What Fascinates Us Enough to Sketch…

Meridian Building, Café Yumm, Eugene, OR

       This was a new venue for us, and we liked the quiet &  bright light. Around the table were: Hugh, BarbSh, Kaili & her grandfather Pierre, Judith, Barb So, Erik, Bev, and Jane behind the camera.

     Arriving early, Hugh shared the sketch he did from Jane’s photo of him hanging Erik’s show, as well as a sticker by an unknown artist.

      Erik tried out a new to him Faber Castell wax crayon made for kids – he said it was smooth, but low in pigment. Cool case. So he was easily diverted by a photo of an ancient jug – wonderful sketch, Erik!

        Then Hugh got down to business, sketching a hidden away scene from France – and look at the magic with use of the waterbrush!

       Bev started out sketching in her lap, then moved on to the table top where she picked out things that intrigued her as she looked about.

        Barb So saw things from a slightly different angle, and here’s her charming sketch selected from the window display.

    Barb Sh is never at a loss for something to sketch – give her a hand!

      Pierre finished a sketch of a cafe chair he’d started (what a challenge with all those curves!), then the window view caught his eye.

     Kaili chose a family artifact to sketch, and did a great job. She enjoys sketching with her grandfather as much as he does with her.

Here’s a sample of Kaili’s usual art work – lovely depth and shape.

    Judith started out with a cheerful little fluffy bluebird, then moved on to doing a sketch of her hotess’ house intended for a gift.

   Jane sketched some hellebore from her garden (from photos), did a little color, then abandoned that to sketch the logo from Café Yumm.

Not at In-And-Out Burgers!

16 Tons Café, Eugene, OR

You’d think we were at a fast food joint the way folks were here and then gone, and then here and then gone….we have busy lives!

Here are some of the early birds – Heidi, Barb So, Penny, Judith, and against the fall wall are Hugh & Erik. Barb & Penny were busy planning their trip with Ken to Umbria this fall – so intense!

    Heidi had this exquisite pen & ink drawing from a recent trip to the coast, and Judith was excited to unpack her new travel palette.

    Judith was curious about other  ways to apply color, too, and Heidi gave her a quick tutorial about using colored pencil overlays.

    While Penny checked reservation data, Barb So wrote out her trip deposit, and then quickly got into a beginning portrait of Heidi.

      What was Bev up to hiding out in the corner – more portraits! She does them so quickly, and people don’t even suspect!

        Erik was in a great mood – so what’s beginning to appear…keep coming back to see the reveal!

     Hugh is keeping to his sketch a day commitment – this one a re-visitation of a trip to Europe – worthy of commemorating.

Told you it wasn’t fast food (OMG, those crepes!), but so delicious that Ken & Tricia both forewent the “sketch it first” edict.

     Meanwhile, Lealan sneaked in to do a quick sketch of Ken and Tricia.

      Just about then, Judith had completed her first watercolor version of a hybiscus, and then of the room itself – ignore the ceiling, Jane said, it will take care of itself in the viewer’s eye. Made Judith happy.

       Speaking of Jane, here she is with her sketch of her dog (from a pic on her iPad). Yes, Ken did sketch – adding more color to a postcard.

       Barb A came to meet us specifically to pick up mitt-gloves for her upcoming birding trip in Klamath Falls – then she sketched them!

     Tricia excels at putting objects together to make a whole experience, and today was no exception. She has been accused of not being able to leave any space untouched, however….see below:

For Love of Sketching

16 Tons Café, Eugene, Oregon

Our Valentine’s Day celebration meant sketching, of course.

  And here we are, hard at it: Erik, Barb So, Barb Sh, Hugh, Barb A, Sandy, & Ken. Bev was up getting goodies, Jane behind the camera.

      Erik, was stunned by his Choco Caliente Crepe, which didn’t last long.  Then he was busy sketching, too, what was left in front of him.

      Barb So just had to sketch the series of hearts in her latte, then went on to include the people behind Hugh in the café, then watercolor.

       Feb. 14 is Barb Sh’s father’s birthday, and here’s how her annual memory tribute to him developed – sweet memories.

      Hugh, next to Barb Sh., drew whatever was in front of him, then decided to add just a bit of color – didn’t that turn out great:

        Jane was captivated by the heart in her latté, too, and added the heart necklace she was wearing (a gift from her daughter-in-law).

     Bev not only sketched the heart in her coffee, she added the view seen through the gauze curtains of the cafe – what a nice addition.

Sandy filled in the missing images of Bev, Jane, and her darling Hugh at the table across from her.

What were Barb A. & Sandy sketching, looking in opposite ways?

