Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer prize-winning "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opened Friday, March 21, at Orlando's Mad Cow Theatre 54 W. Church St., Orlando FL. I went to a dress rehearsal on March 18th. In the classic story, secrets push a family to the brink during a memorable evening. Wealthy Southerner Big Daddy is celebrating his 65th birthday among his passionate and greedy family. Son Brick (David Jachin Kelley) is a hunky former football hero married to sexually frustrated Maggie (Summer Dawn Wallace). Meanwhile, son Gooper, a lawyer, had his eye on the family fortune. Also featured are Ron Schneider, Karel K. Wright, Amanda Leakey, Stephen E. Middleton, Tommy Keesling and Michael G. Knight. Bobbie Bell directed.

Brick got drunk and tried to relive his former football glory days at the high school stadium where he managed to break his leg. His wife Maggie was all a flutter talking about family and those "no neck brats" of the sister in law. Summer Dawn Wallace was exceptional in the role as Maggie. She gave the character some teeth like a wild animal cornered in a conflict. Her affections toward Brick were always rebuffed. He spent the show sipping drinks until he felt "that click" which is the moment when he finally had enough.

The show absolutely had me mesmerized.  Big Daddy had health troubles and the family felt the need to protect him from the truth. Family buzzed around him trying to ingratiate their way into the family fortune. Brick was the favored son but Big Daddy could see his addiction to the bottle. There has been much talk lately about the Mad Cow Theater having financial troubles. However this show proves that the theater is committed to staging exceptional productions.

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, April 29, 2014

Statue of Liberty

At a artist workshop at Urban ReThink, someone asked why there is tiny 8 foot tall, Statue of Liberty, at the intersection of North Orange and Magnolia Avenues on the shore of Lake Ivanhoe. I've passed this oddity many times and never given it a thought. It isn't a very creative choice for a public sculpture. It makes it seem like Orlando idolizes gift shop trinkets. This town seems to want to be something for everybody. Like Epcot, we don't feel the need to travel the world to see the rel thing. The proportions on the tiny statue are a bit off. The extra large torch Lady Liberty is holding makes her seem a bit child like. The money invested in the rock work and gadening alone must have cost a fortune. The Kiwanis Club of Orlando paid for the base.

The statue was donated to the city in 1953 by the Central Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America. It was one of about 200 such replicas installed across the nation in the 1950s through a Boy Scout program called "Strengthening the Arm of Liberty,"  The program was part of the Scouts' 40th anniversary celebrations it replaced a big orange concrete ball supported by two stilt-like pillars, built by the Works Progress Administration sometime between 1934 and 1936 that quickly became a victim of graffiti. It must have been a reminder of Orlando's Citrus industry. The ball, by the way, was moved to a fruit stand in Maitland and later destroyed. A new ten foot high ball shaped sculpture was recently installed at the Orlando County Regional History Center.

.The statue was refurbished in the mid-1980s. She seems to have survived any touch of graffiti and the shrubbery is neatly clipped. Robert G. Neel, president of Woodlawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home, led efforts to restore the statue, which he first noticed while stopped at a traffic light.

This is a busy intersection and I got to stare at each new driver that had to stop at the stop light. Each driver looked at me like I was a mad man. During the hour or so that I was sketching, one pedestrian did walk by on her way to the bus stop. She took quite an interest in what I was doing, and she even had advice on where I could find a better camping stool. A ramp behind the stature leads up to Interstate 4 and the cars are always lined up, rushing  to get on Orlando's primary artery. 

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, April 28, 2014

Central Florida Fair

On March 7th, I went to the Central Florida Fair (4603 West Colonial Drive Orlando FL). It is easy to see when the fair is in town because the Ferris Wheel glitters brightly on the horizon when you drive down Colonial at night. It was a rare cold day in Central Florida. I parked in a muddy lot beside many animal trailers. I figured there would be little happening during the day, but there was someone at the ticket window. I others walk by so, I took my best shot to just stroll in. The teen at the window asked to see my wrist band. Darn, they charge money to go in the daytime. I told him that I was the press and he decided to let me go.

None of the rides were moving and there were no crowds at the game booths. The first thing I noticed were some cows being walked around a coral. I had stumbled across a livestock showing and decided that was my best sketch opportunity. Teens walked their prize cows around the with the hope of getting a blue ribbon. The judge and teens had a bull hooks that were used to jab the loose flesh under each cow's throat. It made me uncomfortable to see the cows jabbed repeatedly. I'm not sure why it was done. They would bellow and moo waiting for the judging to end.

A woman who organizes events for the Central Florida Fairgrounds noticed me sketching and stopped to talk for a while. She explained that the Fair has entered the Digital age by having competitions for children where kids write computer code instead of showing their livestock. Microsoft has joined in as a sponsor to encourage kids to write code from a very early age. Another creative competition was sponsored by Legos. Kids were given a small mountain of Legos and they competed to see who was the most creative with what they had to work with. Hopefully I can sketch that competition next year.

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, April 27, 2014

Beefy King

When working at Full Sail from 5pm to 1am, I needed to find daytime landmarks to sketch rather than sketching events which invariable happen in the evening. For some reason, I consider the Beefy King (424 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL) to be an Orlando landmark. They have been serving a variety of mouthwatering Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Bar BQ Beef and Bar BQ Pork sandwichesall served hot, fresh and made to order since 1968.

I found it odd that only the drive through line was available while I was sketching. Ironically, I have never tasted the Beefy King sandwiches, I just like the 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

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Frank Lloyd Wright

On March 6th, Terry and I drove to Lakeland Florida to meet Seattle sketcher Carleen Zimmerman and her husband Neil. They were vacationing in Florida and the plan was to meet for lunch and then go to Florida Southern College to sketch. Lunch was delicious. I had a lasagna roll that was quite unique. Unfortunately it had rained on the entire drive to Lakeland.

I got to flip through Carleen's Florida sketchbook which was almost completely filled.  She had read my book on the flight to Florida and was applying principles I had written about. I was quite pleased to see a note on one sketch that said, "Thor suggests building the pose from the feet up." Most of the sketches were of Florida water foul. Carleen and Neil are avid birders. Because of that they are friends with Terry's sister Rachel in Seattle.

It was still sprinkling when we were done with lunch. Carleen and Neil called it a day and went back to their hotel. Terry and I pushed on to see the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College a few miles away. Terry had been on a guided tour there once with her friend Elaine. She didn't like the tour however since the guide just talked for two hours in the gift shop.

The campus is perfect to explore on a rainy day. Florida Southern College (FSC) has the largest concentration of Wright designed structures anywhere in the world with 10 buildings and two additional structures on campus, and is in the National Register of Historic Places.Construction on the campus began in 1938. Students helped with some of the construction. Wright designed an esplanade that cover all the pathways around the campus. What is unique about the overhangs is that they are only supported on one side leaving a completely unobstructed view on the open side.  If a walkway stepped down, so would the overhang. Wright must have been a short man. I began to feel claustrophobic, always feeling I might bump my head. The structures are also showing signs of wear and stress. Large cracks hint that the supports are having trouble bearing the load. Decorative custom brickwork had glass embedded into it, but students can't resist digging out the glass like a gem from it's matrix. Restoration work is needed everywhere.

A group of photographers explored the campus and I caught one in my sketch. An emergency phone looked like it had been bashed by a linebacker. It had one large red "Help" button for easy operation. I was shocked at how few students there were. There are 1800 undergraduate students but only one or two were seen by me on the campus walkways.

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, April 25, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday April 26, 2014  
10am to 4pm Free. Last day of Thor's Analog Artist Digital World Sketch Retrospective at Snap! Space in the historic Colonial Theater 1013 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL.

10am to 5pm Free. Art in the Park 3. Dickson Azalea Park 100 Rosegarden Drive, Orlando, Fl. Art in the Park is a monthly gathering for the Central Florida arts community to come together to create, converse, and enjoy nature. The event occurs every fourth Saturday from sun up to sun down, and is open to all artists of any form, be it visual, musical, poetic, or what have you. This is not a vending opportunity, but rather a casual forum for individuals to create, collaborate, socialize, network, or just experience Central Florida’s natural beauty.

