Monday, August 31, 2015

Snap offered an Artist Panel Discussion.


On March 28th I went to an Artist Panel Discussion at Snap! Orlando (1013 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL). The exhibit at the time was called Structure and PerspectiveStructure and Perspective examined the intersection of organic and man made forms such as those found in the distinction of body forms and building forms.The artists were Christoph Morlinghaus in the black shirt, Ryan Buyssens in the green stripes, Dan L. Hess in a military shirt and Juan Travieso in the white tee shirt.

Amazingly Dan went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC around the same time I did. He pointed out that the school stressed the importance and rich history of drawing. Children today aren't taught to draw. If they want to make something, they assume there is an application that can do it for them. When Dan starts a drawing, he has no idea where it will go. He has no set final destination. For a long time he has been avoiding painting, so all his works are on paper. Dan and I have much in common.

The large format photos behind the artists were by Christoph. All of his photos are analog taken with a large format camera. He joked, "I wouldn't be a good German if I didn't look for order and structure." The photos were of computer circuitry and the resembled cityscapes. He has been using x-ray film the last 2 years which results in bleak intimate images. He mentioned that social media is resulting in the death of photography. Art has become disposable. He feels that there is an existential crisis due to the overload of images. There is so much to assimilate at the large art fairs like Art Basel in Miami. Art Basel is all about consumption.

Ryan creates animated organic flapping birds wings, crafted from 3D printed, machined and laser-cut parts; “Resistance” is time-based, interactive, mechatronic sculpture that emulates the articulated flapping of bird’s wings. Several sets of these mechanical birds are mounted to a wall and, through various intensities of flapping, respond to the viewer’s movements within the space.

Juan related his childhood memory of fleeing Cuba. Seventy or more people were killed at sea. He watched a man cut in half when he got caught between boats. Because of these memories, Juan paints endangered species. He feels that art is a language and we as artists have a responsibility to carry on the conversation. Art is about how you relate to another human being. The person viewing the art has to want that relationship. Juan taught teachers how to teach art. Line work is the framework for everything. Many students lack an ability to be present in the moment. They don't have the ability to trust the beauty in front of them. To compensate they might take a picture with their phone and work from that. Juan likes to create a body of work over the course of a year without showing anyone. Creating art is like raising dysfunctional children, you want to get them strong enough to kick them out of the house. A piece isn't finished until it goes out into the world.

Smaller cities are where artists can flourish today. NYC isn't the mecca it used to be except for the blue chip artists. You can produce art anywhere and find alternate venues to show it in like Art in Empty Spaces and Pop Up Shops. This artist panel discussion was one of the most enlightening experiences I've had. Snap continues to give the city beautiful a much needed pulse.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Everest packs an emotional punch.


I went to an advance screening of Everest at the Regal Cinemas Pointe Orlando 20 and IMAX at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr, Orlando, FL. When I got in line and started sketching, there were about 30 people ahead of me. I went into the screening with no expectations thinking that it might be like other IMAX films I had scene at the Science Center with lots of scenery and little plot. The line started to move, but Terry still hadn't arrived. If I went in she would not be able to get in the theater. I stepped out of line to wait for her.  Gladys West who had given me my ticket had another to spare, so I got two seats in the third row and then went back out to wait for Terry. When she arrived, we were the last to enter the theater. Thankfully the theater was huge and there were some seats left.

We had both read "Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer so we knew what would happen on this dangerous expedition in May of 1996. The immense five story high movie screen showed a climber dangling from a series of interconnected ladders above a deep crevasse. The film was shot in IMAX 3D and we all had glasses. The films emotional center revolved around Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) who was leading a group of climber up Everest each of whom had paid 50 to 90 thousand dollars for the experience.  His company was called Adventure Consultants. Rob's wife Jan (Keira Knightley) was at home pregnant and he planned to be back in time for the birth of their first child. Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) confided that in his everyday life, a dark cloud of depression followed him, but when he climbs mountains that cloud is gone.

The film was a gripping cliff hanger. At times the camera moved with ease looking down at the dangerous drops. The climbers had to acclimatize to the altitude over a month's period doing a series of smaller hikes up to the ice field. I actually braced myself several times, feeling vertigo from the heights. Climbing Everest has become a big business with hundreds of people at the base camp. Although some guides tried cooperating, there was also contentious competition among the climbers to get to the top.

There was a small window of opportunity to get to the top of the mountain on May 10, 1996. At midnight the stars sparked in a clear sky and Rob decided to bring his group to the top with a 2pm turn around time. John Krakaur asked each of the climbers why the took the risk to climb Everest. Kasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) from Japan explained that she had climbed 6 of the 7 summits. If she reached the summit of Everest she would be the oldest woman to reach the top. Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) had tried to reach the summit the previous year and had been tuned back by Rob. Every climber had their own reason to reach the top and Rob was tasked with getting them there safely. There were unexpected delays. The climbing Sherpas and guides had not set the fixed ropes by the time the team reached the Balcony (27,395 ft), and this cost the team almost an hour.

Doug once again got close to the summit, but since it was past the turn around time, Rob told him to turn back. Doug could see the top and insisted that Rob let him make the final ascent. When Rob agreed, I knew it was a fatal mistake. A blizzard blew in taking all the climbers by surprise. Snow blindness, hypothermia and lack of oxygen left them vulnerable to the elements.Some made it to camp while others collapsed from the cold. 34 climbers tried for the summit that day but 8 bodies remain on the unforgiving mountain. One in four climbers die trying to reach the summit and yet guided tours continue to bring people up to the death zone in record numbers. This is an incredible film that has to be experienced in IMAX 3D.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mozart's Cosi Fan Tuti appeared at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.


Florida Opera Theater hired me to create a poster image for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti. The title roughly translated means, thus do they all or more commonly, all women are like that. Two sisters are engaged to two soldiers. The soldiers meet an old philosopher in a pub and when the soldiers brag of their fiance's faithfulness, the philosopher wagers a bet that the women aren't as faithful as the soldiers claim.

The philosopher proclaims that the soldiers have been called away to battle. The sisters are devastated and proclaim their steadfast love.  The soldiers however return dressed as exotic Albanian bachelors and each woos the others fiance. One sister succumbs rather quickly while the other slowly falls in love. This thematic device of fiance swapping was commonly used in Mozart's day.

This stage inside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was surprisingly small. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra had supplied a hand full of musicians who performed in the wings at stage left. Having seen several productions as I researched the poster, I was quite familiar with the story which allowed me the freedom to ignore the subtitle translations projected above the stage. Being in a crowded audience made sketching a challenge since it would be distracting to illuminate the sketch. When I squeezed one of my water brushes, it broke and became a water cannon. It shot at Terry by mistake.

Cosi was a lighthearted comic opera that is easy to digest even for a novice opera fan.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 29th and 30th.

Saturday August 29, 2015
11am to 4pm Free. Print Day Sale! Snap! Space, 1013 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL. Limited editions, and or open edition prints from local and international artists selected by Snap! Tables will be set up throughout the space for artists to set up.  Analog Artist Digital World prints will be available.

8pm to 11pm $30 early, $40 at the door. 9th Annual Prom. Orchid Garden at Church Street Station, 126 West Church Street, Orlando, FL.  Mel’s Bad Girls Club Charity Organization has celebrated Prom for the last 8 years benefiting B.A.S.E Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation. It is a chance for adults to experience PROM just like in high school but with no curfew and spiked cocktails! PROM is an excuse for adults to get dressed up, dance, and have a great time and all for a good cause! With each PROM ticket attendees will get to experience handmade decorations, over 1000 balloons, an amazing venue, free desserts, photographs,  The MBGC Band, Live DJ, Entertainment, Chance Drawings and a Silent Auction.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free with an order of food and or drinks. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL.

