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

Johnny Reb is removed from Orlando Florida's Lake Eola Park.

By Thomas Thorspecken

The statue of Johnny Reb was first erected in 1911 in Orlando near the courthouse which is now the Orange County Regional History Center. In 1917, it was moved to Lake Eola because the base was bowing, and because cars were becoming popular, there was a fear that it might collapse and become a hazard with all the new automotive activity. When the statue was moved this year starting around 7AM on June 20th, workers found a metal box inside the upper base of the statue. It was reported that a time capsule had been found. It was moved to City Hall. Paper on the boxes surface had disintegrated with age.

An Orlando Regional History Center historian, scanned newspaper articles from 1911 and found that the box contained newspapers from the dedication day along with several Confederate flags, some Confederate coins, a picture of General Robert E. Lee on his horse, Traveller, and a list of the members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and veterans responsible for the statue's creation. The box likely wasn't intended as a time capsule but instead was put in place to honor fallen Confederate solders. Since it isn't a time capsule with an intended opening date of say 100 or 200 years, there is some debate as to whether the box should be opened at all. 1911 United Daughters of the Confederacy meeting minutes are being sought and researched to find out if the box was ever intended to be opened. The fact that the box has been moved inside means that decomposition might accelerate if it were returned unopened to the statue which is being relocated to Greenwood Cemetery. The condition of the objects inside the box is uncertain. There is plenty of heat and humidity in Florida, so paper items have possibly turned to dust in the 106 years it has been sealed inside the statue's marble base. A City Hall spokesperson claimed that bugs are coming out from the box.To properly conserve the items inside, the box would need to be placed in refrigeration for about a week to be sure to kill off any bacteria and bugs inside. Items would need to be preserved with the same deliberate delicacy and dedication as the items collected from Pulse memorials. Staff at the History Center have opened 150 year old time capsules before.

I made my way to Lake Eola to sketch Johnny Reb's last day on Government property. An American flag waved over the scene rather than a Confederate flag and I found it fascinating that the 18 wheeler used to transport the statue had a rainbow colored coil that ran from the cab to the trailer. Across the lake the rainbow colored Disney Amphitheater also added color to the occasion. Online face-time videos of the statues removal elicited lots of angry faced emoticons along with a few hearts. I find it amazing that a public statue's relocation could bring about so many heated emotions.

Some feel that moving the statue to the cemetery is like ignoring or pushing aside aspects of our past while others feel it is removing a symbol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. Today, Tampa elected to keep a Confederate monument standing at it's courthouse. Our city is still recovering from a massacre that was fueled by hate at the Pulse Nightclub. Johnny Reb stood vigilant for 106 years without garnering much attention from the homeless gathered at his feet. In the 1960's his gun was stolen, broken, and scattered around Orlando. Sculptor Albin Polasek created a replacement gun. The sculpture's removal sparked many arguments about history and who gets to write it. Johnny is in storage while city permits are being acquired for building a new foundation at Greenwood Cemetery. I drive past Greenwood almost daily and see the four headstones of Pulse victims that are laid to rest there. Bright rainbow colored balloons were added in remembrance one year after the shooting. Perhaps Johnny Reb will one day hold rainbow colored balloons instead of his gun. In 1911 the statue was created with a budget of about $120.00. It is being moved and renovated with a budget of $120,000.00. The knee jerk reactions to this statue's fate seem like a diversion from the really important issues that allowed 49 innocent people to be murdered as they danced.





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