Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival


The eighth annual Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival was held in the Mills 50 area. Lunar New Year events are based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which calculates both the motions of Earth around the sun, and the moon around the Earth.

The parade assembled near Track Shack on Mills Avenue and then went down Thornton Avenue ending at the parking lot behind The Cameo Theater, home of Snap Gallery on Colonial Drive. I was teaching an Urban Sketching class at Crealde School of Art on that morning and considered taking my students to the festivities to sketch, but the timing was off. By the time we would have arrived from class, the parade would have been over. Instead I had my student sketch in Panera's which is a much calmer setting.

Immediately after class I drove over to the parade. A large red an yellow balloon arch marked the entry to the event. Food and merchandiser tents were lined up in the parking lot and the place was packed. On the main stage a drum chore was setting the tone. I finally decided I had to sketch the arch and the tent where the dragon heads were stored.

Orlando Urban Sketchers had decided to come to parade as well to sketch but I didn't see anyone at first. After I sat and started sketching I was approached by a sketcher who wanted to watch as I sketched. I explained my thought process a bit as I set up the composition. Once she started sketching as I well I got lost in my process.

For the longest time this seemed like a boring sketch location, but then a group of youths in red tee shirts started getting dressed in bright yellow pants. It turned out I was watching two dragon dancers getting ready to perform. Once the head was put on the dragon came alive and a large crowd gathered all around me. The dragon was rather silly often falling down and always getting in the face of small children. One little Chinese girl was mesmerized and she followed the yellow dragon around grinning the whole time. The dragon looked at the sketch in my lap and so I lifted it up so she could see it right side up. She nodded her head with delight.

This is the year of the pig. I didn't see any pigs at the festivities but Pam brought out Darcy, her new puppy. The dragon was curious about Darcy and danced in front of the her. The puppies eyes bugged out in amazement. She tried to hide behind Pam's legs and when the dragon once again approached she darted away as fast and as far as she could. Since she was on a leash she didn't get to far. For her first social outing Darcy got very over stimulated.

It turned out the Urban Sketchers were at the event. They were apparently gathered in the shade behind the main stage. They had their sketch throw down photo op, but I was still in the midst of my one and only sketch surrounded by dragons, so I didn't get over to where they met. I made the mistake of wearing a black tee shirt to an event in a black tar parking lot in the insanely hot Florida sun, but I survived. The dragon parade is definitely a great sketch opportunity and I am glad I made it. After the sketch was done I ordered some Pad Thai and Pam and I watched a yo-yo choreographer doing some major moves to rap music. It might sound strange but it was fun to watch.


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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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