       Sandy was sketching Ken, while Barb A began working on the line of the hat on the fellow at the middle counter – that’s a challenge.

      Bev, Hugh, and Sandy were interested in seeing what Ken was doing, continuing to work on the group sketch he started last week.

   Here’s what developed in Ken’s sketch today – more definition.

     Then Bev couldn’t resist sketching the young woman in the corner.

      Tricia focused on the café decor, and Bev did a quick one, too.

Of course, sketching is not over ’til it’s over, and Ken kept right working on his group sketch the next day of painting at Jane’s:

       Let’s see how a little watercolor over the the graphite sketch would look….  And it’s not over yet, folks! Keep checking back.

Then Came the “small” Apple French Toast

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

Not much can slow down the Top Drawers & Friends…

    Penny only had a brief moment today, so she worked on last week’s sketch, while Bev showed us the sketch she did of Penny last week.

      Bev may get the award for the most sketches done in the quickest time, but what’s that on the far left…the “small” Apple French Toast!

     Erik & Hugh were too busy to notice – here’s Erik’s sketch of Hugh (foreshortened!) eating his cinnamon roll in between pencil strokes.

     Hugh was looking across the room at the piano – got the wood grain!

     Barb A started sketching the piano, too, while Bev did a drawing of Barbara (told you she was fast).

      In the corner, Lealan tried sketching a portrait with colored markers – wow, look at that sketch develop! What pizzazz!

      When Jane wasn’t running around taking photos, she did this simple line sketch of the scene on the deck, then a pop of yellow. Done!

     Ken set up shop across from the group, and began a loose left hand sketch of the group…but what’s Phyllis doing…where’s Erik?

Hugh’s getting ready to leave, Erik’s back, what’s going on?

     Seeing Phyllis’ “small” Apple French Toast was too much to resist! And here’s what Phyllis managed to do prior to her French Toast.

Meanwhile, Ken was trying to keep track of the restless crowd…

   So the next day (usually a painting day with Sandy & Jane) Ken looks at multiple photos of the group, and manages to get most of us into the sketch (under the supervision of Jane’s dog, Qi). Whew!

Now about that “small” Apple French Toast…

Never at a loss for sketching subjects!

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

Hugh and Ken don’t let coffee consumption interfere. Go guys!

  Heidi and Jane both sketched the fabulous cinnamon rolls, prior to deconstruction, and Barb Sh starts a new page in her sketchbook.

      Erik works on a wooded scene, while Barb So chats about the scene out the window – good advice is always available at our meetings.

Leelan Swanson, a sketcher for 50 years & new to Eugene, joined us for the first time – here with Barb Sh and Bev, all sketching away!

         Barb Sh & Leelan enjoyed sharing sketchbooks, while Bev sketched a favorite model of ours: Ken O’Connell & signature cap.

         Penny wavered about what to draw, and settled on the challenge of capturing the light reflected on the dark blue coffee cup – wow!

If you look over Ken’s shoulder out the window, you can see what Hugh is sketching – the potted plants framed by windows.

           Here’s how Hugh’s sketch developed – color makes a difference!

          Barb So was sketching the same view, but with different effects.

     Ken was looking the other way across the room – he said he was trying to capture the vastness of the space,  with Barb & Erik in the foreground. His sketch is an example of his oft made statement, “go darker” and of carefully selected color placement.

      Heidi got us into a discussion of “foreshortening” ( Jane’s first attempt at getting Siri to tell us turned out to be a hilarious to us description of the use of shortening); Penelope showed sketches from last time; and Barb A was busy getting info on our next show of our sketchbooks at the Obsidians Lodge to honor Anne Bonine.


The Pump Café, Springfield, OR

The problem with sketching in a restaurant is that the still life keeps disappearing! Sketchers kept appearing, however, to our delight.

       We started the Tuesday morning gathering with Jane and Erik. Bev & Hugh showed up, followed by Judith, Barb So, Penny & Tricia.  Then Barb Sh came with her sister JoAnne from Albequerque.

At the other end of the table, Phyllis and Ken  had squeezed in.

      Hugh was the one who said “Don’t move the toast!” Oops. Sorry.

      Jane was the one who moved the toast – how rude!

      Bev was the model of restraint, saving her fruit for her sketch.

        Barb So not only saved her scone, she also shared it with Ken!

          Barb Sh deviated from the norm finishing a sketch she had done of her daughter, but her sister JoAnne dutifully sketched her breakfast.

      Tricia and Judith were mesmerized by the decorations on the walls of the restaurant – old license plates, signs, and even saws!

