Thursday, April 30, 2015

Orlando Philharmonic presents Puccini's Tosca at the Bob Carr.

Opera is very much alive in Orlando. I went to a rehearsal of the A fully-staged performance presented by Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bob Carr Theater. This was the first time the singers got to block their scenes using the set, which was still under construction. Actors walked the stage, getting used to the many steps that hadn't been present in prior rehearsals.

Mario Cavaradossi, (Adam Diegel) worked on a large portrait of the Madonna that he based on a woman in the churches congregation that he never met. As he paints, he compares the Madonna's blonde beauty to the beauty of his dark haired lover, Tosca (Keri Alkema). Tosca is a full figured fiery Prima Donna who loves the artist, but she suspects his love of art. She recognizes the face in the painting as the beauty in the congregation and accuses the artist of being unfaithful. He assures her of his love but jealousy still tears at her. Since I was sketching, I seldom had time to look up at the sub titles projected above the stage. I discovered the emotional context of every scene by watching Keri's facial expressions. Her performance acted as my translator.

The artist gives refuge to a political prisoner essentially making him an enemy of the state. Baron Scarpia, (Todd Thomas) chief of the secret police, is searching for the political prisoner. His investigation leads him to the artist's studio. There he finds Tosca and he is smitten. He shows her a red fan he found which she realizes as belonging to the beautiful woman in the painting. Her worst fears seem confirmed and she bursts into tears. She becomes trapped between her allegiance to her rebel artist lover and the scheming of Scarpia, who will stop at nothing in his unquenchable lust for her. The artist is imprisoned and Scarpia claims he will free him if Tosca surrenders to his sexual advances. The explosive triangle comes to a hair-raising conclusion in one of opera’s bloodiest, most intense dramas.

Joel Revzen is the guest conductor for the Philharmonic although at this rehearsal only the piano was on stage. Henry Akida is the stage director. He worked diligently during the rehearsal to keep the staging clear. At one point, the whole chorus came on stage in a processional with candles and one large red banner. Henry realized that the banner blocked some audience members view of Scarpia who stood elevated on the platform. To resolve the issue, the banner holder was moved far to stage right. These are the kind of issues that are only discovered as staging and props come into use. Lisa Buck created the stunning projections that depicted huge domed ceilings. The images lap dissolved between scenes giving the story an added depth. So many elements have to work together to make such a big production a reality. Amazing productions are truly miracles.

This is Central Florida’s biggest opera event of the season. Don't miss it.

Friday, May 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Bob Carr Theater
401 W Livingston St, Orlando, Florida 3280
Tickets starting at $22

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 29, 2015

A quick flight back to Sydney.

Getting too and from Ayers Rock is exhausting in and of itself since Australia is so large. Virgin Airways always served a decent meal for each flight and the stewardesses had tight little buns in their hair that made them seem like they stepped off of a 1960's airplane.  Back in Sydney, we walked the streets and explored the parks and historic museums. There was gorgeous architecture from the gold rush era and then modern skyscrapers going up everywhere.

By this time, I was getting a little tired of sketching the view down the length of the airplane. I'd love it if I could swivel my seat and sketch the view looking back. Perhaps someday I'll set up my artist stool in the aisle looking back. It would be just my luck to then get run over by a rogue snack cart. I think this digital sketch is the first one I wrote a date on. It is a good practice and I've continued the practice moving forward. I've recently been seeing tons of ancient ruins and the only thing that remains from centuries past are rocks. A library was empty and the few sculptures found have been moved to museums. What will become of digital art in the future? Will there be an Internet a thousand years from now? I keep pouring my sketches and thoughts into this new digital medium, but will it last?

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 28, 2015

Emerald Creek Falls offers bird watching for experts and novices.

Terry and I tagged along on a day trip with two expert birders. Our destination was Emerald Creek because there was some internet buzz that a rare Australian bird had been spotted there. We stopped quite often on the drive over since birds were being spotted left and right. When we got to the creek, I started to sketch while they explored with binoculars and spotting scopes. The last time I was on an outing like this it was with a group looking for a rare elusive three toed woodpecker. The pack went off into the woods and I decided to stay in the parking lot in the warm car. A three toed woodpecker flew right into the parking lot giving me a front row seat. When the pack of birders returned they were upset since all their calls and high tech equipment had failed to yield a single sighting.

In Australia I wasn't as lucky but I got a fine sketch of the creek and the poor tree that had been scared by the love affair of Roy and Kat. Perhaps these two got matching tattoos as well. Perhaps in a decade the tree's scar will heal but they could take their tattoos to their graves. I worked quickly on the sketch and finished just as the birders returned.

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 27, 2015

Morning at Jabiru Safari Lodge.

Terry went on an early morning jeep safari with the other avid birders at Jabiru Safari Lodge in Australia. That left my morning open to sketch the lodge. I was seated right next to the lake as I sketched. I started hearing splashing noises behind me and was surprised to see a wild boar skinny dipping in the lake. He would dip his head under the water and let it roll off his back. He splashed around for a good ten minutes or so before he got out shook off his coat and started walking down the trail towards me. When he finally noticed me sitting there, he took off with a grunt and darted into the woods with a few nimble bounds. I'm glad he was more startled than I was because if he chose to charge, I would have been screwed. I was wide awake and thrilled. What a way to start the day!

When the jeep got back Terry and I had breakfast on the patio. Terry was excited by all the species of birds that had been spotted. The expert birders could pick out birds by their calls and knew how to spot them at great distances. Over breakfast Terry noted the birds she had seen on her Australian bird list. She had purchased a bird book in Sydney's Royal Botanical Gardens and already most of the birds pictures were checked off.

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 26, 2015

The Jabiru Safari Tents had all the comforts of home.

As the sun set, we settled into our Jabiru Safari Lodge Tents in the Australian outback. I tried to keep it zipped up to keep the bugs out. There were also Emu's on property so I wanted to keep them out as well. The tent had two twin beds along with lights on the bed stands. I find it hard to fall asleep in a tent since you can hear every bug and animal. There was the sound of something prowling about but when I stuck my head out to look, I didn't see anything in the dark. The shower behind the tent was open air and ants liked to stop by probably for the moisture.

Terry relaxed and read her Vogue magazine while I sketched.  Most of the day, Terry went on a birding trip with several birding experts who were staying in the tent next to ours. One of them had seen more birds in one year than anyone else. That title must be based on the honor system because sometimes birds are so far away that you couldn't be 100% sure of its identity. I think birders should be required to sketch every bird they identify.  That would cut down on the numbers and guarantee that the birder took the time to look at every feature of plumage and structure. Perhaps I will sketch every bird I see in a year. Whatever the number, I have a good chance of seizing the title of the most birds sketched. I wouldn't kill them like Audubon, but sketch them on location if they cooperate.

