Sunday, December 31, 2017

Board Games over the Christmas Holdiay.

The Schwartz family has a beautiful farmhouse and land in Maquoketa, Iowa. Overnight, the entire landscape was dusted with an inch or so of snow.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all delicious home cooked meals.  The temperatures outside dropped to negative nine degrees by the end of the week.  With temperatures so low, we all stayed in all day either relaxing under a quilt on the couch or playing games on the dining room table.  Board and card games were played as the little ones ran around playing their own imaginary games.  The youngest had gotten an electronic ice cream cart that had a recorded track that taught numbers by requesting certain numbers of scoops and syrups.  The little sisters fought over that cart relentlessly until they discovered that the large cardboard box that the present came in was a much more interesting toy to crawl in and out of.  It could be a car, tunnel or time machine, the possibilities were endless.

By the end of the day, I had my fill of board games, and I settled in on the living room couch to sketch the Schwartz family playing a game called "Watch Ya Mouth" which was hilarious to watch. The game involves putting a plastic guard in your moth which spreads your lips wide making it impossible to pronounce Ps, Bs, and Ms.  The goal is for one player to say a phrase on a card and for their teammate to guess what is being said.  If you have a small mouth you are at a disadvantage.  Pam and I had played before and we were pretty good at understanding each other.  What happens for most players is that they laugh so much that they never even get the phrase out.

Another board game that we played was "Quelf."  It involved answering hilarious trivia, performing ridiculous stunts, or obeying silly rules. Players had to use creativity, wit, and sense of humor to progress around the board. One stunt I had to perform involved recreating as many yoga poses as I could in 30 seconds.  Since I had done yoga in the past, I had an advantage.  Another stunt involved me becoming a boomerang and saying, "wha, wha" as I walked around the home and back to the board.  Players could request that I perform the stunt again, and wouldn't you know, every player insisted I perform that stunt again and again.  I was exhausted from laughing so had.  I should have taken the penalty points.  The most popular game was a card game called "Euchre." It uses a regular deck of playing cards with only the cards from nine and up used.  Jacks are the most powerful cards and could change suite.  The rules are pretty complex, but I started to catch on over the course of the holiday.   Games began shortly after breakfast and went on all day, sometimes until 3 AM.  Needless to say, Christmas at the Schwartz homestead is an adventure. 

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

Saturday, December 30, 2017

One Voice Orlando: A Year in Reflection.

This concert was postponed because of Hurricane Irma.  It was rescheduled for November 4th at 6 pm at the Timucua White House (2000 South Summerlin, Orlando, FL 32806.)   All proceeds benefited Proyecto Somos Orlando (the funds will benefit Pulse survivors and and also Puerto Rico relief efforts). My short film, “Finger on the Pulse,” was also screened.

Leonard Bernstein said, "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, and more devoted than ever before." This evening was a celebration of Orlando's community and healing and was hosted by Luis Martinez.

Proyecto Somos Orlando is a one-stop shop wraparound service program created in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy to provide critical support to the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community regarding issues of mental health and education.

The program featured 10 performances of songs from operas and Broadway shows.  My sketch featured soprano Arleen RamirezJessica Devaney showed a short film called "Love the Sinner." The filmmaker grew up in a church with strict moral codes.  Later in life she fell in love with another woman and her place in the church was no longer secure.  The church considered her life style a sin.  In an incredible interview with a pastor, she explained to him that she could go to church alone but her partner would feel unwelcome.  He began to question his own moral code.

The final performance of the evening, "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel left the tone of hope for the future.  Being a privileged white heterosexual male citizen, I have never had to face bigotry and hatred in person.  Since Pulse, I have heard so many stories of the bigotry that still remains today and is even encouraged by the President.  We have a long road ahead of us.  Every day seems to bring a new storm.  Something somewhere has to give. 

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 30th and 31.

Saturday December 30, 2017
7 AM to 3 PM - Free. Citrus Bowl Parade. Staging area is on Orange Avenue  North of Robinson Street. The Florida Citrus Parade has grown to become one of the largest sports affiliated parades in the nation, an annual tradition that occurs each year between the Camping World Bowl and the Citrus Bowl games. In addition to its signature floats made of citrus fruit, the parade features spirited high school marching bands from throughout the nation, participating bowl game college marching bands, specialty units and other exciting performances. Upwards of 3,000 participants take part in this spectacular event.

The parade begins on Orange Avenue and Robinson Street and continues south on Orange Avenue, east on Anderson Street, then north on Rosalind Avenue. The parade concludes at Rosalind Avenue and Robinson Street. The route is 1.4 miles in length and takes 90-120 minutes to complete.

