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

Kitchen Whiz Not A Swizz!

[By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland] My daughter Liv attends an Irish-speaking school. One of the many lovely things they've done is to be asked to take part in a new TV show for the Irish language TV channel, TG4. It's called Whiz sa Kitchen and is the Irish version of Kitchen Whiz, an Australian cooking game show for kids.

Liv's class had made the trip out to the studio the previous week, but Liv hadn't taken part.
"I HOPE no one is sick today Mum," she'd said to me in the morning. "I'll DIE of nerves if I'm asked to do it!"
Then, when I collected her, it was a different story.
"I was asked to do it," she said. "I had my chance! And I turned it down! Now I really regret not doing it."
So, when she was given a second chance, she jumped at it. That's how I found myself at a very odd studio in Galway yesterday.

The studio was bright and colourful. I was immediately drawn to the silhouetted shapes of the camera men, opposite the brightly-coloured set. The girls had decided that yellow was their lucky colour and donned their aprons. The presenters, a beautiful young woman called Muireann and a lively young lad in a knitted bobble hat and  a Connemara accent, made sure they were as relaxed as possible. The countdown was made...
...and recording began. The first game was "Fíor nó Bréagach" (True or False) and my girl was up against a girl with brown plaits and an orange apron. If they knew the answer, they had to whack a silver bowl on top of a pink cathode tube that lit up neon blue. My girl just wasn't up to the mettle of the other young lady, and after the first round the yellow team had fallen behind.
For the next game, the girls were asked to make the face of a pussy cat made out of rice and ham. They were to copy the Kitchen Ninja's version. The clock started ticking...then -
"Lámha san aer!" came the shout. Hands in the air! Our girls won that round. I could feel my competitive streak, never far away, coming to the fore.

Next was another challenge: this time the girls had to make canapés. I watched the proceedings on the closed-circuit TV camera beside me. Hey, they were far away and I was sitting in almost total darkness!

 Our girls made very neat canapés and the other team made messy ones. They were given equal points. Hmmm.

Next was another round of Fíor nó Bréagach. Kate, Liv's friend, was opposite the second girl from the orange team. More whacking of the silver bowls when you figured you knew whether the statement was true or false. But what's this? Kate's cathode tube wouldn't light up! Whack harder Kate! I shouted inside. But - no! She has a bandaged hand! And the cathode tube thingy isn't working properly! It's not fair! Stop! STOP!

It's only a kids' game. I calmed down. Team Yellow lost the round. But we weren't out yet. One more round.
The presenter approached the bench. The bench was a long way off and I couldn't hear anything. Here's what he didn't say to the presenters:
"Now lads, that last round wasn't fair. Let's give the entire game to Team Yellow."

When all was checked, the last challenge got underway.
"You have to stuff this bowl of olives," said the presenters, or something like that The Kitchen Ninja showed them how.

The clock started. Team Orange had four olives left unstuffed when the bell went. Team Yellow had six. But it's not fair! How can a girl with a bandaged hand stuff olives? Swizz sa Chistin, more like! 
Afterwards the girls were disappointed but resigned.
"I can't believe I forgot that sardines were a type of fish," said Kate. 
Okay, maybe it was a fair win. 

The winners were fêted. The losers were given a bag of gewgaws to take home.

That's showbiz folks!

A longer account of the day can be found here.





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