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

Nature / Sculpture: VII sketching workshop in Tuscany - Sept. 1/5

instructors Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron
guest artist Majid Modir

in partnership with Villa Le Guadalupe.
Sponsored by Hahnemühle

Once again our next Volterra workshop will focus on landscape highlighting the relationship between art and nature. Classic Tuscan panoramas that have inspired artists over the centuries and modern artists whose designs are strongly connected with the environment: Mauro Staccioli's open air sculptures dotted around Volterra; the XIX° centuries frescoed Villa Le Guadalupe; Niki de Saint Phalle's life-time project in Capalbio: a private sculptural/architectural garden.

And once again the goal of these four days is to improve our observational understanding. With Simo and Caroline we shall explore how to go about transforming and framing our interaction with the environment. Participants will experience two different approaches to drawing and painting plein-air: a graphic reportage manner based on annotated sketches (Simo Capecchi) and use of different media (ink, Viarco's earth colors or collage) for more pictorial and instinctive experiments (Caroline Peyron).

The workshop opens with a watercolor demo in the Villa's garden by the talented artist Majid Modir. The following three days will be lead by Caroline Peyron and Simo Capecchi in two small groups.

Staccioli's sculptures created a dialogue with the entire region and are now landmarks of Volterra, where people would stop to shoot photos and take "creative" selfies. Circles, triangles and other shapes invite us to move around them, looking for the best view that combines sculpture with landscape or wondering how the artist is asking us to see that view.
The way people move around them and the way the changing shadows of those huge sculptures can be an inspiration for different page compositions and sequences of drawings. The way landscape is cut geometrically or framed by Staccioli's sculptures suggest us to play with what is inside (the landscape) and what is outside (the sculpture/frame).

Besides being the beating heart for a family of dramaturges, curators and artists that have held open house since the Eighties for "scientists, creative and visionary people", Villa Le Guadalupe - our workshop location - has great views over the landscape which are captured in its frescoes: standing invitation to join in the fascinating business of linking inside and outside.

Niki de Saint Phalle's garden is a feast of sinuous shapes with mixed materials of multiple colors. Her sculptures do not frame or set against nature but on the contrary they seem to grow spontaneously, like flowers and trees and we can experience them from the inside.
An open sketchcrawl in the playful Giardino dei Tarocchi will be a perfect way to close our workshop.

Be inspired by previous Volterra's workshops 2010-2015 photos.

Sponsors many thanks to Hahnemühle for watercolor blocks and to Moleskine for sketchbooks!
UPDATE: Testing Hahnemuehle watercolor paper

banner design: thanks to Franco Lancio.

view from Villa Le Guadalupe

workshop / instructors

Watercolor demo by Majid Modir
1. Review of art supplies: choice of paper, watercolors, brushes, and other equipments
2. Basic watercolor techniques and different methods by showing examples
3. Tips and Tricks
Participants will follow Majid with brief exercises and than watch him while painting a view in the Villa’s garden and explaining step by step. (2 hours approx.)

Majid Modir, abandoned places in Sweden

Majid Modir, Villa Le Guadalupe

Majid Modir  is an artist, photographer, graphic designer and creative director. Born in 1961 in Iran, he moved to Sweden in 1986 and recently to Volterra (Italy). He has a MFA in Graphic Design & Illustration at Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm). As a creative director he runs his own design studio and teaches motion graphic at The College of Design (Beckmans) in Stockholm. He is a member of The Swedish Artists Association (SKF). Watercolor is his passion. He exhibited his works in several solo and group shows in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years and has received some prices and awards. Website:

Reportage with Simo Capecchi

A flyer with introduction on reportage drawing with examples from various authors will be given to participants suggesting different formats to follow.
Drawing beside Staccioli's sculptures participants will pay attention on how these art works relate with environment but most of all on how people interact with them.

Villa Le Guadalupe's frescoes have a special connection with the outside view and suggest to work on relation between inside and outside exploring different ways to represent it. Describe the Villa, our hosting family and their dailies activities it's has been an inspiring theme in every edition of this workshop.

inside Villa Le Guadalupe

Simo Capecchi trained as an architect at the Universities of Venice and Naples (Italy) and currently works as an illustrator. Her drawings appears on magazines and edited collections and have been displayed in many international collective exhibits. Since 2006, she curated exhibitions and events on travel sketchbooks and holds sketching workshops both in Italy than abroad. She is a correspondent for Urban Sketchers from Naples.  Blog: - Volterra's sketchbooks.

the Sophora in villa Le Guadalupe's garden

Ink and collage with Caroline Peyron

Painting landscape with Chinese ink participants will focus on contrasts: lights and shadows, with a highlight on the importance of white spaces.

We'll pay attention to relationship between natural and abstract shapes and to the inside / outside of the frame, on the path of a book by art historian Victor Stoichita, "L’instauration du Tableau". 

