Now that it’s getting dark right after work, we’re having to find indoor spots to sketch and this week we visited another planet known as the Albany Bowl. Since it was early evening on a Tuesday night, the customers were mostly people who like to bowl while drinking pitchers of beer and eating vast quantities of fried food, rather than the gang-types known to hang out there during the later hours.
Their bar, pictured above is the cleanest smelling bar I’ve ever been in. There wasn’t the slightest scent of beer or cigarettes, just fresh air and a whiff of chlorine bleach, oddly enough. It was also nearly empty since most people were doing their drinking while they bowled. Semi-hidden in the sketch above is the bartender who I “erased” with scribbles and paint after I goofed up his nose.
Cathy and I sat in tall comfy barstools along the back wall and sketched, creating a great deal of confusion for the bartender who couldn’t figure us out, though he didn’t seem to mind when we politely said, “No thanks” when he came over to take our orders. We just kept on sketching.
We had a similar experience in their little cafe, which from the outside appeared to offer retro-diner sketching opportunities, but in fact, had very little going for it besides the stools and miles of formica. When I said we didn’t want food, just wanted to sit and draw pictures, the young waiter didn’t get it until I showed him my sketchbook. Then he said OK and left us alone. The waitress asked to see what we’d done when we were leaving, and she squealed and laughed when we showed her. I pointed out the waiter’s little beard in my sketch and he smiled.
We tried drawing the bowlers in action; I did a page of gesture sketches and then we decided we’d had enough of the noise on this planet (constant music, announcements, bleeps and bloops from video machines, people yelling) and decided it was time to go home.
I really miss being able to go outdoors for our Tuesday night sketching. While urban interiors are interesting, and drawing anywhere is fun, I miss gardens and birdsong which I much prefer to neon lights and the annoying sounds of video games.