Sunday August 30, 2015
10am to 12:30pm $10 Crealde Sketch Class. Crealdé School of Art, 600 St Andrews Blvd, Winter Park, FL. Life drawing from  a nude model.

1pm to 3pm Free. Yoga. BYOM (Bring your own mat). Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL. East end of the park between the red Pagoda and the playground. Every week.

9pm to 11pm Free, but get a coffee. 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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa was where The Dutch Book Premiered.


On March 25th I drove to Tampa to see the World Premiere screening of The Dutch Book at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. I did some early storyboards for the director James Repici. I had also just finished painting the movie poster, so I was quite invested in the film. I got to Tampa quite early to do this sketch and get a bite to eat before the film screening.

The story is about Will (Adam Lopez), whose father Billy (Richard Edison), who was once an all star shortstop,  becomes indebted to a dangerous bookie (Keith David). Will launches a scheme to pay off the dept. When a rival bookie, Mel, (Frederico Castelluccio) gets suspicious and an unstable salesman Cal, (Christian Monzon) grows desperate, the whole con is exposed. With everyone jockeying for the loot, Will has to con them all resulting in an explosive conclusion of betrayal and a new beginning.

I had watched the film multiple times to get familiar with the cast as I painted the movie poster. In the movie theater, I recognized the actors who were dressed in their Sunday best for the World Premiere screening. Most of them played desperate thugs in the film but here they looked like movie stars. I sat in the row behind them.  It was fun to see how excited the actors were to see the final edit. The film was being tweaked and refined right up until the screening.

A Dutch Book is a bet that can't go wrong. Knowing that a jockey (J. Benedict Larmore) would have to throw the race, Will bet on every other horse in the field to win. One of those horses would result in a winning bet. Will resisted the urge to bet on the long shot for an even bigger payout but his long time friend couldn't resist. Will is presented as a level headed thinker who gets away with the perfect crime but I suspect that ultimately he isn't escaping his criminal past. He will want to seek the big payout of a sure bet wherever he goes.

After the screening, there was a brief question and answer session with the director and cast. James Repici wrote the screenplay four years ago. On the day that they finished shooting, he got into the Columbia undergrad program. The film is mostly about wanting to leave current circumstances. Adam Lopez and Kristen May, who played Nikki, came from the same circle of actors. They both moved to LA after the film was shot. The next film James plans to direct will take place in Tampa Florida. I recognized many Orlando locations in The Dutch Book, like the Jai Alai Fronton and the Jack Kerouac house. Adam who is the film's lead character was raised in Orlando. Richard Edson was brought in on the film because James met his agent in an airport. Once one big name actor gets on board it gets easier to land other actors. All of Richards scenes were shot first before he had a chance to have second thoughts. Two other big name actors backed out ten days before shooting resulting in a last minute scramble to fill the rolls.

For me, it was exciting to see my name in the credits as a storyboard artist and now my poster is on IMDB to promote the film. The Dutch Book was the winner of the Grand Jury Selection at the Gasperilla International Film Festival,  it was accepted in the San Antonio Film Festival, and  it is an official selection of the Central Florida Film Festival. Mark Your Calendar! The film will screen on Saturday September 5th from 4:10pm to 5:30pm in theater 3 in the West Orange Theater, 1575 Maguire Road Ocoee FL. There are tickets for the entire festival and one day passes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A heated Critique and Conversaiton at the Maitland Art Center.

Gilbert Vicario was the Guest Panelistat the Artist Critique and Conversation at the Maitland Art Center on March 24th. Gilbert is  the Senior Curator at Des Moines Art Center. Natalie Chikhi who came to 0rlado from France was the first artist to show her work. She had a projector to show us digital images of her work. She creates environmental installations using simple materials. The one piece of hers that I have seen in person involved string converging to a point inside a storage container behind Snap Space. The title of the piece was "Nothingness".  Another piece used colorful sheets of paper to create a wave like pattern on a gallery floor. She spoke for a while about the challenges in her life, and concluded that the difficult and challenging moment in life are often the most creative.

Martha Lent is the artist who I decided to include in the sketch. She came from a graphic design background and has started producing very large paintings. Gilbert's comments were rather insipid but he did feel that her smaller works were more refined and complete. I rather admire Martha's bold large work. It must be liberating to use the whole arm and wrist motion to put down a large stroke rather than the hand and finger movements I use to get color on a sketch.

The one critique that got me the most upset was when Daniella Degulimo showed her work. Danielle went to UCF where she got a BFA in painting. She used to do large paintings of things like the BP oil spill, industry versus the environment and urban sprawl. Recently however she has started a series of smaller works on paper that tackle the same themes. These studies use mixed media and have a bold fresh approach. She showed 15 at the critique and wants to complete at least a hundred to show then all together. Gilbert cut her off and said that she was falling into an art trap by wanting to show a large number of pieces together. I completely disagree. I feel she should do 100 then 200 and keep going. She uses photos she takes of the Orlando sprawl she finds and Gilbert basically felt that the photos might be all she needs. He said, "The materials don't make it art." In those few words, he dismissed all of her efforts. I was more than a bit annoyed. I was fuming. I feel she should continue the series but perhaps do more studies on location. Daniella has also done sculptures using straws that replicate the Buckminster Fuller dome. Some of the studies had segmented patterns of the dome incorporated into the sketch. Gilbert dismissed these patterns as being over used and representative of a long lost ideal. I don't think he is enough of an authority to make that assessment. The entire night he seemed detached and even bored. He never once got out of his chair to inspect the art from a closer vantage point.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Forgery, Piracy, or Artistic Licence?


This is a sketch of the opening of Danny Rock's show "The Urban Art Forgers" that was hung in March. I did a drawing of Danny working in his garage studio on one of the pieces for this show. In response to that article, I got an e-mail from a Tampa artist named John LaFree. This is part of that e-mail...

"On February 23, a Facebook follower of mine messaged me with the discovery that another artist (Danny Rock) had not only forged an illustration of mine, the "Arrogant Airedale" and signed it as his own original idea.... and proudly proclaimed on Facebook that he had SOLD IT. And not only sold it... But had the audacity to state in his post "Support Local Art Always." Now, first and foremost, I am flattered that Mr. Danny Rock thought so highly of my illustration that he felt compelled to replicate it. That's what he does. I get that. The issue that I want to point out to you is that your article quotes him as saying that "All the reproductions are open domain." However, the artist that you featured forged MY artwork - the work of a local artist - placed his signature on it and sold the piece.... Without giving any indication that he recreated an original idea from an artist an hour and a half away... Without consent. The artwork is absolutely NOT open domain. I own the copyright and intellectual property. Yet, he forged it and gladly accepted payment AS IF it was his own original idea. In fact, the piece that I drew was one of over 50 different illustrations that I created as a commission for a children's dog-themed card game produced by Greymalkin Designs. My commission and involvement ended with the final illustration. But because of the recent events, I have reached out to them. Looks like the game is "coming soon" and has been renamed as "Pooched".
Once we learned of the forgery, we immediately contacted Danny Rock via his Facebook page and voiced our displeasure. Within hours, the post was deleted. And as a "Thank You" to the Facebook follower who alerted us to the issue (who is a volunteer with the National Airedale Rescue), we created a week long sale on our site to benefit the NAR. I encourage you to view my website as well as Facebook and Instagram to get a full understanding of how hard My wife and I work to market myself as an artist."

