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

Sailing Lake Michigan

[Guest post by Dave Worfel of Whitehall Michigan]

My wife and I are retired and we spend summers on our thirty-six foot sailboat Amadeus. Home port is Whitehall, Michigan where we’ve kept a boat for close to 30 years. Whitehall sits on the shores of White Lake, which provides a channel to the broad expanses of Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.

I’ve been sailing since I was a kid and the lifestyle now provides me a great window to endless scenes around Lake Michigan that beg to be sketched and painted. The drawings here follow this summer’s sailing season.

Early season at the marina is a flurry of activity. Boats are launched and elbow grease liberally applied. Here, an owner scrapes varnish to refinish the wood. His work, and for us all who live life on a boat, is part of a yearly cycle that starts in April and ends in October before the winter’s deep freeze.

Our boat went in the water in mid-May, but many were still ashore in mid-June. From our boat, I sketched the boats that won’t see water this season and will sit out the summer season in the back corner of the marina's storage area.

More boats waiting for owners' care and water under their keels

In late June we headed from Whitehall for the north end of Lake Michigan. Our goal for this year’s trip: Beaver Island. Outbound from White Lake into Lake Michigan we pass the White River Light.

The light is rumored to be haunted. I’ve been there a lot of times…no ghosts. Ghosts or no, the light is a great landmark and a comforting welcome home at the end of trips on Lake Michigan. 

North on Lake Michigan, our first stop was Ludington. Ludington was once home to ferries that provided a shortcut across Lake Michigan for rail cars heading to and from Wisconsin. Rail cars are gone. The remaining ferry, the Badger, carries summer tourists and their autos to and from Wisconsin daily. The Badger also hauls large trucks and oversized cargo… lately windmill blades and tower sections. The Spartan (pictured above), no longer in operation, is used for parts to keep the Badger running.

We used to buy fresh fish at the Fish House on the Ludington dock, but the place has long closed its doors.

After another day on the water we spent the night in Frankfort, Michigan. Shortly after sunrise as we headed offshore, Frankfort recedes in the distance and a freighter heads south.

Through the long Manitou Passage—between the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and North and South Manitou Islands, we continued on to Charlevoix, Michigan. The Passage can be home to rough seas and bad weather. This year we motored through the passage with no wind and smooth seas.

Charlevoix's waterfront on Round Lake
We were lucky to find a slip in Charlevoix's downtown municipal marina. The marina is a great place to watch the waterfront, the hundreds of boats large and small, and the endless stream of summer tourists.

Fourth of July weekend was in Petroskey, Michigan. I drew downtown from the cockpit of our boat.

Then up Traverse Bay for Beaver Island—our most northern point for this year’s trip. Beaver Island, a quaint backwater, hasn’t much changed since I first saw it almost 60 years ago with my parents and brother. In the mid-1800s, the island was home to an isolated Mormon kingdom. Then it became the largest supplier of freshwater fish in the United States. The Mormons are long gone, as is the fishing industry. Today it’s a rustic island, with a quaint little town, summer homes, and tourists who arrive by boat, ferry, and air.

Ruby Ann and Bob S are rusting relics from Beaver Island’s fishing industry heyday. Boats were enclosed because fishermen braved the sometimes violent waters of Lake Michigan year round.

Back across Lake Michigan to Northport, on the southern tip of Grand Traverse Bay, I sketched Optimist dingies, that are used to teach kids how to sail.

We began our return trip south, stopping in Leland’s sheltered port.

There’s only one company that still operates a fishing boat from the docks. The buildings are now populated by t-shirt and souvenir shops…and tourists.

Homeward bound, we rounded Big Point Sable Lighthouse, returning to our home port in late July. Summer season is coming to an end. We’ve traveled over 900 miles in the boat this year.

Our marina is a flurry of activity as boats are prepped to be pulled from the water. Taking a break from getting Amadeus ready for winter, I did one last sketch—our marina’s floating gas dock.

Dave Worfel, when not on his boat, lives in Rockford, Michigan. He is a Regional Correspondent for Urban Sketchers Midwest, where many of these images were originally blogged individually. Find out more about Dave through his Meet the Correspondent.





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