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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Visiting volcanoes

[by Marcia Milner-Brage, near Mount Rainer National Park, Washington, USA]

  It was a pilgrimage of sorts. A bucket-list trip, for my husband especially, to get close to two volcanoes in the South Cascade Mountains—Mount Rainer and Mount Saint Helens. He’s an avid amateur geologist; volcanoes really excite him. This is not the first trip we’ve taken centered around visiting volcanoes.

We stayed a week in a cabin on the southeast side of Mount Rainer, 2-1/2 hours from Seattle. The view from the cabin was of the mountain, 18 miles away. By drawing, my time there became a meditation on the mountain.
white-capped Mount Rainer across the Cowlitz River

The only day it rained, Mount Rainer was unseeable. The much closer (and smaller) Mount Dickson barely visible through the fog.

Mount Dickson almost lost in the rain and fog

Besides marveling at the mountain views, we hiked trails in Mount Rainer National Park. As we meandered through the conifer forest—Douglas fir, red cedar, and hemlock trees, we caught glimpses of  Rainer’s crystalline glaciated peak. We nibbled wild blueberries and huckleberries growing in the alpine meadows. We were not the only creatures enjoying the season’s bounty on a beautiful sunny day. We came upon a fresh pile of still-warm, black bear scat filled with berry seeds. Luckily, we never came face to face with the wild denizen. It was still a thrilling encounter; we were glad to have bear spray in our pockets, just in case.

Mount Rainer and long morning shadows


One day we hiked along the Ohanapecosh River and picnicked by Silver Falls:

























Mount Saint Helens—the other must see volcano on our itinerary—was 30 miles away on ill-kept Forest Service roads. We hiked the Norway Pass Trail, an 800 foot climb, to view the eastern side of the mountain—the side that had collapsed in the historic and devastating 1980 eruption. Thirty-six years later, the opening to the volcano is still a threatening, dark, open crater. The catastrophic June event started with an earthquake that caused a massive landslide avalanche into Spirit Lake, which violently forced all the water up the mountainside, knocking down all the trees. Azure-colored Spirit Lake is still rimmed with the dead white trunks of those trees. 
Mount Saint Helens and Spirit Lake from Norway Pass
The volcano then erupted, sending ash and debris over a wide area, knocking over all the trees in the adjoining valleys and mountainsides to the northeast. To this day, over three decades later, these trees—now silvery white and matchstick straight—are laying on the ground pointing away from the crater. The forest has barely begun to regrow. Mount St. Helens, still an active volcano, has left an eerie, much altered landscape. I’d love to go back. I have many more drawings I'd like to do. I was pretty pooped from the trek and I knew the drive back to the cabin would be arduous, something not to attempt in darkness.

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