Guy’s Day.

So Hugh and Erik were the only Top Drawers to appear at Allan Brothers on Tuesday.  We had a great conversation, and solved all of the worlds most pressing problems, but not where to meet next week.  Hugh left it to me to decide, and I will, when I send out the email notice…..

Meanwhile, Here’s a selfie with Hugh:img_1111

And Hugh’s wonderful interested in architectural details:img_1112

And my own efforts at reconstructing distant memories:img_1113

Though Ken was not with us at Allan Bros, he was with us in spirit in Umbria, along with several of the TDs:


Alan Brothers Week One

Tuesday, Hugh, Barbara, Jan, and Erik met at the Alan Brothers Coffee Shop on 5th Avenue across the street from the jail.  It was a very pleasant gathering.  Barbara and Hugh arrived first and got right to work;  after getting coffee, of course.


Hugh was drawing an architectural detail of the rail and stair way.


Then Erik and Jan arrived. There was some discussion of which procedure to follow: order a treat and draw it before eating, or just eat it and draw whatever you want.  No decision was made, though Erik went ahead and ate half the treat, which was not great, and would have looked better in a drawing.  But he drew from memory in any case.


And finally, thank you Jan, for taking a few pictures while the primary photographer and organizer is away in Italy!  And going ahead with your own sketch of the woman at the next table.



Where is Everybody?

Well, there was a little confusion over the Top Drawers’ meeting spot this week.  Perhaps it was because so many were on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, toodling around looking at art and sketching.  Only Barb Sommers turned up at our originally determined site–Thistledown Farms–Sorry, Barb!  no pictures yet from her….
At the last minute, Jan Brown and Erik Johnson thought that the New Day Bakery and World Cafe would be warmer and closer, though  only Jan and Hugh showed up!  Erik had other urgent responsibilities to attend to.
So there are a few pictures!

Here’s Hugh at work


And here’s what he’s working on:


And here’s a snap of Jan’s efforts.


And here’s a couple from the hardy travelers!



Creativity Bursting out at Barb’s!

Barbara Shirk’s house, Eugene, OR

allHere’s the crew in Barbara Shirk’s colorful back yard –  in back: Ken, Jan & Barbara Sommers; in front: Sandy, Renata (Heidi’s sister), Heidi, & our wonderful host Barbara Shirk.  (Jane behind camera)

food-1      food-2Barbara tells Ken how she made the brownie-waffles. Jan & Barb So enjoy having tea with theirs, as well as yummy croissants.

barbsh-1       jane-1        jane-2Barbara had a demo of how to use water soluble “dust” (Ken Oliver Crafts – Color Burst, or Colour Craft – Brusho). She used a stencil over the paper, poofed out some color dust, then spritzed it with water to reveal the color – you can fold your book or paper to get a reverse pattern. Then you have a background for sketching! Here’s Barb’s sample first, then Jane’s stencil work (& a stencil still carrying enough wet color to do a 3rd page, upon which she sketched).

barbso-1      barbso-2      barbso-3Here’s Barb So. picking her color “dust”, spritzing the “dust” that’s on top of a stencil, folding her book, then lifting the stencil – ta dah!

b-h-r        hrBarb shows Renata and Heidi what she did, and then they were eager to try it, too.

renata-1      renata-2      heidi-1Barb Sh holds the stencil flat while Renata poofs the “dust” across her stencil and then spritzes it with water. Heidi is tickled with the variegated color effect she got by using different “dusts.”

jan-1      sandy-1Jan really got a vivid effect with her color burst. Sandy took advantaged of the hand held dryer for hers (note Ken in the garden).

ken-1      ken-2      ken-3Meanwhile, Ken was busy sketching in the garden, letting the color and shapes inspire the multi-layered page he’s creating.

jan-2     jan-3     jan-4Barb So enjoyed Jan’s sketch of a nearby colorful pot evolve.

heidi-2     heidi-3The nearby hardy fuchsia’s caught Heidi’s sketching eye.

sandy-renata       sandy-3Sandy & Renata were sketching side by side – here’s Sandy’s sketch of one of the whimsical snail sculptures Barb Sh has in her yard.

sandy-2        renata-3Both Sandy and Renata enjoyed the process of sketching over the top of their colorful stenciled backgrounds, too – the last photo is of Renata’s playful flowers (inspired by the garden). We hope she’ll come back and sketch with us again, although Germany is far away.