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 25, 2015

Glamping at Jabiru Safari Lodge in Australia.

Terry became quite obsessed about seeing as many of Australia's indigenous birds as she could. To beef up her bird list, we went to Jabiru Safari Lodge (Pickford Road | PO Box 1364, Mareeba, Queensland 4880, Australia ) where we camped in the outback. We as usual, got lost on the drive there. A wrong turn sent us into a herd of cattle. A few phone calls eventually got us to the site. There were two huge tents set up on permanent wooden platforms. By the time we arrived, the sun was setting making the trees light up a bright orange. I immediately sketched the new domicile while Terry went for a hike. The tent came complete with a working shower out back, and a small refrigerator and fans to cool us down. It was definitely a step up from the tiny pup tent I took on my cross country bike trek as a teen.

In this part of the country there are large round jar shaped structures found everywhere. They are the homes to termites and some are more than six feet high. There were several right in front of our tent. What makes this area unique is that a large man made lake has been created that is a magnate for tons of migrating and local birds.  There is a lodge right on the water where you can relax and have a drink as the sun sets. Barn swallows have nests in the rafters and the parents are always busy sweeping in to give food to the chirping chicks in the nests.

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 24, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 25th and 26th.

Saturday April 25, 2015
10am to 6pm Free. Earth Day. Lake Eola Park.

10am to 7pm 47th World Wide Sketch Crawl.  “SketchCrawl” – a free drawing marathon with fellow artists. Thor from Analog Artist Digital World is the Orlando host. There is no instruction, just a chance to sketch with fellow artists on location.
10am to 2pm Sketchers will sketch Earth Day at Lake Eola. Earth Day tends to get very crowded, so if you want to find me, just text me. (407 760-2813). My plan will be to sketch for two hours or so and then get at bite to eat at Panerra's (North East corner of Lake Eola park across the street) or the food Court under the huge Live Oaks at Lake Eola's South East entrance..
The basic idea of a sketch crawl is to record nonstop everything around you with sketches. Then artists share their work at and you can see sketches from around the globe.

7pm to 10pm Free.  Florida is Not a Vacation: a Poetry Reading. Kerouac House 1418 Clouser Ave, Orlando, Florida. Sandra Simonds, Erin Hoover, and current Kerouac House resident Ciara Shuttleworth will read their poems.
Sandra Simonds website.
Erin Hoover is a poet living in Tallahassee, Florida, with work published in Prairie Schooner, Gargoyle, Redivider, and Sugar House Review, and anthologized in Best New Poets 2013. Erin edits The Southeast Review in addition to volunteering for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is a PhD candidate in Florida State University's Creative Writing Program. Before moving to Florida, she worked as a communications director in New York City and co-founded Late Night Library, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining book culture and supporting authors early in their careers. Her Twitter is @ErinHoover.
Ciara Shuttleworth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington state. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Confrontation, The New Yorker, The Norton Introduction to Literature 11e, and The Southern Review. Shuttleworth received an MFA in poetry from University of Idaho, a BFA in painting/drawing from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA in studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She is currently in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House of Orlando. Her website.

Sunday April 26, 2015
10am to Noon Free. Super Joy Riders. Eastern entrance of the Lake Eola Farmers’ Market. Participants dress as superheroes and ride en mass 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
We are inviting Orlando to come with us on a fun filled bike ride of awesomeness on the last Sunday of the month. Dress like a superhero, hop on a bike, and follow our scavenger hunt list of Good Deeds as we all try to save the world with small acts of kindness.

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

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola East Lawn.

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 23, 2015

Thala Beach in Australia offered an intimate hike on the Fringing Reef.

While Terry went birding with an experienced guide in Thalia, Australia I took a hike down to the beach for a quick second sketch. As the trail opened up to the beach, I discovered a bee hive in a branch that crossed the trail. There were far more rocky outcrops than there was beach.

Being a pale white vampire, I decided that I needed to find shade before I started any attempt at putting the jagged landscape on paper. I found this narrow alleyway of sand between the rocks and I scrunched down and sat in the shade which was quickly disappearing as the sun rose in the sky. This sketch was done quickly and almost flippantly because I was racing the sun. When the sun crept onto the page, I was blinded by it's whiteness. I darkened the page with washes to darken it up a bit. I got a text from Terry letting me know that she Was done with her birding for the day. I decided the sketch was done and I scrambled up on the rocks again to find my way back to the hotel. I love looking in the tide pools to see what life has been stranded as the ocean receded. Blue craps hid from my sight and tiny fish swam for what little cover they could find.

Terry and I drove up the coast to explore more rain forests and beach side resorts. It was a scenic and relaxing day with very little traffic on the road. We hiked up a gorge and got lost along the way. When it got too hot, we stripped down to our skivvies and waded into the freezing cold river. We didn't actually get lost, but the trail went much further than we expected. We got more than our share of nature for one day.

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 22, 2015

Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a gorgeous retreat.

Terry and I drove up the Australian coast towards Port Douglas. We stopped at Thala Beach Lodge and Nature Reserve (5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach QLD 4877, Australia). The lodging consisted of a series of bungalow tree houses on stilts. Terry had purchased a book that identified all of Australia's bird species. She was in heaven with her eyes in the tree branches. There are walking trails all throughout the 145 acre property and on one hike we saw wallaby's grazing on the grass. A wallaby looks like a kangaroo, but is a bit smaller and cuter. Our room came with a gift basket and champagne, so as the sun set, we popped the cork and relaxed.

I had a leisurely breakfast alone while Terry took an early morning nature walk with the reserves birding expert. The deck of the restaurant overlooked the Daintree Rainforest's tree canopy towards the ocean. A tree branch had a hollow that was filled with water and colorful lorikeets would battle the other birds for a turn at the bird bath. Only one bird could fit into the notch at a time so there was a constant chirping negotiation as birds waited for a turn. There is a live web cam overlooking this bird bath. With time to myself, I decided to hike down to the beach and see if I could squeeze in a second sketch before starting another day of sight seeing. Terry returned very excited about all the rare species of birds she had seen. I was satisfied with the two species I had watched at the bird bath.

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 21, 2015

Kuranda's Australian Butterfly Sanctuary was a quiet retreat.

