Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ace Cafe Orlando.


This was my first time going to Ace Cafe Orlando which opened in the former offices of the Orlando Weekly across from the main Lynx Bus Terminal. Pam Schwartz had been here before and she told me that the BLT sandwich was decadent. The menu cover had old historic photos with some of the history of the place. Ace slowly filled up until it was packed around the time the sun set. Ozzie Osborn and other heavy metal bands were shouting on the TVs that lined the dining area. With all the noise, I couldn't actually pick out any lyrics.

The Over the Top BLT was indeed a monster of a sandwich. The thickly cut Applewood Smoked Bacon was caramelized along with Iceberg lettuce and vine ripened tomatoes. The Texas Toast was super thick and covered in an extra layer of crispy Cheddar Crust with Herb Mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich which made it particularly messy to eat. I ended up cutting it up and eating it with my fork. The bacon tasted like candy. The sandwich was served in a metal mesh bread basket which made it tough to cut the sandwich up. The solid crust of cheddar cheese on the bottom of the sandwich was particularly hard to cut through. Despite the eating logistics, it was quite delicious.

After sunset, trucks began to line up outside the restaurant. This was simply an opportunity for gear heads to check out other 4 X 4 rigs. Small jeeps were predominant, but there were several rigs with lifted suspensions and even lights underneath the chassis. I used to own a yellow 4 X 4 Xterra which I rigged up with an Australian deer guard and winch. The winch got me out of several tight spots. I dented up that truck when I was going over a log between two trees and the truck leaned over and hit a tree which smashed a tail light and dented the back chassis. I filled and sanded the dent with Bondo but had to pay to get a decent touch up paint job. Owning a 4 X 4 is expensive, especially if you go mudding often.

My little Toyota Prius got stuck in the mud several weeks ago when Pam and I went to the Thai Festival. She managed to rock the Prius free by pushing on the hood as I eased the accelerator. From my 4 X 4 experience in soft sand, I knew not to gun the accelerator and dig my tires deeper into the mud.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Imperial at Washburn Imports


The Imperial at Washburn Imports (1800 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801), is a neighborhood bar housed in a furniture store offers micro-brews and boutique wines, plus patio seating. I met staff from Dix.Hite and Partners here when they wanted advice on setting up a sketch outing at lake Eola. Greg Bryla in particular  is a very talented Urban Sketcher. The firm designs environmental landscape settings and is now designing a temporary improvement to the Pulse Nightclub setting.

The sketch walk they organized was very well organized. They even catered food after all the sketching was done, although Orlando bike police insisted they take down the table that was set up to serve the food.

An Orlando city ordinance prohibits sharing food with large groups in downtown parks more than twice a year. Members of Food not Bombs were arrested in Lake Eola Park in 2011 for feeding the homeless. A compromise was ultimately found in which they can share vegan food at Orlando City Hall every Monday morning and Wednesday night.

Our group was maybe 10 artists and landscape architects in all and not homeless but the ordinance still stands. So don't think you can have a large family picnic in the park, especially with a table, you will be shut down. The food that Dix.Hite served was home made Polynesian fare that was delicious.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hurricane Irma rips into the Orange County Regional History Center's Collection Facility

After weathering Hurricane Irma, a category 2 hurricane, I helped Pam Schwartz to clean up all the broken tree limbs in her yard. Her property is gorgeously landscaped but that meant she had tons of fallen branches. The pile we built curbside was, and still is, 10 feet wide and as high as my hips. We bagged the smaller branches and those were picked up, but the rest of the debris is still on her lawn killing the grass, but providing home to many snakes. She was without power for the week.

We were exhausted from moving so much debris but late that afternoon she said she had to stop by the Orange County Regional History Center off-site facility. She just wanted to see that everything was OK. The plan was to do a quick check and then pick up some food. We hadn't eaten all day, there was too much to do.

En route, my phone warned me that there was potential flooding. Within the next quarter mile, sure enough the road looked like a river. Her SUV made it through without a hitch. It was getting near sunset when we drove up to the facility. We were shocked by the view. The large parking lot in front of the building looked like a lake. We parked on the far side of the lake and took our shoes off to wade across. The water was up above my knees in the deepest section of the lot. In hind site we should have checked to be sure there were no downed power lines. Luckily we weren't electrocuted.

The warehouse is a bit above the parking lot level and the front entry of the facility was clear with no water. Then we entered the conservation room where most of the work to preserve Pulse memorial items had been done. The ceiling panels were soaked, and several waterlogged panels had fallen to the floor. The panels must burst on impact under their own weight because shards were scattered everywhere. Pam groaned.

Pam is the chief curator of the Orange County Regional History Center. This is a curator's worst nightmare, secondhand only to fire. With just two panels missing in the conservation room, the damage didn't look too bad. Boxes on the floor had soaked up the water. Pam asked me to salvage a box of Pulse related archives, cards and notes of remembrance. I lifted the waterlogged box and then took all the papers and laid them out to dry in the break room. So much work had gone into preserving the memorial items from Pulse. They had been saved from the afternoon rainstorms that are consistent on any summer day in Orlando at the memorial sites. Now they needed to be saved once again.

After cleaning up much of the mess in the conservation room, Pam called me outside. A giant double rainbow now arched above the newly formed parking lot lake. Maybe things were looking up. Then, back inside, Pam opened up the double doors that lead into the main area of the storage facility. She let out a gasp. I couldn't see around her. The damage wasn't limited to the conservation room we had been working on. Ceiling panels had collapsed throughout the storage facility. Pam went into triage mode and my first assignment was to save the art which was below a fallen soaked panel. I found large tarps to cover the art as a short term solution. The point of the off-site facility is to maintain a museum standard of temperature and humidity. With the ceilings compromised everything was at risk.

For the rest of the night, I picked up ceiling panels and soaked insulation and made a debris pile in the loading dock area. The small mountain I built was about 10 feet in diameter and about 5 feet high. I decided not to touch any artifacts, I would leave that to the pros. For some reason I paused as I lifted a panel off of this large industrial lamp behind an old citrus ladder. The lamp was on a wooden skid which protected it from the water. Ironically the lamp was in the History Center's Reflections magazine that just came out this week. The new acquisition was donated by Tom Bessa and is from McCoy Air Force Base. It dates back to the 1950s and a workman removing the item offered it to Bessa. Now it is part of Orlando's History. Every item in the storage facility has a similar personal story.

Pam called her entire collections staff that night to help get the facility under control. Thank goodness Joe Austin sent snacks for us with Jessica Domingo, by that time Pam and I were running on fumes. Anything on the floor was at risk of water damage. Water was still dripping from every open ceiling panel. I cleared a walkway so the staff could move items from the collection to dryer ground.

We later learned that a metal roof access hatch had blown off and the hurricane force winds had propelled it over the roof. Each time the hatch crashed down it ripped a hole in the roof's covering.  From there, the water dripped down into the insulation and ceiling panels which would crash down from the weight. Large puddles of water were everywhere. By the end of the night most of the museum artifacts had been moved away from collapsed panels. Much of the Pulse collection was in the worst affected areas, so the need to act with speed was critical with already compromised artifacts.

