Friday, February 26, 2010

Sportstown Billiards Sketch Crawl September 09

Sportstown was a stop on the September sketchcrawl. It was very quiet when we were in there early in the evening; only a few people shooting pool. It's visually very rich. I liked the way the pool tables sort of march away into the distance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Junior Achievement Bowl a thon

We participated in Junior Achievement's annual Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser. I am a horrible, horrible bowler, so I sketched instead. The guy bowling in this sketch was very good; I was glad because he got so many bonus frames he was up there enough for me to catch the odd gesture of the body just after the ball is rolled. Or bowled, or whatever it's called. I didn't put in all the beer that was there, though.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A young musician rehearses for her solo competition with her barefooted accompanist. January 2010.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OBoys Trivia Night hosted by Curtis Earth

In this sketch, I focused just on Curtis Earth, the trivia conteset host. His show is fun and he's good at it. I especially enjoyed the tie-breaking staring contest he decided on for the top two players at the end of the game. As it turned out, they were both REALLY GOOD at staring and he had to ask additional questions in an effort to knock one out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Music & conversation at Spice

We were at Spice on Park Avenue in Winter Park in early November. This is a nice restaurant and bar that opens onto the sidewalk. It's relaxed and has the feel of a neighborhood bar without the grungy aspect. The sketch is of a conversation between two friends at the bar. One of them later wanted to see the sketch; a friend had told him I was sketching them. I felt I wasn't particularly kind in my sketch so I was a bit embarrassed by my characterization of them at first. Later, I realized it's my sketchbook and I like to share but it's personal and just my opinion, after all.

A father/son duo called The Robinsons (Justin & Jeff) were playing energetic, mostly acoustic music. They're both excellent players and singers and really fun, as they interacted with the crowd quite a bit. I struggled with this one; I had lost my first sketchbook about 2 months before. I'd finally given up hope of finding it and bought a smaller one that is more manageable. This is one of the first efforts after an almost 8 week break. I plan to return and try again to capture more of the feeling of the place.

OBoys Trivia Night

OBoys in Winter Park has a trivia night hosted by Curtis Earth every Tuesday, visible at the back on the left here. I never play, but I am pretty sure I would win a lot if I did. Or not. Some people seem very serious about the game and Curtis makes everyone turn off their cell phones before they play. On this night, I was intently watching the young woman and older man play. At one point, I thought maybe he was hitting on her, but after a couple more visits, I think I was wrong about that. Sketching where you are is just another way to people watch.

In this sketch, I really played with the straight edges that are everywhere in OBoys. I enjoyed bending them to facilitate the feel I was going for.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Frame Shop at Sam Flax

My friend Cory works in the frame shop at Sam Flax and was kind enough to let me sit in there one lunchtime and sketch. I also met Jon who works there as well. In my day job, I've had to get a bunch of stuff framed and that's how we became friends. He's great at what he does and takes pride in choosing the right setting for a piece. I know because he framed one of my pieces for Nude Nite and made the choices for it. I break framing glass just about every time I try to frame something so when it counts, I pay for an expert.

The frame shop if very neat looking: stuff everywhere. It looks like possibility, like that special thrill I get when I go to Home Depot and see all those shelves and shelves of possibility.

Bar monkeys - Jax in Lake Mary

I spend more time than is wise at Jax in Lake Mary. I actually really dislike most things about it: the uncomfortable seating, the incessant noise of all those televisions and people shouting to each other to be heard and the service on most nights. I love the hamburgers, the outdoor seating and, most of all, the people watching.

This sketch is rather old: June of last year. I'd just started back sketching and caught this couple at the bar. I was lucky that he was the kind of guy who stands with his back to the bar, leaning on his elbows and holding forth to whoever will listen. She seemed unduly fascinated but there's no accounting for taste, I guess. There is an actual sign on that column that says "Do Not Hump".

Kingfisher Tours reservation hut, Fisherman's Village, Punta Gorda

I did this one between this past Christmas and New Year's. I was in the Punta Gorda area on another errand and stopped at the local tourist trap, Fisherman's Village. It's completely standard-issue Florida fare: t-shirts shops, shell mobiles in crowded gift shops overflowing with touristy junk imported from China, women's clothing decorated with little shell/flamingo/martini motifs and sandals with flowers on them. The whole complex is in a single long open-ended building capped off with a biker bar right on the Charlotte Harbor.

I remember my first trip to Florida in 1992- I was enchanted by this place. Of course, I'd come from dark and dreary Boston, up to the wheel wells on my minivan in snow. I was frantic to escape and all I cared about was that it was warm and bright.

This little hut is where I think you can make reservations on their boat for canal tours and peek in at the lucky souls who live right on the water. It wasn't their business as much as it was the hilariously bad homemade dolphin pulling a sort of john boat carrying a plastic Santa (the kind with a light inside) and wire-framed gift boxes on the roof. I LOVE this stuff about Florida and it appears all over the state.

I did cheat on the color-it's applied in Photoshop and I understand from a friendly observer that is obvious. I was too afraid to actually apply real paint--then. I undoubtedly will go back to the sketch and apply watercolor from memory.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Street Performer in Brattle Square

My daughter left for freshman year of college near Boston in late August; I was happy to get back to
a city I truly love. We went to knock around Harvard Square one day and she met up with a high school friend starting at Harvard. I sat down on a low wall in Brattle Square to sketch this street performer. I love the presence of street performers; they add a vibrancy and festiveness to an ordinary day.
He was much older than you'd think--at least 50-- and gave a very melodramatic rendering of the songs he played and sang. At one point, a very young musician dressed entirely in black came along and watched for a time. He eventually gave up any hope of getting a shot at this prime spot and walked off disconsolately. Maybe he continued to cruise Harvard and Brattle Squares for a spot-I saw 2 other musicians performing in the area.
Despite my reservations about his taste, I enjoyed the fact that street performers are welcomed in Boston and Cambridge. There's something to be said for forming your own opinions about the music you hear and the art you see. Constantly being fed music and art by 'official' outlets, such as radio, tv, galleries and museums doesn't allow you to educate your own taste.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taberna de Gallo, St. Augustine

We went to St. Augustine for the weekend a couple of weeks ago. The Spanish Colonial Quarter Museum is a small compound which features active workhops: leather, carpenter, blacksmith and our favorite: the tavern. The Taberna de Gallo opens onto St. George Street and is open until 11 pm on the weekends. The specialty of the house is Sangria. They also have a small beer and exotic soda menu.

The weekend we were there, the tavern was staffed by Jeannie and Gili. Jeannie-on the right in the sketch- is an enthusiastic history buff with a gift for passing her interest on. Her husband, Jim, stopped by on Saturday evening in full 'sailor-about-town' regalia: he was wearing a vest with lots of buttons, which was the equivalent of waving a wallet full of cash at the ladies. Gili is a children's writer with an interest in history. This is her in her working costume.

The atmosphere of the tavern is very congenial. With no televisions blaring news or sports and no loud rock music, patrons were able to actually talk to one another and to the staff. We got caught up in playing "Shut-the-Box"-an addictive game of the period involving dice and numbered tiles. The tavern is lit by candle lanterns on the tables and hanging from the beams. It does have an electronic cash register for state-required receipts but that's hidden. People come in, drink beer or sangria and sit for hours. I wish there were more places like this.

Nude Nite

Nude Nite - the once yearly art event featuring art of the nude - starts tomorrow. It's really fun, for lots of reasons, only some of which have to do with the art. The people-watching is really excellent.These are the two pieces I've submitted. The one on the left has been on the shelf over the fireplace for a while. The other one was done especially for Nude Nite.