7 PM to 9 PM - Free. Ybor City Art Walk. 7th Ave Ybor Tampa, Florida 33605. Featuring a number of arts organizations and artsy businesses, be sure to R.S.V.P. here to get the official map for the walk! This event will begin at 7 pm and end at 11 pm (or maybe there will be an after party!) Here are the participating locations: The Bricks of Ybor, Bloodline Tattoo, Ybor Arts Colony, Hot Wax, Wandering Eye Art Gallery, Dysfunctional Grace, Moon Over Havana Arts Gallery, Live Arts Labs. There will be other businesses joining the lineup so stay tuned!

10:30 PM to 12:30AM - Free but get a drink or bite. Son Flamenco. (Ceviche Tapas, 125 W Church St, Orlando.) Hot-blooded Flamenco dancing to acoustic guitar.

Sunday December 31, 2017
10 AM to Noon - Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. (University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando.) The Method of Heartfulness, a simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources. 
Noon to 1 PM - Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park near the red gazebo.
Noon to 3 PM - Free. Music at the Casa. (Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park.) Members of the public are invited to visit our historic home museum on a Sunday afternoon from 12 to 3 pm, listen to live music and take a tour of our historic home museum and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio by trained docents.

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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Civil War Monument, the Capitol Mall Washington DC.

It is one of the most magnificent memorials in Washington D.C. It is a monument to Grant and all the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The section I decided to sketch features soldiers moving a cannon into position.

This monument was first proposed by the Society of the Army of Tennessee who wanted to honor the general who led the Union Army to victory. It was created by sculptor Henry Mervin Shardy who spent 20 years of his life working on it. When Shardy and architect Edward Pearce Casey won the commission to design the memorial in 1902, they had no idea the scope of what they were getting involved in. The budget for the memorial was $250,000.

The artist researched the project with ambition. He joined the National Guard and spent four years learning military practice. He found and researched Union equipment and gear and he read countless books and  studied paintings about the Civil War to familiarize himself with Grant and his military tactics. He was criticized several times for the slow pace of his work. The amazing amount of detail however proves that it was time well spent. He used his own likeness in one of the soldiers in the charge, forever memorializing his own likeness.

He worked at a frantic pace at the end of the project suffering through many sleepless nights, and illness. Sadly, the artist died two weeks before the sculpture was publicly unveiled on April 27, 1922 one hundred years after Grant's birth.

It was freezing cold the day I did this sketch and I ended up sitting in a puddle of ice cold water on the granite bench I sat on, literally freezing my butt. It was a minor inconvenience compared to Shardy’s long suffering commitment to this work of art.

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Trenton New Jersey Capitol.

I spent a day in Trenton, New Jersey exploring with my digital sketchbook. The capitol building is undergoing extensive renovations so that many of the windows are covered with plywood panels. It makes it look like the building is recovering from a natural disaster. For the first time I decided to treat a digital sketch the same way I would treat a watercolor sketch. I left the lightest areas pure white as if I were leaving the white of the paper to shine through. Working this way is much faster but the result seems more poster like and a bit cartoonish. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just need to keep experimenting.

After the sketch was done, I went to the New Jersey State Library (185 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608) next door to find a bathroom and write an article. In the afternoon, I explored the New Jersey State Museum (205 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608) which has a decent collection of modern art. Some of the painters are from New Jersey, but many were international. The museum also had a collection of mammal skeletons and some New Jersey historical collections like some Civil War era battle flags. My favorite exhibit was a series of WWII war posters which were created to raise funds for the war.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Alexander Hall in Princeton New Jersey

I spent a day exploring Princeton University. I settled on sketching Alexander Hall which is a 900 seat assembly hall. It is home to the Princeton University Orchestra and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. The building was completed in 1894.  The name honors the Alexander family who were trustees and donated money for the building's construction. The architect William Appleton Pother landed his first commission on the campus as a teenager. At the time, most architects learned their trade as apprentices, but Potter learned his trade in college.

The entire campus is gorgeous. I was schooled on the gritty streets of New York City. Seeing such a beautiful campus made me wish I had experiences such a privileged form of education. Most students who walked through this public square had wet hair. They had just risen, had a shower, and were now strolling off to class.

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

Monday, December 25, 2017

White Christmas.