The irony is that this show at  Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique, (55 West Church Street, Suite 114 Orlando FL) was a show about forgery. All the paintings were replicas painted by Danny Rock. Ashley Small is a partner and director of marketing for this small storefront gallery. These types of boutique galleries are becoming increasingly popular. Ashley has an amazingly kind heart. She spoke to several disadvantaged individuals who stopped by the opening, and she took the time to listen to their stories, which is in itself a gift.

I asked Danny about the issue of the Airedale. He explained that the client had insisted that he use a very specific reference to do the painting. This client could have probably purchased a print from John in Tampa for less than the commission paid to Danny. Danny admitted that he made a mistake in copying the art and he is willing to head to Tampa with me if or when I sketch John's studio. John has moved on from this incident deciding it isn't a large enough issue to stay upset about. Danny said it was an isolated incident and he learned from this mistake.

There have been quite a few incidents where people have lifted my sketches offline to promote their events or neighborhoods. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival used one of my sketches without asking me to promote this event which features Artists from around the country, so I understand John's frustration. My work, done at art openings often has small postage stamp sized reproductions of others artists paintings in the context of the sketch. These sketches are meant to promote that artists work. Part of me wonders if I am infringing on that artists copyright. Is a sketch of another artists work always a theft?  Since these drawings done at openings seldom sell, I might be safe. My work is so loose, rough and simplified that there must be plausible deniability. So many artists in town work from reference from photographers they have never met. Pop culture seems up for grabs. Is every image online considered public domain? Movies proclaim that piracy isn't a victim less crime. Are all artists in this digital age pirates? Pablo Picasso said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Perhaps copying means a direct forgery but when we steal, we make it our own.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Orlando's best chefs were at Taste of the Nation.


Taste of the Nation was held at Orlando World Center Marriott on August 8th. Money raised at the 26th annual gala went to Share our Strength, Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest Food Bank. Taste of the Nation is the nation's premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kids go hungry. Each spring and summer, the nations hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 Taste of the Nation events across the United States and Canada with one goal in mind, to raise critical funds.needed to end childhood hunger.

I have sketched and reported on this gala for the past few years. In the past, Disney's Artist Point was lavishly decorated but this year there was no decoration, it was strictly about the food. Orlando World Marriott Center however never fails to amaze with the way they present their food. This year's display was almost circus like with changing lights and tall  lighting supports acting as towers. It was a quick and easy decision to sketch this display. The deserts being offered were even more impressive in their artistry and taste.

Several times I was offered food and drink, but I always resist the temptation until the sketch is complete. By the time I get to try some of the samples, there are no longer any lines at the tables. My first bite was a light mac and cheese from Old Hickory Steakhouse at Gaylord Palms. I washed it down with a tiny bottle of "Smoked Bourbon Blackberry Tea" from Orlando Airport Marriott Lakesite, which had a flavorful kick.  The Tea which included smoked Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Darjeeling tea, hibiscus, lemon peel and strawberry.The tiny bottle was genius because I could tuck it away in my suit pocket and leave my hands for the plate and utensils. I heard that some patrons were hoarding the brew in every imaginable pocket. When I went back to try a second bottle, they were gone.

My second taste was at Yak and Yeti from Disney's Wild Kingdom. They served a pork cheek spicy taco. The tasty taco danced on the edge of my spicy hot tolerance levels. I ate it but wasn't tempted to try another. Cassa Bella served Sausage Capella which was quite delicious. I then ended my tasting spree back at the Orlando World Center Marriott to try their creative deserts. These gorgeous deserts were the perfect taste to complete the night.

In the hall outside the Ballroom, a Japanese sugar artist, Sugimori "Candy" Miyukiwas, busy sculpting candy creations for patrons. The candy was hot with a consistency of taffy. She would sculpt a horse, dragonfly, or any creature imaginable in a matter of minutes. Her hands moved with nimble dexterity. The line for the free candy creations was long. Last year $301,317 was raised at the Orlando Taste of the Nation to fight hunger, I have no doubt that just as much, if not more, was raised this year.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Visit offers redemption laced with fear.


Gladys West from Elite Animation Academy gave me tickets to see a free test screening of M. Night Shamalan's "The Visit" at Cinemark Movie Theater in Artegon Marketplace 5150 International Drive Orlando FL. The free ticket warned that attendees should arrive early since the screening was on a first come basis. I decided to arrive early and sketch the line as it formed. 20 people were already in line. I asked the couple who were last in line, if I could squeeze in behind them after I finished my sketch.

People at the front of the line talked about the latest roll playing game. It made me wonder if there was a Comic Con in town. One guy in line sort of looked like Jesus, and his friends joked that he should audition for the roll of Jesus at Holy Land. Since he is an atheist, he wasn't the right man for the job.  A security officer from Burbank California looked over my shoulder to check out the sketch. Her job was to make sure everyone turned off their cell phones before the movie started.

With the sketch done, I got back in line. The guys behind me were talking about an incident of road rage on an I-4 off ramp. The guy said that if his family wasn't in the car then he would have killed the other driver. Jesus! I assume that every other driver on the road is as impatient as this guy. Even so you can't escape everyone's rage. The line started to move and Terry, my wife hadn't arrived yet. I had to hope that she would be able to force her way in without a ticket. I put my art supplies in the seat next to me to hold her seat, but as the theater grew more crowded, I got uncomfortable turning people away. Luckily the theater didn't fill up completely.

"The Visit" wasn't what I expected. Everyone in the theater was braced for a scare. The film was set up like a documentary shot by a young brother and sister. Their mom had left her parents home twenty years earlier and never spoke to her parents again. Her parents looked her up on the Internet and they wanted to meet their grand children. The two children were sent off on their own by train to visit their grand parents whom they had never met in an isolated farm house upstate. The grand parents turn out to be more than a little strange, if not insane. What gives the film heart is that the young daughter is shooting a documentary in the hopes of finding an elixir for her mother's guilt. Rather than horror, most scenes were laced with laugh out loud humor. As scenes grew darker and more sinister, laughter offered relief. Like in the "Sixth Sense" there was one unexpected twist that truly had the audience on the edge of their seats. The grandpa turned out to be scarier than Freddy Kruger and the grandma was as creepy as a Japanese ghost. Sun downers was the clinical explanation but she went way beyond that diagnosis. Terry grabbed my sleeve every time the tension built.

The Visit turned out to be a film with true heart. I give the film eight Yatzys. You really need to see the film to believe it. The fact that many people in the test audience had waited hours to get in the theater, meant that we had a very lively audience. The film is scheduled to open nation wide on September 11th.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Renninger's has a stage for concerts.


On February 20th I went to Renningers to tag along with my wife Terry, Elaine Pasekoff and Bob Newlin as they shopped for deals among the hundreds of outdoor vendors offering antiques and knick knacks. There was an entrance fee which garnered us each an arm band. Within a hundred yards of the entrance gate was this rustic log stage. The giant guitar had tubing which could give it a neon glow at night. There were no performers during the antique fair, instead there were folding tables covered with porcelain bowls cups and figurines. There was also an ice cream churn along with a yarn spool and large jug.

There was a fairly steady stream of people who walked up the steps to get on stage and then exit on the other side of the stage. I'm not certain if more people looked at the items compared to a table out among all the others.  When this sketch was done I texted to find out how to find our troops.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 22nd an 23rd.