Connecting with other sketch artists

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

allNine sketchy artists gathered around tables at 5th St. Market this week – here are Barb Sh, Ken, Rita Cavin, Erik, Jan, Sandy, Sue Ashton, & Carol Schaafsma, with Jane behind the camera.

old-friends        old-3Sue, Carol, & Rita are old painting buddies, who went on the sketch trip to Italy with Ken in 2015. After catching up, everyone was right into sketching (note Sue with scone model – yum!)

ken-barbsh-rita      old-carol_edited-1Sue puts color to her scone sketch, and Carol tackles a perspective challenge, while Barb Sh and Ken talk to Rita  about her painting.

barbsh-1      barbsh-2BarbSh shared her 3-D pop out effort of Carlsbad Caverns – wow!

jan-sandy-1     jan-sandy-2Jan & Sandy, old TD buddies, enjoy chatting, too.

erik-1      erik-2Erik gets a image onto his paper – a familiar (but somewhat sad) sight in Oregon – a clear cut hill. Those stumps really tell the story. Nice to have a sketch of the bright sun behind a forested hill above.

jan-1        jan-2Jan used one of Erik’s water soluble crayons, and that found using a blending brush gave her the texture she was after for background.

danish-1      danish-2Jane and Sandy couldn’t resist the little Cream Cheese Danish with fresh raspberries – purchased solely to sketch, of course. (Yum, yum.)

barbsh-3        ritaBarb Sh adds color to her museum sketch, and Rita shows us her sketch from the cafe across the way. Good to have her, Carol, & Sue with us again. We love the connection among artists.

joby-1    joby-2And speaking of artist connections, here’s our dear TD Joby clear across the world doing what we do, sketching (& biking). In the first photo she’s in Piata Amzei, Bucuresti; the second sketch is of Stjarisu, Transylvania, Romania. Thanks to her fabulously fit biking husband Jim for the photos. We love having artist support staff.

Sketching what’s in and what’s out

Barry’s Deli, Eugene, OR

Our meetings often start with catching up…

pre-Barb-1      pre-Barb-2      pre-SandyBarb Sh’s sketchbook included a “perhaps finished” David Helphand concert at the masoleum, as well as the courtroom of a recently observed trial. Sandy added her backyard ceramic tree & stone fountain to the sketch of the fellow she did last week.

Erik-1     Erik-2Erik was a good example of how yes, you can appreciate the fine pastries at Barry’s and still turn out a stunning masterpiece.

box-Jane          box-PennyJane resisted immediate gratification (surprise!) by sketching her magic bar first. Fast. Penny got to sketch the empty container (and don’t you like the loose watercolor of a flower she did previously?).

box-Sandy-1       box-Sandy-2Sandy got a different angle on the box, with untouched treat.

Ken-2       Ken-3Ken started sketching the trees outside, then some studies of Jane.

Jane-tools-Penny      Jane-toolsPenny did a sketch of Jane, too, along with her tools, which Jane was busy sketching, too (here with the actual mini-palette on display).

Barb-1      Barb-2Barb Sh told Jane now she needed a hand reaching with brush into the palette, and proceeded to demonstrate hand sketching. Nice!

These Cats Got Treed! Mostly.

Barry’s Deli, Eugene, OR

allHere’s the herd of cats: Barb So, Jan, Ken, Sandy, Sharon, Barb Sh, Erik, & Penny. Jane (aka, the cat herder) behind camera, Tricia – late!

BarbSh-Jan   BarbSh-1We started out by catching each other up to date – here Barb Sh shows Jan her sketches from a recent trip to Albuquerque.

Jan-1     Jan-2Then Jan showed her thumbnail sketch that lead to a ceramic piece.

Ken-1    Trish-1Ken couldn’t resist adding more color to the sketch he did last week of Erik. Tricia opened her sketchbook to a memory of red peppers.

Sharon-1    Sharon-2    Sharon-3But Sharon topped it all – her last sketch was from the last time the TDs were here at Barry’s! But look at how the sketch developed.

Erik-1      Erik-2A look over Erik’s shoulder saw a scene emerge from his memory.Erik-3   Erik-4   Erik-5It looked good in color, but then came the black! It was night, he said, and then the drama unfolded. Wow, what an exciting rendition!

