Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Voci Dance presented Whisper-Roar at the Orange Studio.

On September 5th and 6th Voci Dance presented Whisper-Roar at The Orange Studio, 1121 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Fl. V Whisper/Roar was two collaborative evenings of modern dance, music,film, costume couture and installation art. The collaborators were Voci Dance, DJ Nigel John, Tamara Marke.  Admission: was $15 at the door. Wine was available as well as lite bites from Happy Chow.

The most unique feature of the space was a huge sculpture that consisted of wooden slats that were all interconnected by bolts. This sculpture by artist Mario Shambon looked like it was articulated. Had any section moved, it would affect every other section. Yellow florescent lights were also suspended throughout the space. I arrived early when the dancers were just warming up. A black and white video was projected on the far wall. In the video the dancers stood in a line, erect like soldiers.

The audience became an integral part of the space as they filtered in. Dancers might coach a few people to move forward but in general there was no set stage that separated the audience from the dance. Several free standing doors were also set pieces for one of the dances. My favorite dance number involved one dancer, Leah Marke, shedding multiple layers of robes and light frilly fabric covered with words. A bold spotlight illuminated her from the side. It was as if she were shedding layers of judgement or self criticism. An aluminum staircase on wheels was rolled in slowly by a procession of dancers. The dance ended with her ascension to the top of the stairs and then the room blacked out.

While sketching I felt like I was trying to capture fleeting gestures against a stark industrial setting. The strong verticals implied in the black and white video strengthened that premise.

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, December 30, 2014

Shaking Santa's hand on Christmas Eve at the Millenia Mall.

Several months ago I got an e-mail from Greg Dobbs, a photographer who had read my post from last year as I tried to sketch Santa Claus from afar. He was one of the photographers from Theme Street Pictures, (The official photographers at The Mall at Millenia), who shoots these treasured portraits with Saint Nick.

"Dear Mr. Thorspecken, just found your letter,
the poem was brilliant, the artwork much better.
It hurt me to hear of the problem you had
when visiting Santa, and then leaving mad.
But we can't have you artists with sketch pads in hand,
disrupting the calm over Hollyville land.
Your a rowdy, anarchists, a most dangerous bunch,
when I think of you drawing there I belch up my lunch.

It's not that the rules here were made by a Grinch.
The malls not really like that........... well maybe a pinch.
They get carried away every now and again,
looking out for the children, the women, the men.
But we're not with the mall, we're a separate group;
dear Santa, his helpers and photography troupe.
We work endless hours, for the children you see,
to make Christmas special, the way it should it be.

And then after all of our efforts we find
a person like you that was treated unkind.
It's not the way we want you to remember,
your visit to Hollyville any given December.
So here is an invitation to you
to come spend an hour, three, four or two!
Not in the rafters, like Elf on The Shelf,
but down in the trenches, with St. Nick himself!

Please bring your sketch pad your pencils or chalk,
don't waver, or hesitate, don't you dare balk.
You'll be our guest, a welcome addition
to the most crazy world of our Christmas tradition.
Join us up close you have nothing to fear,
Except maybe grandmothers, babies and tears.
Just bring this e-mail so I'll know you on site,
You'll recognize me, with the "bobble and light".

Hope to meet you this season."
When I got to the Millenia Mall on Christmas Eve, I found  a sign at Hollyville that announced that Santa would be leaving at 5pm. I only had one hour to sketch. Greg greeted me warmly and explained that this final hour would be a mad rush. The line of children and parents snaked all the wan around Holyville in a nautilus pattern. It was hard to believe that all these people could meet Saint Nick in one hour. The first child I drew started screaming in terror when his mom backed away. Greg's job was to catch the child's attention. He used a multi colored glowing orb that he lightly tapped on the baby's tummy. Startled and amazed by the glowing orb, the child stopped crying. Greg would quickly pull back the orb towards the camera lens and the child smiled with delight as the shutter clicked.

The action never stopped. Some parents insisted on shooting their own iPhone photos but that held up the line possibly meaning some people would not get a chance to meet Santa even after standing in line. Greg offered me a drink and made it impossible for me to refuse his hospitality. I asked his assistant for my usual battery acid, Mountain Dew. She couldn't find d Dew but came back with a custom high end soda that she suspected might be similar lemon lime flavor. She hit the nail on the head because the drink was delicious, I wish I knew what it was called. Santa and his staff got through this mad rush with chocolates, chocolate chip cookies and caffeine. I essentially became part of the staff since I often had to direct parents out of the maze after they had visited Santa.

Santa stayed for some overtime in order to be sure everyone in line could meet him. When my sketch was done I waited to thank Greg for letting me experience the Christmas Eve rush. He said that Santa wanted to meet me. His beard is real and his expression was sincere. Suddenly I felt like a shy child. He gave me a warm hand shake and told me he has seen my work and loves it. With people still waiting in line I didn't want to take time to dig out my sketchbook. I know he will get to see the sketch, he sees everything. I was so flustered, I forgot to tell him what I wanted for Christmas this 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

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Wedding Party featured retro radical tuxedos and brides maids gowns.

The Wedding Party held in a hotel on International Drive was a chance for Orlando Wedding planners to experience a retro reception for themselves. The reception room was decorated to look like a wedding reception from the 1960s. Jaimz Dillman was at the entry in a gorgeous vintage gown and her husband was in a proper tux to greet guests. The wedding cake immediately caught my eye. It was multi layered with Greek columns for support. There were separate cakes for the groomsmen and brides maids. Staircases lead to the main cake with the groomsmen and bridesmaids perched on the steps. Below the main cake was a tiny illuminated fountain. The cakes creator proudly explained to people the incredible amount of work that went into its creation. It wasn't cut up the entire time I sketched it which is a shame because I was hoping to catch that action. I don't believe it was ever cut up and served.

A dating game style show was set up and couples competed to hilarious effect. The disco ball was a nice touch to the overall look. My favorite tuxedo was baby blue with plenty of frills. They should bring that style back. It turned out that this room wasn't the main event. Everyone was whisked off to another more spacious room. I remained behind until the sketch was done. Photographer Kelly Canova and a fried returned to this room since it was the only place to have a quiet conversation. I've met Kelly and her husband Gene quite a few times at various arts events. Gene is an accomplished muralist and artist. When I had a solo exhibit at Snap Space, Kelly and Gene loaned me an old beat up artists table which was used to showcase my daily artist kit. I got a chance to catch up with Kelly as I finished my sketch.

