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

A Joyous Celebration of Life and Liberty in Nice, France

[by Róisín Curé] I was in Nice, on the Cote d'Azur over the weekend. On Sunday I went to visit the cathedral on Place Rossetti because - well, my parents and brother were going, and it was Nice Day, apparently. I was in Nice for a family reunion and had decided I would fall in with whatever was happening so I didn't give it a second thought.
When we arrived, a short queue was forming outside the cathedral. Two security guards were checking everyone's bags on the way in. Normal for French people but not for Irish people, or not those who don't travel. I looked over my shoulder and saw some gendarmes in combat gear (well, I know it's normal police wear in France but it looks kind of combat-like) with guns in front of the church. I felt very uneasy. Like I said, all normal if you live in France, but I live in a backwater where we haven't had the kind of trouble France has had. Then one of the security guards, a tall, strong and beautiful woman, searched our bag and told us that alcohol wasn't allowed inside the church (we had arrived fully equipped for a jolly picnic on the beach after the ceremony in the church). I said I didn't mind not going in to the church and my brother Cormac, who is an atheist, decided to keep me company.  I turned to face the square and looked at the security arrangements and suddenly I felt scared. It was a feast day; we were in Nice; did someone have menace in mind? I expressed my thoughts to Cormac.
"I'm damned if I'm going to let some fanatic dictate what I do and where I go," said Cormac.
"You're right, of course," I said. "I'm just not as brave as you."
Then I looked up at the red and white bunting...anyone who knows what I do knows that I just love sketching bunting. All those pointy flags! Those clean colours! The alternating pattern! The way they depict depth!
"I'm okay now," I said to Cormac. "My urban sketching antenna have spotted an opportunity to sketch. Let's have a coffee and I'll sketch."
We sat in Café Antonio looking onto the square. I haven't seen Cormac for a couple of years and we chatted over a coffee.
A few guys in uniform fiddled with their instruments. A small group of dancers in short pinstripe trousers with cummerbunds and matching pom poms around their necks, some in red, some in royal blue, had coffee while they waited for their bit to start (right). Then the uniformed guys in the band struck up; I do love a brass band. The dancers whirled and swung with each other on the left of the image, away from the cathedral (just beyond the field of the sketch, to the right). I felt a surge of pride and admiration for the French that they continue to celebrate their country despite the threats from those who would destroy their way of life. It was very joyful. I was starting to feel a little emotional when the band began to play La Marseillaise...and tears flowed down my cheeks.

All too soon it was over. I switched back to punter mode and quaffed rosé in the warm sun with my folks, who had joined the crowd to watch the spectacle after the ceremony in the cathedral.

What could I think only "Vive la France!"





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