WHEW, Hurricane Irene is headed up north, evacuation of parts of NYC that have never evacuated before, they say there could be 12 feet of water sitting at Ground Zero in about 36 hours, unbelievable. Hope all the relatives and people I know are prepping to be safe! (remember this was written the 26th, check your news for updates and my thoughts are with you for your safety as that storm moves through!)
This has been a great day with 6 minutes till my birthday is off the clock – My daughter came armed with mini chik filet sandwiches, homemade cookies and a big cake this morning!  Then about 4 hours later my son took me to Imperial Palace for vegetable rolls, soup and sesame tofu, we came home to more cake and cookies. By dinner time after a few more cookies, I was off to Cork and Olive on Lake Mary Blvd at the Target shopping center as there was an event for SpaynSave, the group trying to get the low cost spay neuter clinic.  http://spaynsave.org/site/
They had a wine tasting and finger foods and assorted cheeses to benefit the group.   The place was packed and saw my good friend, Madeleine MacKenzie who makes the coolest boxes and jewelry and is a huge animal advocate. She’s such a wonderfully happy person, always a big smile on her face. She needs to get a website to show off her fantastic art! Madeleine if you read this, you MUST take boxes up to Divine Mother Earth ASAP! And Radha, you will love Madeleine’s boxes!
I did meet another artist, Loretta Atwell, (latwell@centralfloridagraphics.com) who does animal and people portraits, here’s a sampling of her work:

  Lorita works with pastels and charcoal, she is ready to make your pet into a work of art!  She was fun to talk to.

There was also a lab puppy named Sienna who was being trained to be a service dog by New Horizons who trains these dogs for people in need. (http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_lifestyle_animal/2010/06/help-service-dogs-group-gain-grant-donation.html)
It was a beautiful puppy presented by a volunteer. The dog is being mobility trained for someone in a wheelchair. The first year of life these special puppies are left to mature and then they are sent off to be trained. This type of service is invaluable to people who need a dog to be able to live in the ‘mainstream’ of life, do normal things that their disability might normally limit them from doing. 
The place was filled, it was a wonderful showing both the Group and  for the owner Antoney Manipadam. There’s quite a good assortment of wine and related items on the shelves. (4247 W. Lake Mary Blvd – Shoppes of Lake Mary)  http://www.corkandoliveonline.com    
They also have room for readings, meetings, groups of all sorts.
contact Antoney at 407-323-0555

Then onto Sanford’s Art walk. Where to start where to start? I started with Herbie Hancock who had just flown into a tree to talk his snooze till morning, what a beautiful bird.  

Walked next to Gallery on First, there I ran into my son Adam and his girlfriend Heather who wanted me to see some art in a window, so I left and didn’t get back there to see the usual artists I normally say hi to. We went to the spot and took a few pics and walked a little before they left,  I continued on to Art Affair Gallery to see Al Fontana’s portraits. Al has been furiously drawing away for months to be able to show off his famous faces. He can draw you too even if you have a non-famous face.  Al works with pencils, charcoal and pastels, (email contact: BeatleALF@cfl.rr.com) – here’s the room of faces you will recognize – have a favorite not listed? Al can probably find them and draw it. His exhibit will be up for a month, enjoy the rock/movie influence.    

Ronda was back from her vacation looking happy and Sheri who runs the restaurant part of the Gallery looked like she needed a break! She is one busy busy lady with all the food prep and necessary skills to run a quality restaurant which she has done for many years. She said they had been slammed tonight. I am so glad the “The Palette” has gone over so well. And love the look of the back room, it’s shaping up more beautifully each time I see it.   As I was admiring the work of  Ivaldo Robles, Ronda rushes up and says I have to meet him, he’s at the bar. So I did and we had a good chat. His work is very intense with lots of thought put into the brush strokes.     I have admired his pieces for a while since I saw his work on the wall of Art Affair Gallery last year.  This work has to be studied, one must examine what Ivaldo has to say behind the art he makes, such intensity of design! Those 4 pieces demand attention and he has more hanging in the main gallery. This back room is always changing, Ronda keeps it fresh!
As I was looking around I saw that artist, Ralph Verano had walked in with a camera and I was glad to meet him.  http://www.artaffairgallery.com/verano.html   — not far behind was Tracy and her Mom. I enjoy yakking it up with Dorothy.
Ralph and wife Tracy Burke have a wonderful way of showing their talents,  both have paintings exhibited all over the Orlando area so having them in close proximity was like brushing with royalty! Plus I have known Tracy’s mom, Dorothy for years before I even knew she was Tracy’s mom. Ralph’s work is always exciting, he has a strong sense of humor that comes through with his style of work. I did not take a photo of his work at the gallery, but lifted a couple off the art affair link. One can see a an interesting take on the faces and figures he chooses to construct.
Tracy Burke — http://www.artaffairgallery.com/burke.html   is all wrapped up with her hues and lines and her presence imposed upon the canvas. Her slant on actors, singers and others comes on strong,  her work behind the piano on the red wall speaks for itself. Her work is diverse, she does abstracts also that show an appreciation of placement of line and color. She and husband Ralph have their work in collections all over the USA and beyond.   ArtSmart-Online.com, a site for both their work.e.com,

