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

Orlando One Year Later.

[By Thomas Thorspecken in Orlando, Florida]

The Orange County Regional History Center has mounted an exhibit entitled "One Year Later" that showcases a fraction of the items collected from the various memorial sites around Orlando in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting tragedy that took 49 lives. The exhibition commemorates one year of pain, grief, loss, love, fear, resilience, coping and community. The exhibit recalls the heroes in our community who banded together in defiance of hate, who support all those who continue to live through the nightmare, remembering those murdered and holding the victims families in our hearts.

I sketched on the final day of the exhibition install. Museum staff were putting up the final vinyl lettering on the walls and making sure everything was in its place. Over 5000 items were collected from memorial sites. This exhibit encapsulated the shear volume of what was left. Rather than showing just one rosary, there are twenty, instead of one t-shirt there is an entire wall. One wall is covered with a sampling of the hundreds of paintings i have done at vigils and fundraisers since that fateful day last June 12th. Also on display are the original paintings and sketches done by local artists in one evening of the 49 victims of the attack. I hosted the evening and felt it was important to do the work in one evening since all 49 lives were taken in one night of terror.

Above the Angel Action Wings, built from PVC and white fabric, there was a quote... "I don't have money to give, but I can spread love and I can spread hope. I was waiting for the opportunity to use the one thing I do have, which is the skill to sew, I can sew like the wind." Jeannie Haskett, a theater seamstress and Angel Action Wings volunteer, to the Miami Herald.

I made my way through the exhibit reading every panel, circling the huge room counter clockwise. At the entrance there was a long platform with artificial grass covered in candles, rainbow pinwheels and flowers. The pinwheels spun in the breeze, recreating in a a memorial site in a ghostly way. The room is organized into sections, each honoring members of the Orlando community. There was a wall for first responders, a wall showed the worldwide response and outpouring of love after the tragedy. There were lines of prayer flags, and a floating wall of stars decorated with rainbows and messages of hope. An Ikea couch was covered in messages as well as the water cooler that was filled daily by church volunteers for people who were visiting the Pulse memorial site. In the corner of the room was a gorgeous dress made from a rainbow of hearts. In a secluded alcove, were the 49 crosses that were left at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. All the crosses grouped together in the tight space, left me feeling overwhelmed by the loss.

There was an opening for the families of victims and survivors. It was incredibly well attended. Probably over 500 people attended the opening night. This was an opportunity for families to get out and see items left in honor of their loved ones for the first time. There were 20 therapist at the opening wearing bright yellow shirts that said, Feeling sad? Lets talk. With so many therapists, it must have been difficult to grieve in peace, let alone move around the exhibit. One therapist handed out stress balls any time there were tears. There were also 11 therapy dogs on hand who performed their jobs with honor.

In my sketch, Whitney Broadaway is putting up vinyl lettering that encourages viewers to use #OrlandoOneCollection when posting information about the show online. Her baby bump proves that new life begins as tragedy ends, just as baby Cory Connell was named for his heroic uncle who died at Pulse. A large interactive area encourages people to write notes on a six foot square sheet of paper with permanent markers. Messages of hope and condolences are added every day. The exhibit runs from June 12th to June 17th when it has to come down for a wedding ceremony. This is an incredible, moving and inspiring exhibit, and I encourage anyone who feels they are a part of the Orlando community to get down there to experience it. The museum is open from 10AM to 7PM each day and admission is free.





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