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

New Mexico Remarkable Landforms

By Marcia Milner-Brage, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

My geology hound husband guided us to amazing locales during our two week stay in the Santa Fe area at the end of October. The beauty of this High Dessert landscape—its vastness, its landforms, its colors—all so different from the Midwest US where we live—was at times overwhelming to me. My partner of 38 years looked out trying to name the many peaks and mesas. He sought to understand how the land came to be over millions and millions of years. Was it volcanic eruption? Rifts in the earth’s crust? Mountain formation from shifting tectonic plates? Sedimentation left by an extinct inland sea? Erosion by wind and water?

As for me, the artist to his scientist, I looked out just trying to see. All I hoped for was to transfer something of my view and feelings of the place into drawings.

Here are a few. My husband was my geology consultant.

Southeast from Tsankawi Mesa
Southeast from Tsankawi Mesa

To get to the top of this mesa (part of Bandelier National Monument) we climbed ladders, supplied by the National Park Service, and transited footpaths worn into the soft white tuff by the Tsankawi people who lived here from the 15th to 16th century. I looked out to the distant rounded, volcanic peaks of the Caja del Rio Plateau, the closer Buckman Mesa, and the valley below.

The house where we stayed on the outskirts of Santa Fe was in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I painted from the portico, looking northwest. Closer was an eroded landscape of pointy, pink, small peaks. Beyond, the broad Rio Grande valley with the Jemez Mountains in the distance.

Foothills of Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Jemez Mountains beyond.
Foothills of Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Jemez Mountains beyond
From this same portico, I did a rapid ink sketch of a storm coming from over the Jemez Mountains. Curtains of rain from voluminous clouds approached from many miles away before a single drop of rain. When overhead, there was loud thunder, roiling wind, and finally sleet and rain slapped the windows and metal roof. So dramatic, especially for a place that has had drought for several years.

Rain, Jemez Mountains
Rain, Jemez Mountains
1.25 million years ago a volcanic eruption, with a force 300 times greater than Mount Saint Helens' eruption in 1980, created a 13-mile wide crater.  We drove narrow roads, with switchbacks, 8,500 feet into the Jemez Mountains. The Valles Caldera is now a vast pristine meadow. One of the most tranquil places I've ever experienced, as if its fiery origin is now being balanced out by a gentle, cool restfulness.

Valles Caldera rimmed by Jemez Mountains
Valles Caldera rimmed by Jemez Mountains
And then the most fantastical landforms at the end, the rock formations at The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument on the Pajarito Plateau:

Tent Rocks from Cave Loop Trail
Tent Rocks from Cave Loop Trail
Residual left from volcanic events about 6-7 million years ago, tent rocks are pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick, some 90 feet high.

Tent Rocks pillar
Tent Rock Pillar

Here a hoodoo--a pumice and tuff pillar, precariously capped with a boulder. I felt I was in a world out of a Dr. Seuss storybook.

My first post from this New Mexico trip HERE.





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