Pam Schwartz and I are in Iowa for Christmas. On Christmas Eve it started to snow and it snowed all day long. I set some time aside to paint the view out of some bay windows that overlooked the property. The house is on top of a hill that overlooks all the land around it. There is a pond down at the bottom of the ravine in the direction that I was painting. There was a fine dusting of snow all day. I was pleased to find out that there was a brush on the tablet that easily paints snow. 

The Christmas tree had been set up with care and the next morning the presents under and next to the tree would be unwrapped. All the open fields became white encrusted in the snow as we rode to grocery stores for holiday supplies. On Christmas Eve evening we had a 15 pound NY strip loin roast that was amazingly tender along with cheesy potatoes and green beans with bacon. I gave Pam’s brother credit for a pan full of roasted water chestnuts wrapped in bacon that were delicious, that had really been made by Pam. 

Relatives come and go in waves and the family chats in the living room, warm from the snow outside. We often gather at the table to play board games. The sun has just set and online sites track Santa’s progress around the world. His sleigh seems to always be in flight. He never seems to and drop off presents. There is only an electric fireplace here in Maquoketa, so he must have to be good at breaking into homes to drop off his presents.

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

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Grandma Party Bazzar at Stardust Video and Coffee.

The 15th annual Grandma Party Bazaar is an Orlando holiday tradition held at Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 E. Winter Park Road, Orlando, FL.) There you could find handmade gifts, food, raffles, live music and more.  It is a great opportunity to grab something unique for that hard to buy for person on your holiday gift list.

Music on the main stage included DJ Nigel, DJ Oled, Dad, Von Nacht, Tiger Fawn, TV Dinner and more.  I spotted Tiger Fawn with her Vulcan ears among the booths but I didn't see her perform.  Pam and I brought Sprout to the event and there were plenty of butts to be sniffed.

Tents were crowed into the Stardust Video and Coffee parking lot.  Across the street more tents were set up outside Park Avenue CDs and Redlight Redlight.  One vendor had vintage board games but they were priced at $40 and $50 a pop.  It was a gorgeous sunny day and several friends stopped to say hello. Perhaps someday I should rent a space and offer quirky crafts at affordable prices.  Market value art would not sell.  Of course, I shouldn't be selling any art right now since it is considered a joint asset.  My art is only half mine, it would seem. 

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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Light Display.

I pass this place just about every day on my drive downtown. Every time I go by it seems like there is something new in the yard.  The house is located on Peel Street, just north of East Michigan Street.  I started this sketch before the sun set, and then started painting when the home owner drove into the driveway and turned on the lights.  She wandered the yard setting things up that had fallen over during the day.  A snowman's head was put back on his shoulders and a small Christmas tree was righted.

A gentleman on a bike asked about the sketch and explained that he was an artist himself.  He said that the home had recently been featured on TV News as one of Orlando's best Christmas light displays.  This neighborhood is ripe with outlandish Christmas displays.  With the advent of inflatables, many lawns are covered with giant Santas and snowmen. This lawn had an inflatable Yoda and Santa.  The igloo was made of sheer fabric stretched over a dome-shaped frame.  There were other items just out of frame like a fireplace with stockings hung with care.

After the sun set, the temperature dropped and I painted faster so I could drive home for some warmth.  A hot cocoa and soup thawed me out. The next night I drove by, the lighting display was off, the yard dark.  Perhaps they saw the power bill and decided to ration the Christmas joy. 

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 23rd and 24th.

Saturday December 23, 2017
7:30 AM to 8:30 AM - $32 to run. Run Run Santa One-MileCalvary Chapel Viera (map)
(2852 Fellowship Place, Orlando, Fl.) A fast, festive one-mile course that's perfect for everyone from elite runners to families looking to celebrate the holidays together. All participants receive a full Santa Claus suit to wear during the race with registration.

2PM and 7:30 PM - $18-$22. Phantasmagoria's A Christmas Carol. Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (201 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford, Fl.) This critically acclaimed Victorian Performance Troupe weaves movement, dance, puppetry, projections, music and storytelling in this classic ghost tale. 

8 PM to Midnight - Free.
A Wasteland Christmas Party. Gods and Monsters (5421 International Drive, Orlando, FL.) Christmas party with classic Christmas movies playing on the big screens, cosplay mutant cage dancers, and special holiday drinks and treats for everyone.

Sunday December 24, 2017.
4 PM to 10 PM - Free. Pagan Pajama Party. VAULT 5421 (5421 International Dr, Orlando, Florida 32819.) Show up in your pajamas, and get 20% off your bar tab and purchases in the store! Enjoy Holiday drinks and cookies with the Krampus! We'll be playing Krampus movies on the big screens and have a naughty elf dancing in the cage too! We realize that most Pagans' idea of pajamas is going skyclad, but please do wear SOME sort of legal apparel to this party.