All of the water has now been removed from the floor and a small army of about a dozen humidifiers is working around the clock to remove moisture from the air. The interior walls that touch the floor all developed mold in their inner cavities. Simply put, black mold isn't good when you are hoping to preserve historic artifacts. The lower drywall panels were removed from all the affected walls. Plastic encapsulations now separate the spaces with zippers allowing access between rooms. The plastic is intended to protect the collection as workers reinstall drywall and to assist in regulation/stabilization of temperature and humidity. Work is now under way to repair the walls, the ceiling tiles and insulation have been replaced. Conservation is still ongoing to restore any artifacts that suffered from water damage, but every single item of the few thousand affected artifacts were saved. The incredibly fast response of the core collections staff of the History Center helped avert what could have been a much bigger tragedy. With the lessons learned from this disaster, they are offering advice to Leu Gardens Historic Home, which suffered damage after a tree fell on the roof of the home.

P.S. These sketches were created post-event from my photographs. This is an anomaly as that is not the way I tend to work. However, this wasn't the time to sit down and create art.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Costumes of the 30s and 40s at The Lake Mary Historical Museum.

The Lake Mary Historical Museum (158 North Country Club Road) has an exhibit of Halloween costumes from the 1930 to the 1940s. The exhibit runs through October 24th. Though some are thread bare, they often are accompanied by historic photos of children wearing the costumes. The little devil costume is truly creepy. There were demonic clown costumes and also assorted African Masks.

On the elevated platform I sketches, there were objects of  Victorian mourning. In the display case were gorgeous jewelry items woven from a dead loved one’s hair. There was also a small glass vile which was intended to hold the tears of mourning. Once the tears evaporated the period of mourning could be considered complete. A wicker coffin predominated the staging area. Such wicker baskets were used to hold the departed while they were still in the home. The black dress was to be worn by a widow. Queen Elizabeth set the standard for mourning when she wore a black dress every day of the rest of her life after her Prince Albert died.

Tonight, October 21 will feature a Magical Evening at The Enchanted Museum.
A new, fresh and contemporary Halloween Adventure for the whole family, featuring Orlando's Original Steampunk Storytelling Troupe, Phantasmagoria Orlando. Experience the mystery, fun, spooky moments and much more, all in one place. Call for ticket information: 407-585-1481


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 21st and 22nd.

Saturday, October 21, 2017
10 AM to 5 PM - Free. Winter Springs ARToberFEST. Saturday and Sunday. Winter Springs Festival of the Arts, Blumberg Blvd, Winter Springs, Florida 32708. Winter Springs ARToberFEST is celebrating 10 years of exceptional art, tasty German food and drink, rockin’ entertainment, kid's crafts and much more. Join us for this not-to-be-missed community event presented by Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute. Cool off with beer from Red Cypress Brewery, enjoy the sounds of Europa on the main stage, and let your kids explore their artistic talents at the student and senior art tent.

11 AM to Noon - Free. Soundwalk presented by the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Meet at Timucua, 2000 S. Summerlin Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806. (Rain or Shine) Join Eve Payor from the Atlantic Center for the Arts as she leads a sound walk through the Delaney Park neighborhood that Timucua calls home. Explore the sounds and rhythms of our urban and natural world. Each walk is beneficial for people of all ages to de-stress, focus, and develop a deeper understanding of how we fit into the ecosystem of our environment. Limited to 20 participants. Register to secure your spot.

As described by the event, "What is a soundwalk? 'A soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are. We may be at home, we may be walking across a downtown street, through a park, along the beach; we may be sitting in a doctor’s office, in a hotel lobby, in a bank; we may be shopping in a supermarket, a department store, or a Chinese grocery store; we may be standing at the airport, the train station, the bus-stop. Wherever we go we will give our ears priority. They have been neglected by us for a long time and, as a result, we have done little to develop an acoustic environment of good quality.' – Hildegard Westerkamp (published in Sound Heritage, 1974)
How can a soundwalk improve health? Focused, silent walks can be a key to reducing stress levels, anxiety, distractions, and can improve breath control. Our sense of hearing is heightened, and awareness of our connection to nature is enhanced. Concentrating on the sound environment links us to the risk of noise pollution and solutions to create an ecologically balanced soundscape. Taking the time to listen to our surroundings gives us a deeper understanding of how our everyday actions affect both nature and our well-being.
How much walking will there be? Each soundwalk is designed to move through different sound environments. We will be walking at a slow pace to allow for time to fully hear each location. Over the duration of one hour, a distance of approximately ½ mile will be traveled.
Rain or shine? Yes. These walks are outdoors. Please check the weather before departing for the soundwalk, and prepare accordingly. Weather conditions affect the way sound travels. It is a wonderful experience to hear how the sound waves of a bird call in humid air travels differently than in dry air.
Are the soundwalks open to all ages? Anyone can participate in a soundwalk. On our walks, we do ask that talking and distraction (cellphone use) be kept to a minimum to allow for the enjoyment of the environmental sounds. Therefore, small children may not be engaged enough in this activity to avoid becoming restless.
About the Artist. The presenter of each Soundwalk is local musician, Lady Eve. She is a classical oboist and ambient music producer who has contributed to the sophisticated modern movement blending orchestral and electronic sound. She has performed at the Mutek Mexico Festival, 800 East Atlanta Art Collective, been a curator at Vancouver’s alternative performance festival: Signal and Noise, and produced her Pan Ambient event series with Seattle’s Decibel Festival. Last year, her exhibition called Watercolors in Sound (produced for Atlantic Center for the Arts) featured a sound and video installation of field recordings from the NSB Soundwalk series. As an active Zazen practitioner, Lady Eve incorporates mindfulness and awareness throughout her artistic endeavors."

5:30 PM to 9 PM - Free. Pumpkin Carving Exhibition! Loud Gallery 1907 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida 32804.  In honor of Halloween, Loud Gallery is in search of artists for our first ever Pumpkin Carving Exhibition! Painting of pumpkins in allowed too!

Sunday, October 22, 2017
Noon to 1 PM - Donation. Yoga. Lake Eola near red gazebo. Bring your own mat or sketchbook.

1 PM to 9 PM - Free. Festival Calle Orange Downtown Orlando. 425 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801. Central Florida's largest event held in the heart of Downtown Orlando. They close down 10 city blocks and erect 3 action packed stages with only the best in Hispanic entertainment. We even include a Domino tournament!

 10 PM 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 and laugh, or give it a try yourself.



All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pride Fireworks at Lake Eola.


On the day of Pride, traffic downtown was predicted to be a major cluster f@!ck. The Orlando Come out with Pride Parade was going on as I taught classes at Elite Animation Academy. That day roads would also be closed for a soccer game at the Amway Center and something at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. I thought that getting to Elite would be a challenge, but streets had not been blocked off yet.

