Saturday, May 11, 2019

Aloma Bowl

My intrepid group of urban sketching students from Crealdé School of Art went for a sketch outing to Aloma Bowl (2530 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL 32792) which is just a block away from the school. On Sundays Tournaments are held, so there are some pretty talented bowlers working the lanes.

The goal of this sketch workshop was to help students catch gestures in their sketches. For the first half hour of class we worked in the Crealdé studio, doing quick, two minute sketches to catch gestures. We used a round shaped radio to substitute for a bowling ball and posed, keeping gesture and storytelling in mind. I stressed the importance of using fluid action lines to catch the motion.

The Aloma Bowl lanes were active when we arrived and they grew more crowded as we sketched. I made the rounds, showing the different stages of my sketch as I progressed, and also giving tips and some demonstrations on how to catch a pose in repeated attempts as the parson stepped up to the line to bowl again and again. The large overall sketch was intended to demonstrate one point perspective. I suggested that students only focus on the bowling pins on one lane so they didn't spent much time obsessing over that one detail.

Families came in to bowl, and guard rails were raised on either side of the one bowling lane so that stray balls didn't go down someone else's lane. For the very small kids there was a ramp that could be put on the line and the child just had to get the ball to the top of the ramp and gravity would "bowl" the ball down the lane. I had never seen that contraption before. The first bowler I sketched was finished with his game after only a few times of going up to the line to bowl. I started getting better about watching the score board of people I was sketching, because the board could let me know if I had much time to sketch the people before their game was over. My quick demo sketch stressed the importance of making the figures in the foreground dark against the illuminated lanes. I didn't spend much time on the sketch since I kept checking in with each student as they worked.

There is a wonderful energy to a bowling alley, as folks celebrate their strikes or spares and chat between games. The place had an auditory buzz about it, punctuated by the loud sounds of the pins getting smashed. As an artist, it is exciting to feed off that energy and try to infuse some of it into each sketch. This was unfortunately the last class with this crew of talented artists. It is always hard to say good by after working with artists for six weeks straight.

My next Urban Sketching: Tips and Techniques class starts June 16, 2019 running each Sunday Morning from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Usually, the first hour we cover a premise in the Crealdé studio and then we break out into the community around the school to sketch on location.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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