There was walking and exploring and food trucks on Day 1.
And running, hiking, singing, and swimming on Day 2.
And there was going to be yoga, the beach, and art on Day 3.
Those were my general Day 3 Thursday plans at least, which came together while hiking and swimming during the day on Wednesday and also while getting a drink back at a bar in Orlando Wednesday night.
As it turned out, Thursday would also include a visit to a farm and a second art event. Which is to say: there was a lot going on, and at some points too much as I tried to follow my interests and do too much. But in the end, it was all good. The story continues.
From my hosts, I’d heard about East End Market, a neighborhood market a mile and half away that serves as a food hub, merchant space, and community center. Inside there was a variety of local food businesses (bread, cheese, produce, juice, beer), a coffee shop, a small book store, a plants store, a restaurant, and more. And outside there was a patio courtyard and a community garden project. And: everything Thursday morning, in partnership with Lululemon, there was a free yoga class!
So I got up early, jogged to the market, and started the day with yoga. I hadn’t done yoga in a while – the last time was several months prior, coincidentally at a free Lululemon class in Princeton – and I was also planning on doing a half marathon in two days (yes, the Best Damn Race Orlando), so I took it easy. And I was able to relax and it felt good. And with an intention set for the day – love and kindness all around, for myself and others – I got a sourdough loaf from the bakery and ambled around the market, inside and out, at my own pace.
Most of the shops weren’t open yet, but it made me smile to learn that the offices of Edible Orlando were housed there (I picked up the latest copy). And I found a local farms guide! Before jogging home, I sat for a few minutes, relaxing and being.
Where I got into a little trouble that day, back at the house and at other points, was when I started thinking that I needed to do certain things and to fit a lot of things in.
I had the beach in mind, but now I also saw the possibility of visiting some local farms, and Google maps was telling me that logistically it would be possible to visit them on the way back from the beach, and then if I got back in time I could also go to this additional art thing that I’d learned about the night before at the bar. The timing would be tight though, and I couldn’t stay in any one place for too long. But it could work. But I’d be rushing. But it was possible. But I’d be thinking of next place and not relaxing in the moment. What should I do, what should I do… Wait, does this sound familiar?? Yes, to hike or to kayak, that is the question.
In the end, I did them all and I had some stress about it. Who’s not perfect though? This guy.
And who feels better having said that, and having lived and learned through it? Also this guy.
But to move on from this guy,
Let’s talk about this sky.
I brought my lunch with me to beach, and sat with this view.
There were just a few others, enjoying it too.
The admission was free, the opposite of Jersey,
But if you wanted to drive, there was a $10 fee.
There were also many palms,
At the beach and in the street.
And also at the farm,
You can see them behind,
With the strawberries in front,
Growing in lines.
In the end I picked five quarts,
Some peppers and onions too,
Because when the opportunity comes,
That’s what you do.
Yes, stopping at the farm added something to the trip. And strawberries in March, who knew! I didn’t get to also visit an orange grove, but in talking with the farmer while paying, I did learn a little about the orange industry. She told me how a disease, citrus greening, was threatening the entire industry and how her family had successfully transitioned from oranges to vegetables.
Back in Orlando, the first art event I went to that evening was 1st Thursdays at the art museum (good, but with everything else that day and the timing of it, it became part of my day’s too much). And then I went to Mystery Sketch Theater at the Falcon (better, because that’s what I really wanted to do).
When my hosts had mentioned Mystery Sketch Theater – a monthly figure drawing session held at a local bar, where a live model dresses up as a superhero and other unique characters – I was like, “That sounds awesome, I would do that.” I like drawing, I thought, and it sounded like a fun social thing to do with like-minded people. Drawing, drinking, and hanging out, perhaps too with some new friends. I also happened to have brought with me from NJ a set drawing pencils, a sharpener, and a eraser (holiday gifts from one of my brothers that I hadn’t used yet). I’d packed them thinking that maybe I’d use them, and now here was an opportunity!
So I bought a sketchpad and showed up.
The model started with one-minute poses, as a warm up for us as well as for her. This progressed into 5-minute and then 10-minute poses. And then about half-way in, near the hour mark, she took a break for a costume change. From 8 to 9 pm we were drawing a leather-bound Cat-woman type, and from 9 to 10 pm it was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
I liked the shortest poses the best – less time to worry about making mistakes. You have to dive in, draw, and be decisive with your lines.
I found that the more time I had, the longer I often hesitated. With some of the longer poses, I’d have very little done until I found out there was a minute left, and then there’d be a flurry of lines and parts in the last 30-60 seconds. Sometimes it would look okay, sometimes not. At a certain point, I could feel myself getting self-critical: “There are so many mistakes in my drawings. They’re not perfect! I’m not perfect! Other people’s drawings look better than mine.” And then it passed.
The truth is, there were some talented artists that night at Mystery Sketch Theater. And while my drawings didn’t always have the right proportions or features (heads, hands, my undoing), that’s okay. I reminded myself, too, that to be good or great at something right away is unrealistic. As in, something that’s not real. And me? Yes, I’m real. And to get better at drawing, and anything in life – meeting new people, enjoying the present moment, seeing the beauty around you everyday – it takes time and practice. And with that in mind, I’m happy to say the following: Enjoy the rest of the art show!
All the drawings, from top to bottom, appear in the order in which they were drawn.
The more I look at them, the more I realize there’s something about every one that I like. A line, a leg, a look, a gesture, a smile, a something. Every one, just like everyone, has something special. I like each one on its own, and all of them as a group.
Do you have a favorite?
Looking at them also makes me want to do more drawing. For context too, the one drawing with the words was the product of that night’s contest: Prior to everyone starting that one, which was the final drawing before the model’s costume change, the suggestion of “Stealing Easter” was selected as the concept for us to transform our drawings into while the model changed.
I didn’t win the contest, but I won the day by drawing in a bar on vacation. It was a good Thursday decision. And after it ended, I got a bite to eat with two of the other artists.
Up next: Part III for the Orlando conclusion – relaxing, running, and performing-arts seeing and being