 6 PM to 8 PM - $7. Bad Santa and His Ten Pints of Truth (Eugene Snowden). Will's Pub (1042 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL.) Christmas Eve show with free gumbo.

5 PM -  Free. Blues Jam hosted by Doc WilliamsonThe Alley (114 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, FL.) Bring an instrument and join in the fun.

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith.

Anna Deavere Smith is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominated American actress best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. Anna Deavere Smith’s theater work has become an inspirational source for civil discourse. She began the evening by playing the part of the man who video taped the police brutality which resulted in death of Eric Garner by compression of neck, due to a choke hold, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.  Anna interviews people and then recreates that interview through a theatrical performance.  The result was an infuriated outburst by someone who is shocked and horrified by the continued police brutality that is rampant today.  Sometimes witnessing improper use of force is all that can be done. 

Through a short performance and interview, audiences heard about the process of combining a passion for social causes with documentary style theatre making. Ms. Smith seeks to “discern the American character and to capture its politics.” The discussion focused on how she finds the authentic voice of the people she interviews and then creates on stage.

Her brief performance was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Not having a TV, I haven't seen any of the shows that Anna starred in. I admire the premise of her one woman shows which are a combination of documentary and theater.  Her discussion on how she conducts her interviews was insightful.  I clearly see the need of hearing peoples' stories, because every voice has its place in history. 

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia.

Pam Schwartz and I have been binge watching American Horror Story: Freak Show.  Side show freaks were murdered in that show and then their deformed bodies were put on display in formaldehyde glass cases.  The museum curator was depicted as a woman of questionable morals who only wanted to find the most unique deformities to put on display.  Both the side show and museum were desperate for patrons as the public turned to TV instead of live entertainment.  The museum in that series must be based on the very real Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia (19 S 22nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19103.)

On display in the Mutter Museum is every conceivable deformity know to man.  On a recent trip to the Ringling Museum, I saw circus posters depicting Chang and Eng Bunker who are arguably the most famous conjoined Siamese twins. They were born in what is now Thailand in 1811. They came to the United States in 1829 to tour and speak. Eventually tiring of life as touring performers, they married sisters and bought adjacent farms in North Carolina in the early 1840s. Between them, they raised 21 children and managed two farms. 

When the brothers died in 1874, Fellows of The College of Physicians conducted the autopsy and arranged for the specimens to be transferred to the museum. On display in the main gallery are their conjoined livers and the plaster death cast of their torsos. Fetus' with various abnormalities were on display in glass jars on the shelves around the twins. No photography is allowed, but sketching is encouraged.  I could get lost in this place for weeks sketching all the unique forms.  

On the ground floor of the museum was an amazing art display by Lisa Nilsson.  In her Tissue Series, she created ornate quilled paper constructions that explore the complex geography of the human anatomy.  She used images of transverse, coronal and sagittal cross sections from medical sources as reference. Her work finds a delicate balance between art and anatomic accuracy, beauty and the grotesque.

The forms, made from Japanese mulberry paper and the gilt edges of antique books, are rendered in a technique of rolled and shaped paper called quilling or paper filigree. The technique, first practiced by Renaissance nuns and monks and later by aristocratic women in the 16th-18th centuries, finds a contemporary relevance in Nilsson’s work.

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Festival of Trees.

The Festival of Trees, now in its thirty-first year, transforms the Orlando Museum of Art (2416 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803), into a glittering wonderland filled with sparkling trees, vignettes and stunning décor for visitors of all ages. This year’s event was designed with the theme The Gift of The Holidays and took place the week of November 11-19, 2017. The Orlando Museum of Art showcased designer Christmas trees of all sizes, holiday vignettes, custom hand-designed wreaths and table décor, a gingerbread village, tabletop displays and more. Each piece was designed by Orlando’s finest designers and was available for purchase.

The museum was jam packed the day I decided to go to get a sketch.  This was the one room where  the crowd thinned out enough for me to find a spot to sit.  The tree with the helmet and banners was designed by Medieval Times.  To my right, but outside the field of view of my sketch was a Marvel Comic themed tree.  It garnered the most comments with kids shouting to identify the comic characters made even more popular by summer blockbuster movies.

I find it odd that the festival was held the week before Thanksgiving.  The holiday seems to be promoted earlier and earlier each year. 

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Santaland Diaries at Breakthrough Theater.