That evening I scheduled the 8th Orlando Urban Sketch Workshop at Lake Eola. With the parade over, I figured some of the crowd would have dispersed. Getting home from work, I skirted downtown by driving around the congested streets. The last few blocks were a challenge but I made it back to the studio fairly easily.

Attendance for the workshop was down. I imagine people weren't up to the challenge and adventure of trying to park downtown. Pam Schwartz had walked in the parade with members and families involved in the onePULSE Foundation. Since she was downtown, we met and walked around Lake Eola together. I settled on this view of the fountain as my pride sketch for the year. A drone hovered above the lake.

Fireworks were slated to happen at 9 PM which gave me plenty of time to sketch the Orlando skyline. I started to put the tablet away, when the fireworks suddenly erupted with a huge series of blasts. It damn near made me jump out of my skin. The fireworks were large and beautiful and I put a few blasts on my sketch while others shot video and took cell phone photos. I often wonder what becomes of all those shots.

After the show, it was easy to walk back to my place and then slip out of downtown. Although many downtown streets were blocked off for the day, Orlando is still small enough so that I never experienced grid lock.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

9th Annual Zombietoberfest


The 9th Annual Zombietoberfest was just held in Audubon Gardern District. If fell on the same day as one of my Orlando Urban Sketch Workshops, so we used it as our location. With parking sparse, I parked several blocks away and walked to our meeting spot at Stardust Video and Coffee. We were two students short, so we waited for a while in front of Stardust and then decided to get rolling while the zombies were still shuffling about. The quick lesson and worksheets advised artists to do a sheet of zombie studies that focused on gesture and building the figures from simple shapes.

Since this was a very crowded event, the challenge was to find slow moving zombies. Fast energetic zombies would be impossible to sketch. For instance, a zombie taking a selfie would only take a few seconds before they turned and walked away. I decided to focus on Deviant Dollz, founded by artist Linda Janssen. This collection of miscreant dolls seem possessed or the victims of a horror movie.

Several grand parents picked out a doll for their grand daughter who made a magnificent bloody zombie. I didn't see their choice, but the grand daughter decided she would prefer a bloody and beaten Raggedy Ann doll that looked like she had been abused by Raggedy Andy. Pam Schwartz begrudgingly explained the teddy bears to me. They were tied together in such a way so that their snout was up another bear's butt. Apparently there is a film called the Human Centipede in which the people can only survive if they eat the excrement from another. The goal was to see how long the people could survive without being fed. I don't think i need to see that film.

There was perhaps one zombie for every 40 attendees. The most popular zombie costume seemed to be females in bloody prom dresses. I'm not sure a zombie film has been made yet in which zombies invaded a prom, but it cold make and interesting premise.  The Deviant Dollz booth was incredibly popular so I spent most of my time trying to look around the crowd to see some of the dolls. Keeping track of all the artists in the crowd was impossible, so I let them all wrestle with the sketches on their own. Afterwards, we all met near the bloody zombie snow cone food truck to compare drawings and take a group photo.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Orlando Tech Week at Church Street Marketplace.


I walked over to Church Street Marketplace (101 S Garland Ave Orlando FL 32801) for what I thought would be a tech demo. The place was deserted except for the caterer. I asked him what he knew about the event and he was pretty clueless. A large screen was set up, and when I arrived, it was projecting a computer desktop. I figured that had to be my center of interest.

Procreate, the digital sketch program on my iPad had updated several days ago and a new feature showed up called the perspective tool. It allows you to place several vanishing points on the sketch and the program automatically sets up a perspective grid to use as a drawing guide. I used that feature for the first time on this sketch, which is a pretty high tech leap for me. I was utilizing a bit more tech to cover Tech Week.

Only later that night did I learn that what I was sketching was the Black  Orlando Tech Hip Hop Happy Hour. DJ Nigel John shouted up a welcome to me, shouting "Thor!" I shouted back and then sketched him as he set up his DJ mix station. Janessa Gursky must have been an event organizer because she also greeted me. About six round high top tables were set up and slowly people started to arrive. This was slated to be the chillest, happy hour event of Orlando Tech Week 2017. It was a chance for everyone to unwind from the nonstop tech events of the week with a drink and conversation. I was a little disappointed not to walk away with some miraculous tech enlightenment but the music was pumping as I left for dinner.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The First onePULSE Foundation Town Hall Meeting.


The onePULSE Foundation's first Town Hall meeting was held at the Rep Theater (1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803). 400 people reserved tickets to attend. The meeting was a panel discussion exploring why and how we create memorials and museums, and what is involved in the process. Experts from around the country came to share their experiences. Barbara Poma, the Pulse Nightclub owner and onePULSE Foundation executive director, said, "Building a permanent memorial and museum at the site is the most powerful way to pay respect for the lives taken, and to all those affected on that awful night." The moderator for the night, was journalist Indira Lakshmanan.

Kari Watkins, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial was the first panelist on the left. The event was being held just one week after the mass murder in Las Vegas. She explained that the community memorials had already begun. An empty lot was acquired from the city and 58 trees were planted, one tree for each victim. At the Oklahoma City Bombing site one tree had survived and saplings were being handed out. 168 people died. Initially, the Chamber of Commerce was not on board with the plans for a museum and memorial, they didn't want their city to be known as the city that had been bombed. The site is now the most visited tourist attraction in the state.

Ed Linenthal is a PhD and author of several books such as Sacred Ground, Preserving Memory, and The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory. He explained that the process of deciding what to put on a site is incredibly difficult because you are dealing with an open wound. We need to get rid of psycho babble words like "closure". People in Orlando will be living along side of the Pulse tragedy for a very long time and that is OK. There is a new "normal". The process involves many, many people who are very personally involved. Everything is a razor's edge issue. Should there be 49 hearts, trees, or points of light here?... on and on and on. How could it not be agonizing? Memorials are a protest of the anonymity of mass murder in our times.

Jan Ramirez, is the Executive Vice President of Collections and the Chief Curator of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in NYC. She explained that the NYC site is an unplanned cemetery. 40% of the close to 3,000 people who died when the towers fell, have no remains. The families never had the comfort of a burial. Our work is never done. Only since the museum opened have many victim's families decided to share their stories and artifacts.

Anthony Gardner is the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He became involved after his brother Harvey died in the tower collapse. The process of building a memorial is going to be painful. It needs to be. The reaction to people visiting the 9/11 memorial is universal, they pause and say to themselves, "I am there." They know it is a tragic story, they know it is painful, but they leave inspired, because this is a story in which the best of humanity responded to the worst of humanity.

Anthony's brother Harvey loved history. The night before he was killed, he was watching a documentary on WWII. He became a part of the history he cherished just several hours later. Harvey is one of the 40% who were never identified after the towers fell. The family didn't have anything of his that was recovered. He found himself trapped in that office. The one call that got through to Harvey allowed the family to overhear him comforting his colleagues, who were starting to panic. He was directing people and he was calm and brave in those acts, so the family holds on to that. Anthony values the authenticity of place and setting. He feels some authentic fabric of Pulse should be left behind. Authenticity of place helps people connect that didn't have that direct experience.

