Chasing the Blues Away

Chase Café and Bistro, Eugene, OR.

The day started out overcast with sprinkles, and we started out at a new-to-us place: Chase Café & Bistro, off Martin Luther King Blvd. Nice atmosphere with murals of Italy (is that the Florence Duomo?), wonderful smells of pastries and quiches, good coffee. They were very welcoming.


The usual suspects: Barb Shirk, Tricia Clark-McDowell, Erik Johnson, Heidi Sachet above, and below Sandy Larkin, Barbara Aten, and a newcomer, Mike Maszk.




Barb Shirk was working on a lizard last week, started wondering what kind of background to put down, then thought about copying & resizing all the rubbings she did around Italy…the partial page on the left lifts off, and here you have it:


And of course there must be an identifying map for the rubbings!


Sandy asked what kind of drawing Mike does, and clever guy, he had samples of his wonderful bird sketches on his iPhone!

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Erik brought some fruit to draw, and did they ever turn out well!

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Heidi did some tweaking before she took on the challenge of a glass vase, and Barb Shirk continued sketching a fountain from Italy.

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Tricia was adding some color to a quick sketch she started last week, but by the end of our time together a whole story of events evolved!

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Heidi was mesmerized by the shell she brought, but was able to get quite a bit of color and depth to her colored pencil sketch.

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Several of us took on the gourds that Heidi brought – here you see Jane’s ink sketch, followed by some watercolor.


Mike’s gourds started out innocently enough, but quickly devolved into Halloween fantasies! (See below)



Sandy and Barb Aten did the gourds, too.

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Above left is Barb’s done in watercolor, then Sandy’s in watercolor pencil. So interesting to see the different effects between media.


Top Drawers Spin-Off

Corvallis, OR

The Top Drawers sketch group seems to attract new-to-us artists.  Every time our teacher-mentor, Ken O’Connell, takes a group on a sketch tour, people migrate to our group on their return. We like it. And sometimes little side trips emerge. This last trip of Ken’s to Italy was no exception. Today Rita hosted some of the travelers in her home for a sketch session, followed by a trip to the nearby art center gallery, and after lunch to the plein air show at the OSU student union.  What a wonderful spin-off!


Carol started the morning off with her home made biscotti – how could we do anything but celebrate being together again!


Rita fortified us with tea, and the sketching began. Here are Sue and Rita at the kitchen table (what a great spot with great light!).

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Carol took on the challenge of the colorful pitcher in the middle of the table, while Sue’s attention was on the clay mask in the window.

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Here’s Jane’s sketch view of the middle of the table, and here’s Rita’s sketch from the opposite side view (watercolor vs. colored pencils).

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Sue added a few pots next to the mask, while Carol did more detail.

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Of course, we’re never “done” sketching – we just move on to the next thing.  In this case, Jane’s eye was caught by Rita’s art bag.

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Then Sue started work on a plant in a clay dish, and Rita did a more inclusive sketch of the plant & window items.  How’s that?

Yes, we earned our lunch and art prowl!  Great fun.

Back at 5th St. with New Stuff

– 5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

The most difficult thing we do each week is decide where we’re going to sketch the next week.  So it’s a pleasure to just go back to where we were the previous week!  Simple.

Jane & Barb

Jane & Barb Shirk appreciated the bright light in the window alcove.

Tricia   Sandy

Tricia and Sandy got right into their sketches, too.

Trisha-Sandy work

Here you can see the tools they were using, and how Sandy’s sketch of the telephone booth (flanked by corn foliage) turned out.

mag dolls-best

Barb explains her “paper doll” sketches she did of costumes she & her daughter saw at the castle in Narni, Italy – she’s put them on magnet backing & made an interactive book about the story, using her daughter & son-in-law as the main characters.  How clever!

Hugh intent  Hugh's sketch

And all the while, Hugh was intent on the scene out the window.  Wow.

And who took the people pictures (since Jane left her iPhone at home charging on the counter)? Carol Schaafsma, one of the new comers from the Italy 2014 trip with Ken O’Connell:


Welcome!  (and thanks)

When is enough enough?

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

Heidi posed the question, “When is enough enough?”  and we all chimed in with our ideas and examples, and kept changing our minds.


Penelope started – here’s the sketch of her sandal from last week, now “enough” with shadows, contrast, and journal notes. Ta dah!


Jane began her ink sketch of a seed pod Heidi brought. Then she added color & announced she was “done.” Except that she needed to do a little values contrast & color work…oh, and some notes…

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Sandy & Erik dove right in – Sandy with an ink sketch of the berried bough, Erik with an initial pencil outline of a scene from the UO campus he saw yesterday with his brother.


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As Sandy’s ink sketch developed, she added an oak boll.  Now she’s wondering if it needs color…watercolor? colored pencils? Stay tuned.


Erik’s pencil outline begins to take definition – ink next? color?


Barb Shirk sketched the oak boll, too – first an outline in brown ink, then more detail, and finally a shadow and commentary, below.

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Heidi & Jo pondered their initial sketches – Heidi’s a soft colored pencil sketch of mint gone to seed, Jo’s the mystery seed pod.


But then they got side tracked asking Hugh for advice, gladly given.

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Heidi tried adding some ink detail definition, then color background.

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Hugh added color and contrast to his sketch of the table corner.

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Barb A began her sketch with a bit of watercolor onto her light pencil sketch, then continued to drop color adding depth and life.


And when Heidi shared the autumn leaf she had done on vacation, we all agreed it was “enough.”  And then some!

They’re Baaaack!

– New Day Bakery, Eugene, OR.


Barb Shirk, Ken, Jane, Sue Ashton (from the LaRomita trip 2014), Tricia, and Erik were the first to show up (with Amy behind the camera).

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And here’s Amy, doing an impressionistic wash for her sketch, while Ken tries to tempt everyone with the French Toast (which Erik recommended), taking a break from sketching the leaf bouquet.

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Hugh started a loose sketch of the leaves, too, and Erik worked on an image he had in his mental files (“As usual,” he says).

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Penelope grins while Barb Shirk sketches a lizard from a photo taken in Italy, and Jane sketches Erik’s set up across the table.

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Tricia and Sue get acquainted, while Sue demonstrates her famous lap sketching technique on the vase of leaves on the table.


Tricia says she’s trying to get looser in her sketching! (although we agreed we like her detail work, too).

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Meanwhile, Hugh is sketching outside with brush pens, and Sandy shows Ken her sketch of people in the courtyard.

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Penelope says, “I was, too, sketching!” And here’s her sketch of her shoe to prove it.