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

Sri Krishnan Temple in Singapore, a collective reportage

Simo Capecchi  with Rita Sabler, Tan Yu Qi, Rebecca Coronel, Suta Lee, Peggy Wong, I Jin Chew, Luis Araujo, Marc Holmes and Laurel Holmes (photos) at VI Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore, July 2015.

Last summer we went sketching inside the Sri Krishnan Temple, an hindu temple on Waterloo street in Singapore. We removed our shoes and entered the temple, trying to understand what was going on. Young priests and devotees spoke a very poor English and Chinese so we were all (local sketchers too) a bit in a foreign land. Priests did smile and seemed not to disagree with our sketching activity (photos inside are forbidden) so we spent the whole morning drawing what we discovered was a special ritual: July 24 was Garuda Jayanthi: a celebration of Lord Garuda's birthday.
Peggy Wong sketched the entrance and the temple as seen from a building opposite in Waterloo street.

In Waterloo street the Hindu temple and the nearby Chinese temple are two of the oldest buildings of Singapore (late 19° century) surrounded by recent skyscrapers in a commercial and popular district. Garuda with eagle's wings and Hanuman with a monkey face, guard Sri Krishnan temple entrance where you can stop to light joss sticks - a ritual that may have come from Chinese tradition and take place almost the same in Chinese temple aside. As a stronger connection between the two temples, a statue of Guanyin (to whom the Chinese temple is dedicated) is also hosted among other gods inside the Hindu shrine.
Garuda and Hanuman statues at the temple entrance, by Rita Sabler 
Inside Sri Krishnan temple we first observed the morning Puja (pray) with Pujari chanting mantras, and sprinkles water on devotees with mango leaves, while they pray and offer bananas and coconuts.
In Tan Yu Qi drawing, five elements are part of the Puja: water, fire, wood, metal, earth.
Than Garuda Jayanthi celebration begun with the Lord statue being hidden from devotees while the priests washed it and prepared it for Abhisheka (Sanskrit) /Abhishegam (Tamil): a ritual offering by several alternated showers of water, milk, honey, turmeric (a bright yellow powder), petals, sandalwood being poured on the statue. The ritual lasted at least one hour and was officiated by two priests, while they chanted mantras. An intense yellow liquid poured into the street to a drainage made on purpose in front of the temple entrance.

Simo Capecchi, Garuda Abhisheka
Rita Sabler, Garuda Abhisheka
At the end of the ritual devotees are invited to eat together in the backyard and we were surprised to be included among them and offered a delicious vegetarian meal: Prasadam is the food offered to the Lord and later consumed together by worshippers. Since I had to leave quickly, they even insisted to give me two portions take away!

Before leaving I met a young man who spoke a perfect english and invited him to our next day sketchcrawl: I wished he could help me to add some texts to our drawings. Mr. Siva Gopal Thaiyalan missed our appointment but was so nice to email me weeks later: "Thank you very much for sharing these lovely drawings. The narratives are accurately captured and well documented. I have shared this with the person in charge for the Abhishegam that day and he was absolutely delighted". I was so happy for this opportunity, my first chance of a brief contact with Hindu religion during an extraordinary week in Singapore.

My complete sketchbook in this set.
Rita Sabler's other drawings on her blog.

Marc Holmes has been with us too and so was Laurel Holmes who took these photos:





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