Thursday, August 8, 2019

Universal City Walk

Periodically illustration instructors from Savannah Collage of Art and Design come down to Orlando to sketch in Universal studios. I met  instructor Ted Michalowski when I drove up to Scranton Pennsylvania around the time that my step mother died. While up there I reached out and found that Ted hosted a sketch event each month and I decided to join the local artist sketching. His event had local musicians performing and artist could gather to sketch the jam session. One musician played the Theremin which is an instrument that you just move your hand over to create sound. You hear this instrument in most early science fiction films. It was a fun sketch session.

After 6pm parking is free at Universal for local residents so Pam and I drove down and met Ted and several other instructors for dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. The Savannah instructors have connection which allow them to sketch some areas behind the scenes. For instance they sketched and painted characters from the Harry Potter movies without having to be pushed along with the crowds going on the rides.  After sharing sketchbooks and war stories of the challenges of teaching art, we all went outside to sketch at City Walk. I don't visit Universal or City Walk very often so it was exciting to mingle with the tourist crowds and try and catch the bright lights as the neon and signage turned on after sunset.

Ted used bold ink line work to create gestural and intimate figurative sketches. While I sketched a view overlooking the crowds below. Ted sketched me all of the artists at work. He has a fantastic knack for catching faces and peoples poses with intimate close ups. Since this evening in the park, I have been following the work of Ron Spears whose painterly style is an inspiration. He was teaching a class in Italy and it was great to see his everyday studies. He is now painting up a storm doing loose informal studies that are a delight to see. The other artist I met this night was Stephen Gardener who's realistic painting were also an inspiration. This is one advantage of Orlando in that talent often gravitates to this magical place.

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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