Kuranda's Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is located right next to the Original Markets. Terry and I decided to go inside for a look. Unfortunately a whole school bus of local school children arrived shortly after us. All the school kids had on blue uniforms. The kids were actually pretty well behaved and it was nice to see the level of excitement and wonder on their faces.

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is home to over 1500 magnificent tropical butterflies that are hand reared on the premises.
All are local rain forest species, including an iconic Kuranda butterfly, the electric blue Ulysses Butterfly, and the majestic fluoro green and yellow Cairns Birdwing.
The aviary, set in the midst of Kuranda rain forest, was opened in 1987 and has been visited by over a million people since. Guided tours through the aviary and laboratory are conducted throughout the day, detailing a butterfly's life cycle and behavior.

The place is thick with colorful species and they will land on you.  Several landed on my sketch, perhaps thinking that the bright watercolor washes might be a delicious nectar. Terry and I ate lunch in town. She wanted to get meat pies anywhere we went. I ordered one as well, but I couldn't stop thinking of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. That thought might have affected my taste buds.

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 20, 2015

Dreadlocks and Hair Extensions at the Hidden Echidna.

From Cairnes Australia, we decided to drive up into the mountainous Rainforest, to a town called Karanda. This town is set up with kitschy shops that cater to bus loads of tourists who mob the main street. 0ff the main drag is the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets which began in 1978 on Honey House land by a group of local people trying to attract visitors to Kuranda. At that time, the village was very small with many “Hippie Artists” and craft people. The markets needed to operate their own train for two seasons to prove the viability of the service to the Railway Department.

Now the markets have been an amazing success, providing employment for many, while the town is recognized as a unique Australian rainforest destination.
In 2006 the current owners began an ambitious undertaking to completely renovate the original market site. In keeping with the rustic atmosphere that the original markets were famous for, Malcolm and Ian McLeod created a miniature village in the rainforest, with rustic touches and bright colors at every turn, tropical gardens and colorful characters.

The Original Markets are predominantly available to artisans and craftspeople. You will find locally designed and produced fashions; hand crafted jewellery; indigenous artists; leather workers; masseurs; woodworkers and gemstone specialists, as well as North Queensland’s best range of honeys; local coffee; cafes; tropical fruits; coconuts and macadamia nuts.

Terry stopped at The Hidden Echidna and on a whim decided to get dreadlocks made from her patch of purple died hair.  Amber, who had a gorgeous mane of blond dreadlocks took care of Terry. The hut was filled with portraits done by Amber Moon (Lunar Sun) of famous people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Dali. Bowls were filled with beads which are used to cap off dreadlocks once they are made. She was able to make three dreadlocks that still remain today. Artegon here in Orlando could learn a thing or two from this market. In Orlando artists rent a cage in a former mall whereas in Kuranda, artists get a rustic shack with character that feels like a quirky community. I was tempted by some hand bound sketchbooks and Terry purchased some intricate Indian curtains for our bedroom.

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 19, 2015

Experiencing the Great Barrier Reef

The boat out to the Great Barrier Reef left early. On the Reef Magic Cruise Ship I had a shady outside aft deck where I could keep my eyes on the horizon. The ocean was calm and so was my stomach. The boat took us to a large off shore platform called Marine World. From here you could choose to take a helicopter flight, a glass bottom boat, scuba diving, or our choice, snorkeling. I had thought ahead and put on my full body neoprene snorkel suit which keeps me warm and blocks sunburn. Rentals for flippers, snorkels and a mask were quite affordable. The water was warm enough so that some people went out without a protective layer, but they got burnt. I wondered why we weren't warned against the use of liquid sun screen. Imagine all those chemicals diffusing in the water and sinking down towards the corals. I'm sure it can't be good for this delicate Eco-system.

I used to have a 200 gallon in wall reef tank that I set up in my home. Getting the right balance of light, calcium, temperature and nutrients is difficult.  Some people have computer systems that keep all these levels in check, but I just checked the chemistry weekly while doing massive water changes. It was an amazing amount of work, yet worth it because in its prime, the tank was gorgeous. Then algae took hold and spread. At first I kept it in check with algae eating fish like Gobies but soon it was out of control. I did several large oil paintings of friends reef tanks and then dismantled my tank and patched the hole in the wall. I hung an oil painting where the tank used to be. This way I got to appreciate the beauty without the hard work of keeping it all alive.

Terry and I floated out on the water and stayed fairly close together. I made it my responsibility to follow her movements. The reef was unimaginably immense and gorgeous. I swam over a brain coral that was the size of a small house. Plate Corals giant open palms caught the sunlight while soft corals waved in the gentle currents. Everywhere I looked, I saw corals that I used to have in my tank, but here they were part of a large thriving community. Near the platform a grouper as large as me swam lazily by. Fish swam together in schools, darting in between coral structures. In several spots the coral grew so close to the surface of the water, that I had to suck my tummy in to keep from touching them as I floated over. Out near the edge of the roped off area, the reef suddenly dropped down creating a reef wall. Hundreds of feet down, I could see sting rays swimming on the sandy bottom. This was the environment I had tried to recreate with my tank, but the reality is so much more overwhelming. I could hear Trigger Fish chomping on corals and a Tang swam up to my mask to stare at me.

One part of the reef disturbed me. There was a mountain of dead Staghorn coral skeletons. When alive these corals are brightly colored. The dead skeletons were white. Clearly scuba divers must patrol this area of the reef each night after the tourists have left and they collect the dead corals and drop them in this pile. Hard skeleton corals like the Staghorns are the hardest to keep alive in a reef tank. A sudden spike in temperature can cause the delicate flesh to peel away from the skeleton. Despite the colorful beauty all over the reef, I began to notice signs of stress and decay. I recognized the signs because I was always trying to keep my corals healthy in my small Eco-system. Terry and I floated out on the reef as long as we could. I'm so happy I got to see this miracle of nature up close. It may not be there forever.

Back on the platform the staff set up an immense buffet lunch. People piled the food up on their plates like this was their last meal. I barely ate, instead drinking lots of water for fear of sea sickness on the boat ride back. I did get a bit dizzy in the hectic rush of removing the tight snorkeling suit. The platform pitched ever so gently. I'm proud to say I survived the boat ride back. I was starving when we got back to dry land. That night we went out to a wonderful seafood restaurant called Barnacle Bills (103 Esplanade, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia). It was expensive, but well worth it. I had a second glass of wine and loved the world on the walk back to Shangrila. Back at the hotel, I found out that a two inch strip of my forehead had gotten a bright red burn. There seems to have been a gap between the hood and the scuba mask. Exhausted, burnt and satiated, I blacked out, the second my head hit the pillow. Perhaps a vacation from all this vacationing is in order.

