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

The Town of Temples

[Guest post by Harshad Arole in Wai, India] Our destination – Wai, a small but historic town around 100km from Pune. It is a year since the Urban Sketchers Pune chapter was formed and the group was on a sketching day trip to celebrate its first anniversary.

Wai is dotted with numerous Hindu temples, traditional residences – called wadas – with their fantastic old architecture, and scenic riverfront vistas as the river Krishna weaves its way through. It was no doubt an overwhelming experience as everyone tried to capture the beauty as much as possible leaving us wanting for more. It was my first visit to this place as an urban sketcher and I present here some glimpses of the memories I could bring back with me.

Holy places on riverbanks usually have steps called ghats leading down towards the river. The ghats of Varanasi or Haridwar on the banks of river Ganga are well known. The main ghat of Wai's Dholya Ganapati Temple on the banks of river Krishna is a grand sight and I couldn't resist starting the day with a two-page panorama sketch. The ghats provide access to waters that are considered holy. This was asserted by the innumerable devotees taking a holy dip.

The top image is another ghat, a bit away from the main one. I sketched this on paper on that I had previously painted patches of watercolour. I did a bundle of sketches on these papers through the day.

A bit away from the main ghat was a Shiva temple. (Later one of the onlookers told me that its name was Siddheshwar Temple.) It was a secluded place from the hustle and bustle of the ghat across the river and provided a fantastic vantage point to observe the whole area.

Every Shiva temple has at its entrance Nandi, the divine bull that was ridden by Shiva, the destroyer of the universe. The Nandi gazes into the temple at Shiva. From where I was seated beside it, I could sketch the view of the dark interiors of the temple.

A wada is a traditional residence in Western India, similar to a mansion. I sketched the rear walls of a wada through which the temple peaks were seen. It seems these were the temples within private residences.

This is a relatively modern bridge constructed over the river, at the foot of which I could see a cluster of five temples. From where I sat I counted 15-20 temples... a "Town of Temples" after all.

This panorama sketch is of a serene and scenic ghat at Menavali, a place 3km away from Wai to which we proceeded in the afternoon. This ghat is an extension to the wada of Nana Phadnavis, an important minister in the Maratha Empire. The ghat and its beautiful surroundings have been home to numerous Bollywood and other movie shoots.

The Meneshwar temple at Menavali has a bell house where a 650kg bell (dating from 1707 AD) is installed. It is a war trophy captured by the Marathas from the Vasai Fort.

Wadas on the banks of a river have a rear door that leads to the ghat to fetch and use the river water.

The descendants of Nana Phadnavis still occupy a section in the old wada while the rest is in ruins. A portion of the wada is open for viewing the historical architecture and antiquities.

A day well spent with lots of good memories... some of which are now captured on paper and will remain there for a long time...

Harshad Arole is the founder of a PC/mobile game development studio based in Pune, India. He is a member of Urban Sketchers Pune. You can see more of Harshad’s sketches on his Facebook page





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