When my sketch was done, I went to the bigger, wilder party going on next door. A woman hung from a chandelier where she poured drinks. I started a sketch, but her shift ended and she tried to get down. The clasps that kept her suspended got caught and she couldn't get down. A man came over to help her. He tried to support her weight while she struggled with the hardware. Finally the clasp was set free and she dropped to the floor. The dance floor was full of women in wedding dresses dancing the night away. I tried a few appetizers and then slipped away to get back home. I had invited Terry but she didn't come to the party since she knew I would be working.

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, December 28, 2014

On Veteran's Day, Robosaurus invaded downtown Orlando.

On August 30 and 31st Robosaurus came to downtown Orlando from Las Vegas as part of Vet Fest on Veterans Day. The monster rolled into town as a tractor trailer and then transformed into a 50-foot-tall, 30-ton electro hydro-mechanical monster, which could crush vehicles and breathe fire for spectators in attendance. lt takes only 2 minutes for the transformation to be completed. There was a $15 cover price to get close to Robosaurus but I went to sketch on faith assuming I could catch a glimpse of the monster. It was invented in 1989 by inventor Doug Malewicki and is now operated by Action Robo, LLC.  It made an appearance at Universal Studios in 2006 for the annual Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios Florida.  I saw him breath fire back then and decided I couldn't resist getting a sketch of him now.

The inaugural Vet Fest raised money for American military veterans. It was held  at the new I-4 underpass Church Street Amphitheater between Church Street and Pine Streets.  There were food trucks and live music all day long. Unfortunately in the time it took me to sketch, the car eating robot was rather passive. Anyone who walked by couldn't resist taking a cell phone photo of the creature. A few people asked me about parking. Since I was seated in the parking lot, I must have looked like an attendant. Though I didn't get a chance to see the devastation it was unique to see the monster ready to wreack havoc on the streets of Orlando.

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, December 27, 2014

My resignation from Full Sail leaves me looking for new opportunities.

Right before the winter break I resigned from Full Sail. There were no parties, no severance package, no confetti or golden watches. I simply turned over the Mac Book laptop computer,the parking pass and my lanyard and walked out the doors for the last time. The last class had only seven students, so I was able to give more one on one help when needed.

Starting Christmas week I will be teaching at Elite Animation Academy. The courses I will be offering are, the fundamentals of drawing, a life drawing class and an urban sketching class. I believe there are five to seven students signed up and I'm excited to start. Elite is at most a mile from my home, so I will be burning less gas. I plan to start riding my bike to the new job, so I'll be getting more exercise. The new position at Elite will be a challenge because I have to come up with a whole new series of lesson plans. It is exciting to have the opportunity to inspire middle school and high school students to start carrying sketchbooks or digital tablets. Once you start sketching daily, it becomes an exciting lifestyle. Getting out and discovering the city by sketching has many rewards. My position at Elite is part time, so I will have more time to search for more freelance illustration assignments. It turns out that sketching weddings is an exciting alternative and if I can market it right, sketch tourism in Orlando could be another exiting opportunity.

I need to start looking for models for the life drawing class. Models will be clothed. I don't need classically trained models. Instead I'll be looking for talented people I have sketched in the past. I want to bring in creative individuals who would do what they usually do, be it playing an instrument, making a puppet or stretching before a dance. The possibilities are limitless, but for now there isn't a budget so I will have to beg from friends. The only option I can offer now is an original sketch done by me during the class.

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, December 26, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 27th and 28th.

Saturday December 27, 2014
9am to 3pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL.

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

7:30pm to 9:30pm. Free. Amy Watkins Open Mic. The Geek Easy 114 S. Semoran Blvd Suite #6, Winter Park, Fl. Open to all: Musicians-Lyricists-Artists-and Poets of all kinds Bring out the cape and have some fun listening or performing super hero poetry.

Sunday December 28, 2014
10am to Noon. Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en masse around the city as they check off their scavenger hunt-like list of Do Gooder Duties; collecting litter, helping senior citizens cross the road, returning shopping carts, basically performing small acts of kindness for an hour and a half of hilarity and love.
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. You + Superhero Costume + Bike = Best Sunday Ever.

Noon to 2pm Free. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

6pm to 8pm Free. SHUT YOUR FACE! Poetry Slam by Curtis Meyer! La Casa De La Paellas 10414 E Colonial Dr Orl FL. The only current ongoing slam in Orlando officially certified by Poetry Slam Incorporated, IE. Send a team to Nats as well as poets to The Individual World Poetry Slam & Women of The World Poetry Slam! $50 to the winner! If you’ve never seen or been in a slam before, it’s definitely worth checking 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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel Spreads Holiday Cheer with Inaugural Gingerbread House Competition and Display

Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek, (9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Fl) is well known for its exceptional dining and artfully crafted pastries, handmade by world renowned executive pastry chef, David Ramirez, and his team. But now, the hotel is inviting other local chefs, pastry enthusiasts and members of the hospitality community to share in the confectionery fun as it introduces the inaugural Rosen Shingle Creek Gingerbread House Competition. The contest will benefit the new Florida Hospital Transplant House, scheduled to open in 2015.

The competition will be judged by Ramirez, former winner of the Food Network USA Pastry Challenge and former team captain for Team USA in the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, or World Pastry Cup; members of the Florida Hospital’s Gourmet Soirée committee, Chef Emily Ellyn and Bill Sullivan; and other community leaders.

“We are thrilled to introduce this wonderful new holiday tradition to Rosen Shingle Creek,” said Leslie Menichini, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Rosen Hotels and Resorts. “The Gingerbread House Competition not only will provide a charming holiday backdrop for our guests, but also, the proceeds will go to a very worthwhile cause, the Florida Hospital Foundation to benefit the Florida Hospital Transplant House to aid organ transplant recipients and their families.”

The gingerbread houses were on display Dec. 1-22 at “Gingersnap Station” in the hotel’s main lobby. Judging took place on Dec. 18 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Entries were judged on originality, overall appearance, choice and use of materials, and difficulty of design. All gingerbread houses were original; no kits could be used. The main components of the house, including the walls and roof, had to be constructed of gingerbread and all components of the house must be edible

 The Gingerbread House Competition is just one of many holiday events at Rosen Shingle Creek this season. Other festive holiday events include a Holiday Entertaining workshop with “Retro Rad” Chef Emily Ellyn; the Big Band Dinner Show Series, featuring a performance by Michael Andrew and The Atomic Big Band, A Blast from the Past Original ’50s Holiday Revue, as well as a Nutcracker Ballet Performance, and a high Tea, performances by local choirs; and much more. A variety of specially priced accommodations packages are also available for holiday getaways.

