled the dining room next to the kitchen. Fresh flowers from the extensive gardens downstairs were put on the table as centerpieces.

The first order of business was to have all the couples create flat bread appetizer perfect for noshing on while everyone sipped wine and dove into the menu sourced almost entirely from East End’s gourmet purveyors downstairs. Everyone crowded around the counter that separated the kitchen and dining area. Each couple took some flat bread and spread goat cheese on it, sprinkled some olive oil and then cracked open a tiny dime sized quail egg on top. Fresh arugula, again from the garden downstairs was added as a garish along with a pinch of salt and pepper. One fellow put a mountain of arugula on his flat bread and he was playfully scolded by the other couples. There was plenty of camaraderie and laughter as everyone worked.

The main dish was Poussin, or baby chickens, for each person. All that was required was some seasoning before they were put in the ovens. The flat bread appetizers were done in a flash and then all the couples sat at the table sipping wine and talking. In the kitchen, Jes was still busy cooking fresh local vegetables marinated in Whisky. One adventurous guest was put in charge of cutting up a football sized turnip. I had to close my eyes when he struggled with the first loud slice. Fox 35 News reporter Jackie Orozco introduced herself. She was intrigued by my daily sketch journalism and is considering the idea of reporting about what I do. With the retrospective exhibit coming up, her timing couldn't be better.

Terry stopped back. I hadn't started adding color yet. This was a more challenging sketch than usual with so many people crowded in the foreground. When she left I sketched faster. I left before the Poussin came out of the oven. I rushed out to catch up for my own date night, but I was to late. She got a taxi to take her to International Drive to see Drip perform a show with black lights. Perhaps I should have abandoned the sketch. A better person would have done that. As I drove home alone, I realized I was extremely hungry. I hadn't eaten all day except for tasting one of the flat bread appetizers Kristen had offered me. I pulled into a Subway and ordered a Flatizza which is sort of a flat bread pizza. It wasn't very exotic, but it filled me up for the moment. Much later I picked Terry up from Drip. Apparently it had been an amazing show. She was soaking wet and covered in paint.

Mark Your Calendar! The next Couples Cooking Class is April 12 from 7pm to 9:30pm at East End Market.

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, March 15, 2014

No More Drunken Monkey

I stopped off at the Drunken Monkey, (444 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL.) to meet Terry before heading to a party at Matt Rankin's house which was right down the street. The party was for Amanda and Matt Simantov who had just been married. Matt explained that the celebration was known as Ma’sshe Kanut. Ma’shhe Kanut is a Jewish Custom where friends wish the Bride and Groom Farewell before they returned home to their Seattle homeland.

A Traditional Ma’sshe Kanut is held at the friend of the bride. Ancient Rabbinic Law mandates a Fire to burn from the beginning of Ma’sshe Kanut (1 hour after sundown) until the last guest takes a hint that everyone wants to go to bed. If this is your first Ma’sshe Kanut, it is customary to bring Kosher Yuengling, Kosher Doritos, or Kosher something everyone will like.

Terry was running a little late, so I figured I had enough time to dash off a quick sketch over a cup of coffee. As always people sat transfixed, staring at computer screens, but who am I to talk. I'm staring at a computer screen right now. Jessica Pauli who is a band promoter was having a meeting at the next table over. All that I overheard is that the venue being discussed had a large comfortable green room. I wonder if I had sketched in that greenroom?

Terry arrived as the last watercolor washes were drying. We walked together down to Matt's house. Matt was in the backyard nursing the fire pit. It was a cold night so I rotated periodically like a pig on a spit. Chairs circled the fire and soon everyone arrived. Marshmallows were roasted on sticks.  I had a stick with multiple branches but I only roasted one marshmallow. Brian Feldman had come from Washington D.C. to witness the wedding and after this fireside chat, Amanda and Matt would fly off to Washington State.

It was toward the end of the evening when I discovered that there is no such thing as a Ma'ssh Kanut. Matt had made up the word. That didn't detract from the warmth and fellowship of the fire. I no longer go to Drunken Monkey since they used one of my sketches without consulting me on their Internet welcome page. I usually support local businesses but I can't support theft.