Pam Schwartz is the Chief Curator of the Orange County Regional History Center. "...Typically museums collect, "old stuff". We  have historical perspective on that... When doing rapid response or contemporary collecting, you have to rely 50% on your training and education, and 50% on intuition, or what we think might be an important historical story...That can change very rapidly. It took 9 years for Orlando to get the title of the worst mass shooting after Virginia Tech. It took just 16 months to give that title to Las Vegas. The history of our event is already changing based on what is happening in Vegas. The question goes from, "How could this happen to us", to "Is it ever going to stop?..."

Pam explained, a mass shooting is when four or more people, not including the shooter, are "shot and/or killed" at "the same general time and location." This year there have been at least 276 mass shootings in America. That is close to one mass shooting a day. We can't memorialize every single event, but each time there are people who lost their loved ones, there are emotional and mental scars. Everyone feels the most strongly about the event that affected them. You focus on the stories and try to make it a teachable moment. We are dealing with a lot of different demographics here in Orlando. Our event at Pulse is unique in that it speaks to a broader situation in our world today, in politics an in the fights we are still fighting.

She went on to say that the memorial items come from the community. They are outpourings from the heart. They are often items left because people don't know what else to do. One thing they collected was a cooler from Pulse. If you went to the Pulse site, you would have seen the big white cooler left by the police. The church down the street kept filling it every day because it is HOT in Orlando. So this artifact was one of support. 

Pam and the History Center staff were out there collecting every single day and  drank some of that water. One day, they showed up and it was just covered in signatures. There were all these signed banners full of love and support, and then people were like,  "What else can we sign?" So they collected this cooler, it is sort of a living history of the memorials. 

The History Center staff also went into the club after the site was released back to Barbara Poma. Pam approached and asked if things could be collected from inside. That might seem a bit macabre, but think of it as Abraham Lincoln's hat or the artifacts you might see at the 9/11 museum. These are very real artifacts that tell a story. Should they be displayed now or put them on exhibition, no, but in 200 years there will be people who were not here, did not experience it, and it is very real evidence that this event truly happened to people. The History Center also has items from Pulse before this event. Pulse has a very rich history before June 12, it was home to so many people.

In response to a question from the audience about ensuring the process is inclusive, Pam explained that this series of community conversations are the first link to inclusivity for everyone. Everyone should fill out the online Survey for the Memorial. The results of which will become the design brief that will go out to the potential designers for the memorial and museum. This is not a fast process. It takes time, so we have several years to figure this out together. This is at its heart a community event. It happened to us all in some way shape or form. It will be a community conversation and ultimately a community decision in how we move forward. That is why they are starting to have meetings with families of survivors and other community members. Talk to onePulse Foundation members. They want to know what everybody is thinking. They do not have all the right answers for what this can look like or what it should look like right now, but they are beginning the process and want everybody who feels attached to this to be involved.

In other Pulse related news, the City just approved a temporary memorial designed by Dix.Hite + Partners which will add landscaping to soften the area while replacing the fence with more aesthetically pleasing elements. A rainbow colored sidewalk crossing was also approved by the City and already painted into place.  I filled out the survey and it took no longer that 10 minutes. Be sure to fill out the survey as well. Your voice matters, your opinion matters. Help shape the future of the Pulse memorial site. Earl Crittenden offered a quote that pointed the way towards a solution, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Abe Lincoln


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Phantasmagoria VIII "The Chains of Fire" at the Shakes.



Phantasmagoria Orlando and DiDonna Productions is proud to present the eighth all new installment in their critically acclaimed “Whimsically Macabre” Halloween Celebration at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins St, Orlando, Florida 32803). 

The brand new PHANTASMAGORIA VIII "Chains of Fire" thunders on to the Mandell Theater with all new stories of terror! Live performers, “Phantastical” dance, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry, aerial performance, and haunting storytelling combine to create a tapestry of macabre and whimsical horror!

Phantasmagoria’s evocative troupe of storytellers, dancers, and chorus embark on their newest, and perhaps darkest journeys yet , through literary tales of terror, and horrific folk stories, legends, and myths. Enter with us into dark tales from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Robert Browning, Lord Byron, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman among many others – all to set the tone for a truly Phantasmagorical Halloween season!


I went to a dress rehearsal which had a fairly clean run thru of the show. Using the iPad meant I could see what I was working on throughout the performance. I am really enjoying the ability to zoom in when sketching performers. The digital sketchbook is becoming my preferred medium when sketching in a dark theater. This was indeed a darker and more sinister show. Strangulation and death haunted the cast though most every story. Once they begin a tale it must be told to completion. The hitch is that they live the tale intimately to the point of near death. The cast seems immortal however having told the stories for centuries. 

One of my favorite moments came after the run thru. John DiDonna was giving a note on how to dramatically stage a strangulation. He said, "Here allow me to show you by strangling my wife." He grabbed Dion Leonhard DiDonna by the neck and arched her backwards as he leaned over her. Being a ballerina, she made even the gruesome moment look graceful.

After the run thru, the cast did a whimsical and comically relaxed rendition of the story, "Captain Murderer". The cast ran out into the audience often getting face to face with the audience as they told the tale with absolute delight. They are at their best when mixing the macabre with the whimsical.
 

Special VIP Experience - Arrive by 7:20 on Select Nights
New this year, the VIP show will occur BEFORE the main stage show on select nights only (Fri/Sat nights and Halloween) as they introduce their “Phantasticaly Phantabulous Sideshow Extravaganza!” Specialty acts, special guests, and appearances by members of the Phantasmagoria troupe weave together to start the evening off in the best and darkest of ways! This year all VIP seating can be RESERVED (for the first time) upon coming to the door to ensure prime seating for all our VIP guests. At the end of the show, the VIP audience member will also be treated to a final encore especially designed for them! VIP also includes a glass of wine or soft drink, a take home gift and more!

Information and Ticketing can be found beginning in September on the website or on their Facebook page.
 

WHO:
Phantasmagoria/DiDonna Productions
WHAT:
Phantasmagoria VIII “The Chains of Fire”
WHEN:
Oct 13th – Nov 4th 2017
All evening performances at 8:00pm (Box opens at 7:00pm/
VIP Show experience at 7:20 / VIP Theater Entrance at 7:50 followed by General Admission seating)
Oct 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27. 28. 29. 30. 31, Nov 3, 4
Special MONDAY Performance on October 30th @ 9:00pm only
NOTE: VIP Show Experience only available Friday/Saturday nights and Halloween MUST arrive early for 7:20-ish start
General Admission and Student/Senior/Military available on all nights.
WHERE:
The Mandell Theatre, John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center - Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL
PARKING:
Lot on site, additional lots and street parking in close proximity
TICKETS:
Student/Senior/Military Admission - $15.00 / General admission - $25.00
Student/Senior/Military VIP Admission - $30.00 / General VIP Admission - $40.00
(VIP Admission includes Pre Reserved Seating, VIP SideShow performance, wine or soft drink, a take home surprise, and more! – Available only Friday/Saturday and Halloween nights)
TO PURCHASE TICKETS:
WILL CALL/CASH ONLY AT DOOR reserve by calling our hotline at 407-476-5121
(Leave name/number/date of performance and number in party – you will be called back only if there is a problem with your reservation)
CREDIT CARD PREPURCHASE


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Petrified Forest Serves up Some Gorgeous Horror.