I arrived after the judging was over because I got stuck in rush hour traffic, so I'm not sure which gingerbread house was the winner. There were about a dozen gingerbread houses in all. The most impressive was a replica of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel. On an easel was a giant check for $5000 to the Florida Hospital Transplant House. Carolers in period costumes were packing their instruments to leave. As I sketched a huge chorus of children sang at a staging area across the lobby.

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, December 24, 2014

2 Guys + 1 played at the American Legion.

On our last evening in San Diego, California, Terry's mom and her boyfriend took us to the American Legion 282 in La Mesa for dinner and dancing. The musicians of 2 Guys + 1 stood at a small staging area by the bar. I was the only one who actually ordered dinner and it was quite good.

The room was rather dark so sketching was a challenge. Marcy seemed proud to show off her daughter. The cover tunes were fine but I never felt the itch to dance. Terry seemed satisfied to watch. A woman pulled Macy's boyfriend aside and suggested he dance with a woman who was recently widowed. He is light on his feet and was happy to comply. I'm not so sure Marcy was happy with having her dance partner loaned out.

My sister Pat frequents an American Legion Lodge in Florida and they all have the same atmosphere. There is palpable pride in those that served and the food is cheap and tasty. Who could ask for more? There is also a scent of stale beer and cigarettes that has seeped into the buildings woodwork. The Lodge in San Diego was in the basement giving the impression that you were walking down the steps to a speakeasy. I wonder how many American Legions there are in this country. There must be more than 282 of them. That means there are at least 5 Legions per state.

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, December 23, 2014

A ride along with the San Diego Police.

Debbie and Paul Andreen's son, Kevin has joined the San Diego Police Department. He was kind enough to suggest I join him for a ride along as he cruised the neighborhoods just North of Mission Beach. When I first got in the police cruiser, he said I should seek cover and immediately use the cruiser radio to call the dispatch if shot were fired. He also wanted me to exit the cruiser any time he did. Much of the morning went by without incident. He pointed out several homeless men that he knew by name. Several weeks ago, a homeless man had died from an injury. He would have lived if any of his buddy's had thought to bring him to an ER.

After a long time of driving without incident, Kevin parked the cruiser near an intersection that had stop signs. He explained that the road, heading towards the beach had a stop sign at every intersection. By the time drivers got this far they started rolling through the stops.  The law is that you have to come to a complete stop behind the white line. Within minutes, a woman approached the intersection and rolled past the line. He quickly followed and pulled her over a block away. He approached her drivers side door to get her license and write up the ticket. I waited outside the cruiser. The ticketing process took longer than I expected, I probably could have done a small sketch. Kevin wrote down some notes after the traffic stop, because months from now he would have to appear in court. Without documentation it would be hard to recall the details of every traffic stop. He returned to the intersection to check that the stop sign wasn't obstructed or the line worn away.

Twice the dispatch sent Kevin to homes to check on people. Relatives had tried to contact the people living in the homes and they were concerned that they couldn't get in touch. While waiting outside the first home, I felt uneasy. A friend had recently committed suicide and this must have been what it was like when police first arrived on the scene and found the body. In both cases, the person was home and in fine condition. Kevin would diplomatically ask questions to make sure the person was safe. It was a bit odd to follow the police into peoples homes. At one point I kicked over a cat toy by mistake. The resident asked who I was since I wasn't in uniform, and Kevin would explain that I was a ride along. She had a history of depression and Kevin needed to confirm that she was taking her medications.

One call was from an angry woman who was sure that construction workers who were jack hammering up a driveway, had dented her car. The construction workers denied damaging the car. Kevin just wanted to get their contact information.  We looked at the car and I didn't notice any damage. When talking to the woman in her yard, Kevin explained that this wasn't a police matter but an issue for insurance companies. He gave her the construction company's information and told her to contact her insurance company. She seemed relieved just to be able to air her grievances. Before being a police officer, Kevin had been a teacher and that must have given him experience in being diplomatic. The beat puts him in contact with a wide variety of people, from beach bums to the ultra rich. Interacting with so many people certainly makes police work interesting.

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, December 22, 2014

Re-Constructing the San Salvador in San Diego.

Not far from Mission Beach the Maritime Museum of San Diego, (1492 North Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA) is building a full-sized, fully functional, and historically accurate replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s flagship, San Salvador. Plans didn't actually exist so they used old sketches, paintings and written documents to find the dimensions and proportions of the sailing ship. Many of the ship builders are volunteers and they are relearning ship building techniques that haven't been used for over a hundred years. The build site is open to visitors every day from 11am to 4pm. Paul Andreen and I arrived a bit early and Paul managed to talk our way in by explaining what I do.

 In 1542, Juan Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States. The Gulf of California had recently been explored by Francisco de Ulloa, Hernando de Alarcón and Domingo del Castillo, proving that California was not an island. Cabrillo was commissioned by Pedro de Alvarado, Governor of Guatemala, for a voyage up the California coast under the flag of Spain. Cabrillo hoped to find the fabulously wealthy cities known as Cibola, believed to be somewhere on the Pacific coast beyond New Spain, and a route connecting the North Pacific to the North Atlantic -- the non-existent "Straits of Anian".

The Cabrillo expedition sailed out of the port of Navidad, near modern day Manzanillo, on June 24, 1542. Accompanying Cabrillo were a crew of sailors, soldiers, Indian and probably black slaves, merchants, a priest, livestock and provisions for two years. Three ships, the flagship San Salvador built by Cabrillo himself, were under his command. Cabrillo reached "a very good enclosed port" which is now San Diego bay, on September 28, 1542, naming it "San Miguel". He probably anchored his flagship, the San Salvador at Ballast Point on Point Loma's east shore. Six days later, he departed San Diego sailing northward and exploring the uncharted coast line of California. His voyage helped to dispel myths and allowed Spain to proceed with the task of colonizing the expanded Spanish Empire. Cabrillo visited many of the islands along the coast -- Santa Cruz, Catalina and San Clemente, and may have sailed as far north as Oregon.

On December 21st the Maritime Museum will Celebrate  its 44th annual Parade of Lights. Modern and historic ships are covered in Christmas lights and the floating parade can be seen from the Maritime Museum. Ticket sales help keep the historic reconstruction work going.

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, December 21, 2014

The Childrens Pool in La Jolla is closed for Harbor Seals.

In 1931 a sea wall was built at this tiny La Jolla California beach to create a children's pool, that was safe from waves. This safe harbor however was also a perfect haven for harbor seals to raise their puCalifornia Cps during the breeding season. Local residents to used the beach resented the harbor seals. The water quality has deteriorated having high levels of bacterial contamination. Divers and spear fishermen still like to use the site. Over the years a debate has raged between residents who want to take back the children's pool and those who want to protect the harbor seals.  The debate has played out in state and federal courts, in city council votes and in the legislature. There have been protests staged on both sides of the issue.

