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

San Francisco Church and Convent - The first anti-seismic construction in Chile?

San Francisco Church and Convent in Santiago de Chile
[By Erika Brandner in Santiago, Chile]

The San Francisco Church and Convent is the oldest architectural National Monument in Santiago de Chile. Since the beginning mid 16th Century, it has been a distinctive icon, with its tower and the red walls. After founding Santiago, Pedro de Valdivia was approved by the town council to install a hermitage in honor of the “Virgen del Socorro”, a small figure that had accompanied and protected him and histroops.

San Francisco Church - view from the main street Av. Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins

The hermitage was placed at the southern edge of the "Cañada", an arm of the Mapocho river and a territory described as a far and dangerous spot. It was administered by the Mercedarians but they had to leave to accompany the army in the conquest of the Araucanía. The Franciscan order took charge with the commitment to build the church and install the Madonna on the mayor altar (where it is up to the present day).

Left: Saint Francis image with the pet pictures that people place there looking for cure and protection of their pets - San Francisco Church main ship with the Madonna Del Socorro Figure in the main altar.

In a seismic country like Chile it wonders that this church has withstood at least 15 earthquakes of magnitude over 7. No other temple has. Why is this? The survival of the church in time is due to many factors:

- The heritage values that the Santiago society has assigned to the building, not allowing the replacement in spite of the many changes that the city have had.

- The configuration of the building: although the constructive systems seems fragile (masonry stone in the central original nave and brick masonry in the aisles) that is to say, systems with low capacity to resist horizontal forces. The structure of the church itself, with its wooden roof has avoided to be flushed out of the plane and improved the seismic performance.

Fast sketch of the current entry and the tower (the tower didn't resist the 4 Centuries. It is the fourth)

- Labor (it is said that the indians built the former church and that they had the knowledge regarding earthquakes, spaniards had it not)

- The characteristics of the soil, a very important factor as the church is located in an area of sandy gravel from the Mapocho and it belongs to the seismic zone A, where a minor damage caused by earthquakes is expected.

- The TYPE OF FOUNDATIONS found in an excavation study showed that they are far different to that of the other colonial buildings in Santiago:
the foundations begin just 10 cm under the floor level - where the stone wall of 1.7 m thick ends. They are made up of pebble stones brought surely of the Mapocho river. They are submerged in dirt and loose sand; that is, they are not joined by any mortar and, therefore, they are not rigidized. They are also contained laterally by two axes of megalithic stone. This means that the wall is 'simply supported' on a sort of mobile support. A kind of SEISMIC ISOLATOR. Today constructors use the same system but instead of stones they use elastomerics. 

San Francisco current entry and convent 


The Franciscan Order covered almost the whole southern Cañada (the old second arm of the Mapocho river, that has been dried to build the “Alameda de Las Delicias”or current Avenida Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins. Years of economic constraints forced them to sell and allowed them keep the church and a part of the convent. The other part of the convent was demolished to build the Paris London neighbor.

San Francisco Convent and the Paris London Neighbor

The old convent is today the Museum of Colonial Art. It is said that in the second floor a few monks still leave in the convent. The Museum has a large collection of colonial art, with paintings, textiles, silverware, furniture and sculptures, all of it originated in America during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries under the domain of the Spanish crown. Its walls show 42 peruvian canvases of the 17th century that narrate the life of San Francisco. The other important piece is the Nobel Price Medal of the chilean poet Gabriela Mistral.

Franciscan Cell in the old Convent and Colonial Museum of San Francisco in Santiago de Chile




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