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

A Bike Ride to Christopher Creek Winery



[By Richard Sheppard in Healdsburg, California]  When I’m out on the road, my bike is an extension of myself. If it isn’t running well, I don’t feel well either. Over the holidays I needed some time off but now it’s time to fix my bike’s flat and get back on the road. Riding allows me to get the exercise I need while out sketching.
Rotating the tire, I easily find the culprit that I noticed before, a blackberry thorn. Removing the tire from the bike, I pull the inner tube out. Memory is a funny thing. I haven’t fixed a bike flat since I was a kid, but muscle memory is long, I think, as I scrape the tube with sandpaper, squeeze glue around the puncture. Thirty minutes later, the patch is in place, and a quick spin around the block assures a solid mount.
Riding across Memorial Bridge on Healdsburg’s south side, I stop mid-span to rest against the safety rail, gazing down at the Russian River. In winter months, Steelhead salmon migrate up this river to spawn. To increase their numbers, the water agency built a fish ladder to assist the heroic efforts of these fish to reproduce. 
My wife and I live on the north side of Healdsburg. Even so, I’ve been known to exit the freeway early to drive this old truss bridge. During a deluge several years ago, flooding was predicted, and once there was a break in the storm, we joined a car caravan of curiosity seekers. Driving across, we gaped at the swirling waters just a few feet below. We still laugh when we remember our wide-eyed expressions and the way we held our breath. 
Today, I coast to the bridge’s far side on Healdsburg Avenue until a left turn finds me on Limerick Lane. At the railroad tracks, a towering fan above Foppiano’s Sauvignon Blanc vineyard catches my eye, and I pull off the road and park under a row of eucalyptus trees to sketch. Dense morning fog has held in yesterday’s warmth, and now the sun breaks the mist, exposing the distant coastal mountains to the west.
Healdsburg averages over forty inches of rain annually, and so far this year we’re slightly above average. But on the days without clouds and the rains that accompany them, nights get extra cold and frost dusts the landscape in a blanket of powdery white. Although beautiful in the early morning, the frost doesn’t bode well for plants, especially early-budding grape vines. To protect the delicate buds from frostbite, many farmers use fans like Foppiano’s to capture the warmer air hovering over the cold. While popular with vineyard managers charged with protecting shoots from frost, fans aren’t a hit with neighbors as their motors sound similar to an airplane taking off. This is one reason why, closer into town, traditional water sprinklers are more often used.
Continuing on, my bike and I crest a steep hill to find Christopher Creek Winery. Looking west, a head-pruned vineyard slopes toward the Russian River Valley floor, the leafless vines create a chaotic thicket of canes amongst newly sprouted yellow mustard. Farmhouses, oak trees, and vineyards blanket the valley until the coastal range on the far side pushes skyward. There’s so much to see in Sonoma County, I wonder if I’ll ever experience it all.
After sketching Christopher Creek’s tiny tasting room, I head inside where Jerry and Carry greet me. They’ve got three Zinfandels, a Cabernet, and a Petite Sirah lined up across the bar. With my wine group’s next annual Zinfandel tasting just around the corner, I’ve come to the right place to prime my palate and possibly choose a wine for the event.
But even though Zinfandel is my focus, I can’t resist starting off with Catie’s Corner Viognier. The grapes for this wine are grown in this valley, Carry tells me. The wine’s crisp pear, lemon, and floral aromas remind me of a warm spring day. 
Then I ask to taste the Zinfandels and Jerry sets down a second glass for a side-by-side tasting, one from the Dry Creek Valley and the other from the Russian River Valley. With a simple swirl of wine in the glass, the differences between the two are obvious. Jerry points to the importance of terroir as the factor differentiating the wines. The Dry Creek Zin tastes of raspberry jam, tobacco, vanilla, and black pepper. The Russian River wine reveals darker blackberry and plum fruits, and higher acidity, which would make a good food wine. Since I’m interested in cocktail wines that will stand alone, I choose to purchase the Dry Creek Zin.
I pack my wine purchases into my backpack and step out into the cool afternoon. With the sun now inching toward the horizon, I hop on bike, wine in tow, then coast downhill toward home.

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