Thursday, July 5, 2018

Waiting for Fireworks at Lake Eola

I finished teaching an Urban Sketching class at Elite Animation at 3pm on July 4th 2018. I decided to drive to the Pine Street studio since it is so close to Lake Eola and there is a parking spot behind the building. I didn't think to see if any of the downtown Orlando side streets were closed. My direct route to the studio was blocked, so I had to snake north in an effort to make my way around Lake Eola. Luckily my block was not closed as well.

Walking to the lake only took a few minutes once I had parked. Rain threatened, with dark grey clouds on the horizon and it began to drizzle. I seldom sketch outside in the summer since there is usually a rain storm every afternoon. My plan was to sketch the early arrivals at the Lake. People come with picnics and hang out for the afternoon so that they are guaranteed a spot lakeside for the fireworks after the crowd presses in.

This couple has three pizza boxes along with some cans of coke and an incredible assortment of groceries still in the plastic bags they got at the check out counter. The band shell across the lake still sported he rainbow paint job it got for Pride after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. The fountain was working and come evening, it would be lit up with red, white and blue spotlights. All the swans were out in the middle of the lake probably intimidated by the crowds of humans that kept circling the lake. The path was barricaded at the World of beer, so i imagine the fireworks would likely be launched from around that area.

The couple I was sketching smoked the entire time I was there and they were perched on a carped of dry pine needles which would ignite like a wildfire with any spark. Of course with all the sparks raining down from the sky, I imagine a few cigarette butts might be the cities least concern. To my right was a stage for a band, so this spot would certainly be extra crowded once the sun set. I left when the sketch was done because a fabulous meal of ribs awaited back at home. The neighborhood is a war zone of amateur fireworks anyway. Last year the smoke was so thick on the street that visibility was reduced to a few feet as if a London fog had descended. It is now dusk and the explosions are picking up their pace.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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