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

Chilean Aboriginal Cultures in the Pre-columbian Museum

[By Erika Brandner in Santiago de Chile]

Pre-columbian Art Museum and other heritage Buildings in the Montt Varas Square Santiago Chile


This post takes us back in the past. To those hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spaniards, a time that poetically can be named “CHILE BEFORE CHILE”. This name wasn’t invented by me, it is been used by the Pre-Columbian Art Museum of Santiago, to speak about our ancestors, the inhabitants of South America before the Spaniards conquer.

The PRE-COLUMBIAN ART MUSEUM is located in the heart of the historical and foundational center of Santiago de Chile and in front of a newly opened civic square called “Montt Varas”, in honor of the former president Manuel Montt and the minister Antonio Varas. In the following sketch you can see the square and three of the four heritage buildings that surround it:

* MUSEUM OF PRE-COLUMBIAN ART (in the background)
* LARRAÍN ZAÑARTU PALACE  (outside of the drawing because it was behind me)

This palace was built in 1555 as the house of the first mayor of Santiago.  After that it was a college of the Society of Jesus, the "Palace of the Royal Customs", the “National Library" and the “Headquarters of the Courts of Justice" to end being the actual museum.

The architectural style of this mansion corresponds to the Neoclassical style and was carried out on the basis of plans developed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca, who likewise designed the Chilean Presidential Palace, the “Moneda Palace”.
Pre-columbian Museum Neoclassical Facade and architectural details


The chilean architect Sergio Larraín Garcia Moren, although known for introducing the vanguard in the Santiago urbanism, had a passion to rescue the cultural uniqueness of American aboriginal cultures. He felt that in the art of these ancient people there was a message of humanity, so he began to collect pre-Columbian art pieces. After his dead his family approved the donation of the pieces to build a museum.

As a tour guide I work mainly in the central area of Chile. That means the capital Santiago, the harbor Valparaiso and the sorrounding vineyards. I hardly knew about the aboriginal art of this area. It seems unimportant in comparison to the art of the great American cultures, to the mapuche silver jewelry, to the northern diaguita pots or the south Selknam myth with the gost with the painted bodies. So I decided to spend a time making a visual study and try to find something exciting about my ancestors.

Chile and the Central Region Cultures


The Museum has a special area dedicated to the chilean precolumbian art (it has pieces of art from the hole central and south America) This chilean room is called "CHILE BEFORE CHILE".  With my sketchbook and my pen I began to make sketces of pieces and written information. I made this timeline (I love history timelines):
Central Area Pre-columbian Cultures Timeline

It starts 18000 years bC. Archaic hunter-gatherers appeared 11500 years bC. And 9500 years BC the first culture, the “Tagua Taguas”. Much later the "BATO CULTURE” (1000 BC to 200 A.D.) occupied the coastal areas, the valleys and part of the mountain range. As nomads with a strong tradition of hunting they made ceramic smokepipes, stone or ceramic earrings as body decoration. Its ceramic vessels were decorated with dotted incisions.

In the same period but in other places of the central area lived the "LLOLLEO CULTURE” (1000 BC to 200 A.D). They were more settled and cultivated Corn and Quinoa. They also exploited the resources of the sea through fishing, hunting marine mammals and shellfishes. As jewelry they made beaded necklaces in stone and in some cases in metal. Its ceramic vessels had human or vegetable forms and were decorated with geometric motifs and red paint.
Diferent pre-columbian art pieces from Llolleo - Bato - Aconcagua and Inca Cultures

The “ACONCAGUA CULTURE" (1000 to 1400 A.D.) was the basis of a population that the Spaniards called PICUNCHES and were descendants of the Batos and the Llolleos. They lived in villages in the lower part of the Aconcagua river, in the Maipo and Mapocho river basin and in the northern part of the Cachapoal river. They were organized in families, each with a head of their own. They practiced agriculture and cultivating corn, quinoa, beans and pumpkins. They also collected wild fruits and hunted. The groups that lived on the coast fished and hunted marine species. Its ceramics consisted in pots, jugs, plates and jars orange colored and with black painted geometric figures. They manufactured flutes and stonebadges that were used by the authorities.

The Aconcagua were conquered by the "Inka” or Incas that came from Peru. In the early XVI, in the Spanish Colonial Period all of them disappeared.
The Museum Shop

The Pre-Columbian Museum Shop is small but well achieved, with a variety of fine products on display and side tables to sit down for a coffee in the middle of the courtyard of the palace. I made this sketch to draw the hustle and bustle of the place. To the left a large row of tourists waiting to enter the museum.





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