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, March 14, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday March 15, 2014
1pm to 4pm Free. Family Days at the Museum. Maitland Art Museum 231 Packwood Ave W, Maitland, FL. Interactive garden sculpture party with Artists in Action. 2pm Screening of Herb & Dorothy 50X50 film.

2pm to 4pm Free. Train Shots Book Release Party. The official book release party for TRAIN SHOTS, by central Florida’s own Vanessa Blakeslee, presented by Burrow Press and the Urban Think Foundation. Event begins at two. Brief reading and Q&A with author at 2:30 p.m., followed by debut screening of TRAIN SHOTS book trailer, produced by Laputka Films, and book signing.

3pm to 5pm Free. Acme's Urban Toy Art Show. Acme Superstore 905 E. SR 434, Longwood, FL. Art show featuring custom toys, art dolls, designer vinyls with family-friendly activities, face-painting, glitter tattoos, vendors, local professional artists, amateur artists, and student artwork from Millennium Middle School! Custom vinyl and art doll workshops and demos throughout the day! Pam Murray will be doing a demo session from 3pm-5pm working on an assortment of various custom items, while fielding questions and showing techniques on both vinyl pieces and model kits. Followed by the official reception for Millennium Middle School students from 5pm-7pm.

Sunday March 16, 2014
1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Every week. Lake Eola near the pagoda.

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

9pm to 11pm Free. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee: 929 W Fairbanks Ave Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try 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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Utility Box Art

While driving home from Sam Flax, I noticed this artist painting a utility box in the Mills 50 District. From an article I read, I know that artists are paid $200 to paint a box. That might be enough money to pay for the paint and brushes. This artist was smart since he had a festival tent which kept him out of the scorching Florida sun. He had to maneuver around all the tax refund and foreclosed home signs. He had painted this box once before, but it was taken down when a new 7-11 was constructed on the site.

The weekend before, the auto air conditioning shop across the street caught on fire. He kept painting as fire trucks showed up on the scene. His box depicts urban buildings at odd angles and a single puppy on each panel. You can't go wrong with painting cute puppies. The box is on the corner of North Ferncreek Avenue and Colonial Drive. Grab a 99 cent big gulp at the 7-11 if you stop by, or glance quickly to the right up Ferncreek if you are driving west on Colonial at 50 miles an hour.

I can't believe I didn't write the artists name on the sketch. I did write it in a notebook, but for the life of me, I can't find it. If you know this artist's work, please let me know. I might have to drive by and see if the finished box is signed.

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, March 12, 2014

John Mahoney

I met John Mahoney way back in 1994. We were both interns at Disney Feature Animation, going through a six month training session. John always had a rebellious streak and the work he produced was inspired and only a loose interpretation of the projects. For instance, one assignment involved doing the inbetween drawings for an old Goofy animated scene. All the keys were supplied as xeroxes and we just had to add drawings to smooth out the action. It was mind numbing simple work. John created drawings under the animation camera making it seem like the drawings were spontaneously creating themselves.

We both ended up working at Disney but John made his way into the creative development department because of his uncompromising ways. I didn't realize that he had been forced to work in the effects department, a position that he despised. He essentially began his own private sit down strike, allowing scenes to pile up on his desk. Rather than getting fired, he was given an office in creative development. A perk of the job was that he could order any art supplies he needed. If he wanted to do some watercolors, he could order a complete deluxe set. If he decided to use gouache the next day, the he would order a complete deluxe gouache set.

He did development work for the film "Kingdom in the Sun" which would later be called "The Emperors New Grove." The film was being pitched to Michael Eisner, Aka Darth Vader. Don Hahn, the films producer gave an amazing in depth story pitch.  Michael wasn't impressed. He said the film felt like a National Geographic documentary and he said the film couldn't be made. John had been throwing together a short two minute animation that sort of explained the Mayan Creation myths using spontaneous drawings and loose brushwork. Michael saw that short and the film was saved. It is a shame the final film became so watered down.

