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

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

Thor, thanks for coming and sketching! I was there and you captured the vibe to a T!