4pm to 6pm Free. Flying Kitty Carnivale Day 1. Atlantic Center for the Arts 1414 Art Center Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, Fl. Saturday & Sunday @ 4:00pm- 5:00pm, Amphitheater Ladies & gentleman, boys & girls, step right up & gather round to see a show you won’t soon forget! Presenting a world of wonders where everything is unique and extremely adorable! This circus of bumbling fuzzy creatures will charm your heart. They're freaky! They're fuzzy! They're alive! Welcome to a world of high flying felines that are fun and family friendly! Carnivale creator April Tennyson is a member of the Central Florida Puppet Guild who has performed with the City of Orlando Puppetroupe and Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater. April is currently showcasing her one-woman children's productions under the name Good Knight Theatre. For more information please visit

9pm to midnight $5 suggested donation at the door. Skill Focus: Burlesque's Third Birthday! - A Benefit for Syber Digit. The Abbey, 100 South Eola Drive, Orlando, FL. You're invited to Skill Focus: Burlesque's 3rd Birthday Party! What was conceived in a downtown karaoke bar while consuming much whiskey has become Orlando's premiere nerdy burlesque troupe and #1 theater company*. Come celebrate 3 years of boobs, booze, and glitter with your favorite nerdy burlesquers at The Abbey. This year, our birthday party also doubles as a benefit for our own Skill Focus family member, Syber Digit. Syber has been dealing with some health issues as of late. Her doctors suspect cancer and she requires expensive diagnostic tests to confirm. We want to raise money to help cover her medical costs. So join the girls (and guys) of Skill Focus: Burlesque for a fun night filled with music, dancing, games, magic, glitter, and of course boobies while we raise money to help one of our own.
The evening's festivities will include:
- Themed Drink Specials!
- Silent Auction!
- Tarot Readings!
- Skill Focus: Bake Sale!
- Musical Performances from SFB!
- Magic Show from Presto Digitation!
- Costume Contest!
- Games (It's not an SFB party without Twister)!
and of course, Nerdy Burlesque!
As always, costumes are encouraged but not required. There's no theme, just come in your favorite cosplay. But we will have prizes for costume contest winners.
ALL proceeds for the evening will go directly to paying Syber Digit's medical expenses. If you'd like to donate to the cause directly, you may do so via PayPal to Additional donations will also be accepted at the event. 21+ Only.
For more information, visit

Sunday April 27, 2014
10am to noon Free entry before 11pm $5 after.  Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever. The Super Joy Riders: Do Gooder Bike Ride is an exercise in community organizing and active engagement. We hope to use the ride as an opportunity to show how helping people can be simple, fun, and easy, especially while wearing a cape.

10pm to 2am Free. Suckerfish - The Sea Witch Party. The Peacock Room 1321 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, Fl. Florida's only brew of sea punk, witch house, and everything inbetwixt!
with Cane Sugar and Mathe[w]matic
Come Out and Get Wet!

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, April 24, 2014

Nerd Nite Orlando XIII

On March 13th, I went to Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 E. Winter Park Road, Orlando, Fl.) to experience Nerd Nite Orlando XIII.  I arrived early, ordered a Humus plate and a Coke and found a table with a sweeping view of the room. As people arrived, I populated the sketch. Nerd Nite Orlando is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking talks across many disciplines – all while the audience drinks along in a casual bar atmosphere. Speakers present for 20-25 minutes each on a fascinating subject of their choice, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. It’s like the Discovery Channel – with beer!

Josh Manning, the founder and “Nerdboss” of Nerd Nite Orlando was the first speaker. His presentation was about “Chindogu: Unuseless Inventions” which translates to “really weird” (chin) “tool” (dōgu). This is the noble Japanese art of eccentric invention. Often causing more problems than they solve, chindogu ultimately serve no real purpose. Neither useful nor useless, they are therefore “unuseless” (similar to how “undead” means not dead and not alive). So what’s the point then? Unbridled creativity, of course! Chindogu are like anarchists that have broken free from the pragmatism of traditional invention. Come discover the wonderful world of unuseless creations that include baby mopsa tissue dispenser cap, and umbrella ties! Josh is always interested in new ways to think differently, he also co-organizes a group of employees at Kennedy Space Center called the “Spaceport Innovators.” In the 2nd grade he even entered an invention contest by submitting his “fishing backpack” creation, which was just his school backpack outfitted with a car air freshener so that he could carry around all the fish he caught minus the stink. He didn’t win any prizes, not even an honorable mention.

The second presentation was “Digital Heroes: How Video Games Can Save The World” by Carlos Donze  A growing body of evidence suggests that video games play (pun totally intended!) a larger role in brain development than previously thought. In this talk, he discussed their role in tackling some of the world’s seemingly insurmountable problems, such as personal happiness, poverty, and helping the terminally ill. Let Carlos show you how playing video games can translate in to real life power-ups!

Emily Empel presented, “Cards Against the Future: Generating Possibilities Instead of Predictions” Talking about the FUTURE is old school. All around us, societal “squares” are sanitizing our conversations about the future. These politicians, business leaders and academics rely on forecast models that reduce uncertainty. Some people like to think things progress along a straight linear path, but progress and change happens in sudden unpredictable surges. Let’s be real: the world is getting weirder. Forecasts that discount mystical, immeasurable,  elements limit our ability to fundamentally explore what’s ahead. In other words, exploring the future is a job for societal misfits, and total nerds. In the spirit of Chindogu, Emily showed a hilarious clip of a robotic ketchup dispenser. Obsessing over the FUTURE(S) is where it’s at.  She explores the present and the future according to a new set of rules. She is a trend spotter, marketing disciple, and corporate futurist. She provides executive management with strategic insights to identify emerging developments. Emily earned a Master of Science degree in Future Studies from the University of Houston. Her research has been featured by organizations such as The World Future Society and AlterNet. A former nomad, she’s slowly realizing, thanks to fellow Orlandoans and a lot of imagination, that Orlando doesn't suck.

Emily wanted to talk after the presentations to brainstorm about a creative project she has brewing. Her pink haired friend Natalie Chandler kept me company as Emily discussed, and sometimes argued the future with people after her talk. Natalie confided that Emily is super busy yet she wants to layer this intricate creative project into her schedule over the next several months. Emily outlined the project that she and others are brain storming. The World Future Society Conference is coming to Orlando this July and she wants to put together a show for that conference. Tentatively titled, "Near Now" the project is aimed at bringing together intellectuals and creatives who are interested in exploring how the future of Orlando can unfold in 2030. I agreed to help bring together creative people that could help bring this vision to light. The seed is planted. So far, progress is slow but if it is meant to bloom, it will. The possibilities are limitless.

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, April 23, 2014

Viet Garden

Whenever I find myself with extra time before going to a theater or other event I often stop at Viet Garden (1237 East Colonial Drive, Orlando FL) for a bite. They serve the most delicious Pad Thai that I have ever tasted. The dish is prepared super quick and it is always super good. There are shrimp and peanut sauce soaked noodles along with light bits of chicken and seed sprouts. Once, I overpaid because the server and woman at the cash register had intercommunicated. The server ran out to the parking lot and caught me before I left. That kind of caring service is rare and it has made me a very loyal customer.

I am almost always alone and I am ushered to a window seat. Since I know what I love, I can usually immediately order. All of the walls in the restaurant are covered with beautiful murals depicting the Vietnamese landscape. Some of the sponge painting of the clouds could be refined, but over all, it is impressive. Mirrors help the room feel larger than it is.

I did this sketch on the evening of my Retrospective exhibit opening at Snap Space in the historic Cameo Theater (1013 East Colonial Drive, Orlando FL). I knew that at the opening I would be pulled in multiple directions with no time to sketch. I kind of regret that this important moment in my career wasn't documented with a sketch. There are however plenty of photos to be found online. The opening was a whirlwind and it was wonderful to see so many friends and meet new people. A contingent of former Disney animators showed up. I probably hadn't seen some of them in 10 years. Four original sketches sold almost immediately and that let me relax and enjoy the night. Other pieces kept selling, and when I wasn't talking to patrons, I was signing books. Most important, I believe my work was introduced to people who hadn't seen it before.