The Petrified Forest is offering its 10th year of fear. I went early on the opening night of this series of scare trails. The director Silvia Katherine Viles had invited me to sketch the trail by lingering in one of the sets. To blend in, I was given a bloodied shirt and my face was quickly painted to look like I had been beaten to a bloody pulp. Scare actors were waiting for costuming and make up. They waited on the lawn and there was an excitement in the air since the forest scares were yet to come. Silvia was at a loss as to where to put me. She finally settled on the chapel filled with roses and a casket. I could sit in the church pews and sketch while guests wandered through.


 Before letting the first guests onto the trails, all the scare actors gathered and some one shouted, "Who's house?" Everyone shouted back, "Our house!!" Quickly everyone made their way back into the maze to find their places. I followed Sylvia to the church.

It was decided that a lamp in the church room was too bright, so a tech had to unscrew one of the bulbs. She used a leaf to grab the bulb since it was hot. Righty tighty, lefty loosy. The scare actors in the church seemed like a brother and sister. He leaped over the pews lunging at people walking through while making guttural noises. His ragged costume was ripping all the more with shreds left everywhere. As he distracted people, the girl would lunge out of a wall of roses and scream. I looked like a zombie sketching in the back row. If people complimented my sketch or addressed me, I just grumbled and moaned, which is pretty much my typical behavior. "Are you an artist?" ugh rrrrrrrr. I couldn't see the sketch very well in the dark. When I suspected it might be done, I made my way out through a back stage door. I returned the bloody shirt but didn't attempt to clean off all the stage paint on my face.

I met Pam and Lesleyann from the Orange County Regional History Center and experienced all the trails for the first time with them. I shouted quite a few times. I am easily shocked or amazed. My favorite area was a haunted forest illuminated by black light. It reminded me of the beauty of scenes from the movie Avatar. The actress in a white flowing dress seemed genuinely strange and flighty. It would have been a great space to try sketching on the iPad. Another scary area was the farmstead. A pig-faced menace greeted us from the start as we slogged through the muddy trail. In one dark space, a ghoul ran through the air with the help of ropes. Near the end with safety in sight, a creepy clown asked why we weren't smiling, and a chainsaw wielding menace chased people from behind.

That night, washing off the blood in the shower looked like the scene from Psycho. Blood splattered on tiles and the shower curtain before circling down the drain.

Remaining show dates, after dark are
October 14.
October 18, 19, 20 and 21.
October 26, 27 and 28
November 2, 3 and 4.

They're located on S.R. 436, just 1/4 mile West of 17-92
1360 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Tickets are $33 for VIP
Double trail is $25
Single trail and back stage tour, $23
Single Trail $15
Backstage Tour $10


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 14th and 15th.

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Noon to 10 PM - Free. Come Out With Pride. Lake Eola Park and surrounding streets. Celebrated in October, Come Out With Pride welcomes everyone from Central Florida and beyond to come together and #KeepDancingOrlando! The marquee event, "The Most Colorful Parade in Orlando," will start at 4 PM next Saturday at Lake Eola Park. The route has been expanded down to Orange Avenue.

7 PM to 10 PM - $35. 8th Urban Sketch Workshop - Come Out With Pride.  515 East Pine Street #1 Orlando, Fl 32801. One of ten workshops training artists to become sketch correspondents. 

9 PM to 2:30 AM Official After Party for Pulse. The main event runs 9 PM to 2:30 AM at 111 N. Summerlin Ave. It has a Latin Night theme and performances by 69 Boyz, Anais and the Pulse Orlando Family. You must be 21 and older to drink, 18 and up are welcome. The pre-party starts at 4 PM. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017
10 AM to Noon - Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources. 

1 PM to 8 PM - Free. Will's A Faire Fall Market at Southern Fried Sunday. Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. Will’s A Faire, the one day retro, vintage, local and handmade market with live music, food trucks and fun indoors and out is back for fall at Will's Pub! The outdoor market runs from 1PM until 8:30 PM, with food trucks and live music from: Oak Hill Drifters, Van Gordon Martin, Invisible Sun (The Police Tribute Set), B-Tru Mann, Luke Wagner and Jessica Delacruz and More Music later, with a free show inside Will's by Marc With a C, Steve Garron Is An Asshole and Milk Carton Superstars. The outdoor music is free to the public and all ages are welcome. Bring the Fam! Inside is 18+ after 9 PM.

2 PM to 6 PM - Free. Gentle, Manly Photoshoot 3. Macbeth Studio, 37 North Orange Avenue, Suite 900, Orlando, Florida 32801. Gentle, Manly is a photography project that seeks to explore and challenge society's cultivation of toxic, stereotypical masculinity. It is a collaboration of Macbeth Studio, Elar Institute, and Jeremy Seghers. Who they are looking for: straight men of any background or way of life. What they will be doing: photographing straight men holding hands with each other and being affectionate. Why they are doing this: because real, straight men show compassion and affection. What this is not: sexual or exploitative in any way. What to prepare: just come as you are with an open mind. Wear whatever makes you comfortable. We want to capture your honest, authentic self. To participate, please email your name and phone number to: whiterabbitorlando@gmail.com


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Vagrant at Dangerous Theater in Sanford.


The Vagrant is the little production that could. Hurricane Irma interrupted rehearsals and then Winnie Wengelwick, the theater owner, had to have oral surgery. One cast member had a family emergency and pulled out of production during the revised tech week and then another actor pulled out at the last moment. Amazingly, replacements were found within a day. The 5 week production run has had to be cut from 5 weeks to 3 weeks. The new intimate theater is continuing to take form.

I went to the production and was blown away by the play written by Brett Hursey. Lenny Madison (David Martin) is a vagrant living on the streets of the big city. He swindles hot dogs from the comically soft-hearted and easily coerced Rodney (John Sullivan) and takes care of Maggie (Winnie) the bag lady. Eventually, it becomes too difficult to hide in plain sight. 

The actor playing Lenny the vagrant did an amazing job. His roll involved acting insane while actually being incredibly intelligent. His quick-witted performance reminded me of the best parts played by the late Robin Williams. Winnie played Maggie the bag lady. She would wander onto the set while winding through the audience. She would comment on what people were wearing, breaking the 4th wall. From the stage she continued to bring the audience into the scene by trying to convince Lenny that people were watching them. She would stare out at us and say we were judging them with our laughter. And there was plenty of laughter. Lenny is a character that embraces each day and celebrates the beauty of the urban sprawl.