Saturday August 22, 2015
11am to 6pm Free. Big Bang Bazaar. Central Florida Fairgrounds & Expositions Park 4603 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida. We are pleased to announce that Big Bang Bazaar (Indie Art, Crafts and Vintage Bazaar) will take place at a new indoor venue this year! The event is family friendly and appropriate for all ages!
Big Bang Bazaar will feature a curated selection of over 200 local Indie artists and crafters, along with a free photo booth, Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls and movies playing all day! Shoppers will find a wide variety of goods, all handmade by local artisans! Products such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, original art, art prints, housewares and much more will be available for purchase!
For more information about this event, please visit the website, or on Facebook.

Noon to 4pm Free. Homegrown Rummage Sale!! (to benefit the Co-op). Homegrown Local Food Cooperative 2310 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida. ONE DAY ONLY! Come and find great deals on clothing, shoes, housewares, art, vintage, small furniture items, etc., at the Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. All proceeds will benefit Homegrown.

7:30pm to 10:30pm Free. Michele Roldan-Shaw's Farewell Reading. Kerouac House 1418 Clouser Ave, Orlando, Florida. Please join us for Michele's farewell reading. Doors will open at 7:30, and light refreshments will be available. You are welcome to bring something you'd like to drink.

Sunday August 23, 2015
10am to 6pm Free. Moving and Yart Sale. 10313 Brownwood Ave. Orlando Fl.  The Migas are moving, that means we will have some unique items we are parting with. Please come and help give our stuff a new home. We will post pics of most items as we set them aside.

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

1pm to 3pm Free.  Yoga. Lake Eola Park, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL East lawn near the red Pagoda. Every week.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tribes by Nina Raine opens at Mad Cow.


Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, Tribes tells the story of Billy, a young man with a comically dysfunctional family. Having been born deaf in a hearing family, Billy struggles to find his place in his own home. But when he meets a young woman who is going deaf herself, she begins to teach Billy about a whole different type of family he never knew he had. With dark humor and heartwarming sincerity, Nina Raine’s exquisite new play explores what it means to belong.

I had to find my way into the dress rehearsal by entering the back door. I took a wrong turn and found myself at a dead end at the actors dressing rooms. In the green room several people were signing to each other. It seemed awkward to ask them for directions to the stage since they might be deaf. I finally asked the woman working at a sewing machine, which way to go. I literally had to walk on the stage to get into the theater. Thankfully no actors were rehearsing at the time. I arrived just as a run through of the show was about to start. The rehearsal had two signers on house right who signed all of the dialogue. I glanced over periodically to watch their graceful interpretations.

The play started with individual family members entering the stage in the dark. When they reached their mark, a stage light flooded them in a pool of light. Light patterns moved on the back wall in sync with classical music much like the abstract animated sequence in Fantasia. Ruth (Hannah Benitez) and Daniel (Peter Travis) had just returned home to live with their parents. Billy (Michael Gordon) sat silent at the end of the table as the family argued. There were lighting tech issues to be ironed out, so I got to sketch this opening scene quite a few times.

When Billy met Sylvia (Lexi Langs) they stood face to face. Billy had been deaf since birth and Sylvia was slowly becoming deaf. There was a palpable chemistry between them and finally Billy leaned forward to kiss her. After their exchange a small ball of light rose against the back wall and it exploded into an expanding universe of stars filling the whole stage with dancing points of light.  It was a beautiful visual analogy about how the heart expands when it finds love.

Billy's family, especially Daniel feels like Sylvia is taking away to join the tribe of the deaf. When she comes to dinner, the patriarch, Christopher (Mark Edward Smith) confronts her by insisting that signing is an inferior form of communication. Christopher and his wife Beth (Marty Stonerock) are both authors so they believe in the power of words. When Sylvia signs poetry, there is no denying that her graceful movements are poetic and beautiful. The direction by Aradhana Tiwari heightens the shows heart felt theme. During a family argument the sound cuts out entirely giving the audience an insight into Billy's experience. When Sylvia performs at the piano, abstract forms and notes dance in a rhythmic projection. Sight takes place of sound to experience the music. There are subtitles as Billy and Sylvia sign to each other. This is s show about love and wanting to belong. Experience the magic for yourself at the Mad Cow.

Mad Cow Theatre 54 W Church St, Orlando, Florida
Tickets are $11
Aug 21 at 8:00pm to Sep 20 at 3:00pm
ASL-interpreted performances will be held on August 23 at 3:00pm and on September 4 and 17 at 8:00pm.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mystery Sketch Theater at Falcon Bar is always a great sketch opportunity.


Every month, Mystery Sketch Theater offers clothed models for artists to draw at The Falcon (819 E Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Florida). The model in March was Brooke White. She started the evening dressed as a bear and came out of hibernation during the course of the evening. She must have been hot under all those layers but that didn't keep her from taking killer poses all evening long. Standing on one foot in an action pose is almost masochistic. All artists are a bit sadistic when they insist that people stand still. Plinio Pinto now runs Mystery Sketch Theater after Kristen Pauline had to abandon the post because of work conflicts. It makes me happy that so many artists come together each month to sketch. I'm surprised that I only knew a couple of them. Perhaps Orlando isn't such a small town after all.

By the end of the night, Brooke was posing in just her stripped PJs. Several Angry Orchards meant my line work was nice and loose by the end of the night. Art on display was by local artists all depicting their version of actor, comedian Bill Murray.  I believe the tooth shaped painting I included in the sketch was based on Little Shop of Horrors in which Bill played the part of masochistic dentist patient.

Mark your calendar! The next Mystery Sketch Theater is on September 3, 2015 at The Falcon (819 E Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Florida). The sketching begins at 8pm. Be sure to get a drink or two to thank Falcon Bar for being the new home base for artists who love to draw.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Star Child's Odyssey: A Retrospective View Into the Imaginative World of Toni Taylor


Star Child's Odyssey: A Retrospective View Into the Imaginative World of Toni Taylor opened on August 15th at Gods and Monsters, inside Artegon, (5250 International Drive; Suite E8, Orlando, Florida). I held a free ticket give away last week on AADW and Toni won the ticket to "The Visit" by M. Night Shamalan. I decided to visit her opening to present her with the ticket and to sketch. Toni was one of the first artists I met when I started doing one sketch a day. She was kind enough to let me visit her studio to watch as she painted.

Toni Taylor began her professional illustration career in 1985 as a cover artist for Heavy Metal Magazine. She is a visionary artist whose work travels through the realms of fantasy and mysticism. She feels a special kinship with the mysteries of Ancient Egypt as well as the spirit of Native America. Goddess imagery is represented powerfully in her collection and as a lover of all things celestial, the beauty and limitlessness of the Cosmos often finds its way into her paintings. Mark Your Calendar! Toni's paintings will be on display for one month.

Toni has begun creating three dimensional tree sculptures using wire, driftwood and moss. They were quite beautiful and amazingly affordable. Dale Bartlett, the Tree Mon, helped inspire Toni to explore these mysterious miniature creations. Dale had tears in his eyes as he told me that Toni would certainly surpass her master. He was so proud of her. The retrospective showcased work from all facets of her career over the years. In the realm of her imagination anything is possible.

Anna Maiya Young and Todd Fisher the owners of Gods and Monsters had the foresight to include the Transmetropolitan Gallery inside the huge comic store. Anna told me about her bucket list of talented artists that she wanted to showcase. Those artists include, Clive Barker, David Mack, Ben Templesmith, Menton 3, David Stoupakis, Chet Zar, Damien Echols and Vaughn Belak, so her bucket list is almost complete. Needless to say there will be amazing art showcased in this venue all year.

