Monday, June 13, 2016

Pulse Shooting Vigil at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

By Thor 

You must be aware of the horror by now. On Saturday night around 2am, a gunman shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 more people at Pulse Night club in Orlando. This is the largest single gunman terrorist attack in the history of the United States. This morning, I woke up and the first thing I did was search the Internet for the names of victims. Though none of the names were familiar, I was in tears. Through out the day friends and family from around the country checked in to see if I was alright. I had sketched events at Pulse five times before, so I am familiar with the venue.

At dusk, there was a vigil at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. I wondered how tight security might be. At security check points my art supplies are often suspect. I was pleased that the were no fences or barricades. The crowd was huge and growing. I decided to stop when I saw this large sheet of construction paper for memorial wishes. People knelled down to write and draw messages of hope love and pride. Half way down the scroll, a young girl was writing a message. She was interrupted by a friend who spoke to her. I saw her face contort in pain and sorrow as he spoke. Clearly she had lost a loved one. She hugged her friend for longest time and cried on his shoulder. My heart broke.

On stage, names of the victims were being read out loud. the list went on forever. A woman to my left was sobbing and I had to stop sketching to clear my eyes. I was thankful when another announcer suggested we hug the person beside us. I hugged the man beside me. A quote from Martin Luther King rang true... "Darkness cannot drive out hate; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." I picked up a stray crayon and used it on my sketch. Can creativity really comfort or heal? People wandered the crowd handing out snacks and water. Like a funeral, food is thought to bring comfort.

The little town where tourist dreams come true was center stage for a nightmare. There is no pixie dust that can heal such a tragedy. I don't understand love in the face of sorrow, hope in the face of pointless violence. Speakers called for strict gun control but legislation is never passed. The ever powerful social media sites don't have an automatic message to let you know a friend has been shot dead.  We all face our certain demise. Yet that field was full of love and community support. Someone complimented my sketch and I choked up in response. Such kindness despite everything. The gravity and scope of what happened washed over me fully for the first time.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Japanese Pavilion, Epcot

by Kim Minichiello

Sketching bonsai today since this is the last weekend for the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot.  They won't be there next week!

Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at Fringe.

By Thor 

Jeff Ferree presents Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at the Orlando Fringe Festival. This 15 minute show is located in the most intimate venue at the Fringe. It is located in closet near the volunteer staging area in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Hanging from the ceiling are tortured presidential heads shot through wit arrows. The blue curtains lining the space along with a presidential seal, are reminiscent of a White House press conference.

The program describes the show as, "Creepy true stories of the American Presidency told to you by puppets. Held in a dark intimate theater filled with the macabre. It’s the stories you wish they would have taught you in school."

The two primary puppets are male and female Native American corpses. They are incredibly believable as decomposed mummies. The story centers around Curse of Tippecanoe an Indian Curse that has caused an American President elected or re-elected in the last 100 years, Every U.S. President elected in 20-Year Intervals Has Died In Office. Among those affected were from William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840), Abraham Lincoln (elected in 1860),  James Garfield (elected in 1880), William McKinley (elected in 1900), Warren G. Harding (elected in 1920), Franklin D. Roosevelt (elected in 1940), through John F. Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was wounded by gunshot but survived and George W. Bush (2000) survived an attempt on his life unharmed.

When a hanging was mentioned a tiny rag doll with a tiny penis fell over the stage and hung in the glow of a red Christmas light. there were other multi media effects that shocked the packed in audience (up to 13 people can cram into the closet). This was the first Fringe show for one volunteer crammed into the venue along with me. Be sure to find the closet and, experience the horror for yourself.

Analog Artist Digital World

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arnold Palmer Invitational 2016-17th hole

By KC Cali.

We were the grateful recipients of passes to a skybox on the 17th hole on Sunday afternoon, March 20. I don't understand much about golf except that it's really difficult to play well, can be addictive and if you've ever played, you can really appreciate what the pros are doing. I've played - badly - and one good hole can keep me locked into 17 miserable holes. 

This particular hole begins on a little hill, on the other side of a pond and a sand trap and has another trap behind it (on the left of this sketch.) I watched in amusement and sympathy as one player dropped his ball into the water and then was forced to shed his shoes, roll up his pant legs (to catcalls from the crowd), and wade into the water to chip it out. He got it onto the green to make par. 