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 18, 2015

Reaching Shangrila in Cairns Australia.

The Shangrila is a five star hotel right on the water in Cairns (Pier Point Road, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia). The room was spacious and well appointed with large photos of reef Corals decorating the walls. Terry went for a walk after we checked in, so I did a sketch from our balcony. As you can see, our view was of the expansive parking lot. I kept the sketch loose by putting watercolor washes down first and only adding line work where it was needed. I should work this way more often. In the distance I could see crowds of tourists walking the main street shopping and looking for restaurants.

After the sketch was done, I flicked on the TV and found a fascinating program that showcases artists who explain their painting process. It was a fabulous show and I got to watch a painting develop from start to finish. I don't know why there isn't a show like this in the states. I guess the audience might be consider a bit limited but I thought it was an awesome show. Another program featured four portrait artists who were all assigned a commission to paint a military veteran's portrait. Only one artists work would win the grand prize and hang in a British museum. With high stakes, it was fascinating to see how each artist handled the commission. There was yet another show that featured a convicted forger teaching artists how to paint like John Singer Sargent. I was transfixed. We need programs like this in the states. The arts are so revered and appropriated in Australia.

Shangrila was our home base for a day trip to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. After my bout of sea sickness while whale watching, I did research online to find ways to avoid it happening again. One remedy suggested saltines the day before, so I got a box of saltines and popped some Dramamines and drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day.

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 17, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 18th and 19th.

Saturday April 18, 2015 
9:30am to 6pm Free. Bar Camp Orlando 2015. Church Street Exchange Building (NOT The Cheyenne saloon, but across the street).  If you want a T-shirt and a speaking slot I highly recommend you come early (as in before 11 AM).  We always seem to run out of both as the day progresses.
If you plan to present with slides, please bring the proper VGA adapter for your laptop and do not depend on / expect any wifi.  Also please try to ensure your talk does not go too far beyond the 20 minute mark.  Each talk slot will be on the hour and half hour, allowing for a little time for questions (5 minutess) and for foot traffic (5 minutes).
The board will open for talk sign ups at 9:30 AM and the first talks will start at 10 AM.
The venue's this year will be Canvs, the Iron Yard, and maybe a few other spaces.. depending.
If you want to help setup (which mostly means unload chairs), feel free to come hang out around 9 AM. Here is the Schedule for Saturday (right off the website)
9:30 am Doors open, people can sign up for talks on the big whiteboard.
10:00 am Talks start. There are three rooms for presentations, and each presentation will have 25 minutes and they will be spaced out. We recommend that you limit your talks to about 20 minutes to allow 5 minutes for discussion (and in case you run long).
12:00 pm Lunch, we take an hour break.
1:00 pm Talks resume.
6:00 pm Bar Camp ends and the after-party starts!

3pm to 7pm Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL. Classic cars & rods.  Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night! INFO: & for showing your car 386-738-0649

7:30pm to 9:30pm Free. Nuclear Bubble Wrap, Marc with a C, and The Gekkos. The Geek Easy 114 S Semoran Blvd Suite 6, Winter Park, Florida. Nuclear Bubble Wrap is an alternative rock band from Nashville, TN that will be performing a special acoustic style show in Orlando, FL alongside hometown favorites Marc With a C and The Gekkos!!!
If you're looking for something to do and want to experience something new and amazing then look no further! Come on out and have a good time! COSTUMES ARE ENCOURAGED and there is NO COVER CHARGE!!
We'll also be working once again with FishToaster and streaming the event on our Twitch.TV.
Do us a solid and share the event if you support indie music and building a killer local event scene!

Sunday April 19, 2015
1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. Weekly on the East lawn of Lake Eola.

5pm to 9pm Free but get a bite or two. Orlando Food Truck Bazaar. Orlando Fashion Square, 3201 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL.

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

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Flying from Ayers Rock to Sydney and back up to Cairns Australia.

Australia is larger than the United States. If Ayers Rock were about where Kansas City is, then Cairns would be a flight to NYC. However, we had to fly south to Sydney which would be the equivalent of a flight to Orlando and then we caught a second plane to fly up to Cairns (NYC distance). What could have been a short hop over flight, ended up taking most of the day. I can't complain too much however since there was plenty of time to sketch in the airport.

Cairns is a beautiful coastal town but by the time we got there, it was dark and we were getting punchy. Finding the Lilybank Bed and Breakfast (75 Kamerunga Rd, Stratford QLD 4870) while driving the rental at night was stressful.  We searched for house numbers but they weren't illuminated. I knew we must have passed the place not to far back, so I parked the car on the street and started walking the neighborhood. I figured I would see house numbers better on foot. Terry was furious, calling for directions. We both found the place about the same time.

I loved this Bed and Breakfast and would have liked to spend more time there. The Queenslander-style property had old fashioned wood slated windows and it looked like it belonged in the outback. There was a lily pond built inside the patio and the proprietress pointed out a large bull frog that hides in different foliage each day. She was searching for a koi fish , which I thought I saw, but then I realized it was light reflecting off one of the windows on the water's surface. There was a nice pool outside but we never stayed long enough to relax beside it.

Over breakfast she told us a story about "Naughty Ned." Ned was married, but had a wandering eye. It seems he couldn't keep himself from flirting and having affairs. His wife left him but they remained friends. He had an odd hobby in that he loved to collect bees. This was strange because he was allergic to bees. Ned took the usual precautions with the bee keepers suit and smoker. He purchased several hives from a neighbor and his former wife helped in the move. For some reason the bees left the hive and congregated way up in a tree. In a fit, Ned climbed the tree with a saw and decided that cutting the branch would get the bees down. He wasn't wearing his bee suit and he was stung hundreds of times. lt wasn't a great idea. His wife rushed off to get his epi shot but her panic, she pricked herself with the needle. As she searched for a second shot, Ned died. I'm not sure what the moral of the story is. Perhaps, don't be naughty, or better yet don't collect bees if you are allergic to them.

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 15, 2015

The Kulpi Mutitjulu Cave was filled with cave paintings.

