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

Reporting from Giudecca, the other side of Venice /2

Being in Giudecca (Venice) for a reportage on Alvaro Siza's social houses in Campo di Marte, I was curious to go around the island that I had not visited since many years ago. I walked randomly and chose this house with a huge garden facing the lagoon and several statues that could be seen behind vegetation. The drawing was already started when I noticed I was including a jail, one of the two prisons in Giudecca - what a contrast! A perfect silence and except a boat, no one passed by during the half an hour I was there.
Back home I discovered it's a famous place: the Eden Garden with villa delle Rose it's a sort of lost paradise, although its name comes from a former owner, the englishman Frederic Eden, who lived there and designed the garden in late 19° century. The place was frequented by Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, Henry James and Eleonora Duse among others. Not open to the public, the garden is classified as National Monument but look quite abandoned. Nowadays it hosts the foundation Hundertwasser, named from the swiss painter and last owner, who quite altered its original aspect.

My Giudecca tour continued walking along the waterfront, with a great view on the other side banks - le Zattere - where I spent my best years strolling around as an architecture student. I noticed a man working at some fish traps and stopped by to see the whole process. Ennio lives in the house nearby and has eight big traps that are joined in four pairs. He said he would check them every two days but they are not tied to the dock (someone could rob them?): he searches them with a hook instead, until he grabs them. He than cleans the fish traps and throw them (empty, no bait) into the lagoon again only when dry, "otherwise squids will not get inside". He complained it was not a good catch, but at least with four squids the supper were guaranteed. I loved to see a fisherman a few steps from the Redentore church, even if I doubt the quality of the water there with the heavy traffic of boats and cruises and the lack of sewers in Venice.

I walked a bit further on the bank and realize that, while I know the museum,  I've never entered in Mariano Fortuny showroom. Inside, I got completely lost, welcomed by Laura who offered me an expresso, an armchair and many interesting explanations.  The story of Fortuny is the most fascinating one, his fabrics are legendary and his original machines to print them are still working - and secret! Nowadays it is the only manufacturing activity going on in Giudecca, Venice past industrial district, with 15 local artisans compelled to keep secret the procedure.
To flip through their fabrics collection is a joy for the eyes and I couldn't get enough. Classical and original motifs from the Twenties are integrated by new creations, beautiful and out of time. Just read on their blog that Downton Abbey last season features some Fortuny pieces.

Next to Fortuny's showroom is the factory and in between a "secret" garden can be visited only by appointment. I was lucky enough to be included last minute in a group tour. The chimney nearby is now the security staircase of an ex beer factory converted into apartments, one of the many transformed industrial buildings in Giudecca. Fortuny's garden has been arranged by Elsie McNeil, his american distributor and interior designer who inherited the factory since he had no sons. It includes one of the few swimming pools of Venice. "It has an hollywoodian look",  says our guide Laura, "and tomorrow we'll host the Australian pavilion Biennale's opening party, since their theme is about swimming pools".

Well, the best swimming pool is now the one on top of Mulino Stucky, the huge mill recently converted into a Hilton Hotel, just beside Fortuny showroom. 5.000 people used to work in this neogothic building until the Fifties. And from the top you can have the best view on Giudecca island, on Venice and the lagoon as well - free entrance if you only have to draw or watch the panorama. I'd finished the last sketch properly if not exhausted from a long day of sketching.

In our sketchbooks kindly donated by Laloran I still have some empty pages: next time I will explore more Giudecca "secret" places. Social houses and new architectures, renovated industrial buildings, luxury hotels and traditional taverns, secret gardens both private and public, social centers and art galleries, important monuments and churches, two jails and a big shipyards ... Giudecca is a multifaceted microcosm that really deserves another visit. 

Thanks to DGArtes for the invitation and for covering our expences.
Thanks to Ketta Linhares for beautiful Laloran sketchbooks.





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