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, April 22, 2014


On Friday April 18th, I went to the first of two performances by Red Right Return Dance Company at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL.) Elise Frost was the director and she was kind enough to let me know about the world premiere performance by this new dance company. RRR was formed in the summer of 2013 by a group of like  minded artists hungry for a space to play and develop as movers and creators. Sylvia was the culmination of their work showcasing how they discovered each other as artists and humans. Sylvia is the first destination on their journey.

The mission of RRR Dance Company is to establish a platform for the development of contemporary dance in the Central Florida community. The company seeks to create risk taking works through experimentation of movement, act of play and the creation of a fearless creative space. This performance was an incredible first step. The program began with a quote from Poet Sylvia Plath, "Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all of my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn."

The line of dancers progressed slowly up the wheel chair access ramp at the back of the stage. They moved as if in a funeral procession and then the lead dancer would scuttle back in live. There was pushing and shoving in the endless procession. On stage groups of dancers would huddle together seeking solace in each other and in human contact. The groups would move like a single entity. Dancers were often off balance trusting that they would be supported by someone else. At times, couples would pair off and dance to their own embrace. There was an intimacy in the interactions. At times dancers might be face to face, forehead to forehead looking into each others eyes. One dancers spun and fell loudly repeatedly. The sound of the fall was so loud that I was concerned she might hurt herself. She rose up and flung herself into space again with no fear.

A group of dancers pushed a fellow dancer up against the rear wall of the stage and they supported here there in a Christ like pose. They kept here there the longest time looking a bit like the solders who raised the flag on Owo Jima toward the end of World War 2. The dancers formed a line down the center of the stage facing the audience. They pressed forward and the lead dancer would stare above the audiences head in horror at some terror in the distance. That dancer would try to escape to the back of the line but never without a struggle. Each dancer on turn would face the horror and struggle to escape.

Suddenly the music changes and the lights all glowed red and the dancers broke into a joyous dance of celebration and abandon. With this sudden explosion of energy, the audience applauded. Some of the dancers I recognized, like Ashley Kroft and Darci Ricciardi so as an artist I felt invested in the off balance chances that the company took. There was a raw naked abandon to the entire performance. It was exhilarating. This is the face of change in an otherwise homogeneous clean cut town.

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, April 21, 2014

Gun and Knife Show

On Saturday March 16th, I went to the Gun and Knife Show at the Central Florida Fair Grounds on Colonial Drive in Orlando FL. I didn't find out until I got there that admission was $9. I've seem guns on TV, so I didn't see the point of paying to see guns on display. Instead I sat down near the police cars figuring that would be the safest place to sketch from. People walked by with semi-automatic rifles and machine guns sling over their shoulders. It felt a bit third world. If the person wasn't sporting a gun on their shoulder, then they were carrying one or several lock boxes full of hand guns. Insider there was a concealed weapons class which just made me wonder if everyone had a hand gun tucked in their belt or in an ankle harness. The guns on parade were just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm sure I could have discovered a very sketch able scene inside, but Terry was driving home from Miami and I wanted to be home when she arrived. A food truck next to the Gun Show pavilion was serving plenty of corn dogs and beer. I found it ironic the the guns had taken over the Creative Arts Pavilion of the fairgrounds. The creative Arts Pavilion is where you go to see children's art when the Fair is in full swing. As a kid I was so proud when I got a blue ribbon for the art I put on display in a county fair. I had constructed a working R2D2 droid out of scraps I found around the house. I should have figured out how to construct a working gun out of those scraps.

When the sketch was done, I walked around the outdoor flea market which was in an field next to the pavilions. Vendors were already packing up and there was no shade so I didn't stop to sketch. Some other weekend I'll explore the refuge on display. One man's garbage is another man's treasure.

Mark your Calendar! The next gun Show is on May 17 and 17th at the Central Florida Fair Grounds. The Hours will be Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm and Sunday 10:00am - 5:00pm. Admission is Adult: $9.00 Children: 12 & Free Parking

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, April 20, 2014

Western Way

The Western Way Shopping Center sign is located on West Colonial Drive a block west of North Tampa Avenue. A big Department of Motor Vehicles building is right up the block. The sign hearkens back to a time when Colonial Drive was the main road to get from cost to coast. Colonial Drive (State Route 50) runs throughout Central Florida, from Weeki Wachee on the west coast, to Titusville on the east. The highway is called by different names in different regions, such as Cortez Boulevard in Hernando County and Colonial Drive in much of Orange County. Parts of the highway east of 436 (Semoran Boulevard) follow the Old Cheney Highway, the original road that ran from Orlando to Titusville. I've driven Colonial all the way to the west coast of Florida, and it is a step back in time sprinkled with plenty of old Florida towns and long stretches of rural cattle farms and citrus groves. In 1955 the Western Way Shopping Center on West Colonial Drive opened with Moses Pharmacy and Landis Stone’s Hardware Store as anchor tenants.

Excerpt from From the Florida sand to the City Beautiful: A Historical Record of Orlando, Florida, by E.H. Gore, published in 1951: “Mr. Charles D. Sweet, a surveyor from Louisiana, located in Orlando in 1873. He had traveled up and down the Mississippi Valley and got a desire to see what Florida looked like. When he arrived in Orlando, he liked it so well he decided to locate. He surveyed part of the city when it was incorporated in 1875 and laid out some of the streets. He wanted to make Gertrude Street a main thoroughfare through Orlando but when the South Florida Railroad was built in 1880, it followed through a large portion of that street. That street was named for his sister Gertrude. He was elected to the board of Aldermen in 1880 and served as mayor in 1881. He wanted to name the streets running east and west after different mayors so started out with Marks and Sweet streets, but some time later the name of Sweet Street was changed to Colonial Drive. He was one of the pioneers who helped change Orlando from a village to a city.”

There were maybe five or so pedestrians who walked by as I sketched. People tend to try and cross the four lanes of Colonial on foot to get to fast food restaurants or 7-11s. The Orlando-Kissimmee region was ranked as one of the most dangerous pedestrian regions in the country, with more than 550 pedestrians killed from 2000 to 2009. This translates into 61 deaths a year or about one death every week. Colonial Drive alone has claimed 40 lives in the past five years. Colonial was a constant blur of speeding gas fumed traffic as I sketched. Were I to try and get to the Magic Mall across the street, I would have to risk life and limb. When I did leave I stepped into my steal box of a car for some form of protection before pulling out into the anger fueled traffic.

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, April 19, 2014

Modern Widow's Club

Carolyn Caple Moor founded the Modern Widows Club that has met every third Thursday for the past 29 months at her Orlando home. Carolyn lost her husband Chad Moor on Valentines Day in 2000 in a hit and run auto accident as they drove home from diner. I saw one of Chad's original sketches of a horse on display in the home when I first entered. He was a gifted artist. There are 11.4 million widows in this country and 3.5 million of those women are under 65. Carolyn finds strength and hope as she reaches out to help others. She shares inspiration and mentors every woman who enters her home. These meetings are a safe place where incredibly honest conversations blossom.

