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

Bob Goyette and the Art of Wine Making

[By Richard Sheppard in Graton, California]  Few vintners invite visitors into their wine labs, which reinforces the suspicion that winemaking is a mysterious process akin to alchemy. But with a little coaxing, master wine wizard Bob Goyette welcomed me into his Graton lab to see and sketch how he blends the wine after it leaves the crusher.

Every winemaker’s methods are different, but the basic idea is the same: to guide the fermentation process, blending the resulting wine according to his or her style within the framework of traditional winemaking methods.

Over lunch at Mexico Lindo, Goyette tells me how he got into the business in 1972.

“I drove from Chicago to California on my new 350 Suzuki motorcycle with just a few changes of clothes,” he said. “At the time I was still in the Navy. But my first wine job was at Mark West. A few buddies and I used to sit around drinking French Burgundies after work as we dreamed of opening up our own winery until one day, it happened.

“In 1979, we founded La Crema Viñera winery, but today it’s just called La Crema. We sourced the best grapes we could find and copied French winemaking techniques, because that’s what people did back then. Despite the odds, we made some really good wines ... until we ran out of money,” he says laughing.

“Unfortunately, we put all our resources into producing the wine and didn’t leave any money for marketing and distribution, so we ended up having to sell.”

Bob’s reputation as a fine winemaker helped him land at Benziger in Glen Ellen, where he stayed until launching his own Sebastopol-based brands, Stephen Vincent and Robert Goyette wineries.

I ask, “Where do you feel your job as winemaker starts?”

“I’d say the vineyard. To make great wine, you have to start with quality grapes, and they have to be harvested at the right time. If you wait too long the vines get tired, the sugar gets too high, and your wine gets too strong, losing nuance and complexity. Timing is everything. And of course, weather plays its role.

“Once the grapes are harvested, the fermentation process has to be monitored closely. Cold soaking the juice along with the grape skins is the method I’ve been using lately. It allows the juice to extract as much flavor as possible from the skins before primary fermentation starts. This way I build a better base for a young wine to develop.”

After finishing our lunch, we walk across the street and behind a windowless building, entering through a side door where a large bottling operation is in full swing. The noise is monumental, and Goyette gestures to follow him down a short hallway. The lab is packed with computers, chemistry supplies and a variety of electronic equipment.

“This is where we do our wine analysis,” he says, then leads me into an adjoining room. The room is sparse, with a lone calendar decorating the wall above a water cooler. Wine glasses hang upside down from a rack above a dozen small wine bottles at rest on the counter. 

“Today we’ll be working with pinot noir. Without getting too specific, these small bottles contain pinot from several different vineyards, some of which were aged in American oak, others in French. Still others were aged in neutral oak (barrels used more than four times that don’t contribute much, if any, flavor). We also have the varietal pinot meunier, which is similar to pinot noir. We’ll blend it in where we need it, for complexity.

“I’ve already sampled each of these wines and will intuitively create the first blend. The base pinot is a combination of three clones from three different vineyards, each fermented separately. One clone has fresh fruit, like raspberries, and the other two have more dark berries along with longer exposure to new oak.”

Goyette pulls two glasses off the rack, smelling each one for any off odors. Using a pipette, he measures wine out of a bottle and then pours the sample into a measuring cylinder. He repeats this process with several other wine samples, carefully noting the proportions. He then pours the combined sample into our glasses for tasting — the first blend.

I swirl the wine in my glass and hold it up to my nose. It smells tight, unwilling to let go of its fruit. I also find it a little astringent in the finish. After a short discussion, Goyette stops to jot the ratios into his notebook. Then he creates a new blend. 

We rinse our glasses for another taste. Again, we discuss the wine, and this time we agree less oak is desired. After six rounds of tasting, the blend is finalized. It smells fresh with bright fruit, and is layered with earthy nuances and well-balanced oak.
“OK, that’s it,” Goyette says. “The wine still tastes a little rough, but that should be fixed with filtering.”

With my nose still in the glass, I’m reminded of walking on the beach with my wife in Pacific Grove, looking at tidal pools and sipping fine wine out of a plastic cup.

At this stage, Bob’s crew will make the final blend in a tank according to the percentages in Goyette’s book. It will age in barrels until it is finished and ready to bottle, then stored until he feels it’s out of bottle shock, ready to drink.

Bottling is similar to putting a frame on a painting. It’s out of the hands of the artist and is now displayed for the world to experience.




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=