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

Machu Picchu

I still have a number of sketches from my summer travels through Brazil and Peru to post and share.  This iconic view of Machu Picchu in the remote Peruvian Andes was only possible after two days of travel from Brazil by plane, train and bus, adjusting to ever higher altitudes along the way.  Many in our group were completely disabled for a time from altitude sickness in combination with other maladies; luckily Patti and I were able to experience the splendor of this remote Inca site with only minor queasiness.  We were part of a group of landscape architects, urban designers and kindred spirits who have traveled around the world together for a dozen years, seeking out, studying and sketching the great places.  Machu Picchu will certainly always be at or near the top of that list.

We arrived early morning, and were led through the site by a very able guide over the course of 4 hours.  After a light lunch I climbed back up to this vantage point with my sketching partner Brian Goad to capture the scene while perched on a boulder.  The site was much more crowded in the afternoon, but sketching allowed me to become completely absorbed in imagining how the place must have looked and felt when most occupied and active.  I couldn't more enthusiastically recommend a travel destination; put this one on your bucket list.

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