Last spring the city imposed night time closures of the beach after incidents of visitors harassed the seals by punching, kicking or sitting on them. Unfortunately people can't be trusted to live this close to a harbor seal colony. When I visited the children's pool there were only a few harbor seals in the children's pool, most of them out by the retaining wall. During pupping season however there can be hundreds of seals on the beach. The site has become a tourist attraction giving visitors a great view of the beach and harbor seal colony from the cliffs.

In a unanimous vote, the California Coastal Commission will close the beach during pupping season which is between December 15th and May 15th.  This ordinance is the strongest action to date that protects the harbor seal colony. A chain will be installed to block the lower stairs leading to the beach. A sign will be posted warning visitors of the regulation. Violators will face misdemeanor penalties of up to $1000 or six months in jail. In the past year, a thin rope was stretched across the beach to guide visitors away from the seals in pupping season. When disturbed, a mother seal can give birth prematurely or abandon her pups. The rope wasn't very effective at keeping people from harassing the seals. Perhaps the chain and ordinance will be more effective. Some residents feel that the seasonal closure exceeds the city's authority. Apparently only the federal government has the authority to manage seals under the marine Mammal Protection Act.

In a short walk up the coast, snorkelers were in the water and seals would playfully approach them while staying just out of reach. Such close interactions in a natural setting are rare. In water the seals have the advantage of speed and agility, but on land they can be vulnerable to harassment. The debate still rages about this small children's pool. But the seals have won a victory and can raise their pups in peace this Christmas season.

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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top 10 wipe outs on the Mission Beach Flow Rider..

Mission Beaches Belmont Park  in San Diego has a large flow rider wave that curls into a tube. Our intrepid group sat for several hours at dusk watching beginners and experts tackle the wave. It is most fun watching beginners attempt the wave. They are let out holding a tether to keep their balance. As soon as the life guard asks them to let go of the life line, they wipe out and are thrown over the top of the wave. The perpetual wave is created by jets of water that flow up a plastic ramp. One experienced surfer wore Groucho Marx glasses as he surfed the wave. His every move was relaxed and confident. He would disappear inside the tube and then burst out in a flash of spray just when you started to wonder if he had wiped out. It is possible to lie back on the wave and bounce back upright since the wave has a solid base.

Watching the flow riders is an infinitely entertaining way to spend an afternoon.  It became even more relaxing as we sipped margaritas. When we had our fill we walked back down the beach to our apartment where we played card games to pass the time. Up until I was ten years old, my family always rented a bungalow at the Jersey shore. Spending this much time at the beach brought those childhood memories back. My family would play Monopoly late into the night and I remember creating my own boogie board out of plywood. I never graduated to surfing unfortunately. The little kids that rode the flow rider wave always seemed to learn quickly since their center of gravity is already low.

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, December 19, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 20 & 21

Saturday December 20, 2014
4pm to 7pm Free but order some BBQ. Grits n Gravy LIVE Christmas Special. Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que Restaurant & Catering Services 1471 Lee Rd, Winter Park, Fl. Enjoy delicious slow cooked BBQ and a live Internet broadcast live from Bubbalous Bodacious BBQ on Lee rd. winter park December 20th 4 pm est. we will have karaoke and beer and BBQ specials for all those that attend in person. Plus the musical genius Bubba Whoop Ass Wilson and the comic stylings of country comedian Vic Clevenger more to be announced soon. Follow this event for the most up to date information.

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free, but get a drink or some Tapas. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL.

Sunday December 21, 2014
Noon to 2pm Free. Jane Rosenbaum's  Guitar Giveaway. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. Visitors to Music at the Casa on December 21st can purchase a $3 raffle ticket to enter the drawing to win a new Tyler Mountain Acoustic Guitar! All proceeds go to Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. For more information on the raffle, please see the flyer at the bottom of this page.
 Jane Rosenbohm is an accomplished classical guitarist with over 46 years of experience in Musical Arts whose passion and skill with the Classical Guitar is an inspiration to many as she continues to educate and perform. Jane has performed with various prominent musicians through participating in the Christopher Parkening Master Class and The Castellani and Andreaccio Duo Master Class in Rome, Italy.

Noon to 2pm Free. Feminism For Everybody First Meeting. Stardust Video & Coffee 1842 E Winter Park Rd, Orlando, Fl. This will be our first meeting. We'll be doing a brunch time talk for men, women, and transgender folks who are interested in discussing feminism. Brunch starts at 11:30. This is not an anti-men group. I hope not just women will come as it's very informative to hear about how feminism effects all of us. You do not have to know anything about the feminism movement, come and learn! In this first meeting, we will discuss the following topics:
-Getting familiar with the Mens' Rights Movement..
-How does feminism serve universally?
-Why are some women anti-feminism?
Those are just suggested topics, though. If there's something you want to contribute, please feel free to do so. Below are some articles you can read before hand, although I know people are busy so if you don't, it's no thang:
Men's Rights Movement:
-Articles soon.
How does feminism serve universally?
1. Can Men Be Objectified by Women?:
2. 5 Reasons Why Feminism Needs to Address Child Abuse (While Yes, Recognizing That Women Can Be Abusive Too):
3. Feminism and Anxiety: How the Movement Changed My Relationship with My Mental Health:
4. Pondering Male Privilege Post-Transition:
5. When White Women Cry: How White Women's Tears
Oppress Women of Color:
6. This American Life podcast, 220: Testosterone
AUG 30, 2002: (the whole thing is great, but in particular to this discussion is Act Two, Infinite Gent.)
Why are some women anti-feminism?
1. The crisis of “bad feminism” is worse than you think:
2. More articles soon!
Please comment if you have any other good articles or books as well.

5:30pm to ?  $8 Southern Fried Sunday for The Holidays with Thomas Wynn & Friends, Laney Jones and The Lively Spirits & Justin and The Out.  Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Fl. It's that time again, to gather with friends and celebrate the holidays together to the SFS soundtrack of Thomas Wynn and Friends! This year they'll be joined by Laney Jones and The Lively Spirits -back home from Boston- and a collaborative performance by David Whittaker, Justin Kangrga and the man on skins as Justin & The Out! Bring 3 or more non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Food Bank and receive a complementary eggnog or PBR! Cover includes a BBQ Dinner.
Come share the holiday spirit with us!

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, December 18, 2014

Belmont Park In San Diego is always bustling.