John is now deeply committed to using Z-Brush to create fanciful and dark imagery. His quirky sensibility affects every project he tackles. Although he is an amazing draftsman, he is drawn to sculpting which he feels is a more pure and convincing way to portray form. He collects immense loose leaf folders full of artist work that he is inspired by. When he works, he surrounds himself with these inspiring images. When discussing how to pick a color palette, he said he likes to look at how ancient civilizations have used color. These cultures developed their color sensitivities over many centuries so the colors have become established. I am amazed and inspired by his drawings done on location.

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, March 11, 2014

Party @ The Plaza

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra has officially bought and moved into the Plaza Live Theater (425 N. Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL). The Plaza Live Theater has a long standing reputation of bringing world renowned musical talent to Orlando. Terry and I have gone here in the past to hear Michelle Shocked, Beau Soleil, The Mummies, and Gordon Lightfoot. The Philharmonic intends to maintain the traditional high standards. Since the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts doesn't have a hall acoustically appropriate for an orchestra, the Plaza will give the Philharmonic a place to rehearse and perform.

The Party @ The Plaza on January 25th was a sort of housewarming and fundraiser for the Orchestra and the Plaza Live. The front parking lot was surrounded by metal barricades to discourage party crashers.  Catering was supplied by Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ.  Terry got me a pork and coleslaw "Sunday" that was delicious that I ate while I sketched. The Flat Mountain Band kicked off the evening at 6:30pm on the outdoor stage. There were four other stages inside the Plaza Live and even in the former Russian Ballet School. That ballet school is now in the Mills 50 District. The Dance space was converted into a piano lounge. I went in to listen to Dottie Clendenin perform light classical music. Unfortunately any time the door was opened, the Flat Mountain Bands music would waft in. On top of that, people would stand in the doorway talking while keeping the door ajar. The two musical forms didn't play well together.

Brian T. Wilson kept Terry company while I sketched. He kept us company throughout the evening. It made us feel like we were the "cool kids" for once. The Jackson Creek String Band performed in the lobby of the Plaza Live. I'm almost certain I've heard them perform their lively blend of folk music before. From there, we went into the main stage area where Michael Andrew was performing with his Atomic Big Band. We sat next to Alyson Innes and Jose Fajardo.  Alyson is on the Fringe board with Terry so they always have plenty to gossip about.

Michael introduced David Shillhammer with so much musical gusto that was absolutely hilarious. David pulled raffle tickets for some amazing prizes. Winners ran up onto the stage with as much enthusiasm as you would see on "The Price is Right!" Terry and I mixed it up on the dance floor and then got our photo taken by a Photo Mingle which is a large screen TV that allows people to draw on and manipulate the photo. Photo Mingle was invented by local resident Mike Underwood in his garage.

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, March 10, 2014

Whole Hog Butchery Class

On January 23rd I went to the East End Market, which is part of the Audubon Park Exchange (3201 Corrine Dr. Orlando, FL) to watch chef Tony Adams butcher a hog. Tony is an Award-Winning who founded Big Wheel Provisions and the Big Wheel Food Truck. He offered an in-depth preview of the Big Wheel Whole Hog Dinner that would be served later in the week. In preparation for the dinner, Chef Adams will showed guests how he goes from a whole hog to recipe-ready cut. The live demonstration included the butchering, different preparation techniques, and tastings. Additional hoers d’ oeuvres were be provided, and guests were invited to bring your own beer (BYOB).

Tony noted that this pig didn't have a bullet hole in it's forehead so it was likely electrocuted and then had its throat cut so it would bleed out. As a matter of fact he found some electrocution burns at the pig's neck that further supported that theory. Apparently this is a quick and painless way to die. He stressed his respect for the animal and was grateful that it would offer nourishment. He explained that a good butcher could cut an animal up into its prime cuts within 15 minutes.

The belly, (number 6 on the chart) is where bacon comes from. The loin or New York strip (number 2) is found around the base of the spine just above the hip. Ironically the butt (number 4) isn't from the pigs butt but rather from the strong upper muscles that support the head. The pigs head was the first thing that he cut off with a few precise incissions with his very sharp knife. The folding table used for the demonstration was a bit wobbly, so it wasn't the ideal place to butcher the pig.

