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

Fully Alive on a Wild Island

[By Marcia Milner-Brage, on Little Saint Simons Island, Georgia, USA]

 I’ve come to this barrier island off the south Georgia coast for close to fifteen years. I come to be in nature. I come to draw and paint. I come for a break from my urban existence. Here, I feel most alive.

The maritime forest is dense with large trees, draped with Spanish moss and cloaked with resurrection ferns. The understory is palmetto. Overhead, there is a screeching and tweeting and tapping cacophony of birds. For me, it is the primeval forest.

Little Saint Simons Island is a private island. It’s been saved from rampant real estate development like on other Georgia coast islands. It’s managed as a nature preserve with high integrity to maintain its wild purity. It’s an eco-retreat lodge; thirty guests at a time can stay overnight and be fed. 

One gets to the island by boat, picked up from a small marina on the nearby Saint Simons Island. The skiff motors down the Hampton River into Mosquito Creek, surrounded by swaying, tall, salt marsh grasses.

One arrives at the dock on Mosquito Creek, where the Lodge’s buildings are clustered.

Under sprawling live oaks, the Hunting Lodge is where guests gather and eat around a communal table.

In 1908, Philip Berolzheimer, from New York City, owner of the Eagle Pencil Company, purchased the
island. Abundant Southern Red Cedar—ideal pencil making material—was the reason the island was acquired. But when the wood proved sub-par, Mr. Berolzheimer, taken by the island’s beauty, turned it into his family’s private retreat. In 1979, The Lodge on Little Saint Simons Island opened to the public. The Berolzheimer heirs, still part owners, are frequent visitors to their island.

Helen House, built by Philip Berolzheimer for his daughter in 1928, is my favorite place to stay.

A recent addition is the organic garden that produces salad makings and fruit for the delicious fare that is served. Here lemon trees with pines and palmeto palms beyond.

Salt Marsh from Beach Road
Each day, I explore on bicycle down the rutted roads and pine needle covered trails to find my next drawing site. It’s two miles from the Hunting Lodge to Main Beach. Once out of the woods, the salt marsh is on both sides of the hard-packed shell and dirt road.

Norm's Pond Egret Rookery
I sketched the egret rookery at Norm’s Pond (named after the largest and oldest of the American alligators on the island), March 2014.

On my recent early January trip, I slogged through the slough to Goose Pond. From a nature veiwing blind, I saw at least five alligators! And they were watching my every move with their bulbous eyes on the top of their heads. The rest of their bodies were mostly submerged in the brackish water. Across the pond, white ibis congregated. And the vultures overseeing it all from atop the scrub.

On the last day of my recent five day stay, I painted Myrtle Pond from a birdwatching tower.

Using the front bike basket as an easel. Main Beach, Little Saint Simons Island, Georgia.

And the magnificent beach! 7 miles of pristine white sand with a multitude of ocean treasures washed up on it. At low tide, one can bike with the wind at ones back and fly!

A farewell sketch: the boardwalk across the dunes, leading to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

Oh, I forgot to mention: The wild of Little Saint Simons Island includes a thriving population of Diamondback rattlesnacks! Here’s one that disappeared into the brush as I pushed my bike past, on my way to Goose Pond on a previous trip in the fall. Rattler!!!

An album of my other Little Saint Simons Island artwork is HERE on Flickr.

Bones and shells collected from around the island





USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=