Friday, January 31, 2020

Waldorf Towers Hotel

The last stop on the sketch walk I hosted was the Waldorf Towers Hotel (860 Ocean Drive Miami Beach FL) built in 1937 by architect Albert Anis. A curious and unique feature of this building is the round watchtower on the upper right hand corner. It seems like this might be a good place to look over the street scene below but the glass blocks under the tower verified that you couldn't actually stand up there and look out the windows of the tower. It was purely decorative.

The structural system is concrete block stucco and has 44 rooms built at a cost of $75,000. The building is nearly symmetrical in it's primary and secondary elevations. The only exception is rounded corner. The building has continuous eyebrows (horizontal banding) with a slightly projected central bay with a stepped ziggurat parapet roof line. There is vertical ribbing at corner and a central bay and fluted columns support the porch. There is multi-colored terrazzo floor designs with glass block ornamentation in lobby.

With the sketch walk finished and the sun setting we all "threw down" our drawing to see what everyone had done during the sketch walk. It is fun to see the wide variety of styles and then we all posed for photos. This walk was a collaboration between Orlando Urban Sketchers, Tampa Urban Sketchers and Miami Urban Sketchers. A few people also joined us because they heard about it during the Art Deco Weekend.

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, January 30, 2020

Painting the Set for Three Musketeers

I went into the Shakes to watch as scenic painters Sarah Taylor and Izabella Cellucci working on the set of Three Musketeers. Jeff Ferree gave me a quick tour of the set in progress before I started on my sketch. The dynamic feature of this set is that the center section of the back stage can spin, offering quick set changes. A large motor with a rubber tire is used to spin the circular inset. A circular staircase will be added to the section that spins. I imagine some fancy swordplay on those steps.. The curved back wall looks like stonework but is cardboard pressed and formed to look like stone.

The floors of the set were being painted. The paint is layered in passes. Izabella, with the paint roller was applying the first pass which was a colored base coat. Sarah painnted the center elevated stage section which was getting a darker grout coloring between the ancient stonework. I loved that her paints had as much paint splatter as the stonework she was working on. Actually her pants also had a grey camouflage pattern which made her pants seem more splattered that they were. The background stage floor already had all the paint treatments applied and the stonework was deep an rich, surrounded by dark wooden beams, and all that wood grain was also painted. This was a large set with a whole lot of surfaces that needed painting.

The foreground section of floor then got the fun treatment I was hoping to see. She took buckets of paint and dipped in a large house brush and then threw the paint on each panel. She would drop down the lightest color followed by two other colors and then she let those spatters mix together organically like a molten lava flow. Seated in the front row I was a bit concerned about getting spattered myself but she had total control of her medium. She told me she got her break painting a set at the Rep and she has been painting shows ever since. I loved watching the process, it is so much like painting in watercolor where spatters are just part of the process rather than being considered mistakes. Once the puddled of paint were applied she watched as the pains swam together in unexpected ways. Large fans were then turned on to blow over, but not directly on the drying paint. If the strong fans were aimed right at the paint then streaks would develop and that was not the look they were going for.

Three Musketeers by Catherine Bush is adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. The show runs from February 5, 2020 to March 22, 2020. It is a story of double crossings, kidnappings, and carefully guarded secrets, complete with lavish sword fights and sweeping romance, set in a time when love and honor ruled the world. Get your ticket now.

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, January 29, 2020

Men on Boats

Men on Boats written by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Rebekah Lane runs at the Mad Cow Theater through February 9, 2020. The show outlines the story of an 1869 expedition, where a one-armed captain named John Wesley Powell (Cynthia Beckert), and a crew of insane, yet loyal volunteers, set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. Powell was a Civil War Veteran and personal friend of President Grant. Though he himself could not hold a paddle, he lead the  government sanctioned journey down the wild rapids leading through Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, and through the most dangerous waterway of all, in the Grand Canyon. 

The ten explorers were divided among three boats.  Though historically all men, the cast was all woman, which added to the bravado as they overcame each obstetrical on this harrowing journey. As an artist I found the pace of the show dauntingly fast and furious. To simulate the ride down river the cast would crouch behind one another facing the audience and move as a unit to the rivers every ebb, flow and swell. In slow motion one of the crew might loose balance as if a ballerina and be caught by another crew member.

The canyon walls of the set had crystalline cubes set into it that seemed to have lines of text on them. I didn't know what to make of them. The painted river on stage would be ignored when the crew were out of the boats and at camp. This involved some suspension of disbelief when crew were sitting lying or standing in the water. In general the stage was a tight fit for the full cast of 10.

On the expedition the crew grew tighter together like a band of brothers as the odds mounted. They also began to doubt one another and grow on each other's nerves. When they suffered the loss of a boat and supplies, at Disaster Falls, they argued, postured and pretended, and to relieve   pressure they would name mountains after themselves. When it looked like supplies would not last, three of the crew decide to split off, hoping to find a Mormon settlement rather than ride the insane rapids. The remaining seven decided to brave the dangerous rapids to reach the other side.

At one point the entire cast stood in awe of the majestic Grand Canyon that stood as their adversary to survival. I imagined the canyon walls illuminated by the golden glow of the a setting sun. For me the comedic highlight was a rattle snake that made its way into camp. All the bravado was suddenly replaced by shrieks of terror. Considering the dire circumstances of the expedition, that snake seemed a minor thing to fear.

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, January 28, 2020

Captain Barry's Art Deco Adventure

Once my Art Deco Weekend demos and sketch walks were finished, I decided to join a group of artists on a sketch walk along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. The first stop n this sketch walk was the Versace Mansion. I had sketched the mansion twice already, once in my sketchbook on the first day, and once on a large sea grape leaf for one of my demos. Instead of once again drawing the mansion, I decided instead to sketch the artists perched curbside working on their sketches.

Captain Barry came from Virginia to join us documenting the festival. He attended my leaf sketching demo and he finished a sketch of the mansion on a leaf as well. We hung his leaf in the Urban Sketchers tent and someone wanted to buy it but we were not sure if he wanted to sell it. He is the most enthusiastic artist I have met. He appreciates the talents of all the artists around him and he loves getting up close to the action when he sketches. In my sketch he is leaning up against the New Times paper dispenser.

After I had blocked out the composition of this sketch, a woman walked up to Captain Barry and she leaned over him chatting. She stood there for the next hour or so apparently telling Barry every detail of her home renovation saga. Barry was in the awkward position of not seeming rude, but still having to finish his sketch. I was proud of him for keeping his focus and keeping his hand moving while still nodding occasionally to let the woman know he was still listening.

In Virginia, Captain Barry runs Back Bay Cruises which offers hands on Eco-Expeditions. He sets sail on the Chinoteague, on a flat deck pontoon boat that becomes a floating classroom and research vessel offering hands on aquatic lessons. Participants get off the bots at one point on the sand bars to dig   in the mud for sea creatures. The cruise continues with crab pots and for those that are brave enough, learning how to hold a crab without getting pinched. They then navigate to shell island for shell collecting and then the illusive hunt for jellyfish. The adventure used all the senses, hearing, touch, taste and smells. Should you find yourself in the neighborhood be sure to contact Captain Barry.

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, January 27, 2020

Beach Patrol Miami Beach

Pam and I went on a sketch walk with Gaston McKenzie of the Tampa Urban Sketchers group at Art Deco Weekend in Miami Beach. The Beach Patrol Headquarters were built in 1936 by Robert Taylor.  Backside of the building is a prime example of Tropical or Nautical Deco, a style that mimics the lines of 1920s era ocean liners with port holes and ships railings. It would make sense to see people lounging on the top deck.

The MiMo (Miami Modern) facade along Ocean Drive fronts the Oceanfront Auditorium which is home to the Miami Design Preservation League’s Art Deco Welcome Center, designed by Leonard Glasser in 1954. In the center is a nautical flagpole flying the flags of the U.S. and Miami Beach. Inside are public bathrooms and concessions for visitors. The Urban Sketcher's tent was just a block away, so this became home base any time I needed to rest. A woman rushed into the men's room one time screaming as she rushed towards a stall. Maybe she was rushing to get her son, or maybe she just had to go, but staff forced her to leave. It seems Miami beach would be the perfect place for unisex bathrooms.

It started to rain towards the end of the sketch so Pam and I ran for cover where many of the other sketchers were huddled under a sea Grape Tree. The large leaves of this tree offer good cover since the leaves are so large acting like mini umbrellas.

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, January 26, 2020

Casa Casuarina or Versace Mansion

The Versace Mansion (1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach FL) was built in 1930 by architect Henry La Pointe. It was built in the Mediterranean Revival style with Gothic, Neo-Gothic influences. It is renowned for being owned by Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace from 1992 until his death in 1997. The most prominent feature is a highly ornamented carved stone entryway with decorative column and a neo-gothic pointed arch above door. There are arches above windows; wrought-iron grilles and railings, balconies, a bright orange clay barrel tile roof, and lush gardens.

Original owner and designer, Alden Freeman, built it after visiting Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. There he admired Alcazar de Colon, built by Diego, Christopher Columbus’ son. A single brick from that site was used in this home. Legend maintains Casa Casuarina was the original name as homage to the only remaining tree in the lot after the 1926 hurricane. Freeman was forced to cut down the tree in order to make room for construction. Casuarina esquisetifolia is the botanical name of the tree known as the “Australian Pine”.

Gianni Versace purchased the property in 1992 and spent $33 million in expansion and renovations. Versace famously purchased, and subsequently demolished, the adjoining building and land to the south, the Revere Hotel (1110 Ocean Drive), where he expanded the original building, as well as added a luxurious pool and gardens. Versace was shot and killed on the steps of his home in 1997.

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, January 25, 2020

Casa Casuarina: Versace Mansion

Orlando Urban Sketchers, Tampa Urban Sketchers and Miami Urban Sketchers teamed up to offer workshops ad demos at the 3 day Miami Beach Art Deco Weekend. My first demo was titled, Leaf Something Behind, and my plan was to sketch the Versace Mansion on one of the large circular Sea Grape leaves that can be found all around the beach front properties of South Beach.

Before the demo, I decided to sketch the mansion on good old paper to get used to it's proportions and patterns before the challenge of working on a leaf. For this weekend I brought along some gouache paints in a new palette. I immediately fell in love with the option of being able to put down pure bold opaque colors wen needed. I decided while doing this sketch that opaque white might be needed when I decided to work on Sea grape leaves. These leaves are leathery when they dry out and rather study. A tour guide had told me that they can be sent through the mail as post cards.

One of the event staff go carts was parked in front of the mansion as they needed to drop off water and other supplies to the VIP dance area behind me. All around me people were in a hurry to set up their tents to be ready for the crowds that would decent on the festival over the weekend. Rain threatened multiple times during the morning, but the showers were short lived squalls and I put the umbrella up and continued to 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

Friday, January 24, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 25 and 26, 2020

Saturday January 25, 2020
10am to 4pm Free. Orlando Elks Vintage Faire. Elk Lodge 1079 12 N Primrose Drive Orlando FL.

10am to 4pm Free. Sanford Farmers Market. First and Magnolia Sanford Fl. 

Noon to 2pm Free. Live Mural Painting. The Falcon Bar & Gallery, 819 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801. MURAL ARTISTS:
Christian Stanley
Kelly Berry
Morgan Wilson of Lux Nova Studio
Samantha Shumaker of Shumaker Art
Art of Ryan Semple

The Falcon is an independent, cutting-edge experience of art and music in a bar setting. Check out our monthly rotating art on display or live bands while sampling the finest craft beers, wines and ciders in Thornton Park.

Sunday January 26, 2020
9am to 11am $10 for Guests, $5 for Mennello Museum Members. Yoga in the Mennello Museum Sculpture GardenThe last Sunday of every month is Yoga in the Sculpture Garden at Mennello Museum of American Art! Start your Sunday morning out blissfully with a relaxing lakeside flow. Practice is suitable for beginner to moderate levels and will be led by certified instructors from Full Circle Yoga, Winter Park. Don't forget to bring your own mat and water to practice.
Your practice also includes a complimentary pass to enjoy the museum’s indoor exhibitions at your own leisure during our operating hours.

Full Circle Yoga Instructor: Sarabeth Jackson.

11am to Noon $5 Yoga. Lake Eola near red gazebo. 

Noon to 2pm Free. Live Mural Painting. The Falcon 819 E Washington St, Orlando, Florida 32801. 
Christian Stanley
Kelly Berry
Morgan Wilson of Lux Nova Studio
Samantha Shumaker of Shumaker Art
Art of Ryan Semple

The Falcon is an independent, cutting-edge experience of art and music in a bar setting. Check out our monthly rotating art on display or live bands while sampling the finest craft beers, wines and ciders in Thornton Park.

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, January 23, 2020

Art Deco Weekend VIP Photo Booth

At the Art Deco Weekend VIP Reception, I decided to do a second sketch of the Photo Booth which was in an old air stream trailer. Guest in 1920 outfits would stand n line waiting for their photo opportunity. Once inside they would sit at the back of the trailer and have their picture taken.

Charlotte, one of the event organizers stopped by our table to chat. Her father lives in Toulouse France and is trying to get an Urban Sketching group organized. Pam offered advice on ho to get a group off the ground. In the background the art deco buildings were illuminated a bright green and hard to define orange violet color.

Greg Bryla another Orlando Urban Sketcher was documenting the event as well. His focus was on capturing as many people in costumes as he could in one sketch. He complained bout my digital medium because it seemed unfair tat I could see what I was working on since the screen was illuminated. He worked traditionally on paper and had to guess at some points since he could not really see the page in the dark. As e were leaving I used my cell phone flashlight to see what he had created and it was impressive. He was having a conversation with a gentleman in a top hat about art, so we just waived goodbye and headed back to the hotel. It started raining as we walked back and we dashed from awning to awning to try and keep from getting soaked.

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, January 22, 2020

Art Deco Weekend VIP Reception

Art Deco Weekend is held in Miami Beach each year. Art Deco Weekend was created nearly 43 years ago by the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) to showcase the beautiful Art Deco buildings of South Beach, saving it for future generations. MDPL’s early work was the catalyst that created the vibrant, world-class city we live in today.

This year, Orlando Urban Sketchers, Tampa Urban Sketchers and Miami Urban Sketchers were invited to offer sketch tours and demonstrations during the festival. Day 1 was problematic. It rained much of the morning as we tried to set up the tent. Tensions were high and sketch equipment got muddy. The Florida Urban Sketchers had a tent where guests could try their hand using watercolors and it became mission central for  sketch tours.

Pam Schwartz prepared historical information cards abut each of the Art Deco buildings that were being visited on the sketch walks. She teamed up with James Richards on the first sketch walk and was the historical tour guide before artists sketched the scenes. Day 1 there were two sketch walks and three demonstrations. I gave a demonstration sketching the Versace mansion using as my canvas the large Grape Leaves that are so prevalent beach side in Miami Beach. This turned out to be a fun experiment and others grabbed leaves to try sketching themselves. The leaves are thick and leathery and I was told they can be sent as post cards through the mail. I may try to mail one of the sketches back to Orlando.

In the evening there was a VIP reception for board members. It was insanely windy. Women's hair and palm tree fronds blew horizontal. Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra performed on stage. The wind blew into the microphones creating extra sound effects. The dancers were all amazing. That is because they were mostly a local dance group. We had several drink tickets and Pam ordered several sangrias. I usually like sangria but this stuff was pure alcohol or rocket fuel. I could not down my drink.

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, January 21, 2020

FAVO Blackmore Studio

Set in a former motel, Faith Arts Village Orlando (FAVO) at 221 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida 32801 features 36 Studios of amazing original art. On the first Friday of each month the artists open their studios to the public for an open house. I stop out periodically to see what is new in the Orlando visual arts scene.

On this trip I was so pleased to find that Kathy and Eric Blackmore had a studio set up. Kathy uses the space as a classroom for her private art lessons with young students. She is a children's book illustrator and creates gorgeous delicate watercolor paintings for the books. She began this career when I worked with her at Full Sail University. Her husband Eric is a wildlife and environmental photographer and some of his landscapes were on the studio walls. He is also an amazing woodworker who creates custom furniture. Because of this the small studio space is magnificently designed with storage spaces and modular shelving and table tops that can be folded into place.

It is a sweet little set up and it must bustle when Kathy's students are busy creating. Eric is also a professor and each year he escorts students to exotic locations around the world. He and Kathy therefor get to explore and be inspired by someplace new each year. While Pam and Eric talked, I scribbled as fast as I could to document and memorialize the studio. We explored the rest of the studios, but spent most of our time in the Blackmore studio which exemplifies what is great about FAVO.

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, January 20, 2020

The Future of Arts and Culture in Orange County: Mayoral Candidate Forum

I went to a Mayoral Candidate Forum at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 South Magnolia Avenue Orlando, FL). The Citizens for Cultural Vitality hosted the evening with the candidates for Orange County Mayor.

Arts leaders and those who care about the future of Central Florida's arts and culture were invited to attend. Conversation with the Candidates took  place in the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater. The Citizens for Cultural Vitality are an informal group of arts leaders and organizations who are committed to cultivating a thriving arts community in Orange County, the State of Florida, and beyond.

This forum was well organized because members of the arts community seated in the audience each had questions that had been carefully thought out before hand ready to ask each candidate. The candidates were Pete Clarke, Jerry Demings and Rob Panapinto.

I sketched candidate Jerry Demings who went on to become the Orange County Mayor. Since Jerry is our mayor I will print his responses to each question posed hoping that he stays true to his word.

Question: Will you support the creation of a public sector, ongoing dedicated funding stream for the arts that generates at minimum, an additional $5 million per year in funding for arts and culture beyond existing sources?
Demings:  In committing to a dedicated funding source for the arts, I would assemble arts and cultural groups along with the business community to discuss the best return on investment strategy for taxpayers. It is important to note that this is not my sole decision and there would need to be broader conversation with the Orange County Board of Commissioners. However, I support the continuance of the current rate of 3% of the first 4 cents (2% of the total) revenues from Tourist Development Taxes (TDT) currently collected and I would commit to increasing funding for the arts by $5 million from other revenue sources within my discretion as mayor. 

Question: In past years,the county dedicated $1 per capita from the General Fund for arts and culture in Orange County. That has dwindled to nearly .50 per capita in the past decade. Would you support the reinstatement of the $1 per capita in 2019 from the General Fund for arts support?
Demings: Yes, I would commit to funding a total of $1 per capita from any combination of County revenue sources.

Question: Orange County has invested excess TDT funding to recruit and support sporting events. The fund was seeded with $5 million and will be funded annually with an additional $2 million. Would you support an equivalent fund for arts and culture events?
Demings: As you are aware, the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners appointed a Review Committee that will meet this summer during the Budget Work Sessions to make recommendations on a spending plan for excess fees collected through TDT. Monies will be eligible for capital projects. If collections continue to outpace budgeted projections, I would support equivalency funds for the Arts with the Sports Commission.

Demings said that if arts groups can raise money on their own, then he feels they should get tourism dollars to go with it. Demings wants to give the arts and cultural affairs $2 million more tourism tax dollars on top of the $5.6 million it already gets. Demings said $500,000 of it would go to a facility rental and event fund. In May of 2019 he earmarking $42 million for arts and cultural projects.

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, January 19, 2020

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

My favorite site that we visited in Nevada wasn't the Las Vegas Strip but instead, The Valley of Fire located about 50 miles north east of Las Vegas. Cynthia Sanford the curator at the Clark County Museum took us on a road trip to the Valley of Fire. World-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, the Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

The petroglyphs were etched into desert varnish, a layer of dark rock on top of the sandstone. With the black layer carved away, the petroglyphs reveal the orange rock underneath. The desert varnish is a patina of iron and manganese that leached from the rock and evaporated over the course of thousands of years.  The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, passed through the Valley of Fire in prehistoric times. Their approximate span of occupation has been dated from 300 BC to 1150 AD. Their visits probably involved hunting, food gathering, and religious ceremonies, although scarcity of water would have limited their stay.

A Visitor Center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory and history of the park and nearby region. Open year round, the park has numerous campsites equipped with shaded tables, grills and water, as well as many intriguing trails to tempt hikers.

I started hiking up a steep incline with Pam but she scrambled inside a cave and up through a gap in a series of rocks which I did not feel confident navigating. Instead of climbing up, I stayed in the shade of the cave and did this sketch. I placed a pencil on the ground at the edge of the cave shadow to see what direction the sun was moving. About 15 minutes into the sketch I could see that I would be safely in the shade for the duration of the sketch. Ive started using this trick more often since this trip to see what direction the sun is moving when I sketch outdoors.

People came and went walking along the trail at the base of the giant sandstone outcrop. At sunset this place must light up a glorious orange. The rocks are already a vibrant shade of orange.

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, January 18, 2020

Las Vegas

With sketchbook in hand I walked down the Las Vegas Strip towards the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Across the street a large Statue of Liberty wore a Golden Nights sports jersey and I had to sketch. The jersey took 4 straight days to make, weighs 600 pounds and is 28 feet tall. It took six hours to get her dressed. The back dons the number 17 and the name Budweiser. It is a bit sad that she has been turned into an advertising billboard for beer.

Also in the scene was Ellis Island and the Empire State Building. I used to work in the Empire State building and the large windows could be opened and I liked to sit on the ledge of the window looking out and straight down. I liked to watch the window washers at work. They would snap a restraining harness to a latch on the outside of the window frame and then lean out to squeegee the window. No that is a job that took some real guts.

This replica decorates the New York, New York Casino. The United States Post Office decided to print a postage stamp using the face of the statue of Liberty. In stead of using the face of the statue in New York, they used the face of this Las Vegas statue created by artist Robert S Davidson.

Davidson, born and raised in Las Vegas, completed the Statue of Liberty replica in 1996 for MGM Resorts International, when the casino operator opened its latest theme casino New York-New York. Davidson said in court documents that he wanted to give his replica a face that was “a little more modern, a little more feminine” and looked for inspiration from a photograph of his mother-in-law, Lucille Schwartz.
Davidson sued the post office for copyright infringement. The stamp was first issued in December of 2010. About 4 billion copies of the stamp were printed by USPS.  The post office mistook the face for the statue that has stood in New York Harbor since 1886. Getty images was paid $1200 for the right to use the photo on the stamp. The stamp generated about $2.1 billion in sales for the Postal Service, according to court filings. The artist was awarded nearly $3.6 million in 2018 by a federal court that ruled the U.S. Postal Service infringed his copyright when it mistakenly used an image of his statue on the stamp.

The only thing that keeps this scene from looking like it could be NYC is that large palm tree to the right of Lady Liberty. The tree looks about as tall as she is. This statue is about half the size of the original in New York Harbor. This replica took 11 months to complete. Hopefully I will be safe for having turned my eye towards Lady Liberty. To date I have made $0 for having sketched her.

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, January 17, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks for January 18 and 19, 2020

Saturday January 18, 2020
10am to 6pm Art Deco Weekend 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fl 33139. Free. A free community cultural festival with more than 85 events during "the best 3 days on Ocean Drive" each year. Come sketch with us! For those who enjoy sketching or would like to learn how. All skill levels are welcome! We are thrilled to include for the first time the Urban Sketchers in our Art Deco Weekend program with a series of Sketchwalks, urban sketching demonstrations and “drink and draw” events. Join us as we draw the architectural gems of the Miami Beach Historic Art Deco District and the essence of the 1920s Art Deco Weekend Festival Events.
10am to 4pm Free. Camellia Show. Orlando Garden Club Clubhouse at Loch Haven Park 710 E. Rollins St., Orlando, FL (between Advent Health and US 17).
7am – 10 a.m. Enter camellia blooms (ANYONE)!  Volunteers available to assist with registration. (Location: Orlando Garden Club)
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Camellias plants for sale.  (Location: Clubhouse Area)
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Camellia 101 Class – Robert Bowden, director of the City of Orlando’s Harry P. Leu Gardens (Locations: in Clubhouse Library)
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Camellia Show is officially OPEN to the public.  See thousands of competition blooms up close! (Location: Orlando Garden Club
4 p.m. Camellia Show closes

6pm to 9pm Free. Chair-ity Auction. Wayne G Sanborn Activity Center, 815 S Alabama Ave, DeLand, FL 32724. Bid on one-of-a-kind chairs creatively altered by local artists to benefit the Art in Public Places Program. Join us for music, silent auction, beer and wine tastings, food and fun! Tickets can be purchased at City Hall/ 3rd Floor or online.  For more information call 386/626-7112

Sunday January 19, 2020
10am to 5pm $18 to $21. Otronicon Interactive Tech Expo. Orlando Science Center 777 E. Princeton St. Orlando, Florida 32803. Otronicon is a celebration of the intersection between science and technology and shines a light on innovative technology being developed in Central Florida. Otronicon highlights resources available through a collaboration between educational institutions, the tech and manufacturing communities and their impact on our lives and their potential to drive the future, individually, regionally and globally.

10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801.  Local produce and goods. A great start to the morning downtown.

1pm to 3pm $9 FREE for Enzian Members! Film Slam. Enzian Theater, 1300 Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL 32751. Central Florida Film Slam (CFFS) is a program designed to provide filmmakers in the Central Florida region an opportunity to showcase their work on the big screen at Enzian Theater! Held six times a year, the Central Florida Film Slam is an unrated, independent film showcase and competition open to all regional filmmakers and students.

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, January 16, 2020

Visual Fringe

The Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest is January 9-12, 2020 inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center at Orlando’s Loch Haven Park.  I saw several Facebook posts about the Visual Fringe tent and had to head out to see it for myself. The Visual Fringe is headed up by the incomparable actress, Melanie Leon whose comedic prowess has livened up several of the shows I have sketched at Fringe and around town. In front of the Visual Fringe tent were about a dozen orange lawn chairs so that an audience could sit of they liked to watch all the at happening.  I was happy to sit in a chair (theater seat) and started sketching. Melanie and George Cudo were seated in front of me. She joked with me and made me feel very much welcome.

I sketched Warren Hart (Famous After Death) who was working on a bold robotic image painted on a board covered in newspaper clippings. I loved the Famous After Death tag an wish I had thought of it. Also working was Osha Awesome who was doing a mixed media piece with melted crayons. Famed beside her were several framed Yin and Yang symbols with rainbows of melted wax.

After sketching Famous After Death, I checked out his portfolio on the table. It was a thick book full of gorgeous bold poster imaged from movies and other themes. I heard that he produces the work in Illustrator but he also explained that the iPad and Procreate have changed the way he works. He is desperately hoping that Procreate eventually gets vector based features which means images created could be blown up to any size. Since I have fallen in love with the program as well, we had much in common. It was awesome to meet another artist who is embracing technology in their everyday creative process.

Tonight is the last night of the Fringe Winter Mini Fest. To see a show you need to buy a $3 Mini Fest Button. Show tickets are separate and prices vary. Some shows I had sketched before during the 2019 Fringe.

The remaining shows...

12:45am Staged Reading Series: Gertrude Stein's Do Let Us Go Away, a play.

12:45am Staged Reading Series: Spider Queen.

2:15pm Winnie's Roch Cauldron Cabaret.

2:30pm 90 Lies an Hour.

2:45pm The Myrtle Sisters - Out of Time.

4:00pm St Kilda

4:20pm Danny Darkly's California Screaming.

4:30pm The Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman.

5:45pm Six Chick Flicks. (SOLD OUT)

6:15pm Eddie Poe.

6:15pm The Lightweight.

7:30pm How to Really, Really, Really Love a Woman.

8:00pm Larry.

8:00 My Left Tit.

9:15pm Becoming Magic Mike: An Action Adventure Comedy.

9:45pm Flori-DUH.

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, January 15, 2020

Interview on the Ted Show

I sketched a Lip Sync Battle at The Abbey and it turned out that one of the celebrities who performed on that night was Ted Bogert who is the host of a podcast called the Ted Bogert Show.  In my sketch Ted was dresses as Tina Turner with an amazing flaming orange wig and tight black dress. He later explained that he had to duck tape that wig on. Anyway, he loved that I documented the evening in my unique and and he invited me on his podcast to learn more about what I do.

He had multiple guests lined up for the day and his website has a streamlines way of getting guests to share their social media profiles and info. He tapes his show in the Citrus Club in the BB and T Building (255 S Orange Ave, Suite 1800, Orlando Fl). His email warned that there can be no ripped jeans of flip flops in the Citrus Club. Since I never wear either I was safe and it was good to know that I didn't need to wear a dinner jacket. It was however quite cold that morning so I ended up wearing a hoodie. Hoodies wee not directly mentioned as being forbidden so I took my chances to keep my ears warm as I walked downtown.

Ted's invite said I should just mention to the person at the front desk that I was there to see him. The guard at the front desk in the lobby had no idea what I was talking about when I said, "I am here to meet Ted." I checked my iPhone to re-read the message and realized that Ted meant I should ask up o the 18th floor. When I arrived at the Citrus Club the woman at the front desk pointed me towards Ted. He was offering wedding venue advice to a woman at his table. After a quick intro, I sat at the table next to theirs and started sketching the view out the window. I  seldom get to see downtown Orlando from this high up so I was excited to sketch. I started the sketch knowing I had at most 15 to 30 minutes to work.

A new skyscraper has just recently been finished across from the Amway Arena so that became my focal point. It has an interesting modular shape with sections of the building being different values and colors a bit like a Rubik's Cube.

The interview was held in the Wine Room. Ted had his phone on a tripod in front of the floor to ceiling window and a building across the street offered magnificent reflected sunlight. He briefed me and let me know about a couple of questions he might ask towards the end of the interview. We chatted, joked and before I realized it the show was over. At one point we were talking about my nick name Thor and how that became my nickname at Disney, long before the Marvel movies came out. Then we talked about creating and creators and the phrase Creathor was thrown into the mix. It was such a fun show to do. Our missions to promote the arts are so similar. I was preaching to the choir when I was talking to Ted. Afterwards I shared the podcast on  my social media saying it was a fun irreverent time. Ted thought that might have a negative connotation. I suppose that is the danger of quick sound bites on Social Media. The meanings can be confused if the whole story isn't told. Thanks Ted for the opportunity, It was a fun way to kick off the New 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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Grand Canyon

When the bus stopped rolling, it was a short walk from the parking lot to this overlook at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Rather than push forward to the staging area on the rock overlook I was more fascinated with sketching the crowd at the rim. Pam pushed ahead and took some amazing panorama photos. She asked another tourist to take a photo of her alone on a rock outcrop and the photo lakes in a stunning 180 degree vista. Clearly this would be an amazing place to return to to do a series of painting.

When this sketch was done, we took a hike along a trail and found an amazing photographers studio built into the side of the canyon. Built in 1906, it is known as the Kolb Studio. Brothers Elsworth and Emery Kolb got permission to build the studio from the owner of Bright Angel Trail. For the next 112 years the brothers explored the canyon from every conceivable angle with their cameras. They made a living selling their photos in small leather bound books for $3 each.

Besides taking still photos, the brothers decided to also explore the Colorado River filming the adventure using the new medium of motion pictures. The brothers toured the eastern United States presenting a successful film lecture series. People packed the theaters to hear about their great adventure. A 1913 lecture tour in Ohio proved unsuccessful and the brothers fought bitterly about the loss. Their already tense relationship grew even more heated, causing them to split the business. A coin-toss granted Emery the studio and Ellsworth moved to Los Angeles. Emery stayed in the canyon home with his wife Edith and daughter Edith.

Big business in the form of the Fred Harvey Company, which wanted a monopoly on tourist trade at the canyon, and the National Park Service conspired to close down the Kolb Studio over the years but the enterprising lovers of nature and adventuring spirit which built the studio persevered, overcoming every hardship.  The Kolb family lived in the studio until 1976 when Emery died. After his death, the National Parks Service acquired the home. Today the building is used as an art gallery, bookstore and information center. Sales from the bookstore help renovate the structure.

I am certain that any artist who enters this studio instantly feels the amazement and wonder of what it would be like to create in such an inspiring studio setting. Besides the amazing collection of photos on display, there were also large scale paintings of the canyon. A boat, the brothers used to photograph the Colorado River, some of the original cameras, and other artifacts brought the history alive. The place inspires me to want to find or create my own grand 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

Monday, January 13, 2020

Bus to the Grand Canyon

While in Las Vegas, Pam Schwartz and I decided to take a bus to the Grand Canyon. The drive was about four hours. The driver gave us an epic and comedic account of the history of sites along the way. 46 minutes into the trip we passed the Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam has been generating power for the past 80 years. The 5000 man workforce had to reside in the middle of the desert and Bolder City was constructed rather than rely on Sin City 46 minutes away. If all the concrete used to build the dam was instead used to build a full sized highway, that highway could stretch from coast to coast. Work on the dam began in 1931 which was a year of record breaking heat. Daily, the temperatures rose to up to 119 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the rest of the trip a movie played on the bus's overhead screens. We couldn't see the screens from our front row seats, so I kept sketching.

About half way through the trip the entire bus poured out and ate at an all you can eat buffet. The food was not memorable and there was plenty of it. When we poured back into the bus, the restaurant grew dead silent. With a four hour ride I probably had time to do a second sketch, but instead I watched the scenery fly by as we approached the vast Grand Canyon.

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, January 12, 2020

Crealde Urban Sketching Class

My Crealde Urban Sketching Class begins Sunday January 19, 2020 starting at 9:30am. This is a sketch of the classroom. Outside the window you can see one of my students sketching on a sunny day. Inside I was demonstrating to another student how to block in the room quickly in a composition and how to place a figure. The primary reason for this quick sketch was to demonstrate how to leave large shapes on the page pure white and then apply a light wash over the rest of the sketch to make those shapes pop.

Each morning we start by exploring a premise in the classroom and then in the last half or the class we move out into the community to sketch on location. Just getting students to realize that when they draw on location, no one is judging them. I might offer insights, but I don't judge the work. Each student has their own approach and temperament and the variety we see across the board is part of what makes drawing on location with other artists so exciting.

Last semester I started asking students to share their work on Instagram.  This allows them to share work with each other and possible hear from a much wider community of artists. On Instagram I also share all the rough class notes and composition sketches I do for students. That was students can see what was shared.

The past few weeks I have been pouring over thousands of my early student sketches and it has been an eye opening learning experience. Some of the sketches I did back in my 20s and 30s are bold and daring and it is making me want to experiment more with my work in the next year. I worked much larger in my youth, usually on 18 by 24 inch sketch pads. I scaled down when I started sketching once a day starting back in 2009. Part of the reason was to be sure that I could scan the drawings on my flat bed scanner. I think I might grow much faster as an artist if I return to working larger and find other ways to work around the limits of scanning technology. So here is to a bigger and bolder 2020.

The next 6 week Urban Sketching course has been canceled due to lack of enrollment.

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, January 11, 2020

Becoming Dr. Ruth

June 9, 1997, Washington Heights, NY, Apartment of Ruth and Fred Westheimer. Dr. Ruth (Eileen Dessandre) was packing to move. Her large bay window had a glorious view of the George Washington Bridge. I liked how the book shelves mirrored the shapes seen in the bridge. The arches of two shelves were like the opening in the bridge support structure and even the square and then vertical arrangement of the shelves mirrored the overall shape  of the bridge support. All the books and chachkies were white. I had sketched the books being created in the scenic shop weeks before.

As Dr. Ruth packed she talked to the audience. Her husband Fred, the love of her life, had died so she was planning to move. This was a one woman show and she held my attention for the full 90 minutes. As she spoke of her youth, photos appeared on the apartment windows of her parents and their life right before the rise of the Nazi Party. Her father was sent away to a work camp after Kristallnacht, but Ruth was saved by being sent by Kinder transport to Switzerland. When packing for the escape from Germany Ruth inexplicably packed a dish rag fro her mother's kitchen. Chocolates she had packed were confiscated and eaten by guards. At 11 years old she ended up in a Swiss orphanage where she became a caregiver to other children. She was not allowed to attend a local school but a boy smuggled books to her so she could study at night.

She recounted her first kiss with a young man whose name she could not disclose since she was still friends with him and his wife today. She was married three times and she discovered that the need for family and the need for touch were things she needed most since she had been denied her family and she wasn't touched for years after she left Germany. The love of her parents sustained her, but she never saw them again. The last letter she got from them as in 1941 and though she sometimes hopes that they survived the holocaust, it is unlikely.

After the WWII Ruth moved to Israel living on a kibbutz. Hard labor on the kibbutz was as hard as the labor in Switzerland. Israel however represented hope for the future. One fact that surprised me was the fact that she had been a sharp shooter for the Haganah (Israeli Paramilitary). She was a really good sharp shooter. Also because of her petite stature she ran messages since there was less of a target for an enemy to shoot at.

She met a boy, and together they emigrated to NYC and within two weeks she had won a scholarship for students who survived the holocaust. She studied with a passion and eventually discovered she wanted to get a doctorate in sex therapy. A radio station asked her if she would talk at a meeting about sex therapy and she gladly did so for free. That meeting resulted in them asking her to begin a talk radio show and the rest is history. She was non-threatening and wise with a thick accent. She was and is also very funny. When one woman caller explained that she did not like to "go down" on her husband, Dr. Ruth advised her to get whipped cream or chocolate syrup. Also a banana was great for practice.

This was a well paced show and it as fascinating to learn about this woman who always bounced back from any adversity. She is an inspiration, and the show is a delight.

Becoming Dr. Ruth runs through February 9, 2020 at The Orlando Shakes (812 E Rollins St
Orlando, FL 32803).
Tickets are $32-$55.

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, January 10, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks

Saturday January 11, 2020
9am to 10am Free. Community Workout in the Park. Gaston Edwards Park, (1236 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL). Part of the Ivanhoe Village Self Care Month-All Fit Orlando is pleased to offer a FREE community workout. All ages and fitness levels welcomed over 14 years. Workout is fun, free, and about 45 minutes long. Please bring water and yoga mat if possible.

1pm to 4pm Free. Community Open House at Sandscove.  (7213 Sandscove Court Suite 9, Winter Park, Florida).

2pm to 5pm Free. Share Your Talent Art Extravaganza.  (6123 La Costa Dr, Orlando, FL). 

Sunday January 12, 2020
10am to 4pm Free. Orlando Farmers Market Lake Eola Park East Central Boulevard and North Eola Drive, Orlando Fl. 

6pm to 8pm $18.50 Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens (3755 W. Seminole Blvd., Sanford Fl). This limited engagement cultural event will dazzle guests with over 30 larger-than-life sculptural LED lantern displays featuring plants, animals, and traditional Asian elements, including a nearly 200-foot-long dragon.Through January 12, 2020.

9pm to 10pm Free but get a brew. Late Nite Laughs Comedy Showcase Copper Rocket Pub (106 Lake Ave., Maitland Fl). Hosted by Goran Joksimovic.

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, January 9, 2020

Lion's Pride Taste Test

The Media Taste Test at Lion's Pride (123 W Church St, Orlando, FL), offered a sampling of the delicious cuisine and cocktails from the diverse menu. Lion's Pride is a sophisticated soccer pub and fan den. This taste test VIP event was held on the second floor of the pub. There were comfortable couches and TV everywhere. From the table we were seated at you could overlook the lower floor and the entire wall was covered with a series of TVs that linked together creating one huge screen. I should think that other than seeing an Orlando Pride game in the stadium, this must be the next best thing. As media samples the food and drink a mascot roamed the room. On the far wall there was a large mural of a lion's head with a flaming main of fur. The square plate had a sophisticate oriental flair.

The Menu:

Our exclusive lean ground Black Angus chuck and brisket burger sliders are served with Monterey Bleu cheese, arugula, avocado, Applewood smoked bacon and BBQ sauce.

Crispy, made from scratch chicken wings served with your choice of BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki or traditional hot wing sauce

Slow-smoked beef brisket served with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, scallions, queso blanco and chipotle-aioli sauce

Delicious flatbread topped with Marinara sauce, grilled Angus Beef Sirloin Steak, tomato, spinach, sliced sweet onion and Monterrey Jack Cheese

Chef Recommended, New...

Our exclusive ½ LB lean ground chuck and brisket burger, crispy onions, bib lettuce, and ripe tomato on toasted brioche

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, January 8, 2020

Drink and Draw

Sarah Jane Rozman hosted a Drink and Draw at The Nook on Robinson (2432 E. Robinson St, Orlando, Florida). I host an Orlando Drink and Draw (ODD) once a month as well so I decided to stop in to see how this Drink and Draw differed. The biggest difference was that a winner got $$$ for their bar tab! The artists in attendance all were given a theme so all the at produced tied together. Finished pieces were taped to the wall. Since I was working on this sketch, I didn't follow the rules.

The good thing about this venue was that the Drink and Draw directly followed Tasty Tuesday which is a food truck event that happens each Tuesday in the parking lot behind The Nook. This guarantees that Tuesday nights are going to be pretty crowded. I knew Sarah since she used to work at Art Systems in the print department. Unfortunately the color printer seldom worked so I started getting my prints at RT Art instead.

In 2019 I let ODD lapse since Orlando Urban Sketchers were hosting so many successful sketch events. Unfortunately those outing were almost all on days I was teaching art at Elite Animation Academy or Crealde School of Art. I still try and sketch every night so my best chance to meet fellow artists is to start hosing ODD events again once a month.

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, January 7, 2020

The Sower

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens (633 Osceola Ave, Winter Park, FL) was kind enough to allow my Sunday morning Crealde Urban Sketch Class students a chance to sketch in their gorgeous sculpture garden. I decided to do a very quick sketch of a student as she sketched The Sower.

The Sower created in 1911 is a prime example of Polasek’s mastery of the human form, the dramatically modeled figure of the Sower has a classically inspired face and a strong, muscular body. Using the parable of Jesus about the sower – “a sower went forth to sow” – as his inspiration, Polasek’s interpretation shows a man scattering the seed of good throughout the world. Sower won an Honorable Mention in the spring 1913 Paris Salon.

Albin Polasek, (born February 14, 1879 and died May 19, 1965) was a Czech-American sculptor and educator. He created more than four hundred works during his career, two hundred of which are now displayed in the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park, Florida. 