Tony is actually quite a good artist, because he drew detailed charts that explained the cuts as he did them. He showed how to remove the ribs from the spine with surgical precision. He said, "This looks like a rack of ribs because it IS a rack of ribs." Hoers d’ oeuvres were prepared in the kitchen by Jes Tantalo using the cuts of meat he had just removed and gusts got to taste the pig even as they watched it butchered. With the sketch done, I stood up and moved in closer with the dozen or so students. I've always wanted to sketch a dissection or autopsy so this was the next best thing.

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, March 9, 2014

Amanda and Matt Simantov Wedding

On January 19th Amanda and Matt Simantov were married at Congregation Ohev Shalom Synagogue (613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland Florida). Terry and I had attended a dinner party as well, but that was on the day of rest, so I wasn't permitted to sketch. All the men at the wedding were encouraged to wear yamakas which are small caps that just cover the bald spot on a man's head. Each yamaka came with a hair pin to help hold it in place. I buzz cut my hair, so there wasn't anything to attach the hair clip to. At the reception before the wedding, I walked around the room like there was a text book balanced on my head. I ordered a soda however and realized that I would have to tip my head back when I drank. A straw would have solved the problem, but I didn't see any. Whenever I drank, my yamaka would flop off onto the floor.

Plan B. There was a sushi bar. I've always found sushi rice to be rather sticky. Rather than eat the sushi I picked up, I dissected it, removing the raw fish and sea weed.  I then took the rice and molded it into a Frisbee shaped disk which I then placed inside the yamaka. I pressed it onto my head and regained my head mobility. As the rice dried, it must have lost its stickiness because just as I entered the Synagogue and looked up at the immense sun lit vaulted ceiling, it popped off again. I sat rice less through the service and avoided tilting my head as I sketched.

Terry and I sat sandwiched between Mark Baratelli and Brian Feldman both of whom claimed that they first introduced the wedding couple. During the service, one of the brides maids must have locked her knees because she nearly fainted and had to be moved to a pew by the brides maids around her. The officiant must have missed all the activity because he didn't miss a beat.

The reception was also in the Synagogue. The photographer was testing out huge flash umbrellas, one of which war right next to the table Terry and I sat at. The flashes were blinding and constant, so I got up and sat across the room on a couch until the green spots stopped dancing in my vision. Elizabeth Drake Forbes gave a moving speech in which she listed all the amazing events Amanda had attended or helped organize while she was here in Orlando. Amanda had just moved to Seattle to be with Matt and that is where they returned to after the wedding. Amanda hasn't acclimated herself there yet, so Elizabeth's speech caused her to cry since she has had to let dear friends go to strike out and create a new life across the continent.

For the first dance, Amanda lip synced to a song by Debbie Gibson titled "Lost in Your Eyes" as she danced with Matt. Couples and friends crowded into a photo booth for regal commemorative shots, and of course there was dancing. When Matt was raised up in a chair for the traditional couples dance, he began to slip forward because the four guys couldn't support his weight evenly. Terry shouted that I needed to help so I squeezed in and lifted it back up just in time. I wonder what kind of bad luck would have haunted the couple had Matt fallen from the chair. All the guests were given sparklers and they created a tunnel leading to the car as the couple ran from the reception to start their new life as husband and wife.

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, March 8, 2014

33 Variations

On February 25th I went to the Winter Garden Theatre ballroom ( 160 West Plant Street, Winter Garden, Florida) for a Designer Run of the show, 33 Variations, a play written by Moises Kaufman. Stage Manager Jay Ferrence was the first person I met when I entered the ballroom. He informed me that the purple tape marked the front of the stage. Actress Becky Eck entered soon afterwards and introduced herself. She had played Jane in "Alice Lost in Wonderland" and she did an amazing job grounding that production. A designer run is a full run through of the show that gives the set designer an idea of where characters will be blocked during the production. Producer Beth Marshall and director Aradhana Tiwari sat behind a folding table to watch the show. Pianist Julian Bond will be performing Beethoven's 33 Variations live on stage in the final production, but for now a recording was used and Julian watched to see how the performers would be moving on the set.

