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

Where Lobsters (Might) Do Yoga: Killeenaran, Co. Galway

One of my aims in contributing to this blog is to introduce you, dear reader, to the area where I live, in south Co. Galway, on Ireland's west coast. I especially like the pier at Killeenaran, about two miles from my house. In summer, it's the focus of village life, and at high tide it's always thronged with people swimming and chatting. Throw in a bit of sunshine, and you can barely get to the water's edge.

When I first came to this area seventeen years ago, it was January, and its charms were less than visible, blown into next week by the howling gales and freezing horizontal rain. During the time we built our house, I frequently reflected on the fact that no one had built there before: it was utterly wild and very inhospitable, and it would have taken a hardy soul to build there.

But we stuck with it, and as the years unfolded, the unique character of this place revealed itself to me, and now I cannot believe the good fortune I have to call it my home. Ask me again in November, and I'll think I never said that.

This morning I called down to a client's house to discuss a job, a wonderfully gregarious and open woman named Charlene. 

While we were chatting, her neighbour Cyril called in, holding a beautiful dark blue (alive) lobster. He had lent a neighbour his boat, and the lobster was a thank-you gift.

"Look," said Cyril, "if I put it into this position, it will go to sleep."
He put the lobster on its head, with its huge pincers resting on the ground, pointing backwards, and with its tail slightly curled, above its head:

"They sleep like this, you know," he said, but Cyril is a very funny man and you can't take anything he says without careful consideration. 
"There's no way that's true," I said. "Lobsters don't sleep like that, like they're doing yoga."
"How do you know?" said Cyril. "Have you seen a lobster asleep in the sea?"
There was no answer for that, so I asked Cyril if he'd leave the lobster with me long enough to do a quick sketch.

Off he went, and I sketched the lobster, which didn't so much as twitch for about twenty minutes, so it must have been asleep; and when Charlene's foot caught it by accident afterwards, it was very cross and tried to nab her with its pincer.

Cyril said it was humane to send the lobster to sleep before he killed it, which he would do by putting it in the freezer for an hour to send it into a deep sleep, after which he would put a knife into its head, where its brain is (so I'm told).

If you walk from Charlene's house for a couple of minutes, you come to Brandy Bay, where the road splits into two.

Take the road to the right of the bay and you come to the pier at Killeenaran, near which the lobster was caught. Although I draw the pier a lot, I don't draw it as much as I'd like - I'll explain why in a minute.
This is the pier at mid-tide:

If you stand at the top of the steps and look across the water, you can see a lovely little cottage with doors and windows picked out in blue, yellow and red. There's a raft in the water in front of it, which, despite appearances, is very stable. Brandy Bay is just behind it, so the cottage has water in front and behind.

Here's some more sketches of the pier, at low tide - 

and later the same day, when the tide had filled in a bit, with villagers down for a splash:

All this week, it's been really sunny weather, and when it's hot and sunny in Ireland in June, everyone makes for the sea. The tide has been high in the evening all week, getting later each day. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, my kids and I joined in the fun at the pier. The  eldest was kayaking just next to the white cottage, and the tide wasn't quite high yet, so I took a few minutes to sketch:

A swimmer is sitting on the raft in the water, which you can see in the earlier sketch of the white cottage. As you can see, I didn't spend too much time on this sketch, and this brings me to the reason why I don't draw down at the pier as much as I might like. It's because you can't resist joining in the fun. Shortly after I sketched this of my son and daughter, the tide was high enough to swim, we were joined by about sixty kids and adults, and we all leaped into the drink. I was a bit of a chicken, and kept my wetsuit on, unlike the rest of the hardy souls. Soon the water was boiling with a writhing mass of bodies, a bit like you might imagine monster eels in a horror movie.

Saturday is the longest day of the year. I've just suggested to my son, who is twelve, that we head down around midnight, when it will barely be dark, and the tide will still be quite high.

I shall report back!

More of my work here.





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