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

Sketching the Famous Bacigalpi Vineyard

[By Richard Sheppard in Healdsburg, California] The only remaining Chardonnay vineyard that produced grapes for Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay that won the 1976 Paris Tasting is located on West Side Road just outside Healdsburg, California. Recently I had the pleasure of exploring this famous vineyard with grape grower Charles Bacigalupi. Below is my story of that meeting.

Charles Bacigalupi sits behind the wheel of a small utility Gator truck parked beneath a majestic oak, eyes roving his famous vineyard on Westside Road just outside Healdsburg, California. It is the last remaining vineyard that produced chardonnay grapes for the legendary 1976 Paris Tasting, in which Napa wines defeated their French competitors.

Hearing rocks pop under my car tires, he waves and kicks the truck into high gear, driving over to pick me up for a walk through the historic vines.

“This is what keeps me young,” he says with a chuckle, referring to his truck. “Right now I want to spend as much time out here in the vineyard as I can.”

Clipped canes from spring’s pruning are scattered along the rows of the Paris Tasting Block, to be tilled into the soil after harvest.

“We planted the rootstock in 1964, and we budded in ’65,” Bacigalupi says. “The original grapes on this property were planted with their own roots. At the time, Phylloxera (root louse) had taken hold and the vineyard was in terrible shape, so we had to pull it out and replant.”

Nine years later, he walked the vineyard with Mike Grgich, the winemaker responsible for the award-winning 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.

“The grapes had gone through veraison and were just showing signs of sweetness when Mike Grgich stopped by the farm to secure a contract for Chardonnay,” Bacigalupi remembers. “For two weeks before harvest, Mike and I were here every day tasting grapes.

“The grape harvest started on a day much like this one,” he says. “The long dry summer had parched the hillsides, the sun broken only by early morning fog.”

The Bacigalupis had chosen the Wente clone for its flavor, although it wasn’t popular at the time.

“The berries are all different sizes, so they ripen at different times,” he explains. “Some berries don’t even have seeds. The newer clones, #4 and #5, have been heat treated, making them more uniform in size, but they don’t have the flavor. “And when you come down to it, flavor is everything.”

“Mike was the first person to talk about flavors, not just sugar and acid levels. We would walk these rows, and he would rave about the flavors.”

Bacigalupi reaches over and picks a grape. “Go ahead. Try one. Have as many as you like,” he says. “You can tell when the grapes are getting ripe by how translucent their skins are in sunlight.”

As I bite down on a small yellow orb, it splits to release soft pulp, a squirt of subtle butterscotch flavor and mouthwatering juices. I pop another grape into my mouth. The skins are much thicker than that of table grapes, and the seeds inside crackle when chewed. Pulling a couple of grapes apart, I count two to four seeds each.

Bacigalupi looks at the seeds and says, “When the seeds are brown, it’s another indication that it’s time to harvest.”

I pick another berry off a different vine that is sweeter than the others, and there’s something else, too. It reminds me of flowers, nectar, even honey, like the sweet wines of Anderson Valley 30 miles north. It reminds me of Muscat.

“You’re right,” Bacigalupi says. “There are a few Muscat vines interspersed.”

Turning to me and raising his eyebrows, Bacigalupi asks, “How would you like to take a ride?”

We hop on the Gator for a ride around the vineyard, darting between the rows of vines. Canes brush against us, and we have to push some aside to keep them out of our faces.

We pass the old Westside Neighbors Pinot block, then brake at the new Wente Chardonnay vineyard. “These vines were budded from the original Paris Tasting block,” he said. “We use them now to make the Bacigalupi Chardonnay available in our tasting room.”

Pulling full throttle, Bacigalupi heads back toward the oak tree where we met earlier and kills the engine. “Occasionally,” he says, “we host picnics and tastings out here under this beautiful old tree.” A gust of wind rustles the leaves overhead and a few float down around the truck.

From the viewpoint of a vine, not much really happens out here during the calendar year. A tractor drives by loosening the soil once a year, and pruning shears remove last year’s growth. Its canopy is managed a couple of times during the summer, but still, those are all quiet activities. Then harvest comes, and a season’s worth of fruit is removed with a quick snip of a knife before quiet returns.

“I’d never really thought about it that way,” Bacigalupi says. “But you’re right. It’s a very peaceful place.”





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