A fire was setup in the fire pit on the back patio as dusk settled in. There was plenty of food and drink inside and everyone mingled through the social hour. I poured a white wine and settled in to sketch outside. The fire started to fade, but Carolyn's daughter, Mackensey Moor used some dry palm husks as kindling to reignite the blaze. I got to learn about her camping experiences in Colorado where she earned a patch as an expert fire starter. I used this time to pencil in the perspective. As women came out, I quickly placed them in the sketch. The wind kept blowing the fire's smoke and ashes my way, so by the end of the night I smelled like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Mackensey was busy setting up a Skype session on her laptop with  Becky Aikman the NYC Author of  'Saturday Night Widows'. Martha Curtis-Garry skyped in via Rome, Italy at 2am her time and actually talked to Becky from iPhone to laptop. It is so amazing how digital tools are changing the way we communicate. Carolyn panned the laptop around so Becky could see everyone in attendance. Becky complimented everyone's shoes since that is what she saw on her end of the digital divide. Becky's book was about her journey along with six friends after they were all widowed. She went to a widow's group and some psychologist was wallowing in negativity while outlining the five stages of grief.  Becky doesn't believe in set steps to grief, everyone is different. She suggested the group might want to focus on some more positive viewpoints and after the meeting, the head of the group told her she wasn't welcome back. This was an all time low for her, being kicked out of a support group. As a journalist, she decided to form her own group and each of the members knew their stories would become part of a book she was writing. One of the participants said she felt naked, but brave. Another Widows meeting in NYC involved a lingerie sample party where everyone got to try on their favorite frilly outfits. Why hadn't I been invited to sketch that meeting?!

Becky mentioned one joint meeting where the widows club met with a widowers club in NYC and then the conversation turned to how men are different from women. I think they forgot there was one man sketching in the shadows. A woman might feel guilt if she dated soon after her husband's death, but men can compartmentalize their emotions. They might truly love the wife that they lost, but there was no guilt in getting back out and dating. Men envy the strong binding friendships that women have. Men's conversations seldom venture and deeper than sports along with one word grunts. The group of women in NYC were fairly affluent, but the conversation in Florida turned to women who have to give up their homes and scrape by when their husband's income is no longer available. Insurance money is only a short term fix for a lifetime to come. Widows seem to be invisible in many societies.

The atmosphere of the meeting I was sketching felt warm and supportive. After the Skype session conversations returned to warm often funny memories. One woman related the fun and playful game of trying to beat her husband to the TV remote. I realized she wasn't talking in the past tense. Memories shared are very much alive and in the moment. Another woman related that her husband used to watch so many Crime Scene Investigation shows, that she thought he might be plotting to kill her without leaving evidence. Laughter erupted frequently as stories were shared. One woman had been to the "Love" themed Pecha Kucha" event that Carolyn and I had been presenters for. Based on the talks she heard that evening, she decided to sign up on OK Cupid an online dating sight. She glowed as she showed me an iPhone photo of the handsome guy she is now dating.

After the meeting I sat in the living room chatting with Carolyn and Mackensey. I had been sitting silently sketching all night and was a bit hungry for conversation. When Carolyn's other daughter Meagan walked in with her freshly showered hair, I realized I might have over stayed my welcome. I was surprised that I was the last to leave. Vicki Garcia had left white Easter Lillies for everyone to take home. Carolyn gave me some lilies as I left with instructions to cut the stems before putting them in a vase.  I handed the lilies to Terry when I got home. She asked where I got them, and I told her. "You could have lied you know, I would have believed you." Darn, men can be so stupid sometimes. This morning one white bloom opened to the sunlight, a symbol of hope and resurrection.

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, April 18, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday April 19, 2014
10am to 6pm Free.  43rd World Wide Sketch Crawl in Orlando is on the same day as the 9th Annual Central Floride Earth Day at Lake Eola.
Thor of Analog Artist Digital World is the Orlando host. The idea of the FREE SketchCrawl is that of a global
drawing marathon: Taking a day to journal and draw all that is around you.
1- Artists gather together for the Sketchcrawl. (Lets meet at the Artist Corner at 10am to start.)
2- They share sketches and photos from all over the world after the SketchCrawl.
3- The event helps create a community of friends passionate about drawing around the world.
There are no rules:
Anyone can participate, be it to draw for 20 minutes or the full day . Any level of ability is welcome
from veteran artists to first time sketchers. Any age! Try it with your kids!
Artists can explore the event with sketches and ultimately gather at the Food Court-Beer Garden
at 5pm to share sketchbooks while tasting some of the Earth Day food and drink.

10am to 6pm Free.  Central Florida Earth Day. Lake Eola Park (east side) 195 N. Rosalind Avenue Orlando, FL. Please join us for the 9th annual Central Florida Earth Day, the largest and longest-running Earth Day festival in Central Florida! Central Florida Earth Day is back--bigger and better than ever!  Please join us at the largest and most prestigious Earth Day event in Central Florida. The event will include healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, and presentations; non-profits; fun and games for kids; dog and cat adoptions; restaurant booths; environmental and humane education; artist and craft corners; and live music and entertainment. Central Florida Earth Day will draw both committed environmentalists and those who want to learn more about how to protect our health, the planet, and its inhabitants. You can promote your business or group to thousands of people who want to learn more about environmentalism and the varied products and services that support an eco-friendly and a veg-friendly way of life. All money raised will be used for local environmental education and outreach.

10am to 8pm Free. Acme's Star Trek vs Star Wars Art Show and Charity Auction for Hero Initiative. Acme Superstore 905 E. SR 434, Longwood, Fl. Acme's Star Trek versus Star Wars Art Show! Join us for new themed art, family-friendly activities, movies, contests and vendors! And a store-wide sale on ALL Star Wars AND Star Trek comics, toys and merch! Throughout the day, we'll also have a silent art auction with all proceeds going to Hero Initiative:.
Winners will be announced and contacted at 7pm. All ages welcome! FREE to attend!
Also, for all you 18+ fans, check out our Acme After Hours: Star Trek vs Star Wars Art Party!

Sunday April 20, 2014
2pm to 8pm. Free.  Orange Blossom Jamboree 5 Pre-Party. Red Lion Pub 3784 Howell Branch Road Winter Park, Fl. A pre-Celebration of Florida's finest homegrown festival: Orange Blossom Jamboree 2014!!! Live music from local OBJ bands on an outdoor stage, free homemade BBQ, and over a dozen vendors will all be present!

5:3opm to ? $7. Southern Fried Sunday with People's Blues of Richmond, The Woolly Bushmen and Fast Preacher. Will's Pub 1042 N. Mill's Ave., Orlando, Fl. This SFS will rock! April's SFS presents bands who all have a blues tinged, garage rock soulfullness to their diverse yet distinctly Southern sound. We welcome Virginia's People's Blue of Richmond back to Will's after their last display of badassery. They'll be joined by The Woolly Bushmen and Fast Preacher, the side project of Fat Night's Daniel Hanson. The $7 Cover includes BBQ. Because this show falls on Easter and because we'll be celebrating the first full liquor SFS at Will's we are hiding eggs around the bar which will have tickets for free shots inside. Happy hunting!

9pm to 11pm Free. Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. 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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Paint Nite

On March 4th  I went to Avenue Gastrobar (13 S. Orange Ave. Orlando, FL) to see what Paint Nite was all about. For $45 patrons registered to paint a simplified version of Vincent Van Gogh's Irises. The event was Sold Out. About half of the bar was filled with small easels with blank canvases, brushes, along with plastic cups of water and plastic plates for palettes. Thirty to forty people showed up to "drink creatively." Each artist was given a green grade school smock.

Avenue Gastrobar offers a casual refined atmosphere that welcomes beer and cocktail drinkers, along with fussy eaters and foodies alike. Avenue is not quite a bar, and not quite a restaurant, but an innovative & modern pub hub to sip, grub and socialize. I had a sandwich and a Coke while I sketched.

I had contacted artist Megan MacGregor and since I wasn't using any of the art supplies, she was fine with letting me sit on the sidelines and sketch without the $45 cover. Megan graduated from New College of Florida with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts. Apart from studying art, she also specialized in animal psychology, focusing on animal training. Her senior year of college she worked as a marine mammal intern at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Fl. Her senior thesis, "Fragmented Perspective," focused on redefining the stereotype of dolphins, came about as a result of her experience working there. After graduation, Megan was accepted into a six month marine mammal internship at The Seas in Epcot, Orlando, Fl, which has continued the inspiration of her paintings. She currently lives in Orlando, and is looking forward to taking her paintings out of the water and into new realms on land.  I like how her work breaks one large image into a series of panels. She works in watercolor which of course I also find appealing. I kind of wish she had coached everyone to paint a dolphin portrait, but that would have required much more drawing skills from participants.