That's part of what makes the tournament so interesting to watch-how pros deal with setbacks with hundreds of people watching in silence. It could be a metaphor for life--dealing with setbacks that you've tried to prevent but they happen anyway.

You can see monitors with their hands held high standing around the perimeter of the hole in the sketch. I don't know what the people who hold up their hands for silence are called so I'm using 'golf monitor'. Like 'hall monitor' from elementary school.

The silence is another thing that amuses me about golf-the whole 'silence your cell phones' while you're anywhere around the course and then spectators are admonished to be still and not talk while the players are hitting. Maybe it IS harder than basketball but can you really call yourself a champion when everyone within 50 yards has to freeze and be silent when you're teeing off? What if you had to do it with spectators screaming "Whiff it!" and using noisemakers like at a Magic game? THAT would be interesting.

The people watching is also fun. I love to see people who dress as if they're playing, and others dress like it's a version of the Kentucky Derby and everything in between. There's a lot of walking. Bay Hill is a large course and quite lovely, so if it's not too hot, it's a very pleasant day. 

Newell Lodge Bluegrass Festival

By Jill Hawk. 

The Newell Lodge Bluegrass Festival took place March 9-13, 2016 in Folkston, GA.  The festival is co-sponsored by the Northeast Florida Bluegrass Association and is held at the Lodge grounds every March and October.

Bluegrass enthusiasts from Florida and Georgia enjoyed great music throughout each afternoon and evening.  The bluegrass lineup included Goldwing Express (included in the sketch), Mountain Faith, Larry Gillis Band, and The Claire Short Band.  The musicians on stage were exceptional and treated fans to music and humor each day.  The stage is surrounded by live oaks providing a shaded venue for the guests to place their lawn chairs and enjoy the music.

One of the best aspects of the festival was to be found in the campground where amateur musicians "picked" at all hours of the day and night.  Nothing beats relaxing with a cup of tea in the morning listening to a bass, acoustic guitar and banjo.

The sketch took about three hours to complete and another two hours to paint.

St. Augustine Race Week

  By Jill Hawk.

St. Augustine Race Week 2016 was held March 30 - April 3, 2016 along the Bayfront, Matanzas River, and offshore.  The five day Regatta is St. Augustine's signature spring sailing event and is hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club as a member of the First Coast Sailing Association.

What made this year special was the introduction of the Paddleboard Racing Series held on the Bayfront along Avienda Menendez.  This event was coordinated by the Saint Augustine Lifesaving Association (members are among the dedicated members of the St. John's County Fire Rescue - Marine Rescue unit) and First Coast Outdoor Fit.  The race series included 1/4 mile sprints, a technical course and a two mile distance race past the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

This sketch was completed during the first day of competition for the paddle boards while racers were signing up for the sprint event.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Avon Park Depot Museum

By Margaret Wheaton

Today a group of us met for lunch in the California Zephyr Silver Palm Dining car in Avon Park, Florida.

We first visited the museum located in the railroad Depot building to learn about the history of Avon Park. The community was founded in the days of ox-carts and horse-drawn buggies. It was first known as Lake Forest, but the wife of the early business manager from England said that it reminded her of her home in Stratford-on-Avon. The city name was then changed to Avon Park.

The Seaboard Coast Line railroad provided transportation for agricultural products and helped the growth of the area. When Amtrak took over the rail lines and closed the Avon Park train station, the building was given to the city. It was then leased to the Historical Society for use as a museum.

The Silver Palm Dining Car was originally a sleeper car on the California Zephyr Line. Next
it was converted to a dining car for the Auto-train line from Florida to Kentucky and then retired when that line went bankrupt. Several years later it was purchased and refurbished by the Avon Park Historical Society. It is operated by an enthusiastic team of volunteers. They are not visible in my sketch because they are busy inside, washing dishes and cleaning the car for their next guests.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bloomin' Arts Festival

by Margaret Wheaton

When the azaleas, camellias and tabebuia trees are ablaze with color, it is time for the Bloomin’ Arts Festival in Bartow, Florida. The artists set up their booths in the streets around the Old Polk County Courthouse, which now serves as the Polk County Historical Museum and Genealogical Library. The booths are shaded by massive live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. People flock to the festival to enjoy the art, music, flower show, quilt show, food, and classic cars.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


By Margaret Wheaton

We are continuing to celebrate the Centennial of the City of Lake Alfred by dedicating our historical buildings. This little building was originally the First Bank of Lake Alfred, built in 1921. It now serves as the home of the Lake Alfred Historical Society. I am so happy that it has survived all these years.