You can find The Santaland Diaries starring BeeJay Aubertin Clinton at Breakthrough Theater (421 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789.) As the audience filed in, the actor on stage was decorating the Christmas Tree.  He turned to Pam and said, "Oh, so that is what you decided to wear?" She was in her sweatshirt and jeans, granted not an elegant outfit, but comfortable. I was also in a sweatshirt and my hiking boots.  BeeJay had a snarky comment for everyone in the audience to get us warmed up for the show.  

With dreams of someday landing a roll in his favorite soap opera, this actor has to resort to auditioning as an elf for the Christmas Holidays.  To make matters worse, he gets the part.  His dark view of the world is only reaffirmed as he sees the way parents force this holiday madness on their children.  

BeeJay removed his jeans and shirt to unveil red snowflake tights and an elf jacket.  His elf hat was under a pillow, and he extricated his sneakers from under a couch.  Clearly this actor wasn't prepared for the saccharine sweet training that followed.  Some sights can't be unseen, like the mom who was encouraging her young son to pee in the fake snow.  The high stakes horror of waiting to meet Santa brings out the worst in any parent.  

This was a fun night of pessimism with a dash of sass.  

Remaining Show Dates and Times:
Monday, December 18, 10 p.m.

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

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What's Up Downtown for the Holidays.

The Downtown Development Board invited people to attend the annual What's Up Downtown  free holiday event held at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola.   Held at lunch time, downtown workers were encouraged to pack up a lunch and experience song and dance performances by the Russian Ballet, Mad Cow Theatre, Docs and Dellas, Dr. Phillips Center Premier Performance Ensemble, Howard Middle School Jazz Band and Howard Middle School Show Choir. I decided to sketch the choir whose choreography involved lots of exuberant hand motions. 

Artist German Lemus had an easel set up and was doing a painting of the event. It is encouraging that I wasn't the only artist documenting the occasion.  His painting involved bold acrylic brush strokes.  An office worker in front of me was having a cup of soup.  Some of the young singers were flat and a few wrong notes were blatted out, but seeing so many kids exited to be on stage was heart warming enough.  It was overcast and downright cold, but my tablet manages to help warm my hands.  

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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sleigh at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford.

I went to the final dress rehearsal for Sleigh presented by Gromalot Theater Factory at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (201 S. Magnolia, Sanford, FL 32771.) In this show, a pair of shopkeepers re-define “rivalry” as they coax customers away from their competitor. And three determined mail carriers fight the elements, a poorly addressed letter, and even each other to make a delivery. The entire show is silent except for sound effects, relying on exaggerated expressions and Vaudeville styled gestures to communicate the story.

I had seen Brandon Roberts play the part of a Christmas tree years ago.  I was a bit sad not to see him reprising his roll.  A silly section of the play involves an actor wearing the foam tree to express holiday cheer.  However the tree outfits are so silly that they just evoke laughter rather than the intended joy.  I recognized the director but couldn't quite place her at first.  It was only after the rehearsal was over that it occurred to me that it was Toni Chandler, who is Brandon Roberts' wife.

The stage set resembled a large Christmas card.  When closed, it showed a quiet little town to set the locale.  When it was opened it showed two shops next to each other, with the address numbers 1223 and 1227.  These were a bell shop and a whistle shop.  The female actress would be walking by the shops and the bell shop owner would ring her bell.  The shopper would stop in her tracks and with a huge exaggerated child like joy she would instantly want the bell.  She would pull money from her pocket and with a cha ching sound effect she would raise it above her head.  Before she could spend the money however the other shop owner would blow his whistle.  She wanted both and the shop owners played tug of war with her desire and with her money. 

Sleigh is a quick series of silent comic scenes with plenty of physical comedy.  Actors have many quick costume changes.  In one scene an actor rushed off stage and had to return dressed as a Salvation Army bell ringer.  The scene played out as it should, but it took a long while before he realized that he had forgotten to put on his pants in the rush of the costume change.  The result was that the actors where laughing so hard they had a hard time finishing the scene.  I hope that they leave that wardrobe malfunction in the final production.

The production is laugh out loud funny and your only chance to see it is tonight at 2:00PM and 7:30PM. 

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 16th and 17th.