In the workshop, all the artists were first instructed to cover the entire canvas with a coat of yellow acrylic paint. Then large green brush strokes defined the leaves. Every one's painting was unique. The purple Irises were the last item added to all the paintings. Megan coached everyone from a small stage at the head of the room. She had a head mic which amplified her voice giving the impression of a fitness trainer rallying everyone to exercise their creative muscles. I imagine the amount of wine consumed might have resulted in some liberal abstractions. Participants liked joking with each other as they questioned their creations. Paint Nites are happening all over town with many different paintings to choose from. Though I was skeptical, I must admit that a Paint Nite would certainly be a fun date. Everyone is searching for adventurous distractions and this fits the bill.

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, April 16, 2014

Shin Sushi

On Friday February 28th, I went to meet Julie Anderson at Shin Sushi (803 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL) to discuss the Orlando Sentinel's new "HypeOrlando Blogs." This can be found on the Sentinel website on the "Home" tab at the top of the page. Several months ago, Terry and I bumped into Julie and her husband Lars at an outdoor cafe in Winter Park. Over drinks, Julie first described the "Hype" concept. A newspaper in Chicago first developed the idea where a large group of bloggers all contribute to the same blog site. None of the contributors is paid, so the newspaper online site gets plenty of creative content for free.

In return, "Hype" contributors would get, a daily newsletter from an experienced blogger on how to build audience (Search engine optimization, optimizing Facebook, writing headlines that make people click, etc.) Offline blogger community meetups.  Free platform and technical setup. Ongoing technical support. Monthly incentives and contests for writing and audience-building.

I got to the Sushi restaurant a bit early since I had just done an interview with Seth Kubersky a few blocks away for a write up in the Orlando Weekly. The head waiter at Shin Sushi told me I would have to wait an hour before I could get inside. I had hoped to sketch the interior and fill the sketch with patrons as they arrived for the lunch hour. Oh, well, it was a nice day outside, so I sat across the street and sketched the barren exterior. As I was finishing my sketch, I saw Julie approach the restaurant and go inside. I packed up the supplies and rushed across the street. The restaurant was bustling now. I ordered some sushi combo which turned out to be much more food than expected.

HypeOrlando in it's first weeks had about 30 contributors. Julie hopes to push those numbers up into the hundreds. My impression is that "Hype" is a great opportunity for beginning bloggers. All the layouts for the blogs are identical making it hard to tell one blog from another. The one established "Hype" blogger that I recognized was  Kristen Manieri who runs Great Dates Orlando. Over lunch, Julie pushed for the idea of having me channel all my future content over to the "HypeOrlando" site. This seemed like an extreme notion which would likely result in my loosing many readers in the transition. I can't imagine giving up a site that I've built up over 5 years. Kristen still maintains her original site while occasionally contributing to "Hype". The fact that I post creative content every day means that I would have to write a new article any time I wanted to contribute to "Hype." I would have to add an 8th day to my work week! I asked about just posting an article on "Hype" that already ran or simultaneously ran on Analog Artist Digital World. Julie said that the Google search engine would label any re-purposed article as spam thus all content would have to be new.

I fired of a long list of concerns. I didn't like having to give up a large header on the new site. Apparently the "Chicago Now"  site learned that letting contributors create their own headers resulted in some very bad and amateurish designs. The "Hype" site limits each contributor to a one inch square avatar. It results in trying to create a recognizable brand on the size of a postage stamp. I was also concerned that there is no right click copyright protections making it easy for Sentinel Surfers to copy any sketches I post to the site. This is an ongoing concern since even the Downtown Arts District and the City of Winter Park do not realize that it is wrong to copy and republish work without permission. The Internet is a lawless Wild West for theft and ripping. The fact that City organizations have no clue about copyright makes it appear that Orlando is a second rate city. Terry seems to feel there is no advantage to posting on "Hype". Even the name seems to imply vacuous content with little substance. I'm still weighing the options. I might even cut back submissions to Analog Artist Digital World to 6 days a week and submit one article a week to "Hype". I've been making adjustments to try and allow for more family time and contributing free content to "Hype" could be a step backwards. I was surprised and pleased that Julie paid for lunch.

Let me know what you think. Should I stay the course and keep AADW a daily, or should I also contribute to the "Hype"? Leave me a message below. One last note. Something I ate at Shin Sushi didn't agree with me and I had the runs all afternoon. Not a good 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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dana Schutz

Critically acclaimed artist Dana Schutz will be Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida from February 17 to March 9, 2014. She talked about her artistic process on February 27th during her visit to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, Fl.)  Dana’s work suggests tradition while simultaneously presenting innovative compositions. The artist explains, “My paintings are loosely based on meta narratives. The pictures float in and out of pictorial genres. Still life's become personified, portraits become events, and landscapes become constructions. I embrace the area between which the subject is composed and decomposing, formed and formless, inanimate and alive.” New York-based critic John Yau stated, “This is what Schutz does so well—she asks questions that challenge the answers given by others. More importantly, she asks her questions by folding them into the painting.”  The appearance of Dana Schutz was made possible by the Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist in-Residence Outreach Program and United Arts of Central Florida.

Dana's work blew me away. The classical paintings on the museum walls seemed shocked and surprised by Dana's work on the screen. The image I sketched on the screen answered the question, "What would someone look like if they ate their own face?"  Dana works large with all her colors pre-mixed. While in school she painted portraits of the men she imagined would be right for her friends. A bright landscape sprouted body parts which people then devoured. Her imagined world is believable yet abstract with the light and color intensity dialed way up. I wish I could have seen some of her work in person. The paint looks luscious and thickly applied. There is a vibrancy and directness to her work that I admire. I left the talk inspired. What a surprise to discover another artists vision with self effacing humor and warmth.

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, April 14, 2014

Running on Local

Julie Norris invited me to attend a free talk with Carol Hewitt, a Slow Money inspired author of "Financing Our Foodshed", and Lyle Estill, author of similar books, such as "Small is Possible". The discussion will focus on all things local: from food to fuel to finance to friendship.The talk and discussion were held at East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL) on February 24th.

The primary point of the discussion was that we don't need large banks to finance small businesses in our community. Individuals who have a little money saved can help their neighbors with small loans with  very low interest rates. When the money is loaned directly to someone you know, it is more likely to be paid back since not doing so would be embarrassing. Carol began loaning money in her community with increasing frequency and there have only been a few defaults. Such grass roots financing has resulted in a stronger sense of community.

Carol is a pioneer in the Slow Money Movement. The American financial system is built on the idea of fast money. Computers trade execute trades at exponentially fast speeds in order to bring in fast returns. These quick trades aren't intended to help the investor or the business. Instead they skim money from both with no value added. Slow money implies lending money locally so that the community you live in can thrive and grow. Since Carol has been practicing this for years, it seems that removing big banks from the financing equation is a viable option for people with vision and a personal interest in seeing their community grow.

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, April 13, 2014

Hall of Fame

On my third trip out to the Full Sail back lot I found that the outdoor stage had been broken down because of the threat of rain. An awards ceremony was going on inside Full Sail Live and I tried to get in, but security guards refused entrance.

I walked back to a jumbo tron where students were catching all the action. I decided to sit under a huge umbrella and I'm glad I did, because half way into the sketch, it began to pour. The students ran for cover, joining me under the umbrella.

Some of the students must have not realized I was a teacher because they gossiped about how the think teachers don't give a damn because they are just biding their time until they land a job in the movie industry again.

The founder of Full Sail,  Jon Phelps, got on stage and he loomed large and bright on the Jumbo tron. I've never met the man. Staff joked about which color Maserati sports car he might drive to the ceremony. He has done very well for himself, yet teachers at Full Sail struggle to make ends meet. The school focuses it's resources on State of the art technology and tons of marketing while the instructors in the trenches seem overlooked.