The Mayor and City Commission, the City Manager, the Curator of the museum, the Board of the Historical Society, and interested citizens gathered on Thursday morning to see the bronze plaque unveiled. It says:

“The First Bank of Lake Alfred was housed in the Florida Fruitlands Company office until this building was constructed to serve as the bank of Lake Alfred. The first bank was established in 1909 and known as the Snell National Bank, privately owned by the S. W. Snell Company. Mr. Frank C. Gardner had a large safe in his home to supplement the Florida Fruitlands Company payroll until the Bank of Lake Alfred opened its doors in 1921. It continued to serve as the community’s bank for many years until the late 1970s. After closing it sat vacant and eventually became property of the City of Lake Alfred, which lead to a partnership with the Lake Alfred Historical Society to establish its office and museum.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Virtual Walk in the Woods

By Margaret Wheaton

Imagine a walk in a quiet Florida forest with a guide who can tell you about the local plants and animals as well as the history of the area. To top it off, give him the ability to share poetry that conveys his love of nature. That describes a lovely afternoon with naturalist, guide, author, and poet Steve Franklin.

Steve frequently guides nature tours at Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve in Lake Alfred. Now there is a way to enjoy a tour if you can’t schedule the time to visit Mackay. Steve has created "A Virtual Tour of Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve" using PowerPoint.

The LakeAlfred Historical Society arranged for Steve to present his Virtual Tour on Tuesday, March 1, at the Lake Alfred Public Library. Steve's next Nature Walk at Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve will be this Sunday, March 6th at 2pm.

By the way, “Mackay” rhymes with “sky.”

Sunday, February 28, 2016

HeArt of Winter Pop-Up Show

by Jane Bumar

The Earth Angels cooperative of artists flew in like a flock of glass-glittered birds to their HeArt of Winter pop-up show at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery in Sanford this past weekend.  They escaped the cold gray north into the Florida Tourist Board weather.  Funky, artsy historic Sanford on a clear ultramarine-sky Saturday in February is not a bad gig if you can get it.

Their world is one of vintage, recycled, re-purposed items; collaged and reinterpreted from their original forms. In the artists' hands, faucet tops become necklace pendants, architectural salvage skeleton keys pair with amber chandelier drops.  Victorian-era door escutcheons are decorated with rhinestones from a long-cast off 1940-era earring dangle, then draped on a leather cord around a vintage velvet mannequin.  The more weathered, the more unloved - the better fodder to feed the creative imaginations of these mixed media artists.

They dress the part too; leather boots paired with linen skirts, statement hairpieces with feathers top worn tailcoats evoking a more fanciful age. Stacked steamer trunks form display cases of tiny hand-sculpted mice, purses with threadbare faded silk millinery flowers rescued from obscurity.  One can sense the dust motes swirling when these treasures were unearthed, and re-imagined.  It is real, but yet a bit of tinsel fantasy at the same time.  One of the women artists told me that she'd created a 'regular retail' version of her art jewelry too.  The missing crystals and rusted, chipped enamel on pendants that renders them unique - perfect to the art chick crowd - makes it 'too worn' and 'broken' for retail.  So slightly more conventional renderings, with new chain, and artificially aged (thus, still intact) glitter had to be made just to keep them from being returned to big-box fashion stores as damaged goods. Rather ironic when that's the whole point of 'the vintage look.'  At this gallery show, however, the real vintage deal is touchable and take-homeable, and the gallery clientele have the opportunity to meet the very artists who made the wares. 

