Art in Orlando

Last month I ventured a local downtown art exhibit and had the opportunity to network the scene. Throughout the evening I overheard a common consensus: “Are there any places where I can transfer my inner visions onto canvas and have fun doing it, if only for a night?” This also got me thinking about a recent call received from Delilah…

It started off with a phone call from my sister, Delilah Baumle. She has an unbelievable marketing talent and bringing people together. She called to ask me to join her that evening to paint at Canvas and Cheers with host, Dyanne Parker. Since her relationship with Dyanne was more developed than mine, and I have been longing to visit this event for quite some time, how could I resist?

Thoughts of actively participating in a canvas and cheers event have been floating around in my conscious since I became introduced to Dyanne months ago. Adding to my interest was the fact that she is an active member at Artist’s Square and has submitted articles to WONO.

When I received the call from my sister, I thought “this is the opportunity to go with someone I am comfortable with and explore an artistic experience!” Although normally I can go just about anywhere by myself, somehow I thought I had to know how to paint before going to this event.  In my mind, painting with such an extraordinary artist such as Dyanne Parker was like showing a chef you can boil water. Is it not impressive, nor is there a comparison.

Being the Founder of a website for artists, I had what most people have: a fear of intimidation and expectation. Think about it, I should know how to use paint and canvas, right? Well, truth of the matter is, I draw with pencil and paper, some watercolors, but not paint. Steadying hands on a flat surface is way different than orchestrating work from a paint brush in the air.

There is also the unimpressive factor that I can only draw what is seen. Reality: I have the imagination of a hard slab of concrete. What I mean is I work much better with instructions and something visual to work with. The complexity of imagination and painting was something I could not image I could do. Thankfully the connection I experienced with Dyanne was as promising as Pee Wee Herman in a park full of pigeons. Hint: You’ll connect the dots sooner or later…

Although I have known Dyanne for almost 15 years, I never had a chance to get to know her until this night (though I remember her much taller).

I was greeted with a hug, colorful personality, and a real smile. All of which she did not paint on herself. Dyanne’s voice sounded a bit like Jennifer Tilly, an actress I truly love. This made my involvement all the more comforting, exciting, and impressionable.

The night started off with wine and music from Michael Jackson. Though I cannot promise you both elements will be there during her next event, I can tell you Dyanne will make sure you are entertained while keeping your experience fun and simple.

Here’s what to expect: Dyanne will ask you to take a deep breath and get calm. As the event unfolds, you will receive detailed instructions in the starting point of your artwork. She shows you how to connect your drawing, what colors to use (remember mixing colors taught in elementary) to bring to life, and how NOT to dip your paint brush in your wine instead of your water (yes, there is a three-second rule for that).

Encouraging audience confidence and participation, Dyanne uses her own canvas and paints so you can follow along with her. From time to time, she may even ask her audience for instructions (which I do expect her to know how to moonwalk when I go to her event again).

For those looking for a cultural, artistic, and social event, the age of audience varied but all held a common denominator: fun, wine, and non-judgmental artistic expression. In other words, there is no need do lifts, tucks, or tightens before showing up. Capturing the moment for memories sake, at the nights end you will get a group picture taken and a new art piece to show off to your friends.

For those interested in unleashing their artistic wild side… this cultural, social, and experiential event will quickly become a lesson of relaxation.

On a personal (and professional) level, I was engaged in the experience and look forward to a return. If I could announce the impression I received from this event, I would shout it on the highest mountains. And since Florida is not a good place to do that, West Orlando News Online is certainly a high starting point.

If you would like to experience Canvas and Cheers, visit the calendar of events and pick out what painting and night works for you at

Tracing the local art scene while encouraging individual and community involvement, I am

Racquel Cruz, Founder of Artists-Square


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