Sunday, November 13, 2016

Art Under the Stars.

Art Under the Stars in Maitland surrounds Lake Lily where Maitland Boulevard forks off from Orlando Avenue. Run by the Maitland Rotary Club, the art show runs today from 10am to 4pm. I met a friend and quickly tried to decide where I should sketch. My first thought was the foot bridge that straddles the lake. From there all the tents and stages were visible with the lights reflecting in cascading patterns. An illuminated fountain glowed yellow in the center of the lake. I decided against in view, though, since I felt it was too far from the action.

After crossing the bridge, I simply planted myself on a grassy knoll and started sketching a few tents. A painting of sunflowers byFiona Collins caught my eye. Fiona and her husband moved from Canada to Florida, and this is her first Maitland show. Her work is painted with thick bold brushwork. Besides the large paintings she also had coasters and trivets with her art printed on it. Her husband runs a printing business that specializes in printing art on useful household items.

We ran into Dawn Schreiner and her husband, Eric. Dawn didn't have a tent in the show, but just came from the VIP party. She does magnificent loosely painted portraits, usually on recycled cereal boxes. We shared our thoughts on the work of Toulouse Lautrec, and the healing process Orlando is still going through since the Pulse shooting.
It was a cold night and I decided to get a hot pretzel. I hugged it to my chest to warm me up before trying the first bite. It had a garlic-parmigiana flavor and was softer than expected but it tasted great.

Linda Saracino introduced me to the sculptural ceramic work of Cheryl Mackey Smith, a former McRae artist now living in Ashville, NC, who really impressed me. She creates small shards that look like fossilized shells or exoskeletons, and mounts them on a white board in shadowbox frames. Other forms fold over on themselves like ocean waves with tiny peas interspersed. Every piece felt like it belonged in a museum.

Ed Myers did the poster for the show this year. All of his paintings have a narrative, often touching on how communication is changing in the future. He works digitally and prints the paintings on large canvas panels, often assembling several panels to form a whole. For example, Thomas Edison had a light bulb where his brain would be; and a painting of a beautiful young woman had typewriter keys arching across her forehead. Some pieces incorporated video, like a portrait with one eye blinking. People are naturally attracted to motion.

Head on over to the festival today, and see all the art in the light of day. It is a show well worth seeing. Live music, art and a festive atmosphere will make for a very pleasant afternoon.

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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