On the evening that Terry, Debbie and Paul Andreen went to their high school reunion, I walked down the Mission Beach boardwalk to Belmont Park to sketch the Merry-go-round. Of course choosing to spin something that is always spinning like a top is a bit insane, but I sketched in the calm moments as children clamored on board and saddled up. I found a nice bench where parents often sat while waiting for their children. The roller coaster loomed in the background and screams periodically overcame the Merry-go-rounds pipe organ music.

The Little Dipper ice cream booth had a constant stream of patrons. There was a fence around the Merry-go-round but I felt it cluttered the view, so I left it out. As I sketched dusk turned to night, so I kept darkening the watercolor washed. Sketching at sunset makes sense since the whole process of applying washes to a sketch involves building in the colors from light to dark.

When this sketch was done, I probably had time to do another sketch in one of the arcades. Sketching in such a loud crowded setting is exhausting however so I walked back to the beach front apartment. There I relaxed on the patio and watched the stars. Fire pits ignited all along the beach every 100 yards or so. It was several hours before everyone got back to tell me about what I had missed. The reunion venue overlooked the pro baseball stadium. It sounded like a great sketch opportunity, but that is why I wasn't invited, I can't put the sketchbook down.

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, December 17, 2014

Orlando's most increadible private Christmas light display.

Once a year I seek out the best Christmas light display in Orlando to sketch. Folks in Florida tend to be fanatical about their displays which start going up right after Thanksgiving. My online research this year lead me to Christmas in the Shire (14645 Grand Cove Drive Orlando FL). The display has moved this year and is bigger than ever according to passers by.

I parked quite a few blocks away to avoid any possible traffic jams near the display. Traffic however was thankfully light in this new suburban neighborhood. Road work was still in progress on streets as I drove in. I walked through the neighborhood in my black hoodie enjoying the smaller light displays along the way. As I passed a mom removing groceries from her car, she said to me, "Do you want to see that display?" when she turned to look at me, she said with a start, "Oh! I thought you were my son!" I laughed.

What is truly unique about The Shire is the number of Christmas trees both on the yard and inside the home. More than a dozen trees were illuminated in the yard with many more inside the home. Andrew Albertson began collecting Christmas decorations when he was eight. He has over a thousand plastic snowmen, and he only displays the ones that tie in with a theme each year. Inside the home are 53 trees. He owns over 300 artificial trees that are four feet and higher. In all he may have 100,000 lights in the display.  Other displays might have more lights, but he has realized over time that quality is more important than quantity. The front door was always open inviting people to come inside.  At the foot of the driveway was a donation box. When people made a donation, bright white strobe lights flashed throughout the yard in appreciation. This was the only blinking lights in the display. I like that they rely on the simple beauty of the display for a calming effect.

Christmas tunes played all night long. A young couple standing in the driveway started to waltz to the music. Other families children ran around playing tag and excited to find out what was inside the home. It was rather cold the evening I went to sketch. My fingers stiffened and the tablets warm processor is the only reason I was able to finish what I started. Working in watercolor wouldn't have worked. If you want to visit a spot that is certain to warm you up to the holiday season, then head to Hunter's Creek to visit Christmas in the Shire.

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, December 16, 2014

Analog Artist Digital World sketches are on display at West Elm.

Nine original sketches from the Analog Artist Digital World archives are now on display at West Elm, 4010 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL. The store offers modern home decor and modern furniture. Here you'll  find the bedding, furniture, room decor, and dinnerware you need to create a stylish contemporary home. The store is right near the Millenia Mall and Ikea, so if your shopping for Christmas, stop by and see some original art. Patrick Kahn from Snap Space curated the display. The work will be on display through the holidays and into the New Year.

I executed this sketch digitally since I felt it might be awkward to use watercolors in a store. I also chose to sit on my artist's stool rather than on one of the comfy couches. Jason Moore is the store manager who hung the show. He recognizes the importance of social  media to spread the word about West Elm.  I had planned to sketch a Christmas light display on this day, but rain made me realize I needed to sketch inside. It seems any time I choose to sketch outside, the weather has other plans for me.

The store wasn't particularly crowded on this evening right after rush hour. One couple however was diligently looking for a new piece of furniture for their home. When the sales lady asked, "So what sort of style furniture is in your home now?" "Our entire home is full of West Elm furnature." was his response. While sketching the store I got a strong sense of the warm uniformity of every item in the store. The color of the sketches on display were bright notes that broke up that uniformity. I was happy to see one woman stand in front of the display for the longest time. It made me happy that the work could be seen in a real world, brick and mortar setting. However, I just came back from Art Basel in Miami where a Pablo Picasso plate worth $85,000 had been stolen. The plate was smell enough where it could be slipped into a hand bag. I realized the woman viewing my work was holding a shopping bag large enough to hold one of my framed originals. Luckily that thought did not cross her mind.

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, December 15, 2014

The San Diego Urban Sketchers discover California history.

While in San Diego I arranged to meet up with the San Diego Urban Sketching group. Terry's mom was nice enough to lend me her car so I could drive up the California coast a bit to the Olivenhein Meeting Hall. When I arrived, many sketchers were already hard at work sketching the historic building. The colony of Olivenhein was settled by German immigrants who arrived from Denver in 1884. Each member was granted 5 acres and use of the community's horse teams and equipment. In 1895 the colonists erected this board and batten redwood Community Hall which featured a pot bellied stove, bar, and a stage. Dances, picnics and fourth of July celebrations were traditional meeting hall events. The meeting hall became a California point of historical interest in 1971 and was placed on the National Register of historic places in 1993.

I was fascinated with the light bark of the trees and the vibrant blue sky behind the dark sienna structure. I tried to squeeze in as many sketchers as I could, but some were behind me. When everyone was finished with their sketches, we gathered together and put all the sketchbooks on the ground to see the results.  Then we posed for a group shot while holding our sketchbooks. In all there were eight sketchers that day. Neither Terry or her mom had ever heard of the Olivenheim Meeting Hall, so the field trip had allowed me to sketch a rather hidden gem from California's past while getting to meet some talented artists.

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mission Beach turns orange at sunset.

Terry and I rented a beach front apartment for a week along with Terry's high school friends Debbie and Paul Andreen in Mission Beach, San Diego. There was one bedroom that went unused which was a shame. We should have invited another couple. Anyway, every evening we would gather on the beach at a life guard station to watch the sun set. As usual, I was looking the opposite way back at the apartment. Our place is the one with the blue canopy set up in front.

Volleyball players keep playing until there isn't enough light to see the ball. Debbie and Terry are on the right side of the sketch having an intimate conversation. Paul was exceptionally nice to me offering to take me someplace each day to sketch. This was such a pleasure because he was content to hang out and chat with people as I sketched. It was like having an intrepid reporter who knew what questions to ask to get at the heart of any story.