Collage will be just the right technique to pay a tribute to Niki de Saint Phalle's amazing garden.
Please bring 4/5 newspapers, glue (Vinavil kind) and a cheap brush for the glue.

Volterra's landscape and Deposizione by Pontormo in Pinacoteca di Volterra.

Caroline Peyron is a french artist and a teacher living in Naples. Personal exhibitions of her works has been held in many cultural institutions in Naples, Rome and Paris. Last one has been "Cielo" at Museo e Certosa di San Martino in Naples, October 2015. She has been an art teacher for over twenty years now holding workshops and courses with children, adolescents and adults for private schools and public institutions like Museo Capodimonte and Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
Meet the instructor on Urban Sketchers workshop blog. Vimeo:



Thursday, September 1 / Villa Le Guadalupe
17.00 - 20.00 Check in and Watercolor demo by Majid Modir
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Friday, September 2 / hills nearby Volterra
10.00 - 18.00  Mauro Staccioli sculptures open air 1
Piancorboli / fattoria Fognano (1 hour break, pic-nic on your own)
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Saturday, September 3 / hills nearby Volterra
10.00 - 18.00  : Mauro Staccioli sculptures open air 2
Poggio San Martino / villa Palagione / Mazzolla (1 hour break, pic-nic on your own)
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Sunday, September 4 / Villa Le Guadalupe
10.00 - 13.30 Villa le Guadalupe's frescoes: the outside inside
13.30 *dinner in Villa Le Guadalupe's garden
15.00 - 18.30 Villa le Guadalupe, the house in its landscape
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Monday, September 5 / Open Sketchcrawl in Giardino dei Tarocchi.
10.00 Transfer to Capalbio, Garavicchio (2 hours by car).
14.30 Niki de Saint Phalle, Giardino dei Tarocchi sculptures garden (closure at 19.30).
Everyone invited. Transport and ticket entrance on your own (we'll organized together).

Hosting institution Le Guadalupe. Spazio per le Arti is an association dedicated to arts by germans dramaturgs Wolfgang Storch and Klaudia Ruschkowski. They host workshops in arts, theatre, design and music, with an international program. Le Guadalupe is a XIX° century villa, with a view on the southern hills of Volterra, a beautiful garden around and interiors covered with frescos. Since 2010 this yearly workshop is based inside the villa and organized in collaboration with Klaudia Ruschkowski. Enjoying her delicious meals and their warm hospitality it has become the core of our workshop.

Registration fee  Workshop costs 330 euros that include tuition (220 euro x 3 hours demo, 21 hours lessons followed by an open sketchcrawl day) and meals (110 euros including 5 meals in Villa Le Guadalupe). Not included: eventual transfer to Capalbio and Giardino dei Tarocchi entrance ticket (group discount).
10% of income supports Urban Sketchers educational program.
To apply: simo.capecchi(at)

Participants Minimum 10 / max 18. Each level of drawing experience is welcome.

Languages English, French, Italian.

How to reach Villa Le Guadalupe and Volterra  check our workshop Map to reach the villa if you came by car - 10' from Volterra city center. No problem to reach us with public transportation: we'll help with bus timetables and pick you up from bus station. Transport will be organized from Volterra to Villa le Guadalupe and back and from Volterra to Capalbio/Garavicchio (Giardino dei Tarocchi).

You can reach Volterra from these airports/train stations:
Florence (2 hours): bus to Volterra via Colle val d'Elsa 
Pisa (2 hours): bus to Volterra via Pontedera   
Rome (4.30 hours) : train to Cecina + bus connection to Saline di Volterra. 

Accommodation Check out suggested hotels in our workshop map.
Three double rooms are available inside the villa (update: rooms are sold out)

More on workshop locations / find them in our MAP

Mauro Staccioli, land art project (Luoghi di Esperienza, around Volterra, 2009). Scattered around Volterra, a tribute to the artist's birthplace, this group of sculptures suggest us a treasure haunt from one hill to the next one. Artist's Bio / Sculptures description 

Villa Le Guadalupe architecture and frescoes (unknown artists, Volterra, 1850-54 ca.). A XIX° century villa where the Tangassi brothers, famous alabaster artisans from Volterra who made their fortune in Mexico (that's why they dedicated the villa and the chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico). When retired they renovated and transformed a countryside house and hired two painters to frescoed the entire first floor.  Villa Le Guadalupe website.

Niki de Saint Phalle, Giardino dei Tarocchi (Garavicchio, Capalbio 1979-1998), sculpture garden. For over twenty years the artist worked at this project living periodically inside it, with the collaboration of Jean Tinguely.    Garden website / Artist bio / garden intro video 5' / garden video 35' / documentary about Niki and Jean Tinguely by Anne Julien, and Louise Faure, 55'.




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