Saturday December 16, 2017
5 PM to 9:30 PM -  Free.  Orlando Zine Fest 2017(Will's Pub, 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803).  Orlando's local zinesters, artists, and writers--plus some folks from farther afield--celebrate and support independent publishing and DIY/T with what they think may be the tenth consecutive annual Orlando Zine Fest outside of Will's Pub/Lil Indie's in the ambitiously appellated Dirty Laundry Amphitheatre.
Accessible venue - swap and/or buy!
Bar at lil indies just inside where we'll be hosting.
Record store pop-ups and screening movies again!
Coffee/tea by Danny ~food trucks - vegan options
REGISTER HERE: no registration fee.
All are welcome growing list of participating zines:
Citrus Beat Press/, Event Horizon/Orlando Area SF Society /, Gnome Comics /, Love Your Rebellion / Nickname /, Reflections on Gun Control Street Type Zine /, Florida is Loud will be ongoing throughout the weekend and Saturday night at Will's.

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM -  $10Orlando Cringe IX - The Holiday Show! SAK Comedy Lab, (29 S Orange, Orlando, FL 32801.) For the last show of 2017, Cringe is teaming up with SAK Comedy Lab for a very special Cringemas Show! They are bringing back a very special reader from Cringe's and SAK's amazing team will be performing improvised scenes completely based on their journals. They also have other surprises, so naughty or nice, it's going to be a great show!

2 PM to 11:30PM - Free.  Kaleidoscope Open House - Yoga, Music, Drawing, Painting Event
Kaleidoscope Venue For The Arts (1991 Corporate Square #1, Longwood, FL). 
Kaleidoscope will be having their first free 'Open House' in conjunction with the Surrealistic Dreams art show on Saturday. The Open House begins at 2:00pm with Free Yoga at 2:00pm and at 6:00pm, Live Model Drawing with Music begins at 7:30pm, the Art Show is from 7:30pm to 11:30pm and they may be adding more things to see and do to this event as it draws closer!

Sunday December 17, 2017
10 AM to 7 PM - Free.  Grandma Party Bazaar 2017! Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 Winter Park Rd, Orlando, FL 32803.) It's the fifteenth Grandma Party Bazaar and you're invited! Bring your friends for the best Sunday of the year. Grandma Party is you and me and all of us making it happen, so you'd better be there because it just won't be the same without you. As always, the party will be held in the parking lot of Stardust Video and Coffee starting at 10 a.m. and closing at Sundown. You can get a taste of what good ol' Gran has to offer this year by following her on Facebook and Instagram (@Grandma_Party). Orlando has some seriously creative artists and makers that were hard to choose from, but she has picked some of the best of the best to share their craft with you. There will be a raffle,  interactive booths and DJ sets by Nigel John and Oled Dad and live music from Von Nacht, Tiger Fawn, TV Dinner and MORE! Of course, lots food and drinks too.

If you are new to the bazaar, be sure to bring your cash (most vendors take cards too), and finish up your holiday shopping with one of a kind treasures. While you're at it, buy yourself a little something too! Parking can be a challenge on this day, but it's a good thing they are located in the great neighborhood of Audubon Park where there are lots of streets. Other options are carpooling, biking and Uber.

4 PM to 9 PM - Free. Winter Garden Christmas Golf Cart Parade. Bradford Park (220 West Division Street, Winter Garden, FL.)  Are you ready for the 2017 WG Christmas Golf Cart Parade?! They will begin their 5th annual Golf Cart Parade by gathering at Bradford Park early to socialize and compare decorations before heading out to tour Downtown Winter Garden and ending near Walker Field near the Plant Street Market. They will have prizes for the best decorated golf carts so take this seriously. All money raised will be graciously donated to the Edgewood Children's Ranch as they have done in past. Golf Carts only and all traffic laws still apply.

7 PM to 9 PM - $10 donation Give ME Cheer. Marshall Ellis Theatre (1300 La Quinta Dr #3, Orlando, FL 32809.) Get in the Christmas spirit and join Give ME Cheer, ME Dance’s first charity ball benefiting local dance organizations, events and scholarships. Enjoy performances, food, drink, meet-and-greets, a silent auction and raffle.

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ludovico Einaudi in concert.

On a recent tip to Princeton, New Jersey, I arranged to sketch a concert by Ludovico Einaudi at the McCarter Theatre Center (91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540).  Ludovico Einaudi is a renowned pianist and composer. The Italian musician was born in Turin, Italy where his classical career began, before he moved on to create music for film with influences of pop, rock, and folk music.

Einaudi began his career performing classical music in the 1980s after training at the Conservatorio Verdi, when he began composing orchestral and classical pieces, before progressing to more main stream music heard in popular culture in the mid 80s. As well as piano, he plays and composes for guitar, in which he is incredibly skilled and proficient. Although Einaudi is influenced by classical artists, his style is unique with the fusion of classical and popular music bridging the gap between the two genres, making his music extremely accessible to many types of listeners.