Terry and I hiked around the base of Uluru quite a bit. The Kulpi Mutitjulu Cave was filled with faint cave paintings. Young aboriginal boys would be brought to this cave where they watched their fathers hunt. When they were old enough to become men, they would come here alone and live off the land. A short hike up the trail is the only natural water hole for miles. I don't understand where the water comes from since it never seems to rain. A large snake flashed across the trail startling both Terry and myself. Life seems surprising in the outback and yet the area is filled with hints of its dream time creation.

The physical features of Uluru are of great cultural significance to the Anangu traditional owners. The caves and rock formations on the trail relate to the activities of Minyma Kuniya (Woma Python Woman) and Wati Liru (Poisonous Snake Man) during the creation time....

"Minyma Kuniya the woma python woman came from the east near Erldunda. A bad feeling grew in her stomach–something was wrong. She had to go to Uluru. Kuniya created inma (ceremony) to connect her eggs together. She carried them to Uluru in a ring around her neck and placed them at Kuniya Piti. Meanwhile, Kuniya’s nephew arrived on the other side of Uluru. He was being chased by a war party of Liru (poisonous snake) men from out near Kata Tjuta. He had broken the law in their land and they were sent to punish him. The Liru men threw spears at Kuniya’s nephew. One pierced his thigh and many others hit the side of Uluru. One Liru warrior, Wati Liru, was left to care for the injured python man. But he did not do his duty and left the injured man on his own. Minyma Kuniya realised that her nephew had been injured and was not being cared for properly. She raced to Mutitjulu Waterhole and saw Wati Liru high up on the cliff. She called out to him about her nephew, but he only laughed. Minyma Kuniya placed her wana (digging stick) upright in the ground in front of her. Kneeling down, she picked up handfuls of sand and threw it over her body, singing and making herself stronger. She was creating inma (ceremony) to help her confront Wati Liru. Kuniya moved towards Liru singing and dancing akuta–a dance step used by women ready to fight. Kuniya hit him once over the head with her wana. He fell down but got back up. She hit him a second time and killed him. Kuniya then went and found her injured nephew. She picked him up, dusted him off and carried him to Mutitjulu Waterhole. She created inma and combined their two spirits into one. They became Wanampi, the rainbow serpent, who lives in and protects the waterhole today."

This story teaches a traditional form of payback punishment–a spear to the thigh. the punisher must then look after the injured person until they are well enough to care for themselves. It also teaches about women’s intuition and that a woman may use force to protect her children. This is a powerful story, Kuniya is a powerful woman.” Physical signs remain evident in the rock of this ancient confrontation. Slowing down to sketch helped me stop and reflect by 0bserving the serpentine flow of the hills only interrupted by the burnt black trunks of trees and flowing sage.

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 14, 2015

The Ayers Rock Visitors Center offered insights into Aboriginal Art and Culture.

We stopped at the Ayers Rock Visitors Center where I did one more sketch of the monolith. I loved catching the colors of this Martian landscape with black burnt twisted tree trunks spiraling up in knots from roots that clutched for moisture. There were a series of covered picnic tables. Charred dead wood is used to create curbs at the edge of the dirt trails. Amazingly two tourists from Germany were using a barbeque grill to cook lunch. Flies swarmed around their cooking meat and my head. I think the flies inspired brevity in my sketches. Either flies love my work, or they try to drink up the pigments.

Outside the visitors center, an Aboriginal woman sat  cross legged and painted a traditional dream time painting that consisted of thousands of dots covering the canvas. I was of course tempted to draw her, but I had already done this sketch. For my sanity and Terry's I only do one sketch a day on vacation. Once it is done, I just relax and soak in the sights without even being tempted to shoot photos.

We kind of skipped quickly through the educational film to make our way to the cafe. What I craved was an ice cream cone and a Coke. Luckily I found both. That cold burn never tasted so good. Terry had been having an animated conversation with the sales girl and she asked me to show my sketch book. I responded with "think-q" to the compliments.

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 13, 2015

Manta means landscape in Pitjantjatjara.

A dirt road circles all around Ayers Rock, or Uluru as the Aborigines refer to it. Angangu are the traditional caretakers of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and the surrounding landscape. In this sketch Kata Tjuta can be seen in the distance shrowded in blue mist. Like Uluru it juts up from the otherwise flat landscape. It is far more eroded than Uluru having multiple spires. These two monoliths has always been a special place for the Angangu. It isn't only a rock, but it is a living place that creation beings have left their marks upon.

30 years ago Uluru was officially returned to aboriginal ownership. The ceremony, performed in the shadow of the immense rock, remains one of the most significant moments in the Aboriginal land-rights movement. Under the terms of the handover agreement, the Anangu people leased Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to the Australian Parks and Wildlife Service for 99 years, ensuring the public's ongoing access, as well as continued funds to the local community. In 2003 the Mititjulu Foundation was formed which raises funds for local Aboriginal communities. Guests at the Ayers Rock Resort can donate to this foundation and the resort matches contributions dollar for dollar. The projects funded include, renovations to a youth center, materials for local schools, a mountain bike program, sports and musical instruments and assistance for women's health screenings.

At this roadside overlook, an elevated trail brings tourists out to several viewing platforms.  As I did this watercolor, flies gathered on the pages to suck up the moisture. I worked quickly to keep from going insane from all the buzzing. A local joked with me saying that the Australian salute was the act of whisking away flies from your face. I had on a mesh over my head, and flies walked on it inches from my face. Had I sketched one it would have looked like a monstrous giant. I liked the reddish tint that dusted my hiking boots as we walked the trails around Uluru.

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 12, 2015

Ayers Rock shares its magic.

The rusty red road cut through the sage brush and an orange cloud rose up behind our rental as we drove to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to Ayers Rock. The plan was to wait for sunset when the golden hour would light up the rock a deep crimson. It was a cloudy day however and that crimson flash never appeared. Next to the road side parking lot people lined up along the barbed wire fence with their cameras poised in anticipation. Children played in the red dust. I noticed that tiny red stones would stick to the magnetic clasp on my art bag. I'm not sure if the photographer with the tripod ever got his picture.

Flies came out in swarms. Tourists flicked them away  from their ears and face, but the flies would simply circle around and dive bomb into peoples ear canals. I wore a fine green mesh over my hat. The flies would crawl in front of my face, but they couldn't get to me. I also put two erasers in my ears which kept the high pitched drone from pinching my nerves. Terry hiked down the line of tourists hoping to get a better view. Colors slowly faded to grey as night set in.

When my sketch was done I waited at the car for Terry to return from her hike. It began to rain very lightly. I stashed my art bag under the rental to keep it dry.  Next to me several tourists were cooking their dinner over a camping stove. Their VW Bus was converted into a makeshift camper. They were roughing it through the outback. I started to get concerned that Terry might have gotten lost. She eventually did show up in the darkness. We were one of the last cars to leave the lot.