This was a dress rehearsal so some actors were in period outfits from Beethoven's era and the rest of the cast was wearing modern clothing. Photographer Kristen Wheeler was shooting the show this night and she set up two lights to illuminate the actors. Beth warned her not to shoot the feet of some of the period costumed actors since they didn't have the right shoes yet.  During the show, Kristen had total access to the stage and she moved around the actors catching every emotional moment while also switching on and off lights to get the shots. It was an impressive ballet that didn't once phase the actors.

The plot examines the creative process of Beethoven's obsessive variations build from a rather plane and uninspired composition by Diabelli (Brett P. Carson). At the same time, the play follows musicologist Katherine Brandt (played by Peg O'Keef) who yearns to understand Beethoven's obsession. Brandt's relationship with her daughter (Becky Eck) is strained as she succumbs to a disabling Sclerosis and at the same time Beethoven (Chris Gibson) goes deaf. I had watched a number of performers audition for the part of Beethoven and I must say Chris is compelling as the anger driven compulsive composer.

 The musicologist traveled to Vienna to inspect Beethoven's original sketchbooks. By flipping through the pages she could see his every thought as he composed. She wondered if he might be mocking Diabelli's composition with his variations or perhaps he just wanted to one-up Bach who had 32 variations. Beethoven's loss of hearing may have actually helped him break new ground as he reinvented the very process of creation. Though cloaked in anger and bitterness, he found an amazing joy in the process even as the world grew silent. Minor composers like Diabelli could be satisfied and complacent with their insignificant contributions.

One moment in the rehearsal was absolute magic. I stopped sketching and was drawn in to the moment. Katherine Brandt disrobed as if in a doctors office. I imagined she was preparing for an MRI full body scan. She stood in a spotlight facing the audience with her arms out in a Christ like gesture. Beethoven stood behind her and they leaned back to back. His head leaned back on her shoulder and her head leaned back on his shoulder. She closed her eyes and shuddered with quick breaths of ecstasy. I noticed Becky Eck off stage began to cry, and my eyes welled up as well. There is a certain magic that happens when actors are no longer reciting lines, but they are emotionally invested in every moment.

Mark Your Calendars! The show runs from March 14-30, 2014
Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, Sundays at 2pm,
PLUS Monday, March 24 at 8pm- INDUSTRY NITE

 Tickets: $25 ($21 students/seniors) or

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, March 7, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday March 8, 2014
2pm to 4pm $5, Free to Mennello Museum members. Gallery Walk and Talk with Valerie Ann Leeds, curator of "Southwestern Allure: The Art of the Santa Fe Art Colony". The Mennello Museum of American Art 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, Fl. Join us for a walk and talk through the exhibit with Dr. Valerie Ann Leeds, a New York City-based independent curator, writer, editor and art historian with a specialization in Robert Henri and early 20th-century American art.

3pm to 8pm Free. Frankie's BIG FUN Market. 659 Bryn Mawr, (College park), Orlando , Fl. Every second Saturday. The grand opening of the new Apartment E location! In the coming months we will be growing into an all out sidewalk party, and the event will in time include all businesses that are located up and down beautiful Edgewater drive. Participating businesses are encouraged to co partner with creatives, host the entertainment in their location, or present creative entertainment in any way that "fits" with their business. This is the main goal, to "match creatives with the businesses that are already there, but that it is not the only aspect of this MARKET. There is no charge for creatives (artists,writers, musicians, arts groups, etc) to participate, no commission or entry fees will be required to be paid to APARTMENT E or any other director or sponsors.

8pm to Midnight 21+ Pre Sale: $30/person At the door: $40/peron The Great Orlando Mixer. Orlando's largest cocktail party will be in Orlando's most elaborately decorated vintage venue, complete with 1920s costumes, hors d'oeuvres, live entertainment and craft cocktails from the city's top bars and bartenders.Throw on your best Prohibition-era garb and come out to sample the tastiest craft cocktails! A LIMITED number of tickets are available for this exclusive event. It WILL sell out!
Visit to purchase tickets today!

Sunday March 9, 2014
10am to 6pm Free to attend. Fashion Square Art Fair. Orlando Fashion Square 3201 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, Fl. on the 2nd Sunday of every month Gallery Fresh Art Markets and Orlando Fashion Square Mall proudly present our "Fashion Square Art Fair." This is an indoor event showcasing 30 to 60 artists and fine crafts persons located throughout Fashion Square Mall. Space for artists is limited, First Come First Served. ARTIST FAQ's.