     Erik & Ken are old buddies, but that doesn’t stop them from sketching – here’s Ken sketching his morning treat before he eats it!

    Erik, a more prosaic fellow, ate his breakfast long ago and saved his sketching for the pile of cream containers in the bowl.

Hey, that spot of blue is the same color as Hugh’s shirt!

          Meanwhile, Phyllis was quietly beginning a portrait of Hugh.

Oh! There’s Penelope! When did she sneak in? Despite the sketch challenges, we all enjoyed the wonderful food at The Pump Café, the great coffee and service, and the chance to sketch together again.

What You See is What You Sketch!

New Day Bakery/World Café, Eugene, OR

Ken barely had time to say hello to newcomer Bev Taylor and they were both into sketching!

        Ken sketched his rapidly disappearing Bear Claw pastry, and Bev confessed she loves to do portraits – lots of models here!

      Jane sketched her croissant & coffee, and Penny did the same from across the table from her (they had to be fast, before it got eaten up).

     Penny also shared a sweet bird she’d painted at home, and ended the morning by sketching the ethnic painting on the wall.

      Hugh intently worked on the scene across from him in a booth.

      Erik! You didn’t sketch your pie first! Aha, he said, and rapidly drew the colorful remains.  No stopping this guy.

      Barb So was finishing up a sketch she started at home of her sweet puppy – how can you not adore that face!

       Tricia started in with the colored glass windows, and her sketch quickly grew to include views from outside as well as comments.

      Meanwhile back at the other end of the table, Judith had come in and was delighting Ken with the sketches she did while in Japan.

      Barb A slid in across from Judith, and perfectly captured Judith’s pastry! There’s more than one way to enjoy a tasty treat.

And it’s never too late to get in a sketch, as Penelope demonstrates.

Sharing the Joy of Sketching

Emerald Art Center, 500 Main, Springfield, OR

The opening reception of our sketch show – thirteen sketch artists showing work from the sketchbooks, and sometimes the sketchbooks themselves!

      Heidi looks at Anne Bonine’s and Jane’s sketchbooks, while Paul and Jim look at the three shadowboxes full of Joby’s work.

     Phoebe, who took an online course with Jane, says she can hardly wait to get back to sketching.  Joby, Barb A, Erik, Cathy & Ken, Tricia and Sandy, all enjoyed seeing the variety of sketches displayed.

It was a special treat to have Patti McNutt display her gouache & ink sketch from Italy along with her follow up oil done back at home.

      Cheryl & Robert take a closer look at Jane’s selection of daily sketches. Satoko and Tricia chat in front of Sandy’s & Ken’s sketches.

      The most welcome comment of the night (right after “I want to buy that one, ” said about three pieces!) was “I want to start sketching.”
No wonder sketchers Phyllis, Jane, & Barb A were so happy!

Irrepressible Sketchers Hang Show

Emerald Art Center, 500 Main, Springfield, OR

We were invited to hang a show of our work to help others visualize the joy of sketching, and the group didn’t hesitate to pull it together despite weather woes. The show will be up Jan. 10- Feb. 4, but our opening reception is Friday, Jan. 13, 7:30-8:30 – join us!

Here’s an overview shot of how the show appears in the upper gallery at the Emerald Art Center.

   Artists showing work  on these walls are: Jane Harrison, Anne Bonine, Erik Johnson, Joby Patterson, Patti McNutt, Barbara Sommers, Hugh Larkin;

      Hugh Larkin,  Jan Brown, Barbara Aten, Tricia Clark-McDowell, Satoko Motouji;

   Phyllis Helland, Sandy Larkin, Ken O’Connell, Jane Harrison.  Also included in the show but not pictured here is Penny McAvoy.

     Penelope gives some feedback to Hugh, our master hanger, on how level the pieces are, then Hugh steps back to admire the show.

Happy sketch hangers: Sandy Larkin, Penelope Youngfeather, Hugh Larkin, Barb Sommers, Jan Brown. Not shown here but helping out with the labeling, glass cleaning, frame straightening and general enthusiam were Ken O’Connell, Penny McAvoy, & Jane Harrison.

Come see our show!

We Always Keep On Sketching!

While the blogger may get bogged down, the Top Drawers never let anything stop them from meeting to sketch – not bad weather, impending holidays, nor visiting guests (we just bring the latter along!). So here’s a catch-up posting:

Dec. 13, 2016, 5th St. Market, Eugene, OR


Dec. 20, 2016, 5th St. Market, Eugene, OR



Dec. 27, 2016, New Day Bakery/World Cafe, Eugene, OR




Jan. 3, 2017, New Day Bakery/World Cafe, Eugene, OR





And there you have it!