A falconer and a knight from Medieval Times stopped in to the opening. Also some of the cast from Phantasmagoria mingled in the crowd adding to the color of the evening.  Later  performers danced with fire outside. I could feel the heat on my skin as they gracefully performed with five pronged torches. A butler offered a mistress a drink and then she became a human flame thrower spitting flames six feet in the air.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Drip Art Night adds a splash of color to Orlando's art scene.


On February 26th, I went to the Drip Local Art Night to sketch. Drip is located at 8747 International Dr. Ste 102, Orlando, Fl right behind Denny's and Senor Frogs. Brit Lytle was body Painting an attractive model whose breast became the eyes of an owl. Artist Janae Corrado was exhibiting her mysterious and dark fanciful paintings. She seems to exhibit her art at every event that I sketch. She sets up early and breaks down her exhibit with an enviable ease. At this event she worked on one of her paintings when she wasn't talking to prospective clients. Kristen Lockhart who organized the event set up a Drip community art project which allowed anyone to channel their inner Jackson Pollack by pouring paint onto a large panel.

BalaChandra Belly Dance performed several acts during the evening, along with Corsets and Cuties, a Burlesque Cabaret. The burlesque was staged near the bar with sly smiles becoming the drinkers to loosen up and have more fun. Staging a strip tease in the round must present intimidating challenges since it becomes hard to discreetly cover private parts that are only meant to be unveiled for the final climax. Music was supplied by Frank Asaurus Fresh who was the DJ from 8:00-10:00. Artist could keep 90% of all art sales while DRIP got 10%. This is a great way to meet some of Orlando's best visual artist while experiencing lively and fun dance and burlesque. Many artists who said they wanted to participate ended up being no-shows. I can't believe any artist would pass on this fun way to showcase their work. One of my DRIP sketchbooks was sold which justified the time spent designing that print on demand book.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Urban Sketching students tackle new architecture.


With my Urban Sketching class at Elite Animation Academy, (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL) I seek out unique sketching opportunities in the Conroy Windermere neighborhood. The Tavistock Financial Center (4705 S Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL) on the corner of Apopka Vineland and Conroy road was erected a few years ago. It houses a brokerage firm and several other businesses I'm sure. It was built in an Italian, Mediterranean style with the two functionless bell towers. On the weekend, which is when we had the class, there is no traffic at this front door round about. One of my students peeked in the front doors, but the building was locked.

My two students sat on the sidewalk and curb and they worked hard to get the immense building on the page. It was a good exercise in two point perspective. These students had already proven themselves as competent sketchers, so I let them block in their sketches uninterrupted.  I sketched along with them and I showed them my process each time I completed a phase. They saw the rough pencil pass, the pen and ink work and then the watercolor. As we worked, dark thunder clouds rolled in from the North West. The sky darkened to a threatening steel grey. Thankfully we all finished our sketches and got back to the classroom before the deluge.

The Travistock Financial Center combines the best of classic columns and arches of the Mediterranean architectural style with modern international design detail. Hand selected slate floors, exotic hardwood panels and marble are used throughout the atrium lobby and common areas. Dramatic artwork and plasma monitors adorn the wood veneer paneled walls. Glass and metal will are combined to create inviting and productive well lit interior spaces. Built over secured parking and surrounded by lush, beautifully landscaped grounds, the office building is both dramatic and functional. A full time concierge provides an unparalleled level of service for tenants. The concierge will be focused on making your life easier so that you can focus on your business.The Financial Center also has state-of-the-art security features that provide true peace of mind for all tenant and guests.Ample on site parking is available. It looks like there are still office spaces for lease.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Heathers The Musical presents ruthless teens at the Dr Philips Center for the Performing Arts.


Heathers The Musical will run from August 13 to August 23 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida). The play is based on the classic 1989 film. Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing trio of Heathers, (Lindsey Wells, Jillian Gizzi, and Caroline Drage ) the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer (Nicole Visco) rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., (Thomas Sanders) who plans to put the Heathers in their place.
 

 The dress rehearsal I attended was delayed by about an hour as microphone headsets were adjusted and other tech issues were resolved. All the actors sat on stage waiting to rehearse the one large group number in the show. I recognized actress Ally Gursky who performed as Veronica's childhood friend, Martha Dunnstock who became the butt of the Heathers ruthless jokes. Although not popular, Martha breathed hope into the otherwise sinister student body.

The musical numbers were fun and lively although not particularly memorable. During a sound check, Nicole was asked to sing and someone on the crew shouted out, "Little Mermaid"! She began singing as Ariel and I wondered if she played the Disney Character by day. The Heathers were as ruthless as their fashion tastes. When they first entered the entire student body moved in slow motion to watch their bold strutting. The set was painted in colors that were as bright as the Heathers red, yellow and green suits and skirts. Murdered students would return to haunt Veronica bathed in a green spotlight.

High school students might do anything for their first love but Veronica's boyfriend goes too far for an all consuming love. Veronica finally regains her morals after becoming as ruthless and mean as the Heathers.

Show runs August 13 to August 23 at various times.
Tickets start at $15.73
Ticket prices include 6.5% sales tax
Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater in The Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

445 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 15th and 16th.

Saturday August 15, 2015
5pm to 9pm Free. End of Summer Bash. Center Lake Park Oviedo, Florida. Helpful Hands, Inc. in Partnership with the City of Oviedo is pleased to announce a Free Concert at Center Lake Park featuring The 13th Floor Band!
Food, Beer, & Wine for sale!
All proceeds help fund the Athletic Program administered by Helpful Hands, Inc. which provides scholarships to the City of Oviedo Department of Parks and Recreation Youth Programs.


6pm to 10pm Free. Starchild's Odyssey: A Retrospective View Into the Imaginative World of Toni Taylor. Gods and Monsters 5250 International Drive; Suite E8, Orlando, Florida. Join us for a reception for artist, Toni L Taylor at the Transmetropolitan Gallery inside Gods and Monsters.
Toni Taylor began her professional illustration career in 1985 as a cover artist for Heavy Metal Magazine. She is a visionary artist whose work travels through the realms of fantasy and mysticism. She feels a special kinship with the mysteries of Ancient Egypt as well as the spirit of Native America. Goddess imagery is represented powerfully in her collection and as a lover of all things celestial, the beauty and limitlessness of the Cosmos often finds its way into her paintings...
Read this interview to learn more about Toni and see examples of her work.

7pm to 9pm Free.  The Orlando Shuffle. Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL. The Orlando Shuffle is always free, family-friendly, and fun. It takes place the 1st and 3rd Saturdays every month. Come play, learn, or just hangout. Retro attire is encouraged.

Sunday August 16, 2015
10am to 12:30pm $10. $10 Crealde Sketch Class. Crealdé School of Art, 600 St Andrews Blvd, Winter Park, FL. Life drawing from nude model. No instruction.

4pm to 6pm Free. Rodrigo Garcia- US Premier Concert Performance. Audubon Park Covenant Church 3219 Chelsea St, Orlando, Florida. 17 year old Rodrigo Garcia is a classical pianist prodigy from Cuba making his U.S. premier in concert this August in Orlando, FL at Audubon Park Covenant Church. You will not want to miss this special concert with Rodrigo! Check out this video of him performing.

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.

Free Ticket giveaway. I have one FREE ticket to see an advance screening of M. Night Shamalan's "The Visit" at 7:30pm August 17th 2015, at Cinemark Artegon Marketplace 5150 International Drive Orlando FL 32819.  The ticket admits two for the screening. Just answer the following question and the ticket is yours. At what age did M. Night Shamalan first start making films?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Art Mobile takes art to the streets of Orlando.


