The tenth Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) was held at Ten 10 Brewing (1010 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL) . I arrived a bit early, because I had done one of the 27 Blue Box Initiative sketches earlier in the day and it made no sense to drive all the way back to the studio. When I entered, David Charles, who used to run Blank Space across from the Orlando Public Library, was working on a new brew that was simmering over a burner. He enjoyed how one of my articles shook up Orlando's arts community. We had a laugh about how some artists get so upset when other artists hit the mainstream. I prefer to celebrate the accomplishment. David had organized a Ten 10 Brewing Art Market, but after a lackluster turn out of interested artists, he has decided to put the market to rest for a bit while he lives his life. When I asked his advice on a new beer to taste he made me a beer sampler with four shot glass sized sips of beer tucked into a wooden stand.
Colin Boyer was the first artist to arrive, and he joined me in sketching the bar as artists arrived. What I love about ODD is that different artists stop out each time, so I get to meet artists of all types. I do my usual Urban Sketch and then I get to learn from other artists experiences. ODD is half sketching and half social. Tom Schneider and his girlfriend Erin Marie Page were the next to arrive. I like that ODD has become a creative date night experience. Erin went to school for illustration and she appreciated getting her feet wet by sketching again. Tom works security but loves to draw.
I was very happy when Brendan O'Connor, who writes for The Bungalower, stopped out with his brother. I had seen pictures of Brendan dressed as a Merman at the Gasperilla Festival in Tampa. Brendan was joined by Godzilla at Gasperilla an he said it was quite the experience. Having huge inflated muscles guarantees that you will be molested all day. When he begged for some time to go to the bathroom, people got insulted. If that is what fame tastes like, he had enough, thank you very much. He had a wonderful Chinese watercolor set with bright vibrant colors. Unfortunately the O'Connors, could only stay for part of the night. They had another party to hit.
To mix things up and get everyone sketching fast, I suggested we do 5 minute ruthless portraits. Artists faced each other and sketched. Since everyone was sketching there was no one posing. If you wanted to catch someone's eyes you would have to wait for their quick glances up. I don't really sketch portraits much, so it is new territory for me. There was a change of the guards as Brendan and his brother left and Rob showed up with his posse of artists. They jumped right into the 5 minute sketches. Artists shuffled around the table to meet someone new and sketch. I asked everyone to pass their sketchbooks around and sign any sketches of themselves.This is a good way for me to learn everyone's names, but so me of the artsy signatures are hard to decipher.
Afterwards, we all settled in to work on our own projects. Stephanie Kell had a wonderful sketchbook full of exotic demons and creatures. She renders these drawing slowly over time adding infinite detail and an incredible valve range. She had a case of art pens that is truly enviable. The sketchbook had grey paper and she worked the lights and darks from this grey base. Some artists came from a cartoon background while others came from a traditional life drawing background. Colin's drawings sparked to life during the 5 minute sessions. He accentuated the deep shadows on peoples faces leaving detail to the imagination. Rob talked about his recent divorce and how his art remains a constant as he starts all over again. He filled a page with light blue pencil studies of wooden totems and people. At Universal Studios he helped create a large totem pole that was coated in cement and painted to look like carved wood. The studio wants to bring him in full time but he prefers the freedom of freelance. We talked about finding time to discover a personal style and the inner conflicts that tend to hold artists back. As he said, "We are our own worst enemy." It is refreshing to share a beer with someone who knows that art isn't easy.
Mark your Calendar. The next ODD will be March 7th from 6pm to 9pm at The Grand Bohemian Hotel (325 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida).