Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Art Deco Weekend

On the last day of the Art Deco Weekend I was slated to give a demo before the drive back to Orlando. I believed that there was to be an Art Deco Doggie Costume Contest to the held at the Barbara Baer Capitman Memorial at 13th Street and Lummus Park in South Beach so that is where I planned to sketch. It sounded quirky and fun. All of the demos assembled at the Urban Sketching tent on 10th Street and Ocean Drive. We held up poster boards with our names on it so people could go to the demo of their choice.

I had two attendees join my group and Pam Schwartz decided to join us. We made our way up to where the doggie costume contest was to be held and just before we arrived, a parade of dags in costume and their owners walked down the street in the opposite direction. Well this was an impossible sketching situation. Even if I followed the puppies I would just be drawing butts. There were some mighty fine puppies in costume but they were on the move.

We made a quick change of plans and walked over to the outdoor stage where the FIU Studio Jazz Big Band was performing live. The 15-piece big band, directed by Jim Hacker, performed new and well-known jazz classics by Stan Kenton, Thad Jones, Thelonius Monk, and more. The members of the FIU Big Band are full-time graduate and undergraduate students.

One of my attendees only spoke Brazilian, so anything I said was lost in translation although Pam related some info using Google translate.  I discussed how I block in a scene, perspective and the challenge of capturing the energy of a scene. What I left out of the sketch is as important as what I included. When the band conductor made it sound like they would be taking a 15 minute break, I worked frantically to catch the band in pen and ink. I know from experience that a 15 minute break can stretch out to an eternity if you are needing to sketch in the moment.

The guy in the lawn chair to the right was on the phone for most of the performance. It is strange how people can go to a live performance and then be distracted the whole time. Lisanne Lyons Vocal Studio students also sang live on this afternoon of great jazz. Strangely when the band took it's break, that is when people began to get up and dance to the piped in music. Catching a couple on the dance floor became my last order of business. It is hard to know when to stop when people are watching every move you make as you sketch, but I asked for any questions and then folded up my sketchbook.

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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