It was a cold February night as the Art Mobile parked in front of St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden, on North Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL starting at 10 pm. The truck was full of killer art by Franklin Reyes. Matt Boss (Producer/DJ) will be layed down the beats and Boy Kong. was painting a mural on the side of the building! I sketched as the U-Haul truck was decorated with a white sheet. The DJ had a projector that showed the Art Mobile logo and then a black and white film whose plot I couldn't follow.

Franklin's paintings were representational with a touch of mysticism. Colors were rich and vibrant with bold use of pattern. As I finished my sketch, drag queens began arriving at Mathew's pub. This was clearly another great sketch opportunity, but I was cold, tired and satisfied with my one sketch. Boy Kong was just beginning his mural as I got ready to leave. He finish the mural very late that night, or very early the next day depending on how you look at it. The mural was up for maybe a month or so and then it was painted over with an image for a show called "Joe's NYC Bar" that had actors interacting with other patrons in the bar as the story unfolded. I was curious about this interactive theatrical production but it didn't cross my radar in time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Inbetween Series at Avalon Gallery is a hidden gem of the Orlando Music scene.


On February 15th I went to the Gallery at Avalon Island (39 South Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida) for the salon style in-between series. Patrick Greene, Avalon's curator host this music series between art exhibits on the week before Third Thursday when all the downtown galleries have opening for their new exhibits. This group featured a bass guitar, drums, a xylophone and a cello. There was no cost to attend, but donations are always welcome. I set up to sketch behind the drummer and sketched with vigor through the performance. The group was known as "Attached Hands". The experimental music felt new age and melodic. It soothed and felt improvised.

The hippest folks in Orlando can be found at Avalon once a month. The In-between Series just won the "Best New Imaginative Music Series" by voters of The Orlando WeeklyThe series is cultured, it’s progressive and it’s free. The next performance will likely be August 17th but that is unconfirmed since the invitation isn't out yet. It is a relaxing way to start out a Monday evening once a month.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Drinking and Drawing at the Thursty Topher.


ODD2 was held at the Thirsty Topher on Alden Road in the artsy warehouse district which is part of Ivanhoe Village. This bar along with the Fringe Festival offices next door and many other art studios will be facing the wrecking ball this fall. In there place, a high rise condominium will be constructed. All told, about 8 artists stopped out to drink and draw. When I arrived, Gay Geiger was already at work sketching the beer she had selected. She had just changed jobs and sketching seemed a good way to celebrate. I ordered a Southern Tier beer which was dark and had a citrus aftertaste. Carlos Basabe, an artist I hadn't met before, joined me at the bar. Artists sketched each other, shared their work and sketched the bar scene.

I introduced myself to each artist as they arrived, but I didn't have any agenda for the evening other than drinking and drawing.  The bartender, Sam knew of me from a past sketch I had done. She introduced me to Viking Blod which is a meed made from honey and it is delicious and strong. That became my drink of choice for the night.  lt is made with honey and the honey combs which are buried underground for at least a year to ferment. Meed is apparently one of the oldest liquors in the world. lt really tastes like life blood, and it packs a punch.

After quite a few drinks, several artist recruited an unsuspecting patron to join in and do a sketch. He drew a character called a Cactopus.  It rules the land and sea. On land it is a water conserving Cacti and at sea it is an octopus. It's side kick was an angry looking spider-fly and they were joined by a tumble bunny. Carlos began sketching the characters as we all joked about the characters. After a few Viking's Blod and a Southern Tier, it seemed like a glorious idea.

The next Orlando Drink and Draw will be September 7th at Redlight Redlight (2810 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL) from 6pm to whenever. Carlos gave me some ideas for some artistic socializing and I'll arrange to try one of these ideas at the next ODD.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sketching swans and ducks at Lake Eola.


This is the last sketch I did at the First Orlando Sketch Tour. Instructor Kelly Medford and touring artist Gay Geiger set out to sketch the black swans and ducks. It had been threatening to rain all day, so it was nice to have a moment to enjoy a break in the weather. I decided to only use line in the foreground of the sketch. The far shore and city scape I left as bold blocks of watercolor. Since I had just done a demonstration on watercolor of the pagoda using no line, I was loosened up to try the same technique here. By verbalizing my thoughts as an instructor, I ended up learning something new. This is a technique I should be using more often. It is far more experimental and leaves much more room for discovery during the process. I am very much a creature of habit however so change comes slowly. Eight artists came out for the sketch tour and I had a blast collaborating with Kelly Medford sharing our sketching techniques. I hosted a second Sketch Tour at the Orlando Fringe and will probably host another one in September or October as the Florida heat dies down.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Orlando Sketch Tour explores color.


At the First Orlando Sketch Tour we were chased inside Panera Bread thanks to impending rain. Kelly Medford and myself made the best of it and the restaurant became our classroom. Here we introduced everyone to the watercolor pallets we had supplied each artist with. We asked everyone to make a color wheel and then to make a light watery wash of each color along side a dark, syrupy wash of the same color. When working on location, I seldom have the time to mix colors, so I mix color washes on the sketch to find the colors and values needed. A sketch always starts out light and then I keep adding pigments to build up the darks. Trying to cover the whole surface except for a few white spots is the first objective.

On this day, students from Elite Animation Academy came out to join the Sketch Tour artists.  My wife Terry also came out to show her support. She is in the center of the sketch in the pink cowboy boots reading a magazine. Her signature sketch is a smiley face and she can finish that in five seconds. Shelby brought her daughter on the tour and together they discovered color and how to compose a sketch. That seems like the perfect way for a family to spend time together. My Elite Urban Sketching students were well into their studies so I let them sketch in peace offering just a few suggestions if they needed help. Between the eight or so Sketch Tour artists and the four Elite Animation students, we pretty much filled up the front room at Panera Bread. A little rain never stops an Urban Sketcher.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A sketch demonstration from the First Orlando Sketch Tour.

I hosted the first Orlando Sketch Tour along with plein air painter Kelly Medford from Rome Italy on March 1st and 2nd. We decided to hold the Sketch Tour at Lake Eola and we gathered with about six other artists near the Japanese Pagoda at the North East corner of the park.

Kelly and I tag teamed, offering advice to get everyone warmed up and ready to start sketching. All skill levels were encouraged to participate, so we each offered one on one instructions to each student to bring them up to speed. We started off the day with blind contour drawings with artists sketching each other without glancing at the sketch. Then we did quick gestures again without looking at the page. I did several watercolor sketches to demonstrate value studies. I painted the Red Pagoda since it was in view.

The clouds moved in and we went to find cover at a lake side restaurant. I didn't sketch at that location. Instead I did thumbnail sketches for each student showing them how I might compose the scene they were sketching. Kelly and I covered a lot of material that weekend and hopefully we encouraged the artists present to take a sketch book with them to document their next vacation. If just one artist from the Sketch Tour catches the sketching bug, then I've done my job.

I'm planning to host an Orlando Sketch Tour quarterly. The second Sketch Tour was held at the Orlando Fringe Festival which offers endless sketch opportunities. I've just started hosting Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) events every month, so over time I should meet more local artists who love to sketch. Last year, the Orlando Weekly claimed I was Orlando's best Urban Sketcher. Since I'm the only Urban Sketcher, that title doesn't have much panache. I want to meet others who are as passionate about art as I am.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekend Top 6 Picks for August 8th and 9th.