From his eclectic back catalogue of tracks he has won several awards, including Best Film Music at the Avingon Film Festival and Best Soundtrack at the Italian Music Awards. His music has also appeared in popular culture worldwide, composing the trailer music for the movie Black Swan.

His album Le Onde written for piano and performed as a solo was the best selling album in the UK and Italy, sending Einaudi to success. Still producing charting music, his latest album "In A Time Lapse" has taken him on a giant US and Canadian tour, as well as landing him a slot at the prestigious iTunes festival.

The house lights were dark for the entire evening, so I struggled to see my sketch by the dim light of my cell phone.  Through the first half of the concert, he was joined on stage by a guitarist, violin, cello, a second electronic pianist and a percussionist.  The lighting was stark with spot lights on each performer. The music is mesmerizing, leaving the impression of a dream state.  The other performers left the stage and then Ludovico performed a solo that lasted forever.  There were periodic pauses where he held his hands suspended over the keys and then the music resumed.  The percussion in one piece had a sheet of metal suspended in a vat of water.  The metal would be shaken to produce thunderous sounds muffled by the liquid.  It was an experimental way of producing unexpected mysterious sounds. Overall it was an amazing concert and if we ever have a chance to see him in concert again, would jump at the opportunity. 

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Museum of Osteology

The tenth Orlando Urban Sketch Workshop was held at the Museum of Osteology (8441 International Dr Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819) a few days before Halloween.  The goal of the workshop was to get artists to capture the posed skeletons with simple fluid shapes and gestures.  They were asked to not render each bone with precision, but to focus on the actions of the poses.  The museum is perfect for this since every skeleton is posed as if the creature were alive.

  My favorite example was a small critter digging into a box of Milk Duds.  As an added bonus children were trick or treating at the businesses around the Orlando Eye.  The author Chad Shea of a children's book called, "The Skeleton in the Closet" was in the Museum of Osteology gift shop.  As we were waiting for workshop attendees to show up, he pulled me over to his table to show me his book.  The book comes with a pose-able plastic skeleton that is in line with the tradition of a Christmas Elf on the Shelf.  Parents for generations have hidden elves in their homes for the children to find at Christmas.  Well they took that tradition and have a skeleton in the closet which can be hidden.  It is a clever idea.  The author knew of Analog Artist Digital World and he said he really liked an article I wrote called "The Otter and the Gun." Chad ended up giving me the book and skeleton package, so this will become part of my Halloween tradition in the future.  Some skeletons had a realistic human skull, and others have a skull stylized like the illustrators depiction in the book.  The author popped off a realistic skull and popped on a stylized version to give me. Unfortunately withing a minute of opening the package, I decided to check the mobility of the head and I busted the skull off the spine.  Artists, especially animators,  are the worst on toys. 

The workshop was three hours long and I encouraged students to try and complete a more finished sketch with multiple skeletons together for the last sketch.  Since I was giving each student sketch suggestions I didn't have time to finish up a more finalized sketch myself.  I was content to do a series of studies.

I settled on a a pair of sea otters for my final quick sketch.  I was planning a computer animated film about a sea otter and a sea lion.  I have modeled sea otters in the computer and even modeled their entire skeleton, so I am familiar with their quirky long forms.  I liked the yin and yang posturing of the skeletons.  One otter had his paws behind his head, a pose that isn't often seen in nature.  Since they preen all the time however, it isn't an impossible anthropomorphic pose.

There were some great sketches done that night by attendees.  If you have relatives visiting this holiday season, I would suggest a trip to the Osteology Museum.  It is a rare gem right here in Orlando. 

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

IMMERSE by the Creative City Project.

On November 21st, the downtown street of Orange Avenue was shut down from just north of Pine Street, down towards South Street.  IMMERSE is an invitation to unexpected creative encounters in the heart of Downtown Orlando. You’ll find yourself truly immersed in art, performance, and interactive installations.

With collaborators like Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Philharmonic, Orlando Ballet, and the Central Florida Community Arts Orchestra, you won’t want to miss this evening which is unlike any other.
In 2016, the Creative City Project brought nearly 1,000 performers to the streets and public spaces of Downtown Orlando for more than 20,000 patrons. IMMERSE 2017 continued the tradition of growth and excitement by bringing you more large scale WOW moments and unexpected, intimate creative encounters.

From Classical to Hip-Hop music, murals, dance, acrobatics, interactive installations, artists from Orlando, around the country, and the around the world converge on Downtown Orlando for one of the largest showcases of innovation and creativity in the performing and installation arts in the country.

I hosted one of the Orlando Urban Sketch Workshops during this incredible event.   With so much going on at the same time it was difficult to decide on a single subject to sketch.  I offered personalized instruction to each Urban Sketcher and then dashed off to do a quick sketch myself.  I decided to focus on performers waiting to get on the stage next.  This gave me some time to focus on them before heading off to see the twirling dancers on the stage. 

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Art of Medicine Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art.

First Green Bank and The Art of Medicine Foundation invited health care professionals and brain injury survivors to submit artwork to be auctioned for charity. This event is educates and inspires awareness about the impact that brain injuries and other neurological disorders can have on those affected. Proceeds from the event benefited the University of Florida Trauma, Concussion, and Sports Neuromedicine Program.

The gala is in honor of Dr. Cindy LaRoe, who sustained a traumatic brain injury during a competitive biking accident. The injury paused LaRoe’s career in medicine, but also led her down a path of discovering her artistic talents. During her recovery, LaRoe found painting therapeutic, and now, six years after her injury, she continues to paint. She paints in vibrant bold colors. Cindy is standing in front of her painting of clown fish in my sketch. 

In a video presentation Cindy remembered the day of her accident at a bike race.  There were incentives with each lap which incited racers to sprint. She was in a group of racers heading up a hill.  Some of the girls started to sprint to pass and Cindy let them. They crossed the lines which is against the rules.  There was a big crash in front of Cindy.  She recalled a flash of bodies going down in front of her.  After the accident, she couldn't see for a while, there was twitching in her right eye and blurred vision.   She couldn't handle the over-stimulation of live music and crowds.  She always felt she was seeing movement to her right side.  Memories were gone.  She woke up and was a different person.  She doesn't want anyone to ever have to experience that.  She likes to think that things happen for a reason.  Color was more intense and vibrant. Creating art gave her life a new meaning.  In some ways she feels she might be a better person that she was.   It doesn't all suck.

Her recovery and her talent were the inspiration for she and her husband, Ken LaRoe, the founder of First Green Bank, to create the Art of Medicine Foundation. Ken took to the microphone.   He explained that after the accident, his wife developed a seizure disorder.  There were days where she had over 100 seizures.  She was put on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals but they had no effect.  One day one of Ken's biggest clients said randomly that he smokes dope.  He smokes so that he can get to sleep at night and has done so since he was 15 years old.  He has a net worth of over 60 million, so clearly he isn't just a stoner.  He invited Ken over to his Isleworth mansion to pick up a joint.   Ken reluctantly agreed and hid the joint in a baggie under his car seat.  A week later he told Cindy that she needed to try it.  She said, "No."   He said, "Look, you are a doctor, this is a medical experiment." He took a couple of tokes to cut the ice.  After she took her 4th toke off the joint, her seizures stopped.  They stopped all night and into the next day.  It worked day after day.  Her neurologist couldn't explain it.  Over 6 months she got off the pharmaceuticals. In the interim, medical marijuana became legal.  Cindy finds a silver lining in every situation.  The gala is an example of that.  

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cutting the Turkey.

Thanksgiving in Iowa was a crash course in Midwestern hospitality. The family farm occupies 16 acres but is land-locked on three sides by neighbors' farms. The red house is at the top of a hill which allows epic views of sunsets and sunrises. It is the end of bow hunting season, but that didn’t stop a lone doe from standing at the edge of the woods about 100 yards away from the back sliding glass doors. Up in another clearing about a quarter mile away wild turkeys foraged at the edge of the field.

Ron Schwartz was responsible for carving the turkey and I couldn’t resist sketching the Norman Rockwell moment. First, all the stuffing was removed and then carving commenced. Ron is skilled with knives, so the carving went quickly. The kitchen behind him was alive with activity as the other Thanksgiving sides were prepared. Green beans had crunchies, potatoes had gravy and four different pies waited for desert. No one at a Schwartz dinner table leaves hungry.

Once the Turkey rib cage was cut free of all the white meat, Ron put the bird and platter on the back porch where four outdoor cats picked it clean. The cats must have even swallowed some of the bones. Later, after we ate and were playing board games, the black cat hauled a huge dead squirrel up on to the porch and dropped it down by the sliding glass doors like some sort of reciprocal peace offering. The cats had celebrated Thanksgiving in grand style, and even enjoyed a squirrel for dessert.

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