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

San Francisco to Wine Country

[By Richard Sheppard in Cloverdale, CA] Years ago, when I lived in San Francisco and worked in Mill Valley, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge was an everyday occurrence. Even after years of commuting, I never tired of the fog spindling past the golden spires or the city lights twinkling on the far side of the bay. When traffic slowed to a crawl, my busy mind relaxed with the sight of sail boats effortlessly skimming across the water.

For travelers heading north, the Golden Gate Bridge has always been the gateway to wine country. Construction began in 1933, the year prohibition ended, and was completed April 19, 1937. The newly constructed bridge gave local residents a reason to celebrate. Up until then, the best route north from San Francisco was by ferry.

The weeklong opening celebration began on May 27, 1937, and on that first pedestrian-only day, an estimated 200,000 people crossed by foot or on roller skates. From Washington the next day, President Franklin Roosevelt signaled the official start of vehicle traffic across the Bridge, and the celebration continued with corks popping.

Over the years, the Golden Gate’s popularity has only grown. During the summer months, fog often surrounds the bridge’s towers in drizzly gray, making the weather feel wintry. But the unfamiliar weather does little to ward off tourists, since many shiver in shorts while bracing against the windswept chill.

(The sketch of the Golden Gate Bridge above was painted outside the Legion of Honor Museum looking towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Although I stayed relatively dry under a canopy of trees, a breeze carried the little droplets of rain that dotted my drying painting and made it look like snow).

(Windsor Town Green)

To get to where I live in Sonoma Wine Country, drive north over the Bridge on Highway 101 and through Marin County where the landscape gradually transforms from city to suburb to country. Trees replace skyscrapers and concrete gives way to fields of grass. The weather gets warmer around Petaluma, and temperatures continue to climb heading north. Just beyond the county seat of Santa Rosa, the town of Windsor bills itself as “The Gateway to Wine Country,” and it’s justified, since north of town, the landscape transitions from grass lands to vineyards. 

(Healdsburg's Clock Tower)

A bit over an hour’s drive from San Francisco sits the City of Healdsburg. If Windsor is the Gateway, then Healdsburg is the Heart of Sonoma County Wine Country. With a population of just over 11,000, it’s an eclectic community founded on agriculture and livestock that now thrives on vineyards, art galleries, and restaurants. Despite the cultural changes, the town is still wrapped in old world charm. Like many other mid-19th century towns, Healdsburg’s streets fan out from a central plaza that defines and unifies the downtown area. Lined with wine tasting rooms and gift shops, the Plaza provides a natural venue for community events like the concerts, art festivals, and antique shows that fill the summer months. But it’s the wine industry that most often draws people to Healdsburg, along with award winning restaurants, art galleries, and community theater.

(Healdsburg's Tuesday night concerts are held thought the summer)





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