I was in Orlando for my prosthesis recently and stayed over a weekend. As luck would have it, the Downtown Orlando Arts & Musical Expo 2008 just happened to fall on that weekend and ... it was along Lake Eola ...right behind my downtown hotel!
It was such a nice treat. Saturday was a little rainy, then overcast, but the temperature was a mild 65 or so degrees ... heavenly for a Mainer at the end of February! I enjoyed sitting outside at the amphitheater with only a sweater listening to jazz ... and strolling from booth to booth talking with the various artists and admiring and buying some of their beautiful objects of art.
I found the perfect graduation gift for my daughter Cammie done by artist Shari Sherman of Island Girl Studio. Her work is cheerful and makes me happy to look at. Cammie has similar tastes so I think she'll love this!
Another of my favorites was Bags by "B," unique custom made cigar box purses made by Barb Nagle from Port St. Lucie, Fla. Barb is too busy making the boxes so doesn't have a Web site, but can be contacted by phone at 772.336.1404. Below is a photo of two that I thought would make nice gifts. The flowers on the left purse were painted by an 85-year-old friend of Barb's. Unique and beautiful!
Another booth I visited more than once was that of JoAnn Wedge,
who had colorful handcrafted glass jewelry. I was attracted to this
heart pendant made of fused dichroic glass. JoAnn said that she is from
Seffner, Fla., but is soon moving to California because she has a heart
story of her own. She told me that she met "the love of her life" who
also is a glass maker. She's moving there to be with him! Visit her Web
site to see more of her creations.
I'm attracted to Oriental brush painting and I once studied it myself while living in South Korea many years ago. So, when I spied the work of Qi Jiang, another exhibiting artist, I had to go and take a look. This style of painting called Sumi-e means water and ink. It refers to tradition brush painting, usually performed on rice paper or silk screen. The philosophy of the process of painting involves meditation and well being, in order to achieve a movement of perfection that results in the best brush strokes. The favorite themes of Sumi-e are flowers, bamboo, birds, fish and landscapes.
Qi Jaing has been painting since childhood. He teaches at the School of The Art Institute in Chicago. Below is an example of his work:
When I first started traveling down to Orlando I wondered, "Is there anything going on in Orlando besides Disney? Well ... after having an open weekend to scout around ... I think that I've answered my own question ... YES!
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