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

Travel Sketching at the Khmer Temples: Ta Prohm and The Bayon

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Siem Reap, Camboida]

Welcome back for part two! Traveling further afield from Siem Reap, visiting the distant temple complexes.

As you head outward from Siem Reap, the various temple complexes become less ostentatious. Some are as small as a single building in the forest, or an empty reservoir moat with a fallen down tower. Probably the most well known from film and photography is Ta Prohm. This exotic site is overgrown with giant trees whose roots are often bursting through the stone walls. It's probably my favorite of the temples - though it does not have the most impressive sculptures or architecture.

The place is bustling with workers setting up scaffolding and carrying on reconstruction. But with the constant encroachment of the trees and vines it seems like it would all vanish if they took a week off. Swallowed up by the forest.

It makes you want to rush around, sketching everything madly. Like you have only a limited time to capture everything because once you leave it's going to be gone for good. In fact, the experience might well be gone for a different reason. This is our second time visiting. The first trip was in 2002. We could see what tremendous difference the reconstruction makes. Things become safer. No more heaps of disembodied figures waiting to be sorted and re-stacked. No more scrambling over mossy stones and into leaning corridors that might easily collapse on your head. And certainly no more deserted places where it's just you, the ruins and a few bored policemen.

But as well, as the great trees die naturally, they may not be replaced. Gradually the site becomes cleaner, easier to navigate, and somehow, less spectacular. That stone wall in front of Suhita there is 80% restoration. You can see the flat unadorned replacement stones where once there were rows of carvings. Sorry to be 'that guy' saying how it's never going to be the same. But really - you should just get out here and see it soon! The sites have gone from a few thousand visitors a year, to over 2 million of us playing Indiana Jones. One way or another, that much attention is changing things.

One of the memorable things about this trip was painting in the rain. One day I will work out a way to wear an umbrella on my back, in the manner of the soldier's flags in a Kurosawa samurai film. For now I'm just tying it onto my backpack straps (Flimsy). Or holding it in the same hand as my drawing board (Very awkward). I've also tried lashing it to a monopod and holding it in the crook of an elbow. That works, but you have to carry the extra monopod. And all these jerry-rigs are highly susceptible to wind-gusts. So nothing is perfect. By the way, this also works for painting under intense sun. I did a few sketches in Italy with an umbrella sticking out of my shoulder bag. I'm starting to hate sun screen, but I also worry about melanoma. If you're going to be out in the sun for weeks at a time, that's getting to be a real concern. Something on the list, to be worked out in the future.

This is the South Gate of Angkor Thom. The rows of stone soldiers on the bridges reminded me of Chinese Terracotta warriors. They are meant to be holding up a giant serpent, but the horizontal sections of the snake have fallen away. Probably to be restored soon. When we were last here 15 years ago, there were classrooms of kids being taught stone carving. I'm sure the idea was to plan ahead, to grow the craftspeople that are stewards of these national treasures today.

Finally, The Bayon. This tower is the best location for 4 face heads. You can climb up to the top and get the classic photos of the giant stone faces looking out over the jungle.

From a distance, if the lighting is not right, the place is really just a jumble of rocks. You have to be conscious as a painter to create organized blocks of color and value. Work to separate objects which in reality are camouflaged together. That being said, this painting is very much 'artistic license'. Not really a faithful representation. But who is to say? It doesn't look like photographic reality - but the sketch looks like how I remember it :)




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