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

Frame The World, Differently! September Workshop-Volterra, Italy


A Watercolor Workshop -with Focus on Compositions
Volterra, Italy


Conducted by the visual artist Majid Modir
Guest artist: Kelly Medford

Welcome to a creative workshop in the heart of Tuscany, Volterra!
 5 days with drawing and painting in good company, learning watercolor technique and some ways to achieve good compositions. Meanwhile meeting interesting people and taking the pulse of the Italian lifestyle, eating and drinking Tuscan delicacy, enjoying the harvest season in September and swim in the Mediterranean sea.
Simply a delightful experience and a memory for life!

Watch a glimpse of the event here !
Apply by the end of August!
 Contact for information and a registration form.


Primary Aims

Normally the most common compositions (regardless skill or technique) are wide angle views with lots of information outright in a single image. Sometimes we don’t need to report whatever happens around us -as a mirror which reflects everything with no filter! Instead we can create an interesting art piece with certain choices which tells more about the artist's ability to transform an average environment or object into something unique....By Selection!

Learning goals

– Choosing motifs with delicacy.
– Obtaining ingenious and surprising compositions by looking from another point of view or different perspective - rather than the expected view.
– Cropping the composition with care.
– Deciding that the drawing or the painting should have an artistic value in the end, as well as the enjoyment of the experimentation during the process.
– Testing the above points using thumbnail drawings, and continuing with watercolor.
– Learning and upgrading watercolor technique, tools, and discovering tips & tricks.

Workshop location

Historical city of Volterra, Tuscany, Italy.
Hosting institution: Villa Le Guadalupe is an association dedicated to arts by German dramaturg Wolfgang Storch and Klaudia Ruschkowski that hosts workshops in arts, theatre, design, and music, with an international program. The association is located in XIX° century villa with a view on the southern hills of Volterra, beautiful gardens around, interiors covered with frescos and a private chapel from 1850.


The workshop starts every day with lecture and demo followed by field trips to sketch and paint on location.
Morning: 3 hours (10:00 -13:00) / Afternoon: 3 hours (16:00-19:00)
Lunch break and own time between 13:00 -16:00
Day review 18:00-19:00
20:00 supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Language: English 

Number of participants: 10-15
Any level of experience is welcome!
Supply list: A list will be provided for participants.

Fee: € 400 - including:
– Approximately 30 hours of tutoring / 5 days
– Meals (5 picnic lunches + 5 dinners)
– All transfers to the daily locations, as well as the first and last transfers between town and the villa
– Hahnemuehle Watercolor papers, a Moleskine pocket sketchbook, and a handmade viewfinder.

Lodging in Villa Le Guadalupe as extra cost: double room at 58 €/night and
single room at 38 €/night.
(3 double and 2 single rooms available, first come first served!)
  Breakfast included.

Flight and transport between the airport (Pisa, Florence) and Volterra are not included.

(There are buses from Pisa or Florence to Volterra, about 1.5 hour trip)


Daily Schedule

Day 1. (Tuesday 19 September)
How to simplify detailed views -by selection!
- Gathering and registration in the Villa’s studio at 10 am.
- Introduction, lecture and showing examples followed by the first watercolor demo.
- Discovering the Villa Le Guadalupe (outdoors, the garden and the chapel) and sketching /painting.   - Lunch in the garden followed by an afternoon pause.
- Continuation of exploring the villa (indoor, the rooms and the details around)

Day 2. (Wednesday 20 September)
How to crop compositions –by getting closer!
- Lecture and demo of the day at the studio.
- Sketchwalk in the city of Volterra, trying to find and capture own views.
- Before noon:  The impressive church of San Giusto.
- Picnic lunch and afternoon stay: The archeological site Parco Fiumi.

- Early evening sketch/painting at the city walls with views above the roofs and great Tuscan    landscape

Day 3.  (Thursday 21 September)
Using values to design balanced and harmonious compositions
– Lecture at the studio by the guest teacher.
– Demonstration on location.
– We will spend the day focusing on designing compositions at different spots in the ancient convent of Badia Camaldolese, the associated sculpture garden and the view point over the Balze (dramatic clay badlands).

 – Picnic lunch and afternoon stay in the same area.

Day 4.  (Friday 22 September)  
How to make fast decisions in an uncomfortable context (for instance weather conditions) -by killing the darlings!
- Lecture and demo of the day at the studio.
- Finding interesting elements in the nature and practicing watercolor during a seaside trip in Baratti beach area.

- Picnic lunch (and swimming for the brave ones :-))
- Early evening visit in the picturesque Etruscan city of Populonoia, the castle and the great view over mediterranean sea.

Day 5. (Saturday 23 September)
How to define and limit wide and infinite views -by framing with care!
 - Lecture and demo of the day at Majid's studio in the neighborhood (we meet at the villa and take a 15 minute walk downhill).
- Visiting my residence located in the middle of Tuscan hills and capturing interesting spots in 360 degrees view.
- Picnic lunch at the pool (and swimming for the brave ones :-))
- Optional (in case we have time) for those who prefer unknown adventure: Field trip to the abandoned ex hospital building (also in the neighborhood), which provides a lot of interesting and storytelling spots to capture.
- The afternoon we prepare the exhibition of our works during the week which will be hold in the city at Volterra-Detroit Foundation Canter.
- Public opening at 18:00.

Locations might change depending on weather conditions as well as according to participants‘ wishes.
Location maps: To be announced!

Additional activities/trips:
– Visiting local artists and artisans studio

– The natural reserve of river Cecina with Masso Delle Fanciulle

– Final works Exhibition open to the public


About the instructors

Majid Modir

Majid Modir is an artist, photographer and graphic designer, born 1961 in Iran, moved to Sweden 1986 and 2016 to Italy. He graduated in Graphic Design & Illustration (MFA) at The Swedish University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack). As creative director he runs his own design studio and teaches motion graphics at The College of Design (Beckmans) in Stockholm. He is a member of Swedish Artist’s Association (SKF), Swedish Center of Photography (CFF) and a jury member of the European Broadcast Design Award (BDA & Promax). Multiply awarded, he has been showing his watercolors and other works in a number of separate and group exhibitions in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years. His special skills are: watercolor technique, tools and supplies, composition and layout, color palette.
Selected watercolors: Flickr
Art works in general:  Artist Website

Other Links:
Latest workshop in Volterra "Frame the World Differently" May 2017
Previous workshop editions in Volterra (with Simo Capecchi):
 2014 / 2016
Majid Modir’s watercolors from Volterra.

Kelly Medford is an American artist who has been working as a plein air painter in Italy since 2005 after attending the Florence Academy of Art. She paints and sketches the streets of Italy daily as a way of getting to know the country, its culture, people, art, history and places. In 2012 she started Sketching Rome Tours as a way of offering this experience to everyone.
You can see her work on her website




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