In 1950, Polasek retired at age 70 to Winter Park, Florida, design­ing his home on pic­turesque Lake Osce­ola. Within months he suffered a stroke that left his left side paralyzed. He subsequently completed eighteen major works with his right hand only. Towards the end of 1950, at age 71, he married former student Ruth Sherwood who died 22 months later in October, 1952. In 1961, Polasek married Emily Muska Kubat. Upon his death in 1965, Polasek was buried beside his first wife in Winter Park's Palm Cemetery, where his 12th Station of the Cross (1939) is his monument. Emily M. K. Polasek died in 1988.

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, January 6, 2020

Runway to Haiti: Ambassador Event & Photo Opportunity

I went to Macbeth Studio (37 North Orange Avenue, Suite 900, Orlando, Florida) to sketch the Runway to Haiti Ambassador Event. Rebuild Globally and Macbeth Studio  joined forces to host this event to promote the upcoming fundraiser, Runway to Haiti: A Night of Impact and Ethical Fashion! Many Central Floridians had volunteered, donated, traveled, modeled, and represented REBUILD globally over the years and became that organization's biggest community advocates.

Rebuild Globally was born from the disaster of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and survived in its wake by embarking on a mission to provide a sustainable, entrepreneurial solution for survivors. It is is a nonprofit organization promoting prosperity by growing an educated and skilled workforce in Haiti and ensuring a pathway to dignified employment. They believe education and job training programs are the most powerful weapons in the fight against extreme poverty. We create powerful and holistic programs that empower men and women to obtain degrees and work placement, ending the cycle of poverty in their lives, their families’ lives, and in their communities.

The ambassador Event was a fun and casual evening and help spread the word for Runway to Haiti: A Night of Impact and Ethical Fashion. This event included great photo ops with a one-of-a-kind backdrop designed by local Haitian artist Patrick Noze, as well as some food and refreshments. Julie Colombino the CEO and founder of Rebuild Globally posed for a photo as I sketched. In the mural behind her a woman held a basket on her head with one hand raised to keep the basket balanced. Julie mimicked the pose and I assume the photographer, Jim Hobart lined things up just right so that it seemed like she had the two dimensional basket on her head. Jim is a board member of Rebuild Globally and he has taken some amazing documentary photos of  this organizations amazing work over the years.

REBUILD globally creates powerful and holistic programs that empower men and women to obtain degrees, work placement, and end the cycle of poverty in their lives, their families lives, and in their communities.

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, January 5, 2020

Aku Aku Tiki Bar

I went to Aku Aku Tiki Bar ( 431 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL) to taste the Tiger F#cker with a local muralist and his partner. During the 1940s and ‘50s, tropical drinks were a sensation, cooling down sweltering adults across the country. Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt of Los Angeles Bar, Don the Beachcomber and Victor Bergeron of the Trader Vic chain popularized these refreshing sippers. 

The Tiger F#cker cocktail created by Aku Aku's Eric Solomon is becoming famous. It is made with 44* North Huckleberry Vodka and House made Jalapeno blackberry syrup. It was a sweet concoction that had a hot after bite and a serious kick. The bar itself was a refrigerated sheet of metal which was very cold to the touch. So if you sauntered in on a hot Central Florida day, you could cool down just by resting your elbows on the bar and sipping a tropical drink.

Puffer fish and surf board hang from the ceiling. Conversations at the end of the bar turned to game nights and card games. This is definitely a place I plan to return to to drink and draw.

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, January 4, 2020

The Battle of Townsend's Plantation Civil War Festival

A re-enactment of Townsend's Plantation Civil War Battle was waged at Renningers Mount Dora Flea Market and Antique Center (20651 US-441, Mount Dora, Florida 32757). The festival featured live Civil War Re-enactments, living history exhibits, folk music, weaponry demonstrations, authentic camps and Sutlers, full scale artillery, cavalry and soldiers in time-period uniforms and weaponry, a Civil War era Dress Ball, and more. 

I stopped at the Medical Department wagon and tent to sketch the basket of severed limbs and the exhausted doctor who was happy to offer insights into the medical tools of the trade back in the 1860s. The rest of the morning as spent sketching civil war camps of both Union and Confederate soldiers. Those sketching opportunities were periodically interrupted by muster drills as the troops prepared for battle.

My 5th great grandfather Augustus Elias Julius Thorspecken was a doctor n the civil war era, so his dexterity with a saw blade must have been impressive.

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, January 3, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks January 4 and 5, 2019

Saturday January 4, 2019

8am to 1pm Free. Parramore Farmers Market. John H Jackson Community Center, 3107, 1002 W Carter St, Orlando, FL 32805. Purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

10am to 4pm. Free. Sanford Farmers Market. First and Magnolia Sanford Fl. 

8pm to 10pm. Free. Shuffleboard. Orlando's Beardall Courts 800 Delaney Ave Orlando FL.
1st Saturday of each month. 

Sunday January 5, 2019

10am to 4pm. Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park, 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801. 

10am to 2pm 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. 

Noon to 3pm Donation based. Music at the Casa. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Members of the public are invited to visit our historic home museum on a Sunday afternoon to 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, January 2, 2020

Montreal Canada

I joined Pam for a conference in Montreal for best practices in Oral Histories. The nocturnal view from the hotel window reminded me of New York City. While the conference was gong on in the daytime, I explored the city with my sketchbook. I went to several really good art museums and the restaurant scene was booming.

I also spent time sketching in the conference specifically at the presentation given by the Orange County Regional History Center about the oral histories being collected in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

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, January 1, 2020

Local Varkers Market

Pam Schwartz and I went to Aardvark Beverages (2610 South Ferncreek Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806) for the Local Varkers Market. This market was weekly on Tuesday Nights. Pets were encouraged, so we brought our pup Sprout. It is a vintage and handmade market with 20 Vendors, Live Music, Craft Beer, Wine, Coffee, and Food. The Free outdoor market ran from 5pm until 9pm.

All ages were welcome. With all encouraged to bring the whole family out for a community celebration! If you are interested in becoming a vendor please email Suzette. It was bitter cold that night so I decided it was best to sit close to the open fire to sketch. Sprout made friends with many of the vendors as I sketched. It was a community effort to get the flames started and well fed. The logs crackled and spit out sparks which rose up. blending with the cold evening stars.

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