Lenny takes care of Maggie by getting her an extra hot dog and convincing her to take her medication. One day, two stock brokers stopped to rest on Lenny's bench. He boldly introduces himself and offered stock advice. The young male broker, John Wilson (Sean Delaney), takes the advice and on a whim decides to play them out on the market. Sure enough the leads are pure gold. The brokers return again and again to cash in on the vagrant's insights that yield huge dividends. Rachel Lamonde, (Jacqueline Papaycik) is content to leave the vagrant as is while John wants to get him set up in an apartment. He is talked out of such charitable notions. Maggie the bag lady is ignored as the vagrant plays the market with the brokers.

Both Lenny and Maggie have family they wish they cold see. Living on the streets keeps them from being close to their loved ones. John Wilson doesn't just offer the vagrant charity, he offers a chance to get back to his family. This is a heart warming show that hints at the possibility that any one of us could be just two paychecks away from having to live on the streets. The problems of this vagrant are very much like the problems we all face. In the end Lenny picks up the newspapers strewn around the stage and shoves them in a plastic milk crate and braces for a new life. Since I still live out of milk crates that scene hit rather close to home.

The final performances for this show are on Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th. I highly recommend the show at Dangerous Theater (115 W. 1st St. Sanford, Florida 32771). I laughed, and yes, I damn near cried. $20.00 cash at the door on the day of the show. $5.00 discount at door for students, seniors and military. The show is free for any homeless attendee.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Downtown Paper Launch Party


Volume 1, Edition 1 of the Downtown Community Paper arrived in my mailbox in September. This monthly paper is devoted to keeping downtown residents like myself informed about what is new and trending. A simple article titled "Why would anyone want to live in the heart of Orlando?" reaffirmed all the reasons why I have been living and working downtown for this past year. I contacted the editor Michelle Rocheleau about contributing to the paper since I am documenting the arts scene and lifestyle downtown everyday already.

The paper held a launch party at the Orange County Regional History Center and I decided to sketch. The publisher Debbie Goetz and Michelle were pulled in all directions. Debbie already publishes a College Park Community Paper and when she met Michelle the idea of the Downtown Community Paper took form. The paper is founded on the principles that include bringing the community together and highlighting inspiring individuals who live in the area. The paper doesn't plan to compete against the Sentinel or The Bunglaower to cover hard-hitting news. They instead  are committed to only positive uplifting news.

At the launch party, singer, songwriter, Justin Kangrga, entertained the crowd performing covers on his acoustic guitar. Tom Petty died this week, and Justin performed one of his songs. It was a lively launch party where advertisers got to meet staff and enjoy a drink and hors d'oeuvres. The paper's demographic isn't the 20 somethings hitting the downtown bars each night, instead they focus on the older more established demographic that calls downtown home.

The paper will be delivered monthly to 8,000 homes in the area and is also available at Newsstands downtown. There is a digital version posted on the paper's website.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Walk for the Trees at Lake Baldwin.

Harbor Park at Lake Baldwin (4990 New Broad St, Orlando, Florida 32814). In the Fall of 2015, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer launched an ambitious goal to strengthen Orlando by building our urban forest and expanding the tree canopy. To achieve this goal, the City of Orlando launched the 'One Person, One Tree' program, an effort to engage private residents in creating a cooler and greener future for The City Beautiful, and help grow our urban tree canopy to 40% by 2040.

At Walk For Trees, every registrant received one free tree from a selection of tree saplings. They were asked to plant this tree in their favorite location so that the tree can make Orlando a better place. Orlando is proud to be listed as a Tree City USA since 1976, named a Sterling Tree City USA in 2011 and received a Tree Growth Award every year since 1990.

April 10th, IDEAS For Us and the City of Orlando launched the inaugural "Walk For Trees event" around Lake Baldwin to support Orlando's tree programs, with a goal of raising enough funds to plant 1,000 trees in Orlando. The event had local celebrities, elected officials, nonprofits, food trucks, and more.

It was a beautiful day. I soaked in the sun as I sketched the Orlando Philharmonic musicians who performed that morning. $30 Tickets were available for a 5K walk around the lake with proceeds going to IDEAS for Us. IDEAS works to solve environmental problems on campuses and in communities around the World. Since 2008, they have been supporting people and developing their ideas into solutions that solve the environmental crisis. Their approach to sustainability focuses on five key areas to catalyze local action.Those are: Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Ecology.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Blue Box 12, Sasha Kendrick Violinist.

I established the Blue Box Initiative, so I could sketch talented performers in each of the 27 blue boxes which are painted on the sidewalks downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking was possible only during day light hours, but a recent amendment allows the boxes to be used at night. Although set up for panhandlers, police often insist street performers must use the blue boxes. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

I sketched Sasha Kendrick at Blue Box 12 which is located across the street from the Disney Band shell at Lake Eola. There was no shade on this stretch of sidewalk and the heat was unbearable. Sasha was worried that her violin would warp in the intense heat, but she performed anyway. Not a single person walked past as she performed. No one walks that stretch of sidewalk in the noon day sun.

When the sketch was done she wanted to perform at Lake Eola which she does regularly. Police in the park do not ask her to leave. They turn a blind eye to the city ordinance that bans busking because she is pleasant and respectful. It was much nicer sketching in the shade with a lake side breeze. One man stopped to listen and sat on the bench next to Sacha. He decided to go to the Relax Grill and Bar and he bought Sasha and I a drink. This was the first time I had ever been given anything while I sketched. He was legitimately grateful for Sasha's performance.

She told me about a charity she was establishing which raises money for musical instruments for the homeless. She figures that by performing music, a person can raise some cash just as she has done for years. She gave an instrument to a man in town who also raises money selling palm frond woven flowers. The instrument disappeared and she thinks he sold it for money for crack. Unfortunately this musical charitable experiment became a failed experiment.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

$1 Sketch Sale.


When I moved out of North Bay, near the Bay Hill Golf Club, I needed some extra cash to help pay for the moving expenses. I have mountains of figure drawings and decoded to have a sketch sale with each sketch available for $1. I held the sale all day on a Sunday. People arrived all day long to riffle through the sketches piled up on the dining room table.

There were some major deals to be found. Besides the figure studies, there were sketches done for paintings and even a few drawings that had turned into paintings. A pink robot build by Evan and Christie Miga overlooked the scene. Zorro, a white umbrella cockatoo greeted people and screeched for attention.

I raised several hundred dollars which helped a bit as I settled into a new place. Some people just waked in off the streets because I had a sign in the front year. Friends and strangers didn't know that this was close to the last day that I would be living in this neighborhood. All my sketchbooks had already been moved. When I die, this is my legacy, a mountain of sketches that hopefully will find a home. The sketches are culled down each time I move.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

One Orlando Alliance organized an Orlando Vigil for Las Vegas

The lawn in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was packed with thousands of people 16 months ago after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Tears were shed and strangers hugged one another in a truly moving vigil to honor the victims of the nightclub shooting. Days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the same stage was erected in the Dr. Phillips lawn to show solidarity and support for that city which is now the site of the largest mass shooting in American history with 58 victims to date. 515 others are injured, so that number may well rise as people fight for their lives.

