Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Not quite Canada Day at St. Joseph's Oratory

Our actual Canada day (July 1) was grim and grey - which is perhaps suitable to our temperament. So I saved up a painting trip for today instead. I don't know why everyone says Canadians are so friendly. I find us to be a rather pragmatic lot most of the time. BUT - I digress.

Here's a watercolor of St Joseph's Oratory. This white marble edifice is imperiously situated at the top of a steep climb up the north west shoulder of our mountain. After those steps you feel suitably penitent when you arrive for mass. They have a special wooden staircase for those who prefer the traditional method of climbing on hands and knees. I saw at least one visitor availing themselves of this orthodox route.

The huge dome on the cathedral is said to be the third largest in the world. But sadly - the interior is quite restrained, (done in a 1960's flavor of modernism) and does not grant you an uplifting view of the inside of the lofty dome. It seemed oddly understated compared to the baroque grandeur of some of Montreal's other cathedrals. Perhaps the place is so large I was actually on the wrong floor? Not sure. But for today, my best view was certainly the magnificant approach to the cathedral. Looking up at it from the entrance, hundreds of yards below - it's quite an edifice.



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