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, December 13, 2014

The rollercoaster is the heart of Mission Beach.

 The beach around the Belmont Park Giant Dipper roller coaster gets really crowded on weekends at Mission Beach in San Diego. A competition was held to celebrate the coasters 100 year anniversary. Contestants rode the coaster constantly, only getting toilet and eating breaks. The final contestants stayed on the coaster so long that the final prize had to be divided up among the crazy few who refused to give up. Our beach side apartment was just four blocks from the park. This was just far enough so that we were removed from the shouts and screams.

In the mornings, life guards drove along the beach putting out cones to mark their driving lane and warning signs for any rip tides. A group of children gathered on the beach for surfing workshops. Then the volleyball players would arrive and competitions would happen all day long. We relaxed under a beach umbrella and watched life stream by on the boardwalk. It seemed like everyone was fit, trim and beautiful in California.

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, December 12, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 13th and 14th.

Saturday December 13, 2014
3pm to 8pm Free. Frankie's BIG FUN Market. 659 Bryn Mawr, (College park), Orlando , Florida. Every second Saturday. Local college park businesses partner with creatives. The Main Hub is frankie's APARTMENT E (the Event's host location, and where you will get the night's map!) SPOTLIGHTING ALL of ORLANDO's local scene!

7pm to 9pm Free. “Violectric Holiday Show”. Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park, 99 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida. Concert Featuring All Your Favorite Holiday Tunes with a Twist. Following a monumental night kicking off the entertainment at the Grand Opening Gala of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Walt Disney Theater, the talented musicians of Central Florida’s rockin’ strings group “Violectric,” the electric string quintet with keyboards and drums, are ringing in the holiday season with their special holiday show.  Free and open to the public, the concert will feature traditional holiday songs like “Jingle Bells,” “O Christmas Tree” and “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” mashed up with classic rock tunes like “Kashmir,” “Born To Run” and “Sweet Dreams,” which combined with audience participation, will deliver a fun-filled and highly-unique holiday show unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

7pm to 10pm Free but bring a dish. Robert Metcalf Welcome Potluck. The Kerouac House 1418 Clouser St., Orlando, FL.

Sunday December 14, 2014
10am to 6pm Free. Grandma Party 2014. Stardust Video & Coffee 1842 E Winter Park Rd, Orlando, Florida. Grandma Party is you and me and all of us making it happen. NEAT STUFF: VINTAGE, JEWELRY, SCULPTURE, ART, HANDMADE, PAPER GOODS, PHOTO BOOTH, POLYLUST, LEATHER, FUNDIPPED, RAFFLE, MORE!!!!!
11:30A: ARK
4:00P: ADJY

11am to 2pm Free.  Parrot Adventures. Albert Park, Edgewater Drive College Park, Orlando, Florida. Parrots of all shapes and sizes gather with their owners for a public meet and greet.

11am to 5pm $5.  Big Bang Bazaar Holiday Spectacular! Maitland Civic Center Inc 641 S Maitland Ave, Maitland, Florida. This is a 2-DAY EVENT DECEMBER 13th and 14th from 11am -6pm n Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday. Kids under 12 FREE. KICK ASS CRAFT, ART AND VINTAGE VENDORS - TONS of your favorite indie vendors from all over! FILM FESTIVAL - We'll be showing your favorite movie classics at the stage at no additional charge! YUMMY FOOD!!

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, December 11, 2014

Mission Beach is always active.

We spent most of our time at Mission Beach in San Diego California sitting in front of the beachfront apartment watching life stream by on the boardwalk. A sign on the beachfront wall pointed out that the speed limit was 8mph, but I'm sure some bicyclists exceeded that limit. Everyone was out for a walk, jog or bike ride. Every day volleyball players would compete at the nets on the beach. They were serious competitors knowing how to set the ball after 3 hits. Sweaty and covered with sand, they would use a water spigot at our place to rinse off after the game.

Every day the smiley face parachute would rise above the water taking parasailors up for a ride above the waves. I only dipped my toes in the water which was freezing cold. When it came time for Terry's reunion I found out I wasn't invited. That night I watched fireworks explode behind the beach from the nightly show at Sea World and then I walked down the boardwalk to sketch at the Mission Beach amusement park.

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, December 10, 2014

We head west for a San Diego reunion.

In August, I joined Terry on a trip to San Diego for her snerfurtieth high school reunion. Debbie and Paul Andreen picked us up at the airport and drove us to Terry's childhood home. Debbie and Paul were high school sweethearts who got married shortly after graduating, and have been married ever since. Terry's mom, Marcia Lawson lost her husband Alfred several years ago. He was fit and always exercised, so his sudden death shocked everyone. As his health slipped, he began to write a memoir about his childhood memories. Marcia now has a male companion whom she met at a VFW dance. He came over the house and watched the news on a small TV by the breakfast table as I sketched.

Surprisingly the Lawson home has no WiFi connection, so I took a field trip to the bottom of the hill to get connected at Starbucks. In San Diego the hills are really hills not like the subtle grades in Florida. By the time I got back, I was winded. Terry's plan was to rent a beach front condo at Mission Beach along with Debbie and Paul, but for the first night we slept in her mom's house.

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, December 9, 2014

The romantic glow of digital devices at Stardust illuminates interactions.

Once again I found myself at Stardust Video and Coffee on the evening of the Audubon Community Market. As I ate dinner, I sketched people absorbed in the glow of their computer screens. Since I was sketching on my computer, I fit right in. Outside tents were going up in the parking lot for the weekly Audubon Market. The couple in the foreground remained focused for the duration of the sketch. Eventually a conversation fired up and the gentleman moved closer to talk. I was surprised that people could meet in person and have face to face conversations. She was an actress who had just arrived in Orlando. He had her laughing much of the time. They agreed that they should stay in touch before they both returned to their screens.

I was pleased with the warm glow of the sketch. I would never get such pure rich color with watercolor washes. As I was finishing up, my Coke bottle fell from the wobbly round table I was sitting at. It crashed to the floor making an insane racket as it bounced repeatedly, yet thankfully it didn't break.  I must have been beet red as I picked it up. I walked around the market and stopped for a moment to listen to a local musician but I decided against doing another sketch and I headed home. I keep selling the idea that sketching helps me become part of the community, but it also isolates me, making me an impartial outside observer. I'm fully engaged and alive as I'm working, but when the sketch is done, my mood slips and it feels like life is slipping by.