BarbSh-2    BarbSh-3   BarbSh-4Barb Sh showed us a thumbnail she made for a future sketch, but went back to finish one she’d started – images within an image – nice.

Sandy-1    Sandy-2    Sandy-3Sandy’s eye was caught by trees & the people at nearby tables.

Penny-1            Penny-2Penny started sketching Sharon at the end of the table (who just wouldn’t hold still!), ending with loose watercolor tree sketch.

Jan-4        Jan-5It’s always so interesting to watch how Jan’s sketches develop.

Ken-2     Ken-3     Ken-4And here’s Ken at work, bringing color & depth to his tree sketch.

Jane-1     Jane-2    Trish-2Jane, who claims not to understand collage, did a page of collected images. Then she wanted to see what Tricia was up to – don’t look!

Trish-3       Trish-4OK – here’s Tricia’s finished sketch from Mt. Rainier, and her quick sketch from today at Barry’s, too. Another tree!  Trees rule. Mostly.

Bucolic Backyard Sketching

Cathy’s backyard, Eugene, OR

allKen’s friend Cathy invited us to come sketch in her yard – you can barely see her here, coming from opening up the door for the chickens to get out to play! She was the best host – lovely setting, lovely treats & drinks, and very unobtrusively let us do our thing!

chickens-1          Jan-1Here are two of the chickens, and here’s Jan sketching them, with results in process below:

Erik-1        Erik-Ken-1Erik’s the sun lover in our group, & Ken went out to see what he was drawing – totally distracted from what had been in his mind before!
birdhouse      Erik-2

Jane-1          Jane-2Jane did a quick sketch of the bird feeder, too, and leaf vignettes.

Heidi-BarbSo       arborHere are Heidi and Barb So getting ready to sketch – the arbor!

Heidi-1        BarbSo-1Can you tell Heidi was an architect? And that BarbSo loves chicks?

Sandy-Ken-1Sandy & Ken are eagerly into sketching…what to choose…

Ken of Erik-1      Ken of Erik-2Ken took advantage of our favorite model – Erik! As did Sandy:Sandy of Erik-1     Sandy of Erik-2

Erik-Ken-2     Erik-SatokoOne of the things we appreciate  is sharing art work in progress, whether paintings or sketches, or just talking art.Jan-Erik-Ken       Heidi-Jan

SicilyAnd we enjoy talking about upcoming trips – this one to Sicily! Satoko, Penelope, & Barb A are busy planning this trip together.

Satoko     PenelopeSatoko and Penelope still found time to sketch in this beautiful backyard. Thanks so much, Cathy, for your wonderful welcome!

Ten Year Celebration for Top Drawers!

Eugene, OR

Ten years ago there was a sketch trip to Italy with Ken O’Connell:

the Crew

When we came back to Eugene, we formed Top Drawers, and have been meeting every Tuesday morning to sketch together ever since.

TEN YEARS! That calls for a party! We invited the original group plus new friends who have joined us over the years – celebrate!

group-1   group-2


Ken-Cathy   BarbA-Ken

BarbSH-Nancy     Joby-Lynn

T-BarbSN-T     T-Satoko-T

            Jane                       Lynn-J


cake-2      cake-3      cake-4

Nancy-Joby     Nancy-Ken-Lynn

posterFrom our first group art show at Full City Coffee/Palace Bakery.

What, Me Worry?

Friendly St. Market, Eugene, OR

Jane, our blog editor, was off this week helping at a workshop at Emerald Art Center, so members of the group stepped up to do the picture taking for the blog.

allAs you can see, no one was taking this too seriously with Ken behind the camera – Jan, Sandy, Satoko, Penelope.

Jan-phototakingThen Jan was pressed into photo taking, apparently with lots of commentary from the peanut gallery (see below):

Sandy-Ken-1       Sandy-Ken-2

Pen-Ken-2     PenPenelope & Ken crack up at a quip, then Penelope gets to appreciated the decorated envelopes Ken created.

Satoko-KenSatoko & Ken share a thoughtful moment – guess it wasn’t all laughs.

Erik-1    Erik-2And Erik didn’t get so carried away that he couldn’t add to his sketchbook – what a trooper!