3pm to 5pm 5 cans of food. Spring into Music with the FSYO Annual Children Helping Children Concert. College Park Baptist Church, located at 1914 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL . The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, in partnership with The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, presents their annual Children Helping Children Concert on Sunday, March 9, 2014. FSYO’s pre-professional Symphonic Orchestra, with special soloists and Concerto Competition Finalists: Rebecca Edge and John Horzen, will perform in hopes of introducing young concertgoers to classical music while increasing awareness, raising funds and collecting donations for Second Harvest Food Bank. An ongoing partnership, all proceeds of this event will go to The Second Harvest Food Bank as they fight to end hunger and feed hope.

4pm to 6pm Free. Art and History Museum's Art Car Party. 231 W. Packwood Ave. Maitland FL.
It's time to see what the Orlando local muralist, Andrew Spear, has come up with! Join us as we unveil the finished exterior of the A&H Art Car. Did you collaborate the the inside? Come revisit your contribution! What else will be going on at this party?
Music by DJ Nigel , food from Creations Catering, drinks and a talk on creativity by Andrew Spear.

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, March 6, 2014

Wednesday Open Words

Every Wednesday at Austin's Coffee, (929 West Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park FL) Curtis Meyer hosts an Open Mic called “Wednesday Open Words.” The evening starts at 8pm but I was in Winter Park and decided to go to Austin's Coffee early to grab some diner. Students sat on the makeshift stage immersed in their laptops. The young woman seated across from me lounged on the couch intently reading a real paper bound book. I watched her expression as the read and at times she was visibly upset. Something horrible was going on in those pages. I imagined she might be reading "The Catcher in the Rye." As I recall it had a red cover. When she got up to leave she noticed my sketch. I had to ask her what she was reading. It turned out that "The Hunger Games" was required reading for one of her classes.

Curtis arrived and gradually he cleared the stage and set up a microphone. The theme for the evening was Disney Animated Films. Having worked at Feature Animation, I had to be a bit of an expert on the decade of films I worked on. Curtis was very stoked about the film "Saving Mr. Banks" which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. He insisted I go see it. To warm up the crowd, Curtis had everyone repeat, "Pink pajamas, penguins on the bottom." It is a tongue twister which is rather fun to repeat again and again in succession. There were trivia questions between readers and I managed to guess the name of the dog in Disney Pixar's "Up." The dogs name was Dug. I won an odd green feathery pin with a yellow skull from "The Princess and the Frog." It is now partially stained with black ink from one of my pens.

One particularly fun poem used all of the Disney made up words. It turns out that besides Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus, there are many others that are just as strange. Curtis wanted to find one word that defines each Disney film plot. For instance Rapunzel, the word is Tangled. For Snow Queen the word is Frozen. For Little Mermaid the word might be pants. For Beauty and the Beast the word would be Stockholmed. This might make a good drinking game to whittle each film down to one word. One line from someones poem stuck with me, "The beauty of the world makes demands on us.

Curtis was great about being sure the audience respected how brave all the speakers were. Public speaking is a universal fear. Snapping fingers were encouraged when the poems were profound. Seda Gay spoke about four grown women who returned to the Disney theme parks together. Two of those women were now divorced but they all stepped back to their childhood relationships discovering where they left off. One poet was accompanied by a guitar player. He said most of his creative ideas were formed by the age of 11. He imagined flying being an everyday occurrence to get through our heavy Earth bound days. He was of course speaking as Peter Pan. Curtis chimed in, "All you got to do is believe."

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, March 5, 2014

Analog Artist Digital World Retrospective

If you can make it to the opening on March 21st, please register on Everbrite via the Facebook invitation page. There is no cover to get in, but registering will help guarantee that you get past the velvet ropes, should the Cameo Theater get too crowded.

