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

Pulse Town Hall Meeting, Orlando Fl

[By Thor from Orlando Fl]

Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), the hospital that treated most of the Pulse survivors, hosted a Pulse town hall meeting at the hospital just a few blocks north of Pulse. I had to ask the valet which building the meeting was in and he pointed me in the right direction. The entry had a metal detector so I had to empty my pockets and assure the guard that pencils are not weapons. The way to the meeting room was long and winding. I was a bit late, since I had rushed to the hospital after teaching a class. As I slipped in the Town Hall meeting was already underway.

WMFE’s Matthew Peddie spoke with survivors, first responders, city officials and LGBT/Latinx community leaders.The first panelists were Christopher Hanson who was in the club and survived, Dr. Joshua Corsa, Orlando Health, who wrote the viral post about his blood-soaked shoes, and Nurse Emily Brown, of Orlando Health.

Christopher Hanson was asked about his experience on the evening of June 12, and he briefly described his night. I have heard two interviews and was amazed at how brief he kept his account. Nurse Emily Brown, described her evening if hiding when reports surfaced that there might be a shooter in the hospital. She had been told that things were about to get crazy and then 36 patients arrived in the first 36 minuted. There was no time to think. Dr. Joshua Corsa was asked about his sneakers. He worked for 30 hours straight trying to save lives and when he finally had a moment to reflect, he realized his brand new sneakers were blood soaked. He wore that same pair of sneakers every day until the last survivor left the hospital.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina were the next people on stage. Speaking about a future memorial, Buddy pointed out that the community process is in some ways more important than the final creation. Everyone should have input into the process.A sculptor submitted a sculpture honoring the Pulse victims but the mayor said that it wasn't his place to decide what art is appropriate.An audience member stood and asked about what measures are being taken to keep undocumented LGBT survivors safe from being deported if they turn to authorities for help. Chief Mina pointed out that Orlando police have never been involved in deportation. It isn't their job. Seattle began a program called the Safe Place Initiative which puts rainbow stickers on businesses that support different cultures and diversity. That program will be implemented in Orlando. A woman from the audience stood up to the mic and spoke of the fierce love that came from our city government. Our community experienced a strong commitment to love and that message remains strong today.

The final panelists were Christopher Cuevas, Executive Director of QLatinx and Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director of GLBT Community Center of Central Florida. Christopher feels that people are still struggling in isolation. "Thousands of voices need to be echoed from the mountain tops." he said. Terry was outraged by the media's insistence that the 911 tapes be aired on TV. He also hated the video reenactment that was created recently. He warned as many people as he could, but a mom was making dinner in the kit hen and overheard her son on a 911 tape. That level of emotional damage is irreparable. He wished that the media could instead celebrate the lives lost, and share the stories of heros. He was thankful to those who bear witness.

The evening was part of Story Corps: Taking Your Pulse project and the first of a series of Dare to Listen events held in the community on tough topics in 2017. The long sterile hospital hallways felt strangely ominous as I navigated the maze back towards my car.




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