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

My vacation at the beach

A few weeks ago I had 2 wonderful relaxing weeks at the beach - at Port Macquarie (4 hours drive north of Sydney). I do not fit the classic picture of an Australian as I rarely get to the beach so you can't imagine what a treat it was to be offered my aunts flat for a fortnight. I swam more times in the first week than I have for a decade (yes, once a year swim is all that I manage to do- shocking) and felt so incredibly refreshed and revived as a result. Each morning for the first week I would go for a walk, a swim before breakfast and do a sketch (of course) This is a sketch from my first morning.

I have always had a love for rocks - and the beaches at 'Port' are dominated by dark and dramatic rocks. I soon became addicted to sketching them morning and afternoon.

I realised during that week that I wasn't quite sure the best way to handle beach scenes and waves but as the week progressed I observed more and started to work it out for myself. This is one of my more abstract pieces that first week.

Then we got hit by the end of the terrible storm (Cyclone Oswald) that struck Queensland on Australia Day.

The sea got rough and brown and sea foam appeared on the beaches (not covered metres high like other places got) This ocean was mainly white so I approached my paintings a lot differently...making sure that I used the white of the paper more.

By the end of that second week I could swim again but regardless of the weather I went out to paint. The full set of my sketches is here on flickr.

I know that these are not really 'urban' but I really learnt so much during this vacation that I am sure the benefits will be apparent now that I am back to my urban life and sketching. I did intend to be using the beach for life drawing... but early morning and late afternoon the beaches were so deserted (something I am NOT going to complain of). I am not even going to mention that there was a nearby tearoom as well that I visited nearly every day.....

I wish I was back there now (I can't express in words how relaxed and buzzing I was at the same time doing these paintings!).... Actually I just have to find the time and start my beaches of Sydney series! After all Sydney has the most impressive collection of beautiful beaches - supposedly well over 100 beaches - some surf some harbour beaches! wow! that will keep me going for a while!

I hope these sunny scenes will warm those of you in cold conditions right now! And if I could I would send you some of the Port Macquarie sun your way!



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