Awards were given to Kim Albert, Tom BoydDemacio Castellon, Leon Hopkins, Larry Katz,  and Juan Peralta. Unlike the Academy Awards there was no cut off cue when an award recipient went on too long. The common thread among the recipients speeches was that persistence and determination do eventually pay off. This is a lesson that is only learned outside the classroom in the everyday struggle to build a career.

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, April 12, 2014

Hall of Fame

On February 2nd, I explored the Full Sail back lot to see what was set up for the Hall of Fame. The idea behind Hall of Fame is that select graduates are honored for their contributions in the fields of music, film or gaming. A stage was set up in front of the Public Market which is modeled after the market in Seattle. Ruth King was the performer. She sang Soulful Acoustic Blues. Between songs she described her life growing up with a white mom and black father which gave her a unique view of racism in America. She was filmed live and the results went up on a jumbo tron. Of course the big screen projection was overkill since fewer than a dozen students stood in the blazing Florida sun to listen. Half of that dozen were working video and audio equipment.

As a Music Festival this was a pitiful turn out. They would have been better off staging this in a small sound studio. The MC kept offering the carrot of a free iPad if people tweeted friends to get out to listen.  No one actually won an iPad while I sketched. I hadn't succeeded in finding shade so the second I finished my sketch, I packed away the sketchbook and left. I had finished fast enough, so that I only had a minor sun burn.

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, April 11, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday April 11, 2014
3pm to 8pm Free. Frankie's BIG FUN Market. APARTMENT E (the Event's host location, and where you will get the night's map!) 659 Bryn Mawr, (College park), Orlando , Florida. "BIG FUN" occurs on every second Saturday (only). 3pm-8pm....( debut March) ... there are many ways to participate. In the coming months we will be growing into an all out sidewalk party, and we will be stretched and inclusive of any and 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 it is not the only aspect of this MARKET.

4:30pm to 8:30pm Free. Dr. Phillps Charities presents Peter and The Wolf, a FREE outdoor Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL. Pre-concert activities begin at 4:30, with a concert at 7:30 pm with Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds, and special guests from Orlando Repertory Theatre. Sponsored by Dr. Phillips Charities with additional support from Orlando Family Magazine.

9:15pm to 10:50pm International Shorts Florida Film Festival. Regal Winter Park Village 20, North Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL Total running time: 91 minutes
Oh Sheep!
No matter what methods their owners employ to keep them apart, two flocks of sheep are relentless in their effort to mingle on the same piece of property. The result is quite funny albeit a bit messy.
Noodle Fish
 A little fish embarks on a journey to discover the mysterious world that lies above the water. Will he be up to the challenge?
Faces from Places—Japan: Hôjô Jutsu
Step into a watercolor world as this series of mini-documentaries takes you on a trek around the globe. In this installment of the travel diary, a young woman discusses the Japanese practice of rope skills—from traditional martial arts to the naughtier side of things.
What is Dead May Never Die
From the moon landing to movie credits, this hypnotic time capsule of sights and sounds will grab your attention!
White Morning
A twisted and unflinchingly confrontational film about chain-of-command, peer pressure, and the violence of little boys and little men. “If you tell him to do it…he will.”
Sleep Clinic
This psychiatric fantasy musical takes us on a mind-melting, Seussian trip through the desperate delusions and sometimes-hilarious hallucinations of an insomniac.
In the Air is Christopher Gray
Christopher Gray is a suburban boy who just wants to impress Stacey, the love of his life. And no amount of lemonade in the world can quench his desire. Will his friend’s pet-store purchase help him win over the object of his affection?
Tap to Retry
This frenetic series of clever and colorful super-shorts aims to interpret vague and undefined concepts without adding to the disorientation we all inevitably feel while living in a world where “real” and “virtual” are constantly shifting and mixing.
La Ravaudeuse
Told in an eerie world of fabric and wood, this bizarre story of twins who refuse to be kept apart proves that there’s nothing easy about mending a bungled child.
 Faces from Places—Ivory Coast: Wax
On our second global adventure with Bastien Dubois, we discover a vast array of colorful African fabrics and the stories behind their vibrant patterns.
Lonely Bones
The dark and creepy tale of a one-eyed man who makes his escape from a hotel room, only to enter a hellish world where time and space intertwine.
 Bless You
 A man taking the subway gets a jolt when the countdown clock inside his brain hits zero.  Prepare for lift-off!
Subconscious Password
 When Charles forgets an old acquaintance’s name, we are thrust into a mind-bending romp through the inner reaches of his mind. The latest masterwork from the Oscar® -winning director of “Ryan” (FFF 2005 Audience Award for Best International Short).

Sunday April 13, 2014
10am to 6pm Free.  Fashion Square Art Fair. Orlando Fashion Square 3201 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, Florida. 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.

4:30pm to 6:30pm $13. Roller Derby: Arkham Assailants vs Sunnyland Slammers. Semoran Skateway 2670 Cassel Creek Blvd, Casselberry, Florida. first jam is at 5:00. This is an all ages event. Food and BEER will be available at the snack bar. We will have a 50/50 raffle, so bring some cash! Remember to bring your own chairs; chairs with rubber bottoms are allowed on the track, high heels are not. And don't forget, you can take home a piece of OPCDG with one of our league or team shirts, or even a one of a kind, derby girl made, necklaces, magnets, and more. ( After party will be directly after the game at Friendly Confines, Winter Park.

7pm to 9pm. Free. Hard Rock Rising 2014. Hard Rock Cafe Orlando, Orlando, 6050 Universal Blvd, Florida. 7 Bands Enter...1 Band Leaves a Winner!!! Support The Bloody Jug Band.

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, April 10, 2014

Ghosts of Brutality

On February 11th, artist John Hitchcock gave a talk about his artistic process at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, Fl). A whole room in the Cornell is filled with an installation he did called "Ghosts of Brutality". Cut out screen prints on paper and felt created a complex mosaic on the walls and floor. Military helicopters dropped bombs while tanks roamed the base boards. Severed heads of bison, deer and donkeys floated in space among the bombs. John isn't strict about the placement of each print in the installation. Students and staff helped with the installation so they were very much a part of the artistic process.

Before John's talk, a movie clip played of Indians dancing in their full regalia.  John grew up in Western Oklahoma in a Comanche reservation across from a US Military base. As a child he grew up with artillery training always in the background. His first drawings were to help his grandmother prepare intricate bead work. He did a series of circular prints that showed bison with a target symbol. He was very proud that one of these later sported a bullet hole.

John prints a massive amount of work for his installations, often recruiting students to help in the process. On a trip to Venice, he left a print at every historic place he went. The prints left behind were like bread crumbs of his travels. John's work addresses war, assimilation and imperialism.

A doctor found a large malignant growth that threatened John's life. At this time, when faced with death, John began to sketch obsessively every day. He would post each days sketch on his Facebook page. I wholeheartedly identify with his obsession. He also began to incorporate more color in his work.  The threat of death caused him to bloom.

Mark your calendar! Ghosts of Brutality is up through April 13th. Admission to the museum is now free, thanks to the Bressemer trust, so you have no excuse not to 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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

For No Good Reason

Johnny Depp produced and Directed the documentary "For No Good Reason" about the artist Ralph Steadman which was screened at the Florida Film Festival. The iconic work of Ralph Steadman is some of the most instantly recognizable in the world of modern cartooning. In 1969 he was paired on a magazine assignment with a writer named Hunter S. Thompson to cover the Kentucky Derby. Nothing could have prepared Steadman, the sober Brit, for the havoc-stirring Thompson, but their blend of sensibilities gave birth to what became known as “Gonzo” journalism. The film delves beneath the obvious (albeit incredibly evocative) work Steadman did with Thompson. While the give and take of their friendship certainly helped form his style, it was Steadman’s willingness to go further that truly makes his art stand out. This is most likely what led him to work so closely with William S. Burroughs towards the end of his life. A kaleidoscopic journey with Steadman through the ups and downs of his expansive career, including traveling with Thompson to Africa for the Rumble in the Jungle, his outrage during the Richard Nixon years, or going shooting with Burroughs, this crowd-pleasing documentary is touching, angry, and weird—all in equal measure. Fifteen years in the making, it’s sure to give insight into a man who has used his talents to challenge the status quot in ways most illustrators are never able to touch.

