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

True West

The Dark Side of Saturn Productions is presenting Sam Shepard's True West at the Orlando Shakespeare Center. I was surprised by the intricate set by Tom Mangieri. I had just been in the Mandell Theater multiple times at Fringe and got used to seeing a bare stage. Fringe just ended two days ago, so this set was created incredibly fast. This was the first time the actors got to move around in the actual space. Director Kevin Becker was in the audience seating while Chaz Krivan who plays Austin, and Cory Volence who plays Lee sat at the breakfast nook table on stage.  Lighting levels were being adjusted, so the actors got to relax for a bit.

After all the lights were adjusted, Bill Warriner, the fight director, put the actors through the paces as they fought in the kitchen. The fight began with Austin breaking a beer bottle over Lee's head. He then slammed Lee into the counter. As Lee lay on the floor recovering, Austin grabbed an electrical chord and wrapped it around Lee's throat. Now, this was a rehearsal, and the action was supposed to be at 1/4 speed. The safe word for Cory was "Cut" or "1/4 speed". He called out to stop the action several times. He stopped the action when he was slammed into the refrigerator, because he was concerned it might topple over. He was concerned that Chaz was getting too aggressive. In a staged fight, both actors need to feel they are in control of the action. In the heat of the moment, the fight accelerated. There was a long moment where Austin was chocking Lee. Lee's face was beet red as he struggled. Was he struggling to say the safe word? Was this acting, or had the fight crossed over the fourth wall? Austin said, "I could easily kill him, all I have to do is twist." Lee's eyes bulged in his head before he fell limp to the floor.

After the fight rehearsal, there was a full run through of the play. Tara Rewis picked up the broken glass and other refuge had to be cleaned up before the play could begin.  Dorothy Massey who did costuming, had to help Cory figure out how to use his belt. "This is why I get paid the big bucks!" she joked.

The play is about two brothers, Austin and Lee.  Austin was writing a screenplay while he watched his mother's home. She was on vacation in Alaska. Lee,who is the black sheep of the family, showed up wanting to drink beer, borrow Austin's car and in general cause mischief. He had a knack for bullying, scheming or stealing anything that he wants. Arguments erupted but, despite their differences, these brothers did care about each other, or they would do just about anything to steal each others lives. When Hollywood agent, Saul, played by Jim Cundiff comes to the home to check the progress on Austin's screenplay, Lee schemed his way into convincing Saul that his true life experiences in the desert would make for a great screenplay. The brothers collaborated on writing the script outline but the writing sessions never went smoothly. When the mom, played by Barbara Blake, returned home, she found the house a mess. Her crowning moment came when she grabbed a bottle of rum off the table to spare it when the brother's brawled.

This was a powerful drama that dives deep to explore the relationship between brothers who are polar opposites, yet united by a dark past. If you are missing the mad rush of Fringe, then head to the Shakes to see True West. Nothing beats a hangover like a nice cold beer. Don't miss it!

Analog Artist Digital World




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