When Terry and I got back to Sails in the Desert Resort, we relaxed over a fine meal at Ilkari Restaurant. We were told that the desert bar was complimentary, but we sampled the ice creams so often that a charge was added to our bill. All the food has to be driven hundreds of miles across the desert to this isolated resort so ice cream is a real luxury. Just having air conditioning is a luxury.

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 11, 2015

Flying to Ayers Rock, Australia.

Ayers Rock is located far north of Melbourne in the midst of Australia's vast "outback" or desert. Flying within Australia is incredibly easy. There is no customs and no security check points. Australians have the innocence of not feeling that they are a target for terrorist attacks and thus there are no full body scans, no removing your shoes and belt. You just board your plane and enjoy the flight. There was a short delay. I joked with Terry as we boarded that they might have to hold the plane together with Duck Tape. Amazingly my tray table was Duck Taped to the seat in front of me. Scrawled on the Duck Tape with a sharpie, I was informed, "TRAY INOP DO NOT USE." Flying over Australia is very different than flying over America. America is cut up into a definite grid with farms and cities sprawling  out in a checker board pattern. In Australia there was only an occasional road stretching off into the infinite distance. The entire country outside of the coastline seemed to be an endless expanse of rusty desert.

When the plane approached Ayers rock, it was the only landmark we had seen the whole flight. The size was hard to distinguish since it was unclear how high the plane was flying. The airport was a bit larger than a shed and the heat assaulted us when we walked off the plane onto the tarmac and then inside.  The only features inside the airport were the luggage claim area and a car rental counter. We rented a car so we could explore the area a bit. About a quarter of a mile from the airport was the only civilization in the area, the huge Ayers Rock Resort. We stayed at Sails in the Desert which was a very environmental friendly resort. Solar panels supplied the power and water was conserved. The bright yellow buildings glowed against the blood red desert. The central resort area seemed like an unlikely oasis with its pool and palm trees.

I ordered some room service and relaxed while Terry explored the resort. Flies are abundant in the outback. The best investment Terry made was in two nets that fit over our hats. I felt like a geek at first but without that net, I never could have sketched because flies know how to bug people by flying in their eyes and buzzing in their ears. Within a minute it is maddening. The next day we would head to the Rock.

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 10, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 11th and 12th.

Saturday April 11, 2015
8am to 2pm Free. Second Seconds. The Carousel Emporium 2000 Alden Road Orlando FL. Monthly antique Flea Market.

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

7pm to 9pm $5. Second Saturdays. 202 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL. Live music event featuring 2 stages, drink specials and more.

Sunday April 12, 2015
1pm to 3pm Free. Script Reading Workshop. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Read and workshop plays.

6pm to 8pm Free but get a drink or bite. SHUT YOUR FACE! Poetry Slam by Curtis Meyer! La Casa De La Paellas 10414 E Colonial Dr Orlando 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!

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

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Golden Mirror Carousel at the Melbourne National Gallery of Victoria is hard to resist.

We parked the Prius in a parking garage under the National Gallery of Victoria. Along the way, we had picked up a third passenger who is a choreographer. We ordered a bite and coffees at the museum cafe before exploring the exhibits.  When the women went to see the Jean Paul Gautier fashion exhibit, I decided to sketch The Golden Mirror Carousel. It was installed by Carsten Holler and it would only be up a few more days when the Melbourne International Art Festival ended. The Festival is a celebration of dance, theatre, music, circus, visual arts, multimedia, outdoor and free events held for 17 days each October in a number of venues across Melbourne, Australia.

The carousel looks like one of those fast paced swing rides you would find in a carnival. With that ride, the chairs would lift up off the ground and the centrifugal force would make it seem like you were flying. The catch is that it moves at an agonizingly slow pace. A passenger might make a full rotation every 5 minutes or so.  This made sketching tricky since I would sketch passengers when they came around on each turn. Even though the ride moved at a slow pace, tourists and locals couldn't resist getting on board. It was a relaxing ride. The fact that every facet of the ride was gold made it seem opulent and excessive.

Terry explored the fashion exhibit right until the closing time for the museum. The couture fashions were on manikins that had faces projected on them much like you would see in Disney's Haunted Mansion. This gave the exhibit a surreal edge. Another area featured the manikins walking down a runway, just like in a fashion show. The entrance to the museum is a glass wall that has water cascading down its surface outside. Kids can't resit touching the wall of water and interrupting its flow to catch a glimpse inside. At one point there was talk of removing the water fall but locals got up in arms and started a petition. They saved the wall of water so that another generation of children can experience its wonder.

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 8, 2015

CERES in East Brunswick Australia proves that living a sustainable lifestyle makes sence.

One of Terry's high school friends asked us to take one of Melbourne's trolly's out of the city to it's terminus. There she met us at the station. She suggested we go for a walk and get some lunch. Along the way, we met a man who was busy picking berries from a tree. He looked a bit like a hippy and invited us to try a couple of berries for ourselves.

Our destination was CERES (Cnr Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, 3057) which is a not for profit educational organization located on 4 hectares of rehabilitated landfill in East Brunswick, Melbourne. It used to be a quarry and it was purchased and turned into a community gardening project. Terry's friend has been on a waiting list for years to get a plot to tend. CERES was absolutely amazing. There was a gardening shop, cafe and an open market with fresh vegetables and vintage clothing. Children played in the dirt lanes and chickens scurried across our path. This seemed like the Eden that we had lost. What a shame that Orlando doesn't have a similar large community project.

We stopped for a coffee and a muffin at the cafe.  Oscar Jimenez was entertaining the crowd on guitar. I did a tiny sketch to be sure I was done quickly. Everywhere I looked in CERES I wanted to sketch. There was a huge community bike shop which had a geodesic dome made entirely of bicycle wheels. Wind turbines and solar panels provided energy making the community self contained. Water barrels conserved water for the gardens. CERES is deeply committed to a reduction in resource use. Technology and efficiency are drivers for this reduction. They match technology with education programs for both adults and school children to encourage widespread behaviour change leading to large reductions in consumption. Some of their demonstrations, such as the Environmentally Sustainable Design principles embodied in the buildings are widely applicable. Other demonstrations are experimental, part of their aim to support cutting edge initiatives. The electric vehicle conversion program, aquaponics and biogas plant belong in this category.  All CERES Green Technology projects are designed to be working demonstrations or on going research projects, and can be viewed on site, or during guided tours. In America we seem to waste everything but Australians conserve and optimize their resources.