I went into this screening with no idea that the film would be about one of my all time idols. Steadman truly believed that his work could help change the world.  His edgy and evocative images show the darker side of just about every public official while showcasing man's inhumanity to his fellow man.  Steadman views authority as the mask of violence.He found his voice and used it as a weapon.

The whole idea of Gonzo Journalism was new to me but it has so much appeal. Basically the artist would be sent to an event to document the proceedings. Then the artist and writer would become the story. This is how "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was developed. Author Hunter Thompson  went to Las Vegas with a lawyer and the trip became a kaleidoscopic binge of drug abuse that warped their perceptions resulting in very twisted imagery and verse. Only Ralph Steadman could illustrate this warped world view. It felt entirely appropriate that I was documenting my joy at discovering this film as I threw down lines and splashes of color.

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, April 8, 2014

Florida Film Festival

I went to a Florida Film Festival press preview for "After Winter, Spring"directed by Judith Lit at the Enzian Theater, (1300 S South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL.) This is a love story for the farmers in Perigord, France, which has been continuously cultivated for over five thousand years. One hundred years ago, half of the population of France were farmers. Now less than 3% are. Will the Perigord peasants be the last generation to employ and sustain the old methods? Will the world lose their “old peasant wisdom” of prudence, respect, and love of the earth? Filmed over four years, "After Winter, Spring" is a treasure trove of great food and farming traditions. With fascinating detail, it captures the roots of farm-to-table and the tenacity of the people who have taken one season at a time for generations. The filmmaker, an American ex-pat and Perigord neighbor, was raised on her own family’s farm in Pennsylvania. Her bond to the land and the people who love it translates into an insightful, lyrical tribute to a way of life on the verge of extinction. 

Judith grew up on a small farm in Pennsylvania. She saw how her parents had to sell off the farm in small parcels until there was no land left to farm. When she traveled to France later in life, she fell in love with the quaint farming life. She packed everything and went to France to rediscover her roots. She interviewed her farming neighbors to learn about their more natural way of living.

The film didn't only show small farms as a bucolic ideal. Three generations of women ran a goose farm. In a rather graphic scene, one of the women answered questions as she shoved a funnel deep down a gooses neck to force feed it. She massaged the goose's neck to force it to swallow. The harsher sides of farming were shown, like shaving a slaughtered pig with a machete or breaking a chicken's neck and then plucking the feathers.

A tobacco farmer bragged about the beauty of his hand harvested crop. "The more beautiful it is, the prouder we are. It (the tobacco) sings on the verge of being brittle." All the farmers are trying to find a path through change. It is hard to compete against huge industrial farms that have multi-million dollar machines doing all the work. The smaller farming families feel their land helps preserve habitat. Since they are attentive to the land, they become more attentive to themselves and others. As one farmer stated, "I accept what life gives me. I can't do otherwise."

The one shred of hope is that people have grown sick of over processed food-like products. A younger generation is returning to the fields to live lives closer to nature.  Farm to table, has become a new battle cry. Perhaps the pendulum can swing back. Perhaps Spring can follow a Winter of industrialized neglect.

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, April 7, 2014

Full Sail Back Lot

For a second day, I returned to the Full Sail back lot to see if the outdoor music festival was generating more interest. It was February 20th and Good Graeff was slated to perform on the outdoor stage. The music festival was part of "Hall of Fame" in which former students, now in the industry were honored. A fake airplane was set up at the base of a water tower. Musicians sold their Cd's and merchandise on folding tables under the plane's nose. A mom posed to listen to the music with her child on her hip. Attendance was once again spotty at best.

While doing this sketch, four former students approached me to say hello. They all work for Nickelodeon and were part of an industry panel discussion.  They remembered the 2D Animation class I help teach with affection. They even informed me it was their favorite class. They have started applying the animation principles on the job since they are doing hand drawn animation tests for a Ninja Turtles series they are working on. This was the first time I've ever realized that what I'm teaching every day, does make a difference in some students lives.

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, April 6, 2014

Florida Opera Theater

Tonight is your chance to see that Opera is very much alive in Central Florida. I went to a dress rehearsal for "Opera's Greatest Hits" and "Trouble in Tahiti" at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL). The first half of the evening was a recital of incredible music by Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti and Bizet. Robin Stamper, the music director, accompanied every song on piano. I focused in on a performance by Morgan Davis from Carmen. Terry and I used to attend every Opera production when large productions were staged at the Bob Carr. That company went bankrupt but even this small recital brought back all the grandeur of what opera could be. My book light unfortunately died, so I struggled to sketch in the darkness.

There was a short intermission which I used to start painting while the house lights were up. Trouble in Tahiti began with a smiling jazz trio singing about the perfect life in suburbia with its little white houses and perfect loving families. It was an advertiser's ideal with Crest white cleanliness.  This musical by Leonard Bernstein centers around a couple who are not living the ideal. Every discussion becomes a drawn out argument. Dinah (Rachael Marino) suspects Sam (Gabriel Preisser) of having an affair with his secretary which he denies. They live separate lives yet long for their lost happiness.

Scene six was hilarious. Dinah (Rachael) went to the cinema alone to see "Trouble in Tahiti". She dismissed it as sentimental drivel but as she recounted the plot, she became caught up in the South Seas romance musical number, "Island Magic." The Greek jazz trio would back her up with their shining enthusiasm. What made me laugh out loud was the way Rachael recreated the villagers dance. She recreated their music with a nasal whining drone and waved two handkerchiefs to simulate their dance. She was hilarious! The chorus put on sailor's caps as the saluted during the patriotic finish to the movie. Dinah, is suddenly embarrassed because she realizes she was swept away by the imagined romance. She catches herself and resumes cooking diner for Sam.

The trio sings of evenings of domestic bliss but the couples talk about their relationship once again results in an argument. Sam suggests they go see "Trouble in Tahiti" which is the movie  Dinah just saw and hated. The "bought and paid for magic" of the silver screen is a substitute for love lost. "Before there was 'Mad Men' there was... 'Trouble in Tahiti."

Mark your calendar! There are two performances TODAY, at 2pm and 5pm at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL). Tickets are $30 at the door.

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, April 5, 2014

Florida Film Festival

The  23rd Annual Florida Film Festival is now underway. The Festival runs for ten days showing 170 films. This is one of the top film festivals in the country and if you go, it is likely you will rub shoulders with producers and directors as you sip a drink at the Eden Bar. With so many films to choose from, it is a good idea to surf the Film Festival website, to see what interests you on any given day. The festival runs through April 13th.

I attended several preview screenings to wet my palette.  The Enzian Theater (1300 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL) is nestled among huge live oaks that tower overhead. They looked particularly naked this year before the bright spring foliage filled then in. Philip Tiedtke stopped to see how my sketch was turning out. He explained that this year they invested $11,000 to have all the Spanish Moss removed from the trees. I knew something looked different, but I hadn't put my finger on it. He explained that all the Spanish Moss was smothering new growth and it made the branches extra heavy. There was concern that they might collapse under their own weight thanks to all the moss.

Besides all the film screenings, there are also panel discussions, industry parties with fabulous food and drink and opportunities to meet the stars. Susan Sarandon, Paul Sorvino, Giancarlo Esposito, and Shawn Christensen are all attending the Festival. So get out and see some films and do some Hollywood star gazing..

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, April 4, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday April 5, 2014
All Weekend through April 13 $99 Matinee Pass. 23rd Annual Florida Film Festival.  Enzian Theater, 1300 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL. Now in its 23rd year, the Florida Film Festival is an Oscar(S)-qualifying festival, premiering the best in current, independent, and international cinema. Through ten days of 170 films and first-class events, film lovers mingle with filmmakers and celebrities over hand-crafted cocktails and a locally-sourced menu.

