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 Feathery Tourist At The Claddagh, Galway

[by Róisín Curé in Galway] When I drive into Galway City, I stick to the coast road. I live about twelve miles south of the city on the coast, so it's a straight run in. I park outside Claddagh Church, right on the edge of the water. I love the Claddagh, a distinct coastal enclave just west of the River Corrib, where the city meets the Atlantic Ocean. When I came to Galway in the 1990s, there was still a King of the Claddagh, acknowledged as such by Galway insiders. You wouldn't know he was royalty to look at him (we're not really into airs and graces in Ireland) but I was told that people paid homage to him.
If a tourist board had wanted to design a chill-out oasis in a city, they would have come up with something a bit like the Claddagh. After the craziness of Quay Street and the Latin Quarter (whoo-hoo!) it's nice and peaceful. The view is lovely, as the colourful houses of The Long Walk on the east bank of the river always look charming with the ever-changing sky rising behind them, and because the river forks at the mouth there are different grassy promontories where you can sit. On a fine day, there will be many bare-chested men drinking beer from cans lolling about, but they're harmless enough. It's one of my favourite places to sketch. Last July, Marc Taro Holmes, Shari Blaukopf and I held an urban sketching workshop in Galway City, and the Claddagh provided many of the scenes we sketched. It's where I first sketched with Shari, and I love to think of all the different interpretations of The Long Walk in sketchbooks which now live in France, Portugal, Spain, the US and the UK and even Australia. And when wandering urban sketchers fetch up in Galway and get in touch for a sketching session, we usually end up in the Claddagh somewhere.

Last week I had a special reason to go and sketch. A single black swan had joined the myriad white ones who call the Claddagh home, and I thought she'd make a nice subject. Apparently she comes from Australia but there's no way she came all the way here from there - I mean, I know we're basically the number one tourist destination in Ireland, but wouldn't she have got a little tired en route?
Once I looked across the small stretch of water from my grassy spot to the shore where the swan was being fed, however, I found the people filming the swan to be more interesting - the essence of urban sketching, which is really about recording the culture. The morning sun was strong and made for lovely shadows.

Later I went across to join them, and had a closer look at the swan. She was a beauty - I really should have made a formal portrait rather than a quick sketch - and she preened her lovely body and appeared totally nonchalant to all the onlookers.

You can see a guy with a can on the left, but happily for everyone he didn't take his top off.
I told my mother-in-law about the lone black swan, and how beautiful she was. My mother-in-law comes from an age when a girl's beauty was her only currency, and she still sees it as something to flaunt and gloat about.
"The white swans must be jealous," she said. I told her that if they were, they hid it well, but she was probably thinking that they were pretending they didn't care so as not to look desperate. I love my mother-in-law and the Machiavellian world she inhabits, and I hope I'm that feisty when I'm nearly ninety.

I'll be back to the Claddagh soon for more sketching. Who knows what exotic foreign lady seagull will just waltz into Galway and nick all the Irish seagulls off the local birds? I'll be there to record all the catfights for mother-in-law and the urban sketches for you guys.

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