Saturday, February 21, 2015
Most of Valentines Day I was running around town. In the afternoon I taught a two hour Urban Sketching workshop. From there, I drove downtown to drop off several paintings at City Arts Factory. Then as the golden hour lengthened shadows, I rushed to the Mennello Museum's Indie-Folkfest. I bumped into Cole Nesmith and his friends on the walk to the museum. He assured me that there were still plenty of people there. I could hear the music as I walked over a foot bridge toward the museum's sculpture garden. The lawn was covered with people sitting on blankets and lawn chairs.
JUNOsmile was performing on stage so I sat down and immediately got to work on a sketch. JUNOsmile is a collaboration between husband and wife veteran musicians Joseph and Jesse Martins. As they performed, the sun set over the lake behind them. For a few minutes the setting sun was right behind them causing a blinding light. I believe I saw Jesse Martins perform once before with Bubba Whoop ass Wilson out behind Bubalou's Bodacious Barbecue. She performed a mean fiddle. Children love to approach the stage. They love music and know how to celebrate it. A little girl tapped me on the leg, I suppose I was "it". Genevieve Bernard who produced the event let me know that earlier in the day the crowds were insane. The day was an undeniable success. People discovered the museum, some of them for the first time.
Eugene Snowden and friends took over the stage at 6pm. By that time the sun had set and he needed to warm up the crowd. There is an unwritten law in Orlando that if you are a musician then at some point you will perform with Eugene. Right from the start he was pulling friends out of the audience so they could play guitar or sing with him. The kids were dancing up a storm now, doing somersaults and cartwheels. Snowden pumped up the energy to a fevered pitch. With my sketch done, I bundled up my sweatshirt sleeves over my fists to make mittens. I clapped my clenched fists and swayed to the beat. Is it odd that I should feel so comfortable being alone at this concert on Valentines day? As the children danced with wild abandon, I felt at peace. The sketch might be hampered by the cold fingers that executed it, but I was doing what gives me the most pleasure on this day by creating.
In the midst of sketching a young woman asked if I was an Urban Sketcher. She knew of my work and said it was an honor to meet me. I'm always shocked when anyone knows about my sketching obsession. She shook my hand and then left me to continue my work. That simple exchange warmed me on that cold night. The final song for the evening was "Lean on me." Jesse and Joseph Martins returned to the stage to sing along with Jessica Pawli. You could tell that all these musicians were dear friends as they huddled close to the mics to share their love in song. On that note I decided to head home. Joseph shouted out, "Remember we have far more similarities than differences. If you make one person's day brighter than you are making the world a better place to live. Spread the love today and everyday."