Pam Schwartz and I arrived a bit early expecting to find the lawn crowded with Orlando citizens who who would show their support for such a tragic event. The lawn was strangely empty. One third of the lawn was a construction zone for the new Dr. Phillips theater being built.  The entire area was surrounded by temporary concert barricades. There was no crowd to contain. A single wreath stood on a tripod in front of the stage. The press huddled together on the walkway opposite me. Desperate for some sort of story, a young reporter asked to interview me, but I explained that I had a limited amount of time to finish my sketch so I couldn't stop to talk.

The green lawn remained empty the entire time I sketched. I had looked at some of the video footage from Las Vegas earlier that day and recall seeing people running for their lives or lying on the grass hoping not to get hit by the bullets raining down from 32 stories above. The Dr. Phillips lawn, surrounded by humble Orlando high rises, wasn't much different than the Las Vegas field where concert goers were massacred. One Orlando high rise had several windows blown out from hurricane Irma, just as the Las Vegas gunman had blown out his hotel room window to massacre the crowd below.

Dozens of people showed up to the vigil held in Orlando. Any photos of the vigil show a few people together in closely cropped shots.  Perhaps it was just to soon. The staff at the History Center said that they just weren't ready to accept or digest that such a horrific incident had happened so soon after the incident at Pulse. Days after the Las Vegas shooting, rainbow flags appeared on all the Orlando downtown street lights. I thought this was in solidarity for the Las Vegas shooting but it might just have been in preparation for the Gay Pride Parade coming up next week.

Someone removed the metal steps that lead up to the stage. A source at The Center said that a permit had not been applied for and thus no one was allowed to go up on the stage. How amazing that such red tape should come from a city who had just experienced mass murder 16 months earlier. One Orlando Alliance organizers stated that a radio station set up the stage just for the amplification and they didn't want any speakers. Five or six of the 49 angels in action arrived and stood silent in front of the stage, their fabric wings flapping in the breeze.

 one PULSE Foundation president, Barbara Poma, spoke to the small group gathered from behind the stage. Her online statement read, "Finding words to convey the depth of horror we are all witnessing in Las Vegas is just impossible. It is unimaginable that another mass shooting of even greater scope than that of Pulse Nightclub could occur again in this country, but indeed, it has. We must work harder to stop these crimes that destroy human life. We pray for those whose lives were taken, as well as for the wounded and the hundreds who will forever be affected by this monumental tragedy."

The Orange County Property Appraiser arrived to get his picture taken in a tuxedo in front of a banner which people signed in support of Las Vegas. Mayor Buddy Dyer made a cameo and disappeared quickly. I recognized some of the Pulse family and activists like the Eskamani sisters who truly made a difference in our city following the Pulse shooting. A GoFundMe set up by Ida Eskamani for Equality Florida raised more that 2.4 million dollars for Pulse victims families. With Hurricane Maria causing so much damage in Puerto Rico, many Hispanic activists are perhaps occupied with that cause.

The Vigil held at the Dr. Phillips for Las Vegas was a small gathering by a few of Orlando's core activists but the impression it left with me was apparent indifference by the community as a whole. The Methodist Church bells rang for each victim of the Las Vegas shooting. I left disheartened.  The faces of the beautiful people lost in Las Vegas are just now appearing online. All of those lost have not yet been identified. Perhaps people stayed home because mass murder is now the norm. A mass murder is defined as 4 people dying in a single gun related incident. Close to one mass shooting happens every day in America.

Pam was going to the Savoy to be a Celebrity Bartender. That event would raise funds to help The Center which is a refuge and family for the LGBT community as well as playing an important role in testing and treating sexually transmitted diseases. Sketching that event felt more supportive to an organization that makes a positive change in the Orlando community. Life goes on as social services struggle to stay afloat. I needed a stiff drink. How we memorialize is becoming increasingly important as these shootings are becoming more common.

P.S. Justine Thompson Cowan, one of the events organizers reported that City representatives were willing to do whatever it took, helped with permitting, and opened up garages for free parking, spending staff resources to pull it together. He stayed until the end and joined with what he estimated to be about 250 people as they heard the bells toll, the Orlando Gay Chorus sing and spread out into the audience with their voices that touched their hearts. She felt solace. She felt companionship. And maybe even a bit of hope.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for October 7th and 8th.

Saturday October 7, 2017
5 PM to 10 PM - Free. 10th Annual Zombietoberfest. Audubon Park Garden District Orlando, Florida 32803. Orlando's original zombie festival returns, with all the dread, undead and revelry that entails. Food trucks, open air market, zombie crawl, costume contest, food and drink specials and more.

7 PM to 10 PM - $35. 10 x 10 Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop. The workshop will be held at Zombietoberfest. Urban Sketchers is celebrating 10 years by inviting sketchers from around the world to attend ten on location workshops with an Urban Sketching official instructor in your city! You may choose to participate in one or more of the workshops at the following prospective locations in Orlando.
Goals
1. Show stories from your city, one drawing at a time
2. Improve your drawing skills
3. Learn how to select, frame and design visual stories on a page
4. Learn how writing and drawing can work together to communicate more to your audience
5. Experience the advantages of group learning and seeing the many paths to success

10:30 PM to 12:30 AM Get a bite or drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco dancers perform to live acoustic guitar.

Sunday October 8, 2017
10 AM to Noon. Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources.

 2 PM to 3 PM, Free. Celebrate with Dance. Orlando Public Library 101 East Central Avenue Orlando Fl. Enjoy a lively performance of Spanish folk dances by Alborea Dances in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

2 PM to 6 PM Get a drink. Halloween Hair of the Dog Day Charity Event. The Thirsty Topher
(601 Virginia Drive Orlando FL). A canine costume contest tops off a day of raffles, complimentary homemade dog treats and mingling with furry companions. Donations will be made to the Humane Society's disaster fund.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Espolon Cocktail Fights 2017 at Will's Pub.

The Espolon Cocktail Fights took place at Will's Pub (1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803). Six of Orlando's best bartenders went head to head with six of Tampa best bartenders  in a no holds bared showdown  for the title of the most creative cocktail. The winner of this evenings competition would go on to compete in New York City in the semi- finals and then possibly move on tho the finals in Mexico.

Competing bartenders each took on the persona of a Mexican wrestler. Million Dollar Dan (Daniel Messina) from Orlando entered the competition as a braggart who threw play money at the howling audience. Perhaps the most flamboyant competitor was El Serpiente (Jacob Ceciro) from Tampa, who claimed he could tame any serpent, but is drink was rather lack luster. Other competitors from Orlando were, Red Feather (Robyn Conen), Quetzal the Great (Felix Fernandez), Finger Guns (Sean Sheenan), and El Lobo Gris (Jeremy Hazmier).

Tampa competitors were bused to the event and I imagine they were already a bit tipsy before they got to Orlando. There was just one female competitor in the line up and she was Foxxy Lady (Linaris Santiago-Wright) who had long red eye lashes, and a feather boa. She won every round to become the champion of Orlando and Tampa.

