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

Seize the day

[By Thor in Orlando, Fla.] A memorial was held for Matt McGrath at the Harp and Celt (25 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL) Matt was just 48 when he died suddenly from cancer. Few people realized he was even sick. Perhaps he wanted everyone to remember him as the vibrant and active person he always was.  He played ice hockey regularly at the RDV Ice Den. His hot Irish blood was perfect for the heat of competitive sports. Matt's home was the birth place of so many local theater productions. Often the first readings of a script would happen on his back patio. During the day he was an accountant but in the evening, he became a theatrical producer. Rather than having friends remember him in a stodgy funeral home he insisted that they all get drunk and tell stories at his favorite Irish pub in downtown Orlando.

Matt was a bit of an enigma. On the wall there was a photo of his marriage. I had no idea he had been married. This is how he described himself online, "Open minded, fun and outgoing guy, who has a very diverse set of interests. I like to stay busy and participate in many activities from softball and hockey, to theater and art." His home which was just a block from an Irish pub in College Park was the home base for many independent theatrical productions. I sketched in his "man cave", a personal pub complete with a stripper pole and rubber boobies hanging on the wall, on many occasions. Matt had friends in many circles. I bumped into one of his long time work colleges at the bar and at the front door of the bar I ran into the magnificent Irish musicians, Vicki Gish, Scott Vocca, and Kathleen Cavinagh, who perform at Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando, FL) on every other Wednesday. I never knew that Matt I loved their music. Odd that our paths didn't cross at that pub.

Someone got up to speak about Matt's love of Irish Music. Anyone with an instrument can join in and play at the Claddagh Cottage music sessions. Matt wanted to join in so much, that he brought a triangle. Someone shouted out that the reason he needed a triangle, was because he broke so man glasses by hitting them with a spoon. Now a triangle is no more of a traditional Irish instrument than say a cow bell. The regular Irish musicians humored him and performed traditional pieces that in theory could incorporate the triangle. Matt joined in, but he kept missing the beats, much to the amusement of everyone in the bar. It got so bad that someone stole the triangle to keep him quiet. The person telling the story had purchased a new triangle in Matt's honor, along with a fancy triangle stand. He got choked up as he explained that it will be framed and hung in the bar in Matt's honor. Brian Sikorsky told me the the Fringe Board wants to have a bar stool in Matt's name at this year's Fringe Festival Beer Tent.

Brian told me of the day five beautiful actresses flew in from London for the Orlando International Fringe Festival. They were from Haste Theater Company and the play they were presenting was called Oyster Boy. Anyway Brian called them to see if they had landed OK. It turned out the they were already at Matt's house enjoying drinks. Brian laughed. Matt never met a beautiful woman that he didn't love. On the screen a slide flickered on, showing Matt in a red T-Shirt that said, "You'll do."

The slide show was projected on a screen above the door for the duration of the memorial. Matt as a toddler who had just learned to walk, held beer bottle. Most of the photos showed Matt in the company of beautiful women, On an airplane, he had beautiful stewardess in each arm. So many of Orlando' beautiful actresses, dancers and models were draw to Matt like moths to a flame. One actress spoke about how Matt helped her with homework in exchange for his getting to see her breasts. An older woman with raspy voice got up to the microphone an shouted, "Matt was that rare bread of a man, he was a nice guy! Around Christmas, he shared the multiple presents he got for all of his girlfriends. He wanted to be democratic. Like I said, He was a nice guy."

Slides showed Matt jumping out of an airplane, on a zip line, swilling beer with busty German bar maids and traveling the world. He has "been to 5 of the 7 continents. Was lucky enough to see the great wall and the Spinx." He lived large and loved life. He mixed with different groups of people, that didn't tend to mingle together. Some of my dearest friends posed beside him. Even friends who preferred anonymity blossomed in his company. Some of Orlando's most beautiful women entered the bar in honor of a man who knew how to make them feel special. My favorite slide showed three men and a woman in a woman's bathroom with McGrath written across their bums. He wrote his name across so many hearts and asses. At the bar, some people couldn't stop crying. Others shaved stories and couldn't stop laughing. As the Irish musicians performed, Matt got his wish as we ate and drank in his honor, tapping our feet to the Irish music. Seize the day and love every moment, because our time is limited. Perhaps we can't live forever, but we can try to create something that will.




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