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

High Pressure is Forecast for our Camping Trip to Connemara

(by Róisín Curé) My younger daughter Liv celebrates her birthday at the end of July. The downside of this is that her friends are often away on summer holidays. The upside is that the weather is usually good and she can do something cool outdoors. This year she turned 12 and decreed that we were going camping for her birthday. I love camping so that was fine with me.
"We're going for at least three nights," she said.
"That's a lot," said her dad. "If the weather isn't great we should maybe consider cutting it a bit shorter."
Birthdays turn the best of us into divas (well, me anyway) and there followed much weeping and wailing.

The big day approached and the logistics of keeping three kids happy started to become troublesome. Some family members (ie. one family member) was less than enthusiastic. But I had a secret weapon: I was counting on Roundstone, in Connemara, to melt the most teenage-rebellious of hearts.
As we drove through Connemara, I was gratified to hear the kids - all three - gasping at the beauty around them. The lakes, the mountains, the mist...even the stone walls, which look very different to those of Kilcolgan. They loved the hardy-looking horses and cows, who lounged about in tiny fields full of exposed bedrock and wild flowers, fields so hilly that they were lucky to find level areas big enough to lie down.

The evening was beautiful and we headed down to the beach which fronts the campsite. It was heaven. Liv's dad Marcel gave her an early birthday present, a Kelly kettle which you stuff with twigs to boil water, and they went foraging for sticks happily together. Then we barbecued steaks on an open fire, accompanied by wine from plastic tumbers and in general had a lovely evening.

The following morning it was raining, but it wasn't cold or windy. I put on a raincoat and took the puppy to the beach. Even though I've visited Roundstone since I was about ten years old (it's where my love affair with Galway began) I was astonished afresh at the beauty before me as I rounded each rocky promontory. I was all alone on the beach. My feet sank into the damp white sand, leaving great clodhopping holes in my wake, and the puppy left tiny pawprints beside my track that didn't sink at all. The water was unfeasibly clear in the raindrops and is always turquoise in Connemara. I felt pure happiness.

Back at the tent, the calming effect of Connemara was wearing off - how could it work its magic on people refusing to leave the tent and venture into the admittedly wet landscape? My eldest, Honor, started to cause trouble in the tent, being mean to her little sister. As it was raining, I couldn't escape into the wilds and sketch, so I snuck into the car for a bit of soothing sketching.

This didn't go down too well. 
"You're doing nothing to keep the peace," said my husband. Then he brought me a cup of tea and while I felt a bit guilty, the tea was lovely.
Eventually I decided enough was enough and suggested the girls did some sketching. Within a few minutes peace had descended and they were drawing each other happily, producing some gorgeous work. Why can't they do this of their own accord?
Later on that evening I sketched the beach. It was full of Dubliners from the sailing fraternity. Very tanned men yakked about sailing and their favourite restaurants, and beautiful blonde boys called Noah and Levi scampered about. Groups of kids played unsupervised games of tag, with slightly violent overtones. 
"So...if you're touched, you're on?" I overheard.
"No, you have to thump the person on the arm three times and shout Tig Tag Tattle, then they're on," said the leader. 

Next morning I sketched the puppy digging a hole. He enjoys that a lot and has yet to stop digging ever-deeper of his own volition. A little poodle barrelled into me as I sketched, covering my paintbox in sand.
"Sorry!" said the owners. "She's got cataracts and she's blind!"
"It's fine," I said, but it turned out not to be fine. The paints become encrusted with sand, and every time I used them the sand went a little deeper. In the end I scraped it off with a sharp blade but found that a thick mortar had developed on the inside of the box, which had to be virtually chipped off. I don't mind when things like that happen, as it's an excuse to fiddle with new paints and colours.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Clifden, where the sun beat down. We decided to cook outside again, but needed supplies. The family (that is to say, my husband) didn't want to go into the supermarket without my direction but I had the puppy in a sling on my front. I figured I'd take him in like that, and just hide him under a jacket if anyone looked at me strangely - he is very quiet in the sling, like a baby, and only his head pokes out. This worked a treat. In the supermarket was a young mother wearing a sling, and an adorable baby with shocking red hair sticking straight up looked out, drinking in the exciting sights of tins on shelves and artificial lighting.
"What a beautiful baby!" I said. "How old is he?"
"Nine months," she replied. "And yours?"
"Five months," I said, whipping off the jacket to reveal Reuben's furry white muzzle.
"Oh!" she said.
Little amuses the simple, I guess.
The next morning was Liv's birthday. Before she woke up I sketched the beach again.
I left it unpainted as I wanted to be back for my girl's good morning "happy birthday".
Here is the remaining family, eating their brekkie in the tent.

By then, Liv was no longer insisting that we spend three nights camping, and was eager to get back home to open her birthday presents. This time our drive back through Connemara went unremarked by the birthday girl, who snoozed in the back.
I look forward to an imaginary future of long summer days of camping, where I somehow both sketch non-stop and spend all day with a harmonious family...




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