Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wonderland - The Gift of Creativity.

Anytime you walk into True Serenity (1100 Montana St, Orlando, Florida), you feel the love. Tod Caviness was playing with his son in the front parlor. I had arrived a bit early, so people were still setting up. Tara Chiavetta who owns True Serenity gave me a warm welcome. This quaint bungalow offers gentle yoga, Chakra healing workshops, energy readings, and Reiki Circles. Today however it us a Magical Wonderland. Members of Orlando's creative local community offered unique arts, crafts and holistic gifts for the holidays. 

I went outside where vendors were lined up in the driveway. Tisse Mallon and Banks Helfrich had a Listening Booth set up. The concept is simple and elegant you sit down and Tisse or Banks will listen intently to what you have to say. Tisse explained that some people get quite emotional since having someone truly listen is becoming a rare commodity today. It reminded me of Marina Abramovie's "The Artist is Present" that was staged at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. At that performance you would sit opposite Marina and look into her eyes for as long as you wanted to. Some people would be moved to tears because people seldom take the time to honestly look at one another. I was surprised to find out that Tisse and Bank first met at a party at my house on New Year's Day. Perhaps that was the birthplace of their Living room Theater concept.

It had gotten cold outside and  I didn't bring a sweatshirt or sweater, so after joking with Tisse  and Banks, I went inside hoping to find a cozy and warm spot to sketch. I decided to sketch Maricardia Avila who was offering Astrology readings. Her business is called Odyssey of Light. The paintings in the room all seemed to have planetary themes. The calming shape of a circle could be seen everywhere. Lights danced on the ceiling further heightening the celestial display. Business was slow for the first hour, so I focused on the setting. Cheryl, the owner of the Crystal Healing Spa had her beautiful healing crystals for sale right behind me.

In the living room, Fresh Coffee from Vita Luna Craft Coffee Bar was being ground and brewed. In the back courtyard there was  Live Music with a great track selection played throughout the night by DJ Anthony Bonilla. There are wonderful oriental flavored murals in the hallways of the bungalow. Illuminated by black lights the blossoms glow a vibrant purple and orange. I've always wanted to capture that mysterious light and there is just a hint in the doorway. 

Maricardia's daughter went to the Poetry Vending Machine to have a custom poem created. Her mom read it out loud and it was of course magical. Finally, a couple settled in for their Astrology Reading. The reading was surprisingly high tech. The laptop displayed a circle cutup into slices like a pie and in the center, red lines darted from slice to slice divining the future. I know nothing about the science of Astrology, but the advice Maricardia offered was sound and sincere. The couple have world travel in their future but certain pragmatic financial concerns need to be resolved. One of the patrons is writing a children's book, and that might be the reason for the travel. One year from now all of the things discussed would find a resolution. The couple is in a period of deep discussion and everything will be put out in the open and shared. When the reading was over, so was my sketch. 

The nurturing conversation sparked by the reading continued as she walked with the couple to the front entry. I saved my sketch and closed the computer. I felt bad that I didn't have a chance to share the sketch since I had to dart off to a show were I would be meeting Terry. I was also  curious to have my own reading done, but I was out of time.  I showed the sketch to Maricardia's daughter instead, thinking she could explain the sketch to her mom verbally.

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

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