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

Horse auction in the heartland

[By Marcia Milner-Brage in Waverly, Iowa, USA] 

  The Waverly Horse Sale is held Spring and Fall. It began in 1947. It’s billed as the largest horse sale in the United States. Waverly is a small city 18 miles from my home in Cedar Falls. I’ve lived in the area for three decades but had never been to the horse sale until last Thursday. 

In the parking lot, horse trailers had license plates from 25 different states, as well as the central provinces of Canada. In outdoor pens and the dimly lit barn behind the indoor auction arena, horses awaited their turn to be sold. Each had a number stuck to its rump (see above). The Waverly Sale is a four day event. It starts early each morning and sometimes goes late into the night. The auctioneer's singsong, driving chant is broadcast outside. Don't miss hearing an example of what a horse auction sounds like HERE.

I felt totally out of my element when I entered the arena. The horses–individually or as a team–are ridden or led into the earthen-floored center. It is the length of a basketball court but narrower. Each had only a few minutes of being pranced and trotted to show off their agility and strength and responsiveness to the handler’s command. All the while, the auctioneer called out the bidding from the elevated half-circle dais at one end.

The bleachers that rose up on the long sides of the arena were packed. Many of the people attending were Amish. The men wore their trademark, wide-brimmed, straw hats, identical long-sleeved shirts and pants, suspenders and open, black vests. The men all had long beards, no moustaches. The Amish are a sect that came from Europe in the mid-1700s. They choose a strict agrarian-based life, shunning machinery and automation. They use horses to pull their plows, buggies and carts—no motorized vehicles. This horse sale is their milieu. There are about 7,000 Amish in Iowa.

I had a hard time finding a place to sit. With the help of a geezer’s extended, calloused hand I squeezed myself into a high-up center spot next to him. He wore a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. He struck me as someone I’d seen only in the movies, someone who'd spent a lifetime driving cattle across the range. “Did you bring a rig?” he immediately asked. In other wards, was I there to buy or sell horses?

“Nope. I came to draw the scene. I live just south of here.” I waved my not-yet-opened Moleskin and pencil for him to see.

“Well where’s your camera?”

“No, I’m going to draw what I see right now. I don’t use photos.”

“Ya aren’t gonna git much. Things move along too fast.”

Trying to turn the page on his discouragement, I asked where he was from and whether he had brought a rig. “I came up from Texas, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I didn’t bring my rig, my wife wouldn’t let me. She’s a good woman. Kind of hard. But good. I came cuz you see different kinds of horses up here. Even horses from Canada.” I could see he was digging in to continue the chitchat. So I knew I had to wend my way to a different spot.

The action was indeed non-stop. Once a horse had been successfully bid on, it left the arena out the other end and the next horse entered, with only a brief introduction like, “This is a gelding who stands 13 hands. He’s 7-years-old. He’ll do what you want him to do. He wants to please.” Standing facing the audience from the edge of the arena, were several men whose job was to watch for bidders, signaling to the auctioneer when someone had upped the bid. I had the hardest time seeing who was doing the bidding. I asked an Amish man sitting next to me how the bid-collector knew someone was bidding. He chuckled. “Oh, sometimes it’s just a nod or a wink.” Once the auctioneer had deemed the bidding had been won, he hit the gavel and the bid-collector shot his arm into the air and called out the successful bidder’s number.

I’ve always been a city person. I was put on a miniature horse at a county fair when I was a six-year-old and led around a rink. The photo shows me stony-faced, gripping the saddle horn tight. As an adult, I went on a trail ride in Colorado. The scenery was nice. But in both instances, I was happy to get down, relieved to be standing on my own two feet. I was never that attracted to riding or being around horses much. But I sure like looking at them. The culture surrounding the trading of horses is fascinating. I’m compelled to go back to the Waverly Horse Sale again in the Spring.





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