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, December 8, 2014

Couples Cooking Challenge Championship

On November 14th the Couples Cooking Competition Championship was held at Aggressive Appliances, (617 Mercy Dr, Orlando, FL). The hands-on cooking competition was designed to give couples the opportunity to test their skills for the chance to win fabulous prizes and the title of Orlando’s Top Culinary Couple. Presented by Edible Orlando and the Orlando Date Night Guide, the contest gave couples the chance to compete in one of the 3 qualifying rounds, with one winner from each semi-final cook-off advancing to the finals. I sketched one of the qualifying rounds and then returned for the Championship. Contests were judged by local food personalities and writers, Joseph Hayes (Orlando Magazine), Katie Farmand (Edible Orlando), Pam Brandon (Edible Orlando), Adrienne Iannone (Whole Foods) and Cinthia Sandoval (Wild Ocean Seafood).

There were some impressive prizes on the line including, A two-night gourmet getaway to JW Marriott, Grande Lakes including dinner for two at PRIMO, breakfast each morning in Citron, An American Brasserie, and two spa passes to the Ritz-Carlton Spa. The grand prize was a Sub Zero wine cooler. Other prizes included a Tassimo coffee system, a Meile canister vacuum, and a KitchenAid stand mixer.

A table with all the mystery ingredients was covered with a sheet. Each of the five couples was assigned their own kitchen which was prepped and ready to go. When the mystery ingredients were unveiled the contestants muscled in and gathered ingredients as if in a Black Friday frenzy. In the qualifying round they were polite and shared ingredients. Now with big prizes on the line it was each couple for themselves. Another unexpected twist came when they were told that the usual 45 minute preparation time would be reduced to 20 minutes. Everyone scrambled back to their kitchens and the competition heated up.

The couple I sketched was in kitchen 2. I spoke with them briefly after the dishes were finished. The primary ingredient everyone had to work with was shrimp. The couple made a modified grits dish to accompany the shrimp. One of the judges was tasting their dish as I was speaking to the couple. They watched her every taste, looking for signs of expression on her face. There were appetizers on hand for the crowd who came to watch the competition. I had to consider the sketch was none when the computer battery died. As a result of the competition, $800 was donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In the end, it was Arti Kalidas and Chirag Kabrawala who, won the coveted title of Orlando's Top Culinary Couple.

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, December 7, 2014

Social Media is a brave new fronteer.

I always go to social media meet ups when I can to learn something new. Panelists discuss what they have learned, but they learn by trial and error. I learned that headlines should be catchy and informative. Complete sentences work better when the post goes on Twitter and Facebook. I'm thinking that the best headlines always involve cute kittens. Twitter is a beast I have only started to use. Panelists seem to have Thousands of followers and they accomplish that by looking through lists of followers followers and following them. I can't imagine putting in so much effort to find people I don't know.

Monetizing the blog is a realistic goal that I need to set for myself next year. At a party this weekend, we discussed the idea that a goal isn't likely to be achieved unless you write it down and share it. Soon I will be teaching workshops to middle school and high school students, inspiring them to keep sketchbooks. I hope to start organizing monthly "Orlando Drink and Draw" (ODD) events to meet more local artists. The literary community seems to have a plethora of events every month yet artists seldom get together unless they are vendors at festivals. Frankie Messina had the awesome idea of having a softball game between authors and artists. It is fun ideas like this that can get arts groups to mingle and mix more.

Another goal for the new year is to set up sketch workshops for tourists. I'm sure there are some tourists who would like to escape the theme parks and sketch the real Orlando. In February I hope to collaborate with Kelly Medford who founded  sketch tourism in Rome Italy. Together we will host a tourist sketch outing in Orlando. I'm excited to see this happen.

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, December 6, 2014

The Orlando Nerd Fest closing party rocked The Geek Easy.

The fifth day of the Orlando Nerd Fest was an after party held at The Geek Easy in the back of A Comic Shop (114 S Semoran Blvd #6, Winter Park, FL). Early in the day, the crowd was pretty thin, but it grew more crowded even as the sketch progressed. As I understand it, a bus transported Nerds over from the Orlando Airport Mariott. Wendy Wallenburg was there with Brian Minnich, the photographer she represents. Several girls in costume entered the bar, but they quickly disappeared, perhaps feeling over dressed for the occasion. A guy in a lab coat was the only other person on the edge of being costumed.

As the band performed on stage, guys gathered on the dance floor. One dance involved marching in a circle and the moves seemed as well rehearsed as the duck dance at a wedding reception. Wendy was busy with her social media as she sat across the room in the only cushy comfy chair. I recognized the performers from a Nerd Festival I had covered last year.  They performed an edgy nerd rap that had the crowd raising their hands in the air. I'm sure the party heated up after dark, but with one sketch done, I decided to call it a day. That was a wrap for this year's Nerd Fest for me. Next year I should arrange to sketch people in costume. The talent involved in putting together some of those costumes is astounding.

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, December 5, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 6th and 7th.

12-20-09NutcrackerSaturday December 6, 2014
8am to 11:30am Free. Winter Park Lost Pets and the Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. Winter Park's Central Park, Winter Park FL. Event is open to all well behaved pets - dogs and cats must be leashed. Prior to load out of parade entry float we will attempt to set the Guinness World Records for largest number of dogs sitting simultaneously.

6pm to 8pm Free.  WKMG Local 6 Holiday Concert, in Support of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Network. Lake Eola Band Shell - 195 North Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Program: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra is delighted to collaborate with WMKG Local 6, and the City of Orlando to present the 7th annual holiday benefit concert, in support of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Network. The holiday concert is performed to aid the Salvation Army Red Kettle donations and collect gifts for kids in need-- your generosity can brighten the holiday season for many kids around Central Florida. Hosted by WKMG Local 6, and featuring all four of the FSYO orchestras, this concert will bring your family the sounds of the season, and a visit from a very special ho-ho-holiday guest! As always, academic and music educators receive complimentary admission to this and all FSYO concerts. Admission: Admission is free for this occasion. However, we encourage a gift donation to the Salvation Army. For more information, please call 407.999.7800.

8pm to 10pm Free. Shuffleboard at Orlando's Beardall Courts. Orlando's Beardall Courts 800 Delaney Ave Orlando FL. Shuffleboard at Orlando's Beardall Courts at 800 Delaney Ave on the 1st Saturday of each month. The next Shuffle will be Sat., Sept. 6, at 7 pm. Free fun!

Sunday December 7, 2014
9am to 5pm Free. St. Cloud Craft Festival. New York Ave & 10th Street St. Cloud, FL. Stop by the 36th annual St. Cloud Craft Festival for an afternoon featuring arts & crafts, classic cars, and live music by GT Springer. Be a part of this small town holiday tradition featuring over 120 crafters as well as kid-friendly events.

