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

Do-it-yourself music festival

[by Lynne Chapman in Sheffield, UK] 

John and I bought a new tent recently, and a little one-ring stove. We were getting ready for last weekend. Like half the residents of Nether Edge, we were all excited, because the tiny music cafe, where I do most of my sketches of musicians, had decided to put on a mini music festival!

It was very do-it-yourself: Jonny hired a field, a generator, a couple of portaloos and some hay bales, bought a big star-shaped marque, then divvied up the cost between about 40 participants who use the café, and everyone else mucked in to make it happen. Various people offered their different skills and we had a bunting-making evening at the café.

On the Friday afternoon, John and I arrived early and helped to get things set up. The sun was shining and the reservoir was glinting behind tall pine trees. Jonny's wife India unpacked buckets of beautiful things and turned our little encampment into a colourful paradise of flowers and lights, pom-poms and cushions. The stage was set!

The music was mainly in the evenings, but people had offered to run different activities during the day. John organised a Saturday morning walk. I offered a sketching session for Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately the rain put paid to most of that... Yes, there was rain. Then more rain.

At least we got our tent up before it hit. By Friday night though, it was pouring down and those coming after work weren't so lucky. It poured and poured. India's paper stars dissolved. The wind blew the rain in and her cushions and throws wicked up water. It put out the fires. BUT, the rain might have dampened everything in sight, but it didn't dampen our spirits. Oh no. We Nether-Edgers are a tough lot.

We huddled under our marquee and ate and drank and chatted and sang. People played guitars, someone brought out a mandolin. Someone arrived with home-baked cheese muffins. someone else brought out a wind-up gramophone and a pile of old 78 records:

In moments when the deluge slowed to a drizzle, kids ran around and people hula-hooped:

Somehow the time became half past two in the morning and we dashed back through the rain to our tents.

Next day started dry, so John's walk went ahead. It was great to see where we actually were. We walked up onto the moors and around the reservoir. We were out for two and a half hours and only got rained on once. It was saving itself...

Yep. Saturday afternoon and evening were EVEN WETTER! Was this possible? John described it best: the rain was biblical. The thing was, even though we couldn't do all the dancing, painting, yoga and star-gazing activities we had planned, the weather almost did us a favour. Because we spent the whole time together in the marquee, sitting on our hay bales, we really got to know each other and I made so many new friends.

Then in the evening, when the bands arrived the wonderful music totally eclipsed the rain. The main act were the fabulous Goat Ropers Rodeo Band, all the way from Rhyl. Fantastic.

As you can see, I did plenty of painting. I just love painting live music. There something about the rhythms which gets into my bones and then comes out onto the page. I used a concertina book, similar to ones I have been filling all year for my sketcher-in-residence project. I love the way they flow like passing time and the fact that I can expand my painting as I see fit.

Some time around midnight the rain stopped. Dan, who had set up a cocktail bar from the back of his van, brought out a record player and a massive pile of LPs. We danced in the mud, in wellies and walking boots, cocktails in hand, to hits from the 70 and 80s mostly. I set aside my sketchbook and got stuck in - my second favourite activity is to dance! Numbers dwindled gradually, as time passed. At half three, John and I gave it up, but apparently the last few stopped up until 5.30!

Sunday was glorious. While those who had to get home early packed up their stuff, we put on the kettle for constant tea and a small encampment of 'morning-afters' lounged around our tent.

There was some guitar playing, a bit more hula-hooping, but mostly we just wanted to chill.

And then it was time to pack up ourselves. The stragglers mucked in to help clear up and ferry things back into Jonny's van and we said our final goodbyes. Not that final though - Jonny is already planning another one for mid summer!





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