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

Discovering Abandoned Places in Tuscany

A watercolor workshop with focus on Values

September 16 - 23
(apply before the end of July)

Conducted by the visual artist Majid Modir
Guest artist: Kelly Medford
in association with Urban Sketchers

Welcome to a creative workshop in the heart of Tuscany, Volterra!
A whole week with 5 days of drawing and painting in good company, learning watercolor techniques, finding different values in motives and discovering the soul and beauty of some abandoned places. Meanwhile meeting interesting people and taking the pulse of the Italian lifestyle, eating and drinking Tuscan delicacy, enjoying the colourful pure nature, and maybe a swim in the Tyrrhenian sea. Simply a delightful experience and a memory for life! 

Watch a glimpse of the event here
Contact for information and a Registration Form. 

Apply before the end of July!

I have always been fascinated by lonely, old and forgotten places which have many tracks and stories to tell. I started my first plein-air watercolors with motives from abandoned houses in Iran at age of 17. Now I have located some favourite spots in Tuscany where we will visit and paint on spot. There will be different locations with different characters for each day. 

Primary aims & Learning goals
  • Improvement of watercolor technique (as plein-air painting)
  • Discovering the Values, Contrasts and Colours as the basis (instead of lines) 
  • Achieving the character of a desolated place (with traces of people instead of the figures)
Workshop location & accommodation 
Historical city of Volterra, Tuscany, Italy.
Hosting institution: Villa Le Guadalupe is an association dedicated to arts by German dramatists Wolfgang Storch and Klaudia Ruschkowski that hosts workshops in arts, theatre, design and music, with an international program. The association is located in XIX° century villa with a view on the southern hills of Volterra, beautiful gardens around, interiors covered with frescos and a private chapel from 1850. 

First edition: May 27 - June 3, 2018
Second edition (repeating): September 16 - September 23, 2018

Language: English

Number of participants: Minimum 6 Maximum 12 
All levels are welcome (preferably with basic experience of water color painting). 

- 7 days of accommodation including 5 workshop days.
- The workshops starts with lecture in the villa’s studio, followed by field trips to the locations.
- Demo and instructions at locations, followed by sketching & painting outdoor individually or in small groups.

- Morning: 3 hours (10.00 - 13.00) / Afternoon: 3 hours (16.00 -19.00)
- Lunch break and own time between 13.00 -16.00
- Day review 18-19
- 20.00 supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Daily workshop schedule 
Day 1. Welcoming and introductions followed by demos in the studio. Lunch break and discovering the villa's garden and the chapel.
Learnings: Basics in watercolor techniques, Choosing the best compositions.

Day 2. Field trip to the Ex Hospital of Volterra (Ferri) with a guided tour.
Learnings: Finding Values in Contrasts (Basics in Light and the Darkness)

Day 3. Field trip to the historic monastery, Abbey of San Galgano in Monticiano nearby Siena
Learnings: Finding interesting and vital details in wide views (Defining the size & distance relations)

Day 4. Field trip to the Abandoned Spa facility center Terme del Corallo) in Livorno with guided tour.
Learnings: Finding Values in shadows.

Day 5. Field walk to the abandoned residence and farm house in Mazzolla nearby Volterra.
Learnings: Finding Values in Colour Palette (Basics in colour knowledge)

Additional activities
– Final works public Exhibition in The Volterra-Detroite Fondation (Day 6)
– Visiting & swimming in the rocky beaches of Livorno (optional)

Following materials and tools are included!
1. Top Quality Hahnemühle Watercolor Paper Block (Cézanne, 30X40cm, 300gsm, rough, 10 sheets, mould made)
2. Top Quality Moleskin Watercolor Pocket Notebook (60 pages, 14X9 cm, 200gsm)
3. Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set (Sketcher's Pocket Box, with 12 half pans)
4. Léonard Watercolor Brushes in 3 sizes (round #10 with 3.5 mm brush width, round #20 with 8mm brush width, and flat brush #6 with 8mm brush width)

Some other supplies will be available for all participants to borrow and use during the workshop:
Watercolor paints as tube, Additional watercolor Papers & Brushes, Sketching Paper Sheets, Palettes, Water Containers, Paper Towels, Masking Tape, Pencils, Erasers, Sharpener and Viewfinder.

The whole arrangement is as a package and you just need to buy your flight tickets, the rest will be taken care of:

– 7 days lodging including breakfast
– 5 days course, workshop and trips
– 5 lunches and 5 dinners (you have 2 free days to explore the town and the restaurants by own)
– Transport from Pisa airport to Volterra & Back, and between the villa and the locations
– Painting & sketching supplies
– Guided tours in the ex hospital area and the ex spa facilities
– Final public Exhibition 

Total cost: 985€ per person 
Contact for information and a Registration Form. 

About the instructors

Majid Modir is a visual artist (painter, photographer, graphic and motion designer), born 1961 in Iran, moved to Sweden 1986 and 2016 to Italy. He graduated in Master Fine Art (Graphic Design & Illustration) at The Swedish University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (KONSTFACK, 90-94). He has been working as Art Director in Swedish TV-Channel 4 in 12 years. As creative director he runs his own Design Studio and teaches motion graphic at The College of Design (Beckmans) in Stockholm. He is a member of The Swedish Artists Association, Swedish Center of Photography and a jury member of the European Broadcast Design Award (BDA & Promax). Multiply awarded, he has been showing his various works (watercolors, posters and photographs) in a number of solo and group exhibitions in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years.

Latest exhibitions in Italy: 

- “Paradise Doubly-exposed” photographs in Pinacoteca Art Museum, Volterra 2016 
- “Windows 2 My Heart” watercolors in Turazza Municipal House, Volterra 2017 
- “Paradiso Doppio-esposto” photographs in Kromia Galley, Naples 2018

Artist Website
Selected watercolors in Flickr

Kelly Medford is an American artist who has been working as a plein air painter in Italy since 2005 after attending the Florence Academy of Art. She paints and sketches the streets of Italy daily as a way of getting to know the country, its culture, people, art, history and places. In 2012 she started Sketching Rome Tours as a way of offering this experience to everyone. You can see her work on her website

Other Links
Find some images