10am to 5pm Free. SPARKLE Handmade Artisan Market. Dandelion Communitea Cafe 618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, Fl. Talented local artists, hand-crafters, jewelry designers and handmade vendors come together at Dandelion Communitea Cafe for a day of holiday cheer and shop-local spirit. Join us for live performances, an herbology workshop, a reiki circle, and more!
11-12: Reiki circle with illumiNurture
12-1: Traditional North Indian sitar with Ben Tiptonford
1-2: Ambient Electronic music with Chris Zabriskie
2-2:30: Bellydancing with A Magi Temple Belly Dance School
Dandelion will be open all day, serving healthy food and treats, so you can make a day of it.
Sparkle will take place rain or shine.

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park East lawn ne ar Japanese Pagoda. Weekly.

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, December 4, 2014

Claire and the Potatoes rock Nerd Fest.

On a third sketching excursion to the Orlando Airport Marriott (7499 Augusta National Dr, Orlando, Fl), I bumped into Bethany Taylor Myers at the entrance. She is an exceptional visual artist that I met at Parker Sketch's monthly Artist critique. At the last critique I went to, Bethany was showing a lonely suburban landscape that reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting. She was asking a straightforward question about perspective and for once I had straight forward answers. Anyway, Bethany informed me that her husband, Jim Myers was performing. He is the drummer for Claire and the Potatoes.

I had seen the band perform once before at Lake Eola for Earth Day. I knew I was about to see 2 fun performance. Leslie Rising is the lead singer. I had to wonder why her name isn't Claire. Marc With a C was in the foreground of my sketch and Guy Larmay was on Bass. The hip pop music was fun, with a distinct neurotic edge. My favorite song was about how the band had bills to pay and they wouldn't be going on a tour to your home town. They did a great job of introducing the tongue in cheek song as a public service announcement.

I managed to get so close to the stage by sitting in an area set aside for handicapped nerds. I consider my need to get a sketch a sort of handicap. Luckily I didn't get in anyone's way. The crowd went wild for the Potatoes. As always, the set was over all too quick. This is a quirky fun local band. If you ever have a chance to see them then seize the opportunity.

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, December 3, 2014

Nerd Fest was a five day music marathon.

I returned to the Orlando Airport Marriott several times between August 7th and 11th to sketch different acts. On this day I caught Eyeshine. Their leader has been a Power Ranger, a Street Fighter, and was even Vash the Stampede from Trigun.  Eyeshine has been tearing the roof off of performance halls since 2004 and have 10 albums. They are also well known for having a lot of really cool music videos on their YouTube channel where you can also watch a documentary series following them on their journey as an unsigned band. Their leader is the incredibly talented Johnny Yong Bosch. He agreed not only to perform for every at Orlando Nerd Fest but also agreed to do some very special things for you, his fans. He set up a special VIP Meet and Greet package. After the performance, Eyeshine set up outside the ballroom to sign CDs and offer photo ops. The line was incredibly long.

Nerd Fest had stages at opposite ends of the ballroom. While Eyeshine performed, the next band was loading in and setting up on the opposite stage. This way, performances could happen almost back to back. There was also a third much smaller stage set up in the arcade room for solo acoustic acts. That stage sadly seldom had an audience. At one point in Eyeshine's performance, three Power Rangers joined the crowd in their primary colored hero's spandex outfits. They took photos and cheered with everyone else.  Well, it is actually hard to verify if they cheered since their mouths were covered with their Spiderman like masks.

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, December 2, 2014

Nerd Fest is a Mecca for Nerds.

Orlando Nerd Fest was a five day event held at the Orlando Airport Marriott (7499 Augusta National Dr, Orlando, Fl) from August 7th to August 17th.. It is apparently the biggest and best annual multi-day nerd party! It is part music festival, part family reunion, and all fun! Dr. Vern one of Orlando Nerd Fest's founders, issued me a press pass for the entire event. There was free parking in an empty field behind the hotel. The dirt road had a large mud puddle at one point. I'm glad I didn't part near that puddle, because cars that did got a serious splattering.

 When I got to the entrance, I met Wendy Wallenburg and Brian Minnich, the photographer she represents. Like me Brian has an eye for anything out of the ordinary. Nerd Fest offered that in spades. People casually wandered the hotel halls in cosplay costumes. They sat on the floor playing some sort of role play card game. With so many sketch opportunities I felt a bit overwhelmed. I just needed to start a sketch and accept that I couldn't see it all at once.

Wendy became obsessed with winning the Ms. Pack Man arcade game. Since she was so focused, I decided to sketch the game in progress. Periodically guys would come over to coach. One guy stepped in to show her how it is done and he got a much higher score and dared her to beat it. That caused her to become even more obsessed. The Star Trek pin ball machine to her right broke down and the vendor pried it open to get at all the servos and electrical guts of the machine. In about a half hour he had it back up and running. I tried my hand at playing Ms. Pac Man once Wendy gave up. I would flick the joy stick hard left or hard right but  my reflexes just weren't quick enough. It's an infuriating game and it was game over all too soon. I felt like a bit of an outsider at Nerd Fest, but I suppose any true nerd would feel that way.

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, December 1, 2014

The Winter Park boat tour allows you to peak into the backyards of the rich.

My very distant cousin, Cornelia Thorspecken and her daughter Nini Thorspecken. They are related through my great, great great grandfather, Dr Augustus Thorspecken who sailed to America back in 1854. One of his brothers stayed in Germany and that is who Cornelia and Nini are descendants of. Besides visiting theme parks, Terry and I wanted to suggest a few outings that would give them a taste of real Florida. I joined my cousins on a boat tour of the Winter Park chain of lakes.

Our pontoon boat captain was quite a character. He wore bright yellow suspenders that looked like tape measures. He had stayed in Germany for quite a while after the war and he quizzed my cousins to see if Germany was still the same. His on going monologue was well rehearsed but, I wasn't that interested in which basketball star owned which lake front mansion. Passing between lakes the boat would glide under small bridges and we all had to duck our heads down.

We met Terry on Park Avenue and strolled along, window shopping. Nini recognized a perfume from the Provence region of France. She wanted to go to a Taco Bell for lunch so her tastes were varied and we were glad to comply. My entire family had rented out a four bedroom timeshare north of Disney and only a short ride from our house, so every night we went there for diner and wine. It was a fun filled week long family reunion.

On another excursion, Terry and I took our German cousins to a wildlife preserve north of Wekiva Springs. On the hike we spotted plenty of birds and I was happy that I got to point out several alligators in the water right off the trail. Cornelia said that she was glad to get a  chance to experience Florida the way it was a hundred years ago.

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