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

Montreal remembers bicyclist Mathilde Blais

Early yesterday morning Montreal citizens gathered to memorialize the death of 33 year old speech therapist Mathilde Blais.

Last week she was struck by a transport truck and killed instantly while cycling under the Des Carrières railway bridge.

For a long time now people have expressed concern about these underpasses - but there are no other alternatives for crossing the train tracks that divide the island. Cyclists and vehicles, including the oversized trailer that claimed Ms. Blais, are expected to share these narrow lanes.

There are perfectly safe elevated sidewalks in the tunnel, but last year the city handed out over eleven thousand tickets to cyclists riding on sidewalks. Further complicating matters, many of these underpasses have barriers specifically designed to keep cyclists off these sidewalks. You’d have to dismount and carefully weave between staggered poles, one rider at a time.

It took Mathilde’s death, the first fatality while riding one of Montreal’s much loved Bixi bike-shares, to get these barriers removed, and a tacit agreement in place that police will use judgment, only ticketing cyclists actively endangering pedestrians.

Today, an all-white ghost bike hangs from the railing, standing vigil. A hand lettered sign says simply “Une Cycliste Est Morte Ici -  Mathilde Blais 2014-04-28 -  A Cyclist Died Here”.

Here is the drawing I made, after the TV crews, the photographers, and the cyclists had left.

14May05_Mathilde Blais



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