Things That Hold Still

Full City Coffee/Palace Bakery, Eugene, OR

Well it wasn’t exactly the scene of a crime, but it was the scene of the first art show of our sketch work.  And today featured our great preference for sketching things that HOLD STILL.

IMG_5178Jane quickly did a sketch of the coffee bean poster outside the window, while Erik got serious about architecture lines.

IMG_5179    IMG_5180When a few more folks showed up, we moved to the other room.  Here are Sandy, Erik (with the view he started with – the trees outside the window frame), Heidi, & Barb Sommers.

IMG_5181     IMG_5183Sandy was able to get a whole sketch done of the guy having coffee in the window, while Heidi did a sketch of her – don’t move!

IMG_5184     IMG_5185Now you can see Erik’s trees through the window sketch as it has developed, as well as Jane’s tiny palette which she used to sketch this tasty pastry (which has mysteriously disappeared).

Pausing Prior to Holiday Frenzy

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR.

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Erik chats with Heidi’s husband, Paul, and then Penelope pops in.

3    4Sandy is excited to show a photo of her new great-grandson, then Barbara Sommers, Heidi, Barbara Shirk & Erik get started.

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Here’s what Heidi has been doing lately!

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Penelope’s progress, and Barbara Sommers’ (a yarn challenge!).

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WHAT are you drawing with, Barb?! Barbara Shirk discovered the Pininfarina, a tool that oxidizes paper!  Cool, except it doesn’t erase.

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Erik started with his usual Crayon d’Arche tools, then resorted to borrowing Penelope’s watercolor to get just the “right” green – Sap!

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Sandy sketches what’s in front of her (what restraint) – ta dah!

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Heidi sketches a pot outside, and Penelope her own palette.

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Jane picked up some new ornaments – OMG.  Got better with color.

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Barbara Sommers and Barbara Aten tried their hands at them, too.

Lantern light up

Perugino’s, Eugene, OR


Barbara Shirk brought Chinese Lanterns from her garden, and we all fell to, sketching them in various mediums.

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Patti McNutt, Erik Johnson, Sue Ashton, Barb Shirk, Sandy Larkin

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Carol Schaafsma stopped by to see what Sue was doing.

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Here’s Patti’s preliminary sketch, and then Erik’s.

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Barb Shirk’s drawing, and then Sandy’s.

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Jane sketched her cookie & coffee before she did the lanterns.

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You can see Barb Aten’s technique from pencil outline, to wet on wet watercolor, with the near final version below.




What’s in Front, Now & Then

Market of Choice Coffee Shop, Willakenzie, Eugene, OR


Barb Shirk, Barb Aten, & Sandy Larkin all listen  to Ken the guru.


It was a large group cozied up in a small space – around the table starting at the top left: Barb Shirk, Barb Aten, Barb Sommers, Sandy Larkin, Carol Schaafsma, Ken O’Connell, Penelope Youngfeather, Heidi Sachet, Rita Cavin, and Jane Harrison behind the camera.


Ken only gets so much attention, and then people get to  sketching!

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We do sketch what’s in front of us – here’s a “then” sample – Barb Shirk in Assisi, Barb Sommers in her backyard.

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And here’s a “now” – Heidi sketching an olive branch from the brochure about La Romita (where she’s going in Sept. 2015!).

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Penelope picks out pastry – put in red, Ken says! YUMMY!

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Rita’s “now” is her hand in front of her, and here’s her red, too!

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Carol starts sketching her cup, and Sandy does some nearby faces.

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The warm color of the overhead lights catch Jane’s eye.

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Barb Shirk sketches the cement pillars outside, with vines, and then adds color for the trees beyond them.

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Then the finalé – Rita poses with Ken to show off the two pieces done in Europe which she’s entering in the upcoming “World Sketches by Ken O’Connell and Fellow Travelers”  show at the Watershed Gallery, December 16-January 18.  Be sure to come to the Reception and Holiday Party: Friday, Dec. 19, 6-8 p.m.

Catching Up Over Coffee

Coffee Plant Roasters, Eugene, OR

There were some new faces joining us over coffee & sketching!


Amy Gibson, Barbara Shirk’s sister and Barbara, Barbara’s daughter Manda and her husband Ezra, and behind them Libby Masarie.  At the next table were Libby’s husband Fred, Sandy, & Heidi. What an interesting group! They are all artists of some sort (Manda & Ezra are part of the performance group, The Meriwethers), which made for a lively interaction.

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Barb & her sister take a look at Manda’s sketchbook from Italy, then Libby gets a tour of Barb’s Italy sketchbook.  Wonderful memories.

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Heidi has been busy – look at these marvelous sketches!


Fred, Sandy, and Heidi get after the sketching business – no chit chat!

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Fred, Sandy, & Heidi were all sketching people “modeling” nearby.

Coffee Plant Roasters people

And what was Jane doing (besides photos)? Sketching people, too!

Five Alive!

Vero Coffee Shop, Eugene, Oregon

There were only five of us able to gather to sketch together today, but were were a lively bunch anyway!  Some started out with unresolved tasks, while the others found new challenges.

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Barbara Shirk was busy selecting her three images to submit to the Watershed Gallery sketchbook show slated for December, and Heidi was committed to putting her shell in a watery sandy background.

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Jane was tickled with the tiny Thanksgiving centerpiece she brought for inspiration – love that turkey’s attitude.

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Tricia and Sandy started sketching the same tree out the window from slightly different viewpoints.

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Then they start adding some color and definition…

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Ta dah! Tricia adds her usual whimsical commentary, and Sandy is delighted with those mossy limbs with contrasting leaves.

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Meanwhile, Barbara and Heidi began sketching Heidi’s gourds.

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Here’s how far Barbara’s sketch developed, and here’s Jane’s finished Thanksgiving centerpiece.  We were busy, indeed!




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…

IMG_4797     Seed pods



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!

a sketching group