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


After sketching the tipis, I walked towards the sound of tribal drumming. Leather hides were stretched tight  creating two drums. Groups of men in bright tribal outfits sat around the drums striking down in unison under a large wooden shed structure. About fifty yards of a grassy field was encircled by spectators. Within the circle, people danced. Indian costumes in every color moved to the beat. This powwow was a gold mine of sketch opportunities. One gentleman with a full head dress asked if I did portraits. I assured him I could do a portrait but needed to finish the sketch I had started. He asked me to return the next weekend but the trip to Auberndale from Orlando is far too long.

A microphone was set up for announcements and I heard that cars parked at the far end of the marketplace might get towed. Darn it, that is where I parked. I rushed to finish the sketch. It seems there is always some conspiracy that keeps me from sketching in peace. The dancing in the inner circle stopped and a bird of prey show was about to be staged as I finished up.  The handler warned the crowd. "If you have a small dog, please be sure it doesn't bark. This falcon had a traumatic incident in it's past involving a small dog and if your dog barks, she will attack it." I noticed an overweight woman clutching her Chiwawa tightly to her chest. I almost stayed to see if the falcon would carry off a pup.

All the booths in the market place were now empty as I walked my way back to my car. Only a few vendors were still in the market covering up their goods. I discovered more open rural side roads on my trip back to Orlando. I like taking small roads even if I don't know where they go, just to enjoy the old Florida scenery. Its good to become lost sometimes.

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, March 4, 2014

Spirit of the Buffalo

On Saturday January 11th I drove west to International Market World, 1052 U.S. 92, Auburndale, FL., to attend the "Spirit of the Buffalo." It was a long drive through rural Central Florida to find the Market which must be open every weekend. I knew I had arrived when I spotted these tipis from the road. Right before entering the parking lot, I saw a car get rear ended at full speed. The clueless driver must have been texting. I parked in a muddy field and walked through the market towards the Powwow. The market was immense with fruit stalls, antiques and food trucks.

The Spirit of the Buffalo was located in a field next to the market. Admission was $5 for the day. A large circus tent was set up for larger performances. Open pit ovens were set up to cook maze and other foods. I made my way towards the tipis I had seen from the road.  The word tipi comes from the Lakota language and means "a dwelling". I found the only available shade under a large Live Oak and started sketching. There were large electrical poles next to the tipis which I left out after one of the vendors complained about how he wished they weren't there. He was right. The sketch looks much better with the poles erased. The same vendor complained about the brown tipi to the right. It was made by a pale skinned hobbyist with no regard to the actual materials used, a "weekend warrior" is how he referred to him.

That hobbyist was 'Tipi Tom' who also stopped over to see my sketch. He has been making tipis since he was a kid and he loves attending these powwows. His dog, a basset hound named Scooby barked to greet anyone who got close to the encampment. Tom is now a grandfather to eight month old Joseph who he hopes will inherit his love of Indian traditions. A sign on one of the tipi's indicated that the Lakota tribe once lived in these structures.

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, March 3, 2014

Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody

Spank! is playing at the Abbey through March 23rd. On February 20th, Terry and I went to a performance. The place was packed with voracious women dressed in leopard print and zebra stripes. The cougars were on the prowl. Two muscle bound men, their pecks gleaming, stood at the door, welcoming all that entered. I suspect most of the 3 or four men in the audience were gay, waiting in anticipation for some bondage and fun. I hadn't read 'Fifty shades of Gray', but I knew about, as did Terry. Any straight single guys out there, why aren't you going to see this show? It was a riot, and who wouldn't want to be in a room full of women screaming for more sexual innuendo?

On the night Terry and I went, the role of Tasha was played by the swing, Sarah Hester Ross. She did a great job playing the young innocent who is swept up by Hugh, (Robert Stack's) sexual advances. Andrea Canny played EBJ the sex starved middle aged author who creates the hot scenes as they are performed using her laptop and some imagination. She was great at keeping the audience participation going. As one woman shouted out from the back row, Andrea shouted back "Yes darling, have another drink!"