I was sorry we had to leave.  Terry's friend showed us her apartment which also had solar panels. When she conserves energy and only uses solar, she is paid by the energy company because her energy feeds the grid. We all decided to head back to Melbourne to go to The National Gallery of Victoria. Fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier was having a show and Terry was excited to see his contour dresses on display. We drove an energy efficient Prius back to the city.

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 7, 2015

Federation Square in Melbourne Australia is party central.

In the morning, Terry and I hopped on the free trolly that circles Melbourne Australia's central business district. This rectangular grid of real estate stretched 10 blocks South West to Port Phillip Bay and four blocks North and South. It is offset from the rest of Melbourne grid of streets at a forty five degree angle. The trolly circled the business district which made it convenient to explore the city with ease. A bridge crossed the Yarra River to the South and we walked through the botanical gardens and parks. Terry had a memory of being pushed into a lake in the botanical gardens and we tried to find the site of the crime. Finding the exact spot was difficult considering it had happened so long ago when Terry was a high school senior.

As we walked back at the end of the day, we entered Federation Square. Across from the square is the Historic Melbourne Station which is always full of hectic travelers. By the time the sketch was done, he was gone. I spotted a young woman sitting on the ledge of her hotel room window three stories up sketching the station. That must have been a great vantage point for taking in the architecture. Terry had to get dressed for her reunion so she rushed back to the Windsor Hotel and I stayed behind to sketch. A Bollywood film was being shown on a big screen in the square. People sat all around Federation Square watching the film. Two star crossed lovers were working together as wedding planners. They worked together to plan a huge opulent wedding  and in the mad rush of preparations they began to realize that they should always be together. Bright yellow and crimson gowns sparkled and flowers bloomed on every table. In the end the boy took the girls hand and they danced in a glistening choreographed dance scene. Soon everyone was dancing with them in unison. Destiny had been fulfilled.

In the square, I sketched the only aboriginal man I had seen on our trip. He sat on a stone retaining wall and once in a while he would talk to passer's by. I wondered what Dream Time tales he might be telling people. Workers were busy setting up barricades in the square. I asked one worker what they were setting up for. The next day the Square would be home for Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light. This Hindu festival is celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness. Terry and I returned the next day. Food trucks offered an endless variety of sweet savory Indian dishes. The scents were intoxicating. The crowd was so dense that we had to hold hands to keep from being separated. A short walk down the Yarra River there was an Oktoberfest Festival. Women dressed in Tyrolean dresses and men wore Liederhosen. All the German beer vendors were at the top of a large grass hill. One couple in costume rolled down the hill together. These two festivals intermingled in the middle since they were both so large. Busty Tyrolean dresses pressed their way through the crowd of sparkling Indian Saris and Anarkalis. As the sun set large canisters burst over the crowd sending colorful confetti everywhere. A gust of wind lifted the confetti and sent much of it towards the train station. I've never experienced a festival so large and so uplifting. Melbourne offers endless possibilities for sketching events. Federation Square is party central.

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 6, 2015

Melbourne Australia is alive with culture.

From Sydney, Terry and I flew to Melbourne Australia. Even the taxi ride from the airport to the Windsor Hotel was exciting. Melbourne has to be the most modern city I have ever visited. I craned my neck looking out the taxi window to see modern skyscrapers that were vibrant works of art. One was covered with colored panels that must have functioned as shades for the glass structure beneath. the panels created yellow, lime green and Orange waves. Just driving through the city you could feel the way art influenced the public spaces. I was told that there are more events in Melbourne than there are days in the year. There was opulence and excess everywhere with changes clearly still under way.

The Windsor Hotel built in 1883, was right across the street from the historic House of Parliament (no, not the Parliament House). A historic trolley station was right in front of the hotel. The entire trolley car had been painted by a local artist thanks to a city commission. Both the Parliament and the Windsor were architectural gems, build from gold rush money at the turn of the century. The Windsor is notable for being Australia's only surviving grand 19th century city hotel and only official "grand" Victorian era hotel. The Hotel Windsor has a 5-star rating and is considered one of the grandest hotels in Melbourne. It is renowned for it's long list of dignitaries and celebrities who have stayed there over the years including the Duke and Dutchess of York, Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep,  Anthony Hopkins, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Basil Rathbone, Lauren Bacall, and Douglas Fairbanks, I didn't see any of them walking the halls.

After a full day of travel, I decided to just sketch our hotel room before getting some sleep. Terry checked her social media, but my phone remained off for the duration of the trip. My tablet that I sketched on, also doubled as a way to check e-mails where the hotels had Wi-Fi. So I wasn't completely "off grid". There were several Theatres just a block from the Hotel. Her Majesty's Theatre built in 1886, was performing Les Miserables, and The Princess Theatre was presenting the hit musical Once about a song writer and his muse. The smash hit new musical (based on the movie of the same name) stormed the Tony Awards in 2012 taking home eight, including Best Actor, Best Book and Best Musical. I hadn't seen this show before so I was thinking of going alone on the night of Terry's reunion, since I wasn't invited to that. Even sketching the theatre's opulent exterior at night would have made for a great sketch. I was excited to dive in and start sketching this cities rich cultural scene.

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 5, 2015

A beach nap on the drive back to Sydney Australia.

From Eden, Terry and I had a seven hour drive back to Sydney Australia. Our ultimate destination after a flight was Melboune where Terry was going to a reunion. Her senior year in high school, Terry was an exchange student and she spent the year in Melbourne going to Lauriston Girls School. Half way up the coast, we stopped at Malua Bay. We ordered lunch and ate it on the beach. I had a fish and chips. A couple sat contemplating the waves.  Terry took a nap while I sketched. Gorgeous yellow flowers bloomed all along the dune's edge. This is what a vacation should be like with some rest and relaxation.

The nap was short lived however because we had many hours to go on our drive back to Sydney. Eden is more than half way down the coast towards Melbourne, so it would have made more sense to drive south to Melbourne. But car rental rates skyrocket if you drop a car off at a city other than the one you picked it up in. Apparently a plane flight was cheaper than the increase in the rental rate. The drive back seemed so much longer than the drive down. There wasn't and sense of discovery. We had already traveled these roads.

