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

Adding lots of water to paint...not always a good idea at Killeenaran, Co. Galway

Up until very recently - that would be Wednesday - I have been pretty happy with my way of working. My drawing is becoming increasingly easy, I'm getting to know my watercolours better (which is great, as long as I don't throw them into the sea, of which more later), and all in all I may have been getting a little...smug.

But on Wednesday morning, the postman arrived with two copies of Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger. One was for me and one for my sister who is also a painter. How excited I was - but my sister was due to arrive later that afternoon for a visit (she lives in Jamaica but is spending the summer in Ireland) and her standards of cleanliness are a good bit higher than mine so I had to get busy in the house.

No sooner had I started reading Felix's book than I knew I was about to have another of those pivotal moments as a painter. I was immediately enchanted with his beautiful style, and was inspired to get cracking immediately. My sister and I have spent lots of time outdoors over the last few days, she with her oils and canvases, me with my sketchbook and watercolours. I wanted to see if I could catch a bit of Felix's loose, expressive manner, so yesterday I took the chance to try and put it into action, using my brand-new Schminke set of watercolours:

The boats had been painted in many layers of colour over the years, and I know they look like a pair here, but they are often not together. However, I think the paint told me that they are either owned by the same person or two people shared the same buckets of paint in the same order. I tried to be less literal than normal, oh, how I tried. Where light hit the deep pink bits I tried to throw on more than I normally would; same for the rust, the ultramarine and the cerulean.  I tried to channel Felix. I really did. But my own hand kept breaking through, my brain kept taking charge, telling me to get that curve right, that number of lathe thingies...
This morning I continued reading Felix's book.
"If you want to measure, weigh or count, then art is not the right medium for you anyway."
That could be why I've always felt so uncomfortable calling myself an artist - I've suspected for a very long time that I am more of a measurer, a weigher and a counter than an artist. Never mind! I enjoy doing those things very much.

Meanwhile...I was just getting to know my sketchbox of W&N watercolours, after having them for a year or so. I was finally understanding what colours mix well together (never having read anything on colour, never mind having bothered to attend any classes) when it all came to naught, as I lost them last Monday.
This is the painting I was doing:

This is just a little to the left of the two boats above, except the tide was at almost opposite ends of its range. Minutes earlier, the water had been up over the quay, and had just begun to recede when I arrived. It was very windy, I was all alone and even though I had brought my swimsuit, I wasn't in the mood to jump into that choppy, scary-looking water. Then a man arrived and went in for a dip, trying to convince me to join him. I told him I'd rather sketch, but that I'd put him in to the drawing (he's in it twice, sorry). Then another lady came down, a doyenne of the village, and when SHE asked me to join in, I felt compelled to do so, it was terrifically exhilarating, and I was delighted I did it. I drove home in my wet gear, feeling very happy with my sketch and my swim.

But in my excitement - and the wind -  I lost concentration and didn't pack up my stuff properly. Although I returned not fifteen minutes later, the box was nowhere to be seen, and no one had been there in the interim. A gust must have taken it.

I went back the next day at super-low tide, and all I got for my trouble was a pair of very muddy feet.

Not to worry: the Schminke are amazing, and I'll be getting a full set. With an elastic band attached them somewhere.

More of my work here.





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