Remember people, artists are approachable and are people too and love talking about their work. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. And tip the singers and their bands too! 
Ronda has a gallery full of all types of artwork, many new artists like Bill Moran and Barbie Nowick featured on last blog.

Finally on to Divine Mother Earth and The Gypsy’s Lair to see if I was too late for the show tonight and  I met so many new artists showing their work. Each had their own style and as always, you wonder what is the psyche behind the mind that creates the piece. Radha the owner has a knack for finding edgy artists. Her place is rampant with color and application, the walls scream at you for attention. First of all I saw the henna artist Tina Santiago (shaktiart.com)  – With a steady hand, Tina applied the henna ink to the palm of a young woman’s hand. It was fun to watch her work  her art on skin: 

Next I took off on an adventure to read the walls. Started with Joe Quillsong, look at the flood of color and motion, and emotion, Joe makes Hurricane Irene at 100mpg seem like she’s sitting still!  Love the creative storm he creates! His work too was something studied in depth, beautiful application of paint and design.
Noticed German Lemus was painting Buddha, it’s always interesting to watch his brush applications, he looks so intense and then he will look at you and that wonderful smile welcomes you.  When I saw his work,  I thought of the shirts that Radha has on the clothing side at Divine Mother Earth with the faces of Hindu Gods on tank tops,     German needs to work on cloth! I still marvel at his body painting art last month, just spell  the name Divine Mother Earth or German Lemus in the search bar to see past pictures and blogs and the beautiful job he does with body paint, remember Halloween is coming, make an appointment to get a really unique costume this year made of paint only!

There were other artists to appreciate, Anna Maiya Young makes ‘Crucifaries’, her  dimensional work  looked like it should be on the set of Tru Blood and I love Tru Blood and all the ‘trappings’! Have a look:

Joie Higgins has paintings that look like they should be on the faces of Tarot cards, her work:  Contact,  niamhinfinityx2@yahoo.com
I should have used my flash to show their lightness –

Sara Burr had objects placed within an open shadow box. Artists reveal  a bit about themselves within the realm of their work, sometimes whimsical, sometimes the soul seems to need an outlet, sometimes it’s their intensity of happiness and joy or the need to express rage and anger, each artist sure has their individual slant – that’s what makes artists so interesting.
Sara also has a love of mermaids,   Sara Burr (www.saraburr.com)

It does not end there, the work continues through The Gypsy Lair with big art by various other artists, have a look:
The tryptic by Sipple

What’s Going On, the Marvin Gaye in black/white and gray by J. Barrows – my flash bounced a bit, I apologize

pregnancy cast by henna artist Tina Santiago. 

I must thank Radha again for the drink and hugs she generously gave me for my birthday, though she is naturally a hugger anyway. Go have a look at Divine Mother Earth, The Gypsy’s Lair, Art Affair Gallery, Gallery on First and all the shops in between on the side streets. The Farmers Market is there every Saturday till 2pm and on Wednesday evenings too. Take a stroll and enjoy what Sanford has to offer, and a very merry un-birthday to me~
Now those of you in the path of the hurricane, stay safe, listen to the reports and hope everything is fine for you and yours, hugs and empathy, in Florida we know what you are going through and feel deeply for the circumstances. Since you are ‘holed’ up for a while, keep a journal, tell it about your emotions, lay out your feelings, write a Haiku, a poem, pen something of your time being held at bay by nature. Take crayons or paints if you have them and draw to pass the time, give yourself a creative outlet as that storm passes, don’t let it batter your spirit! Now let me back at those cookies, it’s a new day! (Some of us never grow up)