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

The second walk with a million others.

Mon. Dec 9, 2013
All nations went through its own course of history. Thailand today can be said to suffer a great divide of two ideologies among its population with both camps claiming to be in support of the country's democratic institution and the monarch. Obviously, the same claim of the conflicting parties was possible only under certain manipulative hands, in this case, as in many others that happened elsewhere, the politicians'.
In the morning of Dec 9, 2013, several hundreds of thousand Thais (unconfirmed claim had the numbers as high as several millions!) took to the streets of Bangkok . What ever the number is, the unarguably big crowd was made up of some fifty citizen groups and organisations including businesses, state enterprises, professional bodies, students, universities and academic bodies of all levers, as well as most of the educated citizens in the capitals and provinces. Bangkok was not paralysed that day but simply flowed unstoppably with sea of people towards the government house, to demand the outing of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the ousted ex-PM in exile Thaksin Shinawatra, and her government.

My wife and I missed our rendezvous with our Chulalongkorn U. alumni as we stayed back to listen to the sudden announcement of house dissolution by the then prime minister. However, we caught up with the tail end of some other group at a major Siam Square junction just outside of the touristy shopping mall MBK (you'd surely know MBK if you've ever visited Bangkok before:-)
It was difficult to describe the mixed feeling of the moment when you were pulled into a large mass of people full of energetic shouts, whistle and cheers. The calm, purposeful strides broken every now and then with laughter and shouting, the movement of the national flags that seemed to make the walk on the wide open junction unreal. The big and busy sweeping structures overhead, the line of people's cheering, waving hands on the circular link way add to the conflicting mood of a carnival and an unruly riots. Especially when whistles were symbolically used as tools for rally.
The crowd then turned left at the next junction along Petchburi Road heading towards the government house, it occupied the whole width and length of the normally very busy 10 lanes street. Along the main thoroughfare the protesting rally moved.
Mass rallying was, unfortunately, something Thailand learned, experienced and acquired recently against the true nature of Thai culture where elders and seniority system were well respected, well heeded. Thanks (or regrettably) to the modern way of life and democratic ideology, rally of all kind took place in the land of smiles as a way to exercise the individuals right, most of the time on the expense of others'. 
The phenomenal on-going in Bangkok is another flip of the so called democracy where, in my personal opinion, the principle of majority rule was abusively used over the minority and "the rest" of the populace. When the majority parliamentary vote "takes-all" against the differing public view.

 I found sketching in situation such as this very educational and truly rewarding. The best I could do by way of preparedness is to make myself light and mobile but again, it's still not easy when I was with a family member. The most difficult part was how not to loose each other, even though we can just simply get home on our own. All I had with me was a simple A5 size hard cover and very soft pencil. I made sketches while walking as well as at some short stop with my wife waiting nearby or when taking short rest.
I made all sketches in broad pencil strokes, very often with dark and heavy patches, without doubt influenced by the surrounding condition. Some Chinese ink brush-pen lines and soft pastel colours were added at home.
Around noon, we reached another major junction of Petchburi intersects Rama VI Road. Again with the complex overhead structures of express way and over head pedestrian bridges criss-crossing the intersection. Most activities came to a near standstill with an air of expectation. This is the last major sections with the targeted government house not far away and where other groups from other routes would converge.
After some strange hush, sudden commotion seemed to develop at the far corner and slowly a huge rippling tri-colour of the national flag emerged then snaked its way along overhead at arms' length in the midst of maddening cheers and whistle blowing from the crowd. The huge sheet of national flag flowed over the crowd in the direction of the government house.

I stood right in the middle of the junction on a road dividing curb next to my wife, it was a big Y junction where the giant national flag was snaking its way left toward Lanluang Road and the exit ramp of the expressway on Pitsanuloke Road to the right. The packing spot afforded me sometime to make the sketch right at the junction where it would be impossible in normal situation.
It was quite a big while of waiting before we were told that the area around the government house was pack over its capacity. After some consideration, my wife and I decided to leave the rally and head back home. The decision to go home called for another hour or so of walking before we could get any transport to reach home!

I took a rest at home and made plan with a friend who would pick me up before 4 PM to get to the main rally stage at the government house. We did not made it to the rally site that evening as both my friend and I overslept.
The rally continued despite the dissolution of the house. Now ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra becomes the care-taker prime minister and a new election was scheduled on Feb 2nd 2014.
This blog was supposed to be the last of my 2 parts reportage but I have no idea how the situation would develop or end. For more photos, you're invited to visit my facebook page at 
Cheers and bye for now:-)





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