I got to the gallery in the last hour or so of the show; I was graciously offered a chair and room to sketch in the swirling middle of it all.  For the next hour, I was somehow part of this pop-up moveable feast.  Part of a bit of theater depicting another age as seen through a slightly wavy glass mirror, surrounded by their carefully placed shabby chic props.  Time simultaneously slows down and races by when you're sketching. It imprints the feel, and the smell, and the spirit of where you are in the moment, until that moment fades and you're brought back into the world.  As the show wound down, the artists' tulle and top hat art-wear was replaced by workaday t-shirts and jeans - it's difficult to wear vintage organza when you're loading crates and boxes into vans and heading back that night to New York, or Virginia.  The late afternoon sun streamed in the old casement windows of the gallery, rendering a vanishing glow of light as the birds flew home.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Notes from All Over: An Evening with Bill Bryson

By Jane Bumar 

I've loved the alternately laugh-out-loud, and poignant, writing of Bill Bryson ever since I read "Notes from a Small Country" some 20-odd years ago. When I found out (completely serendipitously, and a mere few hours beforehand) that the Great Man was speaking, right here, in Orlando (well, Winter Park - but it didn't involve flying all the way to England where Mr. Bryson lives)...There was no choice but to drop any other plans for the evening (read: grocery shopping) and go.  You can appreciate the exquisite struggle involved in this. I parked in the garage on Lymon Avenue, had a pleasant five minute walk to the Warden Arena, and found a seat at the rapidly filling basketball court. Did I mention that the Great Man was speaking for the betterment of Winter Park (and Orlando's) citizenry for free? Courtesy of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.  I love Florida in the winter; it's the sort of place where Important Authors With Newly Released Books to Promote go to Escape Winter in more temperate climes.  Clearly Mr Bryson couldn't resist the lure of a trip to Winter Park, and left behind snowy England to hear the siren call of '70 degrees and sunny.'

Mr. Bryson walked up on the stage after a brief introduction by the college president, and started his talk by noting how this was a much bigger audience than he was used to.  "Certainly bigger than the five people who showed up at the Barnes and Noble book signing in New Jersey..." where one of the five attendees claimed to be there as they were both named "Bill Bryson" and another because she was his editor's relative. He moved on to similar bumbling anecdotes from when the film of his book "A Walk in the Woods" premiered at Sundance Film Festival. He said he felt like a celebrity because he was recognized on the street at Sundance...only to find out the person hailing him was just his son's roommate.  He's been resident in the UK for enough years to have assimilated and self-deprecating British sense of humor. Bill read excerpts from several of his books, including the latest "The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain" (copies for sale in the lobby) and then did a question and answer session, assisted by the young editor of the Rollins College paper.  The impromptu nature of the Q&A highlighted a quick, dry wit and moved the audience past the expected laughs. When asked, "Why do you write?" He answered, simply, "I've got bills to pay..." of course, it came out perfectly timed and completely charming - although he emphasized that he's a writer not a speaker, comedic timing transcends genre.

After the speech, he stayed on the stage for nearly two hours signing copies of books, taking time to speak to each fan and write individual notes upon request.  My typical lack of skill in getting into the short side of the line was evident; I noted in my sketch journal "Well, there's a hundred people ahead of me and at least 10 people behind...."  providing plenty of time to work on finishing the watercolor part of the sketch while I stood. When I finally ascended the podium, Mr. Bryson thanked me for my patience, chuckled at my note request "It's summer, it's time for mayonnaise!" commenting that he'd forgotten he's written that one (faux-British magazine article title) and we chatted for a minute about writing.  Autographed dogeared copy of book clutched firmly in hand, and riding a wave of fangirl-ness, I sailed out of the arena into the balmy Florida night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

50,000 Mile Checkup and First Post

By Thor.

I brought my Prius in to the Toyota of Orlando Dealership for its 50,000 mile all points check up. Because of the Holidays and m procrastination, the car was quite over due based on my odometer. I like to wait at the dealership while the work is done because there are always people waiting around to draw. They chat on the is phones, conducts business or finger their phone surfing social media. A large screen TV behind me was blaring some program that claimed that they have pertinent evidence in unsolved murders. A young college girl was murder and they had audio that apparently was from the killers cell phone. She shouted the killers name and cried for help. The show host then played | audio for the devastated parents to hear so the camera co get their reaction. I didn't look. I tried to block it out.

My tires were well worn. I knew this from the last time, I had the car in for an oil change. There was a sale, buy three tires and get the fourth tire free. The damage was still over $500.  I ended up having to wait an extra hour and a half. Since I was sketching, the time flew buy. My car is probably in better shape and healthier than I am. It is time to think about getting a tune up myself. I've put in quite a few miles since I saw a doctor last.

Analog Artist Digital World