Monday, January 16, 2017

Paint Strong Orlando

The Orange County Library System (101 E Central Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32801) hosted Paint Strong Orlando which is a collection of original works created in response to the tragedy at Pulse nightclub by local Orlando artists. Local art-supply store Sam Flax of Orlando donated materials to artists who wanted to create works of art dedicated to the victims and collected more than 250 pieces, which were on display at the Orlando Public from September 15 through October 2016.

The Paint Strong Orlando opening reception displayed these pieces, which celebrate the strength of our community. Sam Flax gave a brief talk himself about how he isn't an artist but he wanted to find a way to offer creative expression in the wake of the Pulse tragedy. Paintings were hung on every floor of the Library. The reception was incredibly crowded. It was tough finding the right angle to sketch. Linda Saracino offered her advice on where I might position myself. The sketch was done to the vertical dimensions of the Library newsletter, because it was considered as a possible cover image. The "Pulse Love" painting was done by Betsy Brabrandt and the eye bleeding a rainbow was painted by Della Morte.

K.C. Cali sat on the library floor beside me as I sketched. She had a painting in the show at though I never picked it out as one of her pieces. She was upset about the loss that the evening was honoring. 49 people lost their lives, and 250 works of art struggled to find meaning in the senseless loss. I have yet to count all the sketches 1 have done in the wake of the Pulse tragedy. The number continues to rise. K.C. wiped away tears and I stopped sketching to talk to her. This was the first sketch I didn't complete during the course of an event.

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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