Saturday August 8, 2015
6:15pm to 10pm $150 Orlando’s Taste of the Nation. Orlando World Center Marriott
8701 World Center Dr., Orlando FL. Orlando's Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry brings together the area's top chefs who donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in Central Florida. Along with culinary delights, guests have the opportunity to sample select wines, cocktails and premium beers and enjoy silent and live auctions and entertainment. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
Participating Restaurants:
4Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop
A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek
Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
B Resort and Spa and American Q
B.B. King's Blues Club
Black Fire Bull
Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Cala Bella Restaurant at Rosen Shingle Creek
Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
The Capital Grille Orlando and Millenia
Cress Restaurant
Cuba Libre
Dragonfly Robata Sushi & Grill
Emeril's Tchoup Chop
Empress Sissi Cake & Pastry Specialties
Fresh Point
Fulton's Crab House, Downtown Disney
Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Itta Bena
JJ's Grille
JW Marriott
K Restaurant and Wine Bar
Lafayette's Music Room
Marlow's Tavern
MOOR at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Old Hickory Steakhouse at Gaylord Palms Resort
Opa Orlando
Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside
Orlando World Center Marriott
Red Wing Restaurant
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Seasons 52 Fresh Grill
SeaWorld Orlando
Second Harvest Food Bank - Culinary Training Program
Soco Thornton Park
Symphony Pastries
Tapa Toro Tapas Bar
Three2OH Ice Cream
TR Fire Grill
Universal Orlando Resort
Urban Tide Hyatt Regency
The Whiskey
Yak and Yeti Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom

8pm to 2am $10 at the door. The Scene II" Alternative HipHop Music  and Art Festival. Venue 578, 578 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL. "The Scene" is an Awesome Interactive Art and Music event in Downtown Orlando that celebrates ALL elements of alternative Hip Hop. Featuring local bands - MC's - Spoken Word Artists - B-Boys/Girls and more, all under one roof with many entertaining surprises in between! Witness LIVE graffiti and art demo's on the patio from some of Central Florida's best artists! There will be over two dozen vendors and designers throughout the venue! Our goal for 'The Scene 2015' is to create consumer awareness in Orlando's Alternative Hip Hop scene. By connecting local bands and artists with local businesses, we help merge and familiarize each other's fan bases. Together we are a Cultural Marketplace.
Performances By: Phraydoe Peans and The Family Gang - AmIam - Kallahann The Coolest - Bezz Believe - Chico Money - Trini Elav8 - MC Freak - Afrodeeeshzzz - Twan D - Overlordz - Shaman Treez - Andrew Ramos - Fp The Freshman - Mehsi - Colby Stiltz - Split Soul - International Rob - Rogue Mob - Nosis - Mehsi - Identified Truth - GanK Green Gang - Darkchocolate Blackwell - Crescendo Merc - Infy Nite TraxX - International Rob - Deuce Deuce - Colby Stiltz - Jrue Smith -Red Sky - Lu berra And Josh Dollars - Kerryspace - Pudgeylocs - Quest 4 Life - SIRE - Boogs malone - StillTeamGreen - OG SHINOBI NINJA.

8pm to 10pm Free. Jupiter Groove. The Copper Rocket Pub 106 Lake Ave, Maitland, Florida. Jupiter Groove will be at the all new The Copper Rocket Pub!

Sunday August 9, 2015
10am to 10pm Nerd Fest. Weekend Pass - $50. the biggest and best annual multi-day nerd party!
Part music festival, part family reunion, all fun!
Dates are August 7-10, 2015!
Aug 7 and 10 are FREE and at The Geek Easy
Aug 8 and 9 are ($27 each day or $50 for the weekend) at the Orlando Science Center
All ticket sales go directly to benefit the Orlando Science Center to support science and education!

Noon to 4:30pm Free. Family Day on the Second Sunday. Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL. The make-and-take craft table is open from noon-2:30 p.m., and docents are available to give mini-tours of the museum. Then it's open house in the galleries until 4:30 p.m.

9pm to Midnight Free but get a coffee. 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.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back to the Toyota Dealership for scheduled maintenance.


My Prius was due for its 40,000 mile maintenance check up. I got a letter in the mail last week that let me know that a digital title was on file with the Florida department of motor vehicles. The car was finally paid off. I haven't had a single issue to date, but I figure everything will go haywire once there aren't any other expenses.

The Toyota dealership is close to my home and the place is brand spanking new. There is a commissary and comfy chairs for people waiting for repairs. One costumer snoozed while his girlfriend surfed the web. I only needed an oil change, but the technicians checked everything.  The sales rep, Jay Morales, let me know that there was some wear and tear on my tires. When I park on the street, I tend to scrape the tire against the curb to get as close to the curb as I can. I've scrapped the front passenger side hub cap and scuffed up the rubber quite well. Since all the scrapes are on the passenger side of the car it is easy for me to ignore the damage. They have back-up cameras on some cars now. I need hub cap cameras that show me how close the tires are to the curb.

Judging from my sketch, I'd say that my wait at the dealership was about an hour. My synthetic oil was changed and my tires were rotated along with a multi point inspection. My sales rep saw me sketching and he told me that his girlfriend Melanie Daniels had done a series of paintings called "Movement in Time." The paintings depict a view of the landscape as it streams by, as if viewed from a fast moving car. I thought I would find her paintings online, but my search only lead me to find that Melanie Daniels was the character Tippi Hendren played in Alfred Hitchcock's, The Birds.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Purple Pride immediately siezes Orlando.


I was going to Falcon Bar (819 E Washington St, Orlando, FL) or Mystery Sketch Theater which has a cos-play model taking poses for artists once a month. Streets were blocked off and I found myself walking besides runners in a 5K race. Everyone was wearing purple tee shirts. I heard an announcer and walked towards the noise. A finish line was set up on the East side of Lake Eola Park on Washington Street.

A Food Truck Bazaar were set up beyond the finish line and hungry runners lined up for food. I sketched the purple Orlando Soccer truck. Soccer has been promoted with a vengeance and   Orlando City Soccer Club logos, murals and stickers are all over town. Lion heads appear everywhere. The renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium is now packed for every game. I haven't figured out who to contact yet about sketching a game. I feel I need to report on a team that has quickly become as known as the Orlando Magic basketball team. With the US team doing better in the international soccer competitions, the fan base keeps growing.

Mark Baratelli of the Daily City had organized all the food trucks. He showed me a paper that he now publishes that shows where to find each food truck bazaar all around Central Florida.  I admire the marketing prowess of the Orlando City Soccer Club and Mark's entrepreneurial spirit. After I finished my sketch I walked over to the Falcon Bar to squeeze a few more sketches into my day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Meditative Painting Class at the the Crystal Healing Spa


I asked artist Veronika Rose if I could sketch her meditative painting class at the Crystal Healing Spa (717 Executive Dr, Winter Park, Florida).  Veronica studied meditation with Alex Grey in New York City and she is bringing his visionary meditation practices to Orlando.

The class invitation asked, "Have you always wanted to paint- but didn't know where to start?" July 15th was the evening of the new moon, Veronika taught a beginning acrylic and watercolor painting class from 6:30-9pm. Everyone wrote their  intentions of what they want to manifest during the New Moon. They opened themselves up to receiving their deepest desires. Veronica had everyone write their intentions on slips of paper which were then folded and placed on the floor. That evening, Veronika promised to burn the slips of paper to release the energy into the universe. A bottle of Florida water was passed around and we sprinkled some on our hands for purification.

