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

Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership campaign, Merthyr Tydfil

[Dan Peterson, Merthyr Tydfil]

Yesterday, Friday 5 August 2016, I took a trip up the A470 road from Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil. I made the trip to listen to Jeremy Corbyn MP who was due to make a speech as part of the Labour Party leadership campaign which is currently underway in the UK. The Labour Party are the main opposition party in the UK at the moment. The leadership contest is happening, partly, because after the European Referendum result, where the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). Jeremy Corbyn had campaigned to stay in the EU. Labour Party MPs took a vote of no confidence in their Leader, Corbyn. There appears to be a undertone of identity crisis within the party as Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly elected as leader by the membership only a year ago on a broadly left wing mandate whereas the majority of MPs currently appear to lean more to the right. The vote of no confidence and the whole contest has been described as somewhat of a coup but ultimately has lead to this campaign and another vote to see whether Corbyn will remain leader of the party or the Parliamentary Party (serving MPs) will get their preferred choice, Owen Smith MP, who stands against him. If you are really interested there is plenty of information written by far cleverer and more knowledgable people than I available online.

From an Urban Sketcher perspective it was a chance to draw an important historical area of Merthyr Tydfil, and South Wales, while an important, and potentially historic, moment was taking place there. The area which has recently (2014) been regenerated as an open space within the town. The space has been named Penderyn Square. It is named after a man called Dic Penderyn. A plaque on the front of the Carnegie Library, the large grey building in the centre left of the drawing, reads "Dic Penderyn, Born Richard Lewis in 1808 in Aberdravon and hanged at Cardiff Gaol on August 13th 1831. Following  the Merthyr Insurrection of that year. A martyr of the Welsh working class."

The Methyr Rising took place in 1831 when coal miners and other workers took to the streets to protest against poor working conditions, low wages and unemployment. During the riot it was alleged that Dic Penderyn and his cousin Lewis Lewis had stabbed Private Donald Black, a soldier of 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, who had been called in to quash the uprising. Private Black was not fatally injured, and despite many protests against the sentence, Dic Penderyn was eventually hung for the crime. There was later a deathbed confession to the crime by another man and there is currently a campaign to clear his name. The stabbing was said to have occurred outside the Castle Inn, the site of the new square.

The large red brick building, to the left of the drawing, is an Arts and Creative Industries Centre known as The Redhouse. It is a late Victorian Grade II listed building which was originally built as the Town Hall to house the Public Offices, Courts and holding cells. It was re-opened in March 2014 after an £8.2 million redevelopment programme. It's a stunning building both inside and out and well worth a visit.

I sat on a big grey box under a mobile phone pylon on one side of the square about an hour before Jeremy Corbyn arrived to draw the buildings. I then drew the crowd as it grew before and during his speech adding the colour afterwards. It was interesting listening to the speeches (there were a number of speakers) while drawing and watching the crowds reactions. As well as workers rights, women's rights and tax avoidance Corbyn spoke of Kier Hardie who, it is worth noting here, was MP for Merthyr Tydfil from 1900-1915. A Scotsman, born in 1856, who started the Labour Party in 1900. The whole drawing was rather ambitious and took far too long, the square being clear of supporters by the time I got down with a stiff back and very much in need of a good cup of coffee form the café in the Redhouse.

It is the first time I have seen a political rally in this country where there were a lot of coloured flags, along with the banners and placards, on this occasion red ones, handed out and waved during the event. It reminded me of a rally I drew whilst in Barcelona in 2010. It was a quick sketch in my small moleskine notebook but I've included it here as it shows a similar event in a different country.





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