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

Holy Week in San Miguel

[Guest post by Meagan Burns in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.] Holy Week, or as it's known in Mexico "Semana Santa," is the week leading up to Easter, and almost nowhere in Mexico is it recognized with such reverence, tradition and awe as in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Visitors come from around the world to experience the intense emotion of the observances of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. It's an incredible time to visit San Miguel because of the processions, altars and historical re-enactments, and even though I have seen the events in past years, I saw it differently this year as I tried to capture the colorful week in my sketchbook. I live in San Miguel, so I knew ahead of time where I wanted to position myself, so each day I'd arrive early to sketch out the scene before the crowds surrounded me, and then fall into a café to finish the sketch. It's the crowds that hold the energy that I always want to capture – and I will continue to practice drawing the crowds and capturing the world around me.

Beginning at midnight, two weeks before Easter, a procession begins from the neighboring town of Atotonilco, with thousands of people carrying on their shoulders a life-sized figure of the beaten and bloody Christ, El Señor de la Columna, "Our Lord of the Column" (top image). They are greeted at sunrise by purple and white paper flowers adorning every home in the town, among a chorus of fireworks, church bells, drums and hymns. This arrival officially begins the Semana Santa events.

Palm Sunday 

Palm Sunday is one week before Easter, and there is an air of celebration as people remember Christ's entry into Jerusalem, celebrated by carrying a robed Christ on a donkey through the tourist-lined streets. The streets are filled with vendors selling crafts made of palm leaves, the homes are decorated with flowers and red fabrics, and chamomile flowers line the streets, creating an uplifting aroma and pleasant celebration.

Good Friday

Of all the events of Holy Week, Good Friday is the most solemn, the most awe-inspiring and the most profound, as it is the Trial of Christ and the Encounter with His Mother, and you can feel the people's religion alive in the streets all around you, no matter how many times you have seen it. Local men dressed as Roman soldiers drive out and whip the back of a loinclothed man who represents Christ, to the sound of mournful church bells.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is strangely quiet after a week of procession and pageantry, and ends with a light-hearted spectacle of the Burning of Judas at high noon. Brightly colored, 6ft-high papier-mâché dolls are strung on ropes across from the church, and are meant to represent the hated betrayer of Christ, Judas, but nowadays they are more comical characters and effigies of unpopular politicians and other local figures. There was clearly one very popular Judas hanging from the ropes, who was met with wild applause and cheers as he was ceremoniously blown to bits.

Low Sunday

Semana Santa is officially over, and one week after Easter, there's a colorful and musical procession in the streets with a lively and healthy-looking Christ, reminding us that Jesus has returned, spring is upon us, and we're ready to do it all over again. There is always a reason for a celebration in the colorful streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!

Originally from Chicago, Meagan Burns is an administrator for the USk San Miguel de Allende regional chapter, and a workshop organizer. You can see more her sketches on Instagram and Facebook





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