As EBJ described Hugh's dark brooding character, he stood in the spotlight with a black cape, his back to the audience. He turned around semi dressed as batman. He wore black underwear with the Bat logo spot lit on his crotch. His bare shaved chest took the audience by surprise, they went wild. Hugh often strutted in slow motion with a sexy James Bond demeanor. The light always chiseled out his muscles. I don't know many straight guys that look that good, I need to work out. While Tasha just wanted to talk and learn all she could about Hugh, he just wanted what any man wants, plenty of hot steamy action. EBG wrote a scene in which the two couldn't have sex, by placing them in hang gliders. Hugh was up to the challenge, swooping in behind Tasha and mounting her glider from behind while she delivered a monologue. It was hilarious. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't catch my breath at times. I heard Terry laughing just as hard.

Tasha walked into the audience looking for a straight guy to interact with. I tucked my head down into the sketch hoping not to be picked. She found a another straight couple and asked the guy some advice about how big an object might fit into her orifice. He raised his arms and spread them wide. "Oh my, she shouted back. that is the size of snow skis. We are going to need some lube!" Though the play is organized into definite scenes, there is plenty of audience interaction like this keeping things lively. Although there is plenty of leather and lace, the sexual acts are pretty tame and obviously staged, but that makes them all the funnier. Tasha finds Hugh's tooth brush and when he catshes her with it, he demonstrates how to use it to hilarious cheek stretching effect.

This is definitely the funniest show I have seen in a while. You single guys have to wake up and smell the roses. This is the most uninhibited and fun romp in town right now. Don't miss out. Mark your calenders men. The ladies are already attracted to this show like moths to the flame.

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, March 2, 2014

Mennello Gala

The annual Mennello Museum Gala on February 22nd was referred to as, "An Evening With Fabulous Friends." In exchange for illustrations supplied for the Museum's 25th Anniversary, Terry negotiated tickets to the Gala held at the brand new Alfond Inn, (300 E New England Ave. at Rollins College, Winter Park FL.) Each year, The Friends of The Mennello Museum of American Art host an elegant gala to raise funds for the museum’s collections, exhibitions, and programs. This, the Eleventh Annual Gala celebrated The Mennello Museum of American Art, located in Orlando Loch Haven Park, which is owned and operated by the City of Orlando. The Gala also celebrates the passion of its founders, Michael A. and Marilyn L. Mennello. Marilyn passed away years ago and a statue of her is in the museum.

I was working from 9am to 5pm at Full Sail on the Saturday of the gala. Terry agreed to bring my suit and tie to the inn. I met her up front as her Porsche was being valet parked. I felt a little awkward being in jeans surrounded by tuxedos and women in ball gowns. Terry was in a gold sequin dress and blended right in. I rushed off to find a men's room to change in. There was no large bathroom stall so it was like getting dressed in a very tight closet.

The silent auction items were in a small rotunda with a green house glass domed ceiling. Everyone crowded into this tight space with a craps table taking up a huge chunk of real estate in the center of the room. I spent most of my time trying to keep people from tripping on my art supply bag. Terry flourishes in this type of crowd and she squeezed her way around the room handing out fliers for my retrospective show next month. For a brief moment we stepped outside where it was cool and airy but we immediately went back into the chaotic crowd. I bumped into Michael Mennello and shook his hand. I'm not sure if he remembered me from the day I sketched him in his home.

When they opened the dining room, Terry and I found our way to table 26 which was the Enzian Theater table. Sigrid Tiedtke was warm and inviting, giving us both a hug. I was very flattered that she knew of my work. She looked much like her daughter Elizabeth who I often see at the Enzian. Philip Tiedtke sat next to Terry. The Tiedtke family established the Enzian Theater back in 1985 and it is Orlando's top art house movie theater. The annual Florida Film Festival is now one of the top ranked film festivals in the country. Another couple at the table turned out to be musicians and I hope to sketch them performing some time soon. Frank Holt, the Executive Director of the Mennello Museum also ended up sitting at our table. Although table 26 was far from the podium, we were surrounded by talented heavy hitters in the arts community.

My tie wanted to keep flopping down onto the wet sketch. I dropped my pencil several times. The room was constantly buzzing with activity as the staff rushed to serve food. I picked at my plate of food as I worked, but I spent more time sketching than eating. The live auction had a fast talking auctioneer. The largest item was a trip to Colorado and most of the other items were group restaurant outings. Before I knew it, the Gala was over. Such events seem so rushed when you try to capture them with a sketch.

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