The class began with a guided meditation and creativity exercises to help bridge the right and left brain hemispheres. This relaxed, cozy class began with everyone laying on the floor with pillows and blankets for a visionary journey. The Shamanic journey began with closed eyes and 7 deep breaths of imagined rainbow light. Everyone imagined an orange ball of energy in their abdomen which was about the size of a golf ball. That light moved up towards their heads and then shot out into the universe. I sketched Veronica as she held that energy in her head. The others were all lying on the floor. On student imagined her hair tangled in the stars. Veronica shook a rattle as she lead the artist on the shaman journey. Her meditative place was a quiet and gorgeous garden. Everyone was silent for 30 minutes as they traveled within. They get into a flow where we tapped into their creative potential together. The energy of each group is special and unique and each class will vary depending on the energy of the group. Veronica did hands on energy work where she placed a hand over each artist's navel and forehead. This apparently helps release creative energy. I know that I only tap into a fraction of my own creative potential so I'm trying to understand what I observed that day.

They painted to understand their dreams and potential, releasing creative blocks and limiting belief systems. They learned how to get into a creative flow. How to put ideas to canvas. I believe that anytime I sketch, I get lost in a meditative state. All other thought become secondary as I focus on nothing but what appears on the page. Veronica demonstrated a watercolor technique in which she put large moist washes on a page and then she daubed the surface with crumpled cellophane which created an intricate abstract pattern. Afterwards, she looked for shapes and she outlined them, creating fanciful beasts an creatures. Some artists tried this approach with great results while others used acrylic paint on canvas.

The cost of the meditative workshop was $30. Supplies were included. Artists were provided with a 16"x20" canvas to create upon as well as watercolor paper. Artists didn't need to have any previous painting experience. Artists brought images or ideas to re-create, a positive attitude and clothes that they didn't mind getting messy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Elite Lakeside Sketch Outing.


My Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL) class always finds a way to get students sketching out in the community. On this balmy day we made our way to a small lake near the Academy. The goal was for students to sketch the scene and do drawings of the many ducks who call the lake home. We found a spot under a shady tree and got to work.

The ducks were on the far side of the lake but eventually they became curious and they swam towards us. I'm sure they figured that we must have food. We didn't have any. The days lesson included looking for simple shapes. That is why the hedge across the lake became a perfect circle. I'm always fascinated by south paws. An artist who is a leftie has to twist their wrist in a unique way to see what they are drawing as they put lines on the page.

I can't always find events for the students to draw although the high school sports field often offers games and practices to sketch. Being an artist is much like training as an athlete. Every day we need to exercise our eye to hand coordination. If one day is missed, the artist quickly becomes rusty. A former Disney colleague named Sam Ewing started a blog called Rusty Pliers and the title is starting to make sense. While working in the bustling studio we were tools with a defined purpose. When the studio closed, it became easy to become rusty. We had to re-invent ourselves to discover a new purpose for our skills. Part of what keeps me productive is to always look forward and never look back.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Maxine's is a geat place to experience art.

I met with Maxine Earhart at Maxine's on Shine (337 Shine Ave, Orlando, FL) to figure out the logistics of mounting a show. We sat at the end of the bar to talk and I stayed for diner and a sketch.

Hanging on the walls was intricate and sensual collages by local artist, Maura Lucchese. Images of lovers and beautiful women were created with thousands of cuttings from magazines. Lettering mingled among the scraps relay hidden meanings to the bold images. Maura was unloading her show along with her friend, Kelly Herzberger on the day that I loaded my show in.

It was fun getting to meet an artist as we attempted to avoid crashing into each other going in and out of the restaurant's front door.  Maura and Kelly also came to the opening of my show which shows that artists do support each other in Orlando. I was a bit intimidated that Maura sold several pieces in her show. Nothing sold from my show, but Kirt and Maxine ultimately coveted several of my sketches done in their restaurant for their collection.

Maxine's has great food and there are often live performers as well to compliment the dining experience. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 5pm to 10pm. Saturday 10am to 10pm and Sunday 10am to 10pm. Reservations are a must because this place always gets packed. Come out and enjoy the Max Scene. It is a place where I'm always able to get a fun sketch. I've heard that one of my Maxine's sketches might be used on fashionable women's scarves. The details haven't been ironed out yet.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dog Sees God is at the Parliament House.


The Peanuts comic strip meets Reality in “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” at the Footlight Theatre Orlando, Fl. The show is, an "unauthorized parody" written by Bert V. Royal and directed by David Lee, opening at the Footlight Theatre, (410 North Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, Florida). It imagines the characters from Charles M. Schulz’s beloved Peanuts’ characters 10 years later as angst fueled teenagers. But this is no comic strip! Their names have been altered a bit but all of the characters and back story are easy to identify.

“CB”, aka Charlie Brown, (Christopher Walen) as lost his beloved dog and is struggling with existential questions of life and death and sexual identity. Piano-playing “Schroeder” is now the bullied and ostracized “Beethoven.” (Chris Metz) Matt, the “Pigpen” character, (Campbell Gilliland) is now a homophobic germophobe, “Sally” (Madeleine Elise) has gone goth and “Linus” is a Buddhist stoner (Zachary Lane). Lucy, (Rachel Comeau) once the nickel psychologist, is a feisty pyromaniac who’s been sent off to an institution. The gang grapples with teenage realities of drug use, suicide, eating disorders, bullying, rebellion, and sexual identity, wrapped in skewered, funny, and poignant twists.

To find the rehearsal at the Parliament house, David Lee told me to walk past the back bar. I spotted an actress taking the same route and I followed her to the stage door. This was going to be a tech rehearsal with a complete run through of the show. It wasn't a dress rehearsal, but Margaret and David showed me a publicity shot which hinted at the final costumes.  I did make a few clothing changes in the sketch. A scene where Sally performed a one woman show was funny and powerful at the same time. She was a caterpillar who dreamed not of becoming, not a butterfly, but a platypus. Her high energy was infectious. Her brother "CB" was the one high school student who didn't fit in with any clicks yet didn't mind being different. He questioned the meaning of life after loosing his beloved Snoopy whose red dog house sat center stage during the pre-show. The inside of the dog house glowed red as did the Plexiglas cubes which functioned as tables, chairs and platforms as needed.

I always thought that Peppermint Patty, Aka Trish (Julianne Snyder) might be a lesbian. Her valley girl mannerisms and sexy boisterousness performance left open the possibility that she and Marcy (Veronika Kelly) might hook up. They were open to sharing a guy in a threesome and it would just make sense to leave the guy out of the equation eventually. Every scene stays true to the original characters while addressing the insane and difficult world of the high school social structure. It is was like "The Breakfast Club" with Charles Schultz's pubescent characters. When Sally gives her brother a letter from a pen pal "CS" the cast turned towards a screen with a photo of Charles Schultz. The letter reminded CB to stay true to himself despite all odds. I found myself getting choked up at this imagined gesture from a cartoonist whose time here on earth had passed. The show presented characters that I fell in love with all over again. There was loss, sorrow as well as rebellious joy. It packed an emotional punch. Good grief, so don't miss it.

WHAT: “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” is directed by David Lee, assistant directed by Gabriella Juliet Beals and produced by Kangagirl Productions-Margaret Nolan. Graphics and photography by Jocelynn White, sound design by Rachel Comeau, set design by David Lee, and costume assistance by Kyla Swanberg.

WHEN: Saturdays- August 1, 8, 15 and 22 @7:30PM | Industry Night- Monday, August 24 @7:30PM

WHERE: The Footlight Theatre, Parliament House 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail | Orlando, FL 32805

TICKETS: $10 Advance | $15 at the door | Admission to the Parliament House.