Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

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

Soft Exposure

Soft Exposure happens on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Frankie Messina has taken over as host for Soft Exposure at Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Dr College Park). Naomi Butterfield used to host this open mic night but she recently moved to Gabon. Frankie has added his own flair to this night of poetry and prose. When I arrived, he was still setting up. He had a stack of vinyl records and he spun his favorites as people arrived. Billy Holiday's silky voice greeted me. Frankie runs a local arts support organization called Apartment E. Formed in 1993 it offers local love and support. He came up with phrase "City Beautiful" and he owns the online domain.

Artist Janae Corrado set up a display of her oil paintings and pencil sketches.  Her work has a flavor of the surreal while remaining grounded. Frankie asked her to talk about her work between readings. She was hesitant but finally stepped up to the mic. Her work is personal and she tries to keep titles and themes open as she is working on a painting. She has been painting for five years now but has been an artist since she was a child. She feels the Orlando art scene has plenty of talent, much of it unrecognized. The Florida art market tends to be driven by tourism with the exception of Miami which might be its own country. The largest painting she brought was of a woman with horns in front of a bare tree. The model for this painting was Kassandra Kharis. Kassandra was an amazing local artist who died several days ago. I was shocked and humbled by the news from her friend Tracy Lulu Brown. Kassandra's work is dark and mysterious. She appeared in an isolated sketch I did in Blank Space. I spoke to Janae briefly about Kassandra and her eyes lit up as she talked about how Kassandra wore antlers to an opening to look just like her painting. Laughter and joy in memories masked the loss.

Joe Rosier started the evening off with a poem he wrote at Fringe about a microphone not in use on the empty outdoor stage. He lamented the lost opportunity and endless potential that went unnoticed. Frankie read an amazing poem about lines. Like the line in the sand, the line we are meant not to cross. I wish I had heard this poem as I worked on the Mennello Museum line mural. There were emotional sparks flying in the poems. Several times my eyes burned and had to be wiped dry on my sleeve. Several tourists were in the room. They flew from Australia to Orlando to attend an Avatar self help course. They read from a group exercise handbook. I felt a bit uncomfortable as the material had a cult tinge to it, but in the end their message was of compassion and understanding which is what any art form should aspire to. A poet apologized for not writing much recently. He then recited The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. I love this poem, which I first read in high school. Now that my hair grows thin and grey, the poem has added impact and meaning as I search and scratch out images every day.  Curtis Meyer ended the evening with an emotional spoken word piece about the inventor of the inner circuitry in microphones. The thrust of his poem rushed forwards and back like a DJ spinning vinyl to a rap beat. The evening had come full circle. I left feeling inspired and uplifted, yet sad that talent could burn so bright and often go unnoticed in an indifferent world.

- Analog Artist Digital World





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