9pm to 2am Free. Grass: New Works from Brandon McLean. The Falcon 819 E. Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Fl. 'Grass' is a collection of recent work from Orlando Mixed Media artist Brandon McLean. Centered around the exploits of protagonist Otis Swain, the works reside somewhere on the edge of pop art in this type of 1970's tropic noir setting.

10pm to 2am DJ Trashy & DJKJ's CD Release Party. Suite B Lounge 50 E.Central Blvd ,Entrance On Magnolia Ave, Orlando FL.  I Love Florida House + Renegade Alien Records Present:
EPIC BREAKS CD Release Party! 1:30 - 2:30 ***DJ TRASHY Sanitary Soundz / Lafayette Louisiana. 12:30 - 1:30 ***DJ KJ of K5 K5 Music / Badboyz of Breakz.  11-12:30 ***Rob-E & Security - Orlando's Dynamic Duo! Fundamental Breakz Collective.  10 -11 PM ***Christian Michaels of K5.

Sunday April 6, 2014
1pm to 3pm. Free Yoga. East end of Lake Eola Park, Orlando FL.Weekly event.

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

9pm to 11pm Free. Solo Acoustic Spoken Word. Natura Coffee & 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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Artist in Communities Workshop

On February 1st I went to Casselberry Art House (127 Quail Pond Circle Casselberry, FL) to learn about the Artist in Communities Grant. Mary Giraulo outlined how to apply for a grant from United Arts. Several thousand dollars could be made available for individual artists who submitted community service projects in literature, media arts (film and digital), performing arts or visual arts in Lake, Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties. I was in the process of spending over $5,000 to frame work for a retrospective show. I hoped that a grant might help with the cost of showing my work to the community. I quickly learned that this years grants would not cover such expenses.

The Artist in Communities Grant insists that artists find a community organization like Community Centers, Social service, Main Street organizations, hospitals or schools to partner with. The grant is for a maximum of $2,500 and the grant award must be matched dollar for dollar by cash income from other sources. The artist project must be open to the public and must offer a service to the community and or involve community Collaboration..

I considered the idea of using a grant to expand the LifeSketch project I had started several years ago. That project involved going to retirement homes with an author and interviewing people to learn from their life experiences. While the interview was conducted, I would sketch. I had been working with an author but she commuted suicide.  I would have to sketch and conduct an interview myself moving forward. Perhaps I should consider that option. The deadline for the grant application came and went however. I was so wrapped up in all the plans to mount the exhibition and I couldn't find the time to fill out all the grant forms. United Arts has $25-30 thousand dollars allocated to fund 10-12 artist proposals. Perhaps I'll apply next year.

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, April 2, 2014

Wrapping the Maitland Art Center

March first was Artist Colony Day at the Maitland Art Center (231 Packwood Ave W, Maitland, FL). Between 2-6pm there were Open Studios and hands on activities, then between 2-6pm The Maitland Art Center was wrapped in blue plastic. I'm sure the idea is inspired by the art of Christo. The entire month of March was filled with experimentation and collaboration referred to as Art 31.

I expected a crowd on day 1 but instead found that the only people on site were the dozen or so volunteers. A food truck was purring behind me as I started to sketch. The wrap began at the South east corner of the building. Two volunteers on the roof lowered a roll of clear blue plastic on a string. The volunteers on the ground secured the plastic with a cinder-block brick and then the roll was pulled up to the roof where it was again secured with a brick.

Courtney Jean Canova rode up in a recumbent bike to say hello. He had biked from his home about 11 miles away. I admired his exercise ethic. My bike has broken spokes and flat tires and has been neglected for years. Perhaps it is time to give that bike some love, attention and use. Cortney parked his bike and then started shooting photos of the volunteers at work. Courtney's wife Kelly arrived by car so that Courtney didn't have to bike all the way home. Linda Saracino was at the event for a short time. She lamented the fact that such a cool event was getting so little attention. I did what little I could with a sketch.

As I making final preparations for my retrospective show, Courtney came through in a crunch when I put out a request for an old beat up table to put my art supplies on in the exhibit. He had a battered old drafting table that fit the bill perfectly. I also picked up an old French folding table from Kathy Wilhelm Witkowski but the drafting table was picked for display. Kathy has a studio called "New Leaf Studio" which I'm now curious to sketch. The name implies fresh new foliage after a long winter or perhaps it simply implies the leaf's in a table.

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, April 1, 2014

Critique and Conversation

The March Critique and Conversation was held in the Germaine Marvel Building at the Maitland Art Center (210 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland FL.) The lead panelist was Rebecca Sexton Larson who curates the exhibits in the Maitland Art Center. The guest for the evening was Gallerist Mindy Solomon who has just moved her gallery from Saint Petersburg to Miami. Each artist was given 15 minutes to show their work and get feedback. The critiques were ruthless and informative. The walls of the room were covered with crude mural art that will come down once renovations begin.

The first artist to show her work was Rima Jabbur who is a photo-realist painter. She used a projector to show her paintings. Mindy pointed out the sad truth that photo-realist work isn't in demand. Abstract work with calming colors is all the rage. There was much discussion on researching galleries. Finding the right gallery is as important as finding the right mate. Rima had one big break when she painted a black man in the pose of Manet's Olympia. A curator at the Louvre was putting together a show on how Manet's work has influenced artists, and he found Rima's painting on the internet. Because of that random internet search, her painting hung in the Louvre.

Jennifer Coop who is a graduate of my Alma matter, SVA, showed photos of her daughter playing hide and seek. Jennifer is a single mom and these artistic shots were essentially her baby album, documenting her daughters life. She explained that there was some angst in the work, but neither panelist saw that angst. The imagery was sinewy and playful. Mindy proclaimed the photos masturbatory and self serving. But from what I saw, they were quite lovely. Jennifer immediately left after her critique, so I never got to see the photos up close.

Martha Lent showed very large paintings of tropical landscapes and a vintage sailboat. Mindy suggested that Martha look for galleries in tourist areas where people might want to buy a painting to remember their trip. Key West was offered up as a possibility along with Charleston S.C. I found it sad that representational work seemed only worthy of being a tourist's keepsake.

Tony Corbitt showed some of his quick oil studies done on location. Tony is known for doing speed paintings of celebrity faces at events. Tony said, "Art isn't Art until it is sold, up until then it is an obsession and a storage problem." Mindy seemed to feel that his studies weren't detailed enough. A painting of cows in a barn was done primarily in sepia tones and white. She complained that all the whites seemed uniform. "There a million kinds of whites" she said. She complained about the dark frames he put the work in. "When in doubt use white or gold" she said referring to the frames. Tony works quickly from life considering the painting done when he leaves. She explained that Monet often returned to the same location at the same time of day so that he could capture the light. Every critique she threw at Tony's work could just as well relate to what I do. It would be nice to spend more time on each piece but what I'm documenting is usually over within two hours time. "Fast shouldn't be part of the vocabulary" she said. She gave me much food for thought.

Danielle DeGuglimo creates paintings that depict chaos, the urban blight that we endure for convenience. I had seen her painting inspired by the Gulf oil spill before. The imagery is surreal and a bit unsettling with grid planes to define the space. She works her paintings obsessively adding layer after layer of paint. She has started documenting each day's work with photos so she can see what she gained and lost in the course of each day. Mindy wanted to see a stronger center of interest. "Push things beyond normal perception" she said.

The last artist to show her work, I had mistaken for a journalist in the audience. Cat Snapp has just finished graduate school where she did print making, and now she is on the road to find her voice. Most of her pieces were small and jewel-like using bold black and white. A much larger piece was constructed of square wood block prints which were then sewn together like a quilt. The image was double sided with the bold black prints having a primal feeling, "They will suck the life out of you" was scrawled across one side of the piece. Mindy felt that the writing and the bold imagery were at odds. Other pieces also had poetic verse but the words were obscured and at times impossible to read. Art is seldom about camouflage and subterfuge. There was beauty and meaning in the writing so there was no reason to hide it. With my work, I never feel a sketch is complete until I've written about the experience.

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