The hosts did a good job of keeping the energy up in the room. Samples of each drink were available for tasting. Some were spicy hot and the serpents was like poison. Judges sat in front of the stage to sample each concoction. One round had all the competitors each prepare margaritas while one hand is behind their back in a boxing glove. It might have been fun to see the bartenders compete with both hands in boxing gloves. The final rounds had a giant table of ingredients and the competitors had to select their ingredients and prepare a drink while working against the clock.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Orlando Urban Sketching Workshop 5 at House of Blues.


Hurricane Irma blew the wind out of the sails of the 5th Orlando Urban Sketch Workshop that was held at the Ultimate Art Party in Tavares Florida. I decided to reschedule that class since so few artists attended. The next week we met at House of Blues in Disney Springs. When I arrived artists were already gathered at the iconic rusty water tower. We looked for a location where I could talk without the canned in Disney music. I thought we would hang out in a grassy area, but the lawn had loud speakers. We ultimately walked across the courtyard to a bunch of benches a short distance from House of Blues.

I had everyone work small on thumbnail drawings. This allowed us all to do a series of sketches rather than one long sketch. I executed this sketch quickly as everyone worked. I encouraged everyone to limit their color palettes so this sketch was just in sepia tones and then I added color later. The large cement courtyard between us and the water tower gave a good ground plane for me to explain how to populate a sketch.

We did 5 minute studies of each artist in turn as they looked at their cell phone or sketched. With all those quick sketched done I asked the artists to create a ground plane using two point perspective and then copy several of the quick 5 minute figure studies onto the grid. The figure studies were like chess pieces on a chess board. Pieces in the foreground were larger, and pieces in the background grew smaller.

Live music could be heard coming from the House of Blues, so the last exercise was to approach the music and draw the crowd gathered to listen as well  as the musicians. I executed a second tiny sketch while everyone found a spot and got to work. We then returned to the benches to see each others work and take some photos.  It was a fun night and I think the attendees age getting a feel for the excitement of working on location.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In the East Village of NYC.


I was asked to teach an Urban Sketching Workshop in NYC. The hotel was located in the East Village which has changed quite a bit since I lived in NYC close to 25 years ago. Hip new bars and eateries proliferate the neighborhood. When I got to this street corner of Clinton and Houston the age old feeling of the city returned. I took the time to sit on a bench in the middle of the intersection and sketch the neighborhood. I  imagined myself living in that cylinder shaped corner tower on the corner on the top floor. From there I could see the bustling city life as I painted in the studio.

I went to college in the city and wish I had the patience and perseverance to sketch the scene as I can today. A homeless man on the far corner to my left was begging the entire time I sketches. His mantra for a dime became the soundtrack for the scene as I worked. It was a rather crisp day which I am not used to, so I had to put on my gloves to keep sketching. Direct sunlight helped when it struck  my hands.

The sketch workshop went well. We did quick studies while e were gathered in a dance studio which had mirrors on the walls. Mirrored walls are perfect for showing where a vanishing point is in a scene. For the second part of the workshop, we went to Grand Central Station. I wanted my crew of artists to see the main floor from the second level. We walked up the steps and overlooked the expanse. The amazing this is that the second floor of Grand Central Station is now exclusively an Apple Store. Phones and iPads were everywhere. The store staff didn't seem to mind us leaning against the marble railings and sketching. After sketching at Grand Central, we all went to a German pub for drinks and to share sketches. The New York City Urban Sketching community is vibrant and exciting. I kind of miss being in the city that never sleeps.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Leaving Vietnam: Building a New Life in Central Florida


Coinciding with WUCF TV’s September presentation of The Vietnam War, the new 17 hour documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, this retrospective exhibition at the Orange County Regional History Center (65 East Central Boulevard Orlando FL 32801) uses oral histories to explore the war’s impact on Central Florida. Learn about the parts local veterans played on the front lines and how the experience shaped them. Discover the roots of Central Florida’s Vietnamese community and its impact on leadership, local commerce, and Orlando’s food scene.

I attended and sketched the opening reception for the exhibit. Veterans and members of Orlando's Vietnamese community came out to see the exhibit in which their words and artifacts were assembled. As I sketched, a Vietnamese woman took a keen interest in my work. She wanted to know all about the ink I was using and my brush with the water in the handle. She said she needed a sketch done, so I gave her a card. A veteran in a wheel chair also stopped to chat. He was shooting video on his iPad. He is a documentary film maker and told me about the footage he shot on a parachuting mission.

I have become a binge watcher of the Ken Burns Vietnam series. Though I don't have a TV, the series can be viewed online. There ar some amazing audio tapes that point out the reservations, fears and frustrations of several presidents who couldn't see a way out of the war. Some of the footage brings back childhood memories of burning hutches and graphic violence that aired on TV at the time. On display in the exhibit were hand-made incendiary devices made from soda cans designed to blow off a soldiers hand. The text panels in the entire exhibit are bilingual, in English and Vietnamese. A letter home from Vietnam that had likely been unread for over 50 years, had one viewer in tears when she read it in the exhibit.

Active-duty and retired U.S. military personnel (including National Guard members) will receive a $2 discount from History Center general admission prices ($8) during this exhibit. Disabled veterans will be admitted at no charge. The exhibition runs through November 5.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The 15th Anniversary Sunburst Convention Of Celebrity Impersonators


The Sunburst Convention of Celebrity Impersonators fell on the same day as one of my Orlando 10 x 10 Urban Sketch classes, so I arranged for our group of artists to go to the convention as sketch journalists. Ilene Lieber of Passion PR granted us all press passes. The event took place at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center located at The Florida Mall (1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 32809). Artists met in the lobby of the hotel and then went in to sketch the celebrity showcase.

Imagine Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Neil Diamond, Elvis, Cher, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Tiger Woods, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, Frank Sinatra, and numerous other icons of the past and present all gathered together to perform and be seen. No, it’s not another reality show, it is The Sunburst Convention of Celebrity Impersonators returning to Orlando for its 15th anniversary year.

This year, the public was invited to attend special talent showcases where impersonators performed, delighted, and entertained the masses. Plus, guests could get their picture taken with their favorite “celebrity” during intermission and following the showcases.

The goal of the workshop was to encourage artists to populate their sketches with multiple celebrities. I wanted them to focus on the gestures and costuming while the face was just secondary icing. Once we were inside the showcase theater, I couldn't offer any more advice, so I let the students just focus on sketching, while I did the same. I decided to sketch Lady Gaga since I couldn't resist the bra that looked like two hands cupping her breasts. She had red lipstick smeared beyond her lips and blue eye shadow defined her eyes. There were some impressive presidential impersonators and the acts ranged from excellent singers to muddled lip sync attempts. The guy taking notes in both of my sketches is a talent scout.

During an intermission, all the artists gathered back in the hotel lobby and we shared notes. I encouraged them to change the scene as needed to suit the sketch. For instance if someone's head is blocking a view of the performers feet, I suggested they get rid of the offending head. I honestly don't know what celebrity was seated next to me in the gorgeous black had and bold white dress. Anyone care to venture a guess?


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.