By the time we were approaching Sydney, the sun had set and the stress lever rose as the traffic got faster and more aggressive. I must say however that Australian drivers are much better than Florida drivers. I drove at the speed limit and was only passed once or twice during the seven hour drive. There are signs on all the highways that insist that divers get some rest to avoid becoming a fatality. By this point, Terry and I were both used to driving on the wrong side of the road. Once or twice we each turned into a wrong lane but that's when a side seat driver's warning is appreciated. I scrapped up the hub caps on the car pretty good because I like to park snug to the curb. When I had an SUV, the tires were so big that only rubber bumped the curb. But the little rental and my gas saving Prius have tiny tires with hubcaps that look like they came from a war zone. I only scrap the tires on the passenger side, so as the driver I never actually see the damage. Out of sight, out of 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

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thar she blows!

Terry and I took a walk along the beach in Eden Australia to go bird watching. We were looking for a trail that cut off into the woods. Her birding book said this was a great spot to see local birds. We had seen Goffins Cockatoos and other parrots right at the apartment at Eagle Heights. I looked out at the ocean and spotted a column of mist. It was a whale, actually a mother and child. They were no more than 100 yards off shore. Excited, Terry got out her binoculars to get a closer look. It was a cold and very breezy day. After I took a quick look through the binoculars, I found a tree that cut the wind a bit.

I knew Terry was in her zone, when whale watching, so I did a quick sketch. We guessed that the mother must have been teaching the child how to feed in the bay's relatively calm waters.  In town, the siren sounded, announcing that whales had been sighted. We were proud that we had spotted the pair before the experts. We had visited a spotting station manned by a volunteer on top of a cliff. He keeps track of all the nautical traffic that enters and leaves the bay. It was raining when we were there, and he was nice enough to invite us up into the tower to look at the vista. To pass the time, he scanned the ocean horizon for whales. He claimed that he could spot whale blows from miles away. He would see one and then hand me his binoculars to look. When I looked I wouldn't see a thing. Spotting these two whales so close to shore therefor was quite rewarding. Whales don't make great models however. They submerge and stay hidden under water far too long.

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 3, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for April 4th and 5th.

Saturday April 4, 2015
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.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free but order food and drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL.

Easter Sunday April 5, 2015
10am to 4pm Free. Farmers Market. South East corner of Lake Eola

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. East lawn of Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL.

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

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

At Eagle Heights still looking for whales.

When the whale watching catamaran pulled into Eden Australia's dock, I rushed down the gangway, thankful to have solid ground under my feet. I sat on a park bench and my wife Terry went to talk to the crew of the whale watching boat. The ground still swayed under my feet. I put my head in my hands and sighed. It would take a while to recover. Amazingly, Terry wanted to go out on the boat again for their second cruise of the day. The boat wasn't full and she wanted a closer view. They didn't charge her for her second time on board.

I was thankful for the time to recover. I thought of sketching the boats in the dock but I wasn't up to the task. After maybe an hour of sitting like a zombie, I stood up and decided to walk over to a small cafe to get something back in my stomach. Locals gossiped with their dogs at their feet. After lunch I returned to the bench and waited for Terry to return. She got off the boat excited to have seen another whale, or perhaps the same one at another location on his route.

That night back at Eagle Heights, Terry sat vigil watching for whales in the bay. I had no desire to look out over the water, so I sat on the couch and sketched. Dusk turned to night and the stars came out. I imagine the stars must be different in the southern hemisphere but I never took the time to identify the constellations. I needed rest. The room still swayed slightly.

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 1, 2015

Whale watching off the coast of Eden Australia.

We got up at the break of dawn in Australia to get ready for a whale watching tour. I had a bowl of Cheerios and just as we left our Eagle Heights apartment, I took a Dramamine so it would soak into my system before we got on the boat. Cat-Balou Cruise leaves Eden's port every morning and in season, they guarantee a whale sighting. Before we walked the gang plank, everyone was warned that there were pretty high seas out there which made spotting whales challenging. If anyone wanted to turn back, this was their chance.

Inside, I sketched what I thought was the steering controls.  No one ever touched the steering wheel however, so I assume the catamaran was actually being steered from upstairs. Terry immediately sat up front at the bow and I included her in the sketch. Once we left the harbor, the seas got worse and the boat pitched violently. My drawing hand started to go numb so I slapped it on my calf to try and wake it up. A crew member asked me to go back to the bar to sign some documents. I lost my balance multiple times as I walked the short distance to the stern of the boat. After signing, I couldn't bring Myself to walk back to my seat. I clutched a metal pillar for support. I've heard, that if you start to feel sea sick, you shouldn't stay inside. Instead you should get out and stare at the horizon. I stumbled out a door and stood at a railing. Then my knees gave out and I knelled at the railing as if in prayer. "Dear God, please let this pass." I stayed like that for the longest time. A crew member approached and told me that sniffing eucalyptus oil would settle my stomach. She gave me a napkin soaked in oil and I held it up to my nose. I took a sniff. The sharp smell immediately caused me to wretch, sending Cheerios over the railing into the churning sea. eucalyptus wasn't a cure, it was the cause. Terry had bragged about how good a patch was for avoiding sea sickness. Where was she? I could use that darn patch. I wasn't able to walk up to the bow to find her. My knees no longer worked.

After wrenching I felt better for a while and I stood. I held ceiling beams and imagined myself surfing the high seas. There was no way I could get back inside to my sketch. Eventually my extremities went numb again. All the other passengers had crowded onto the bow of the boat since a whale had been spotted. I stood at the stern with my head out over the railing. I wretched but there was nothing inside me. Then, a few feet from me, a whales eye appeared and he stared at me. Time slowed down. I swear I saw concern in that eye. Every nerve of my body snapped to attention. All my misery passed. The eye submerged followed by the immense length of body, and then the tale fluke. Wow! For the rest of the trip I stood up watching the ocean for another appearance. We basically tracked that one whale the entire trip. Spotting whales in the distance was impossible in the high seas. A Japanese man was as bad off as I was. He kept his eyes closed the entire trip. Developing my sea legs became a game. I let go of the ceiling beams once in a while to see if I could surf the pitching deck without getting thrown overboard.

For much of the trip I was so miserable, I wished I were dead, and then there were moments where I never felt so alive. If I had an opportunity to do it again, I would jump at the chance. Next time there will be no Cheerios, and I'll wear a patch behind my ear. Sea sickness is largely psychological it is a confusion in which fluids in the inner ear send different signals than what the eyes perceive. Since I'm such a visual person, I guess I'm more susceptible. Terry told me that sketching is what caused the sea sickness, but I refuse to believe that.

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