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

Art meets nature at Runnymede Sculpture Farm

Recently some of the San Francisco Bay Area urban sketchers explored and sketched at Runnymede Sculpture Farm. The property in Woodside, California has 140 pieces of large sculpture by contemporary artists on 100 acres of land. Usually when the group sketches we are in a smaller area and often sketch the same subject. This time we spread out, each choosing a different view and environment to sketch. The share out at the end of the afternoon was like a mini tour of the Farm, with a variety of locations and sketches of both sculptures and the classic California setting of golden hills and old oak trees.

Many thanks to Sam Perry, Runnymede's director of installation and conservation, for the opportunity to explore and sketch. And to the sketchers who braved Bay Area traffic to come sketch this terrific place!

Here are the results of our visit in everyone's words and pictures:


I was torn between wanting to explore the Farm and wanting to do detailed sketches of the sculptures. My first sketches were longer (for me) and more detailed. I sketched in ink and added watercolor.

As I walked through more of the farm I decided to do a page of vignettes as a way to capture more of the sculptures. In addition to the sculpture, there was also a collection of old farm machinery on the property. I loved the shape of the rusting tillers with a glimpse of a sculpture in the background.


A horse theme recurs throughout Runnymede, named after a family favorite stallion. I sketched "Horse Head for Runnymede" by Ilan Averbuch in black ink on yellow toned paper which captured the effects of the intense sun on the dried grassy hills.

I also sketched "The Horse" by Hana and Jan Exnar behind "Raising Cairn" and "Walking Cairn" by Celeste Roberge using a combination of pencil and watercolor to trace the delicate outline of the horse off in the distance in its pasture. The cairn figures required a more robust approach with inks as well as pencil to convey the tension of the wire mesh incased rocks.

I am still a novice sketcher and it was a challenge to even think about attempting to draw world renowned artworks. I rationalized it as part of a tradition of learning from the masters. It also served to take "seeing" the sculptures in situ to another level and deepening my appreciation of these works of art.


It was a hot windless day and we seemed to have Runnymede to ourselves. To avoid the afternoon traffic jam, we had just three hours to sketch. We set out walking in different directions, seeking sketch-worthy sculptures among the massive oak trees on drought-dry hillsides.

I sat on the ground directly below the big blue sculpture, captivated by its size, color and rivets, so reminiscent of Philip Guston paintings.

I'm bored by my usual coloring-book approach: contour lines of waterproof ink followed by the application of watercolor. And so on this day, I began by painting the shapes with watercolor on a blank page, quickly and decisively. What fun! Black lines and contours were added, but only after all the watercolor had been applied.

Both the red and blue sculptures are nearly twice as tall as I am, but the sense of scale is missing in these sketches. And yet, they're a good first step toward a different approach. I'm trying to accept their inherent naïveté.
"To require perfection is to invite paralysis. . . .The seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections. . . are your guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further. It is precisely this interaction between the ideal and the real that locks your art into the real world, and gives meaning to both.”
Art and Fear by David Bayles


I've drawn for years but mostly on hikes or on vacation trips. Now that I'm retired, I can bring art into my DAILY life.  Joining the SF Bay Area Urban Sketchers has been great for companionship and inspiration on drawing expeditions. Plus, my eyes have been opened wider to places in our Bay Area home, both new and familiar.


Isn’t it amazing how you can live someplace for years and not know of incredible places right in your backyard? Runnymede is one of those treasures. My very first sketch was of Celeste Roberge’s Rising Cairn and beyond it, Walking Cairn, both made from stone encased in wire. Rising up from the ground under the oak trees and walking away, they made quite a surreal picture.

My favorite piece? A majestic Mark di Suvero piece called Symbiosis that towered up into the sky. Perhaps it's the color, but it looked to me like a piece of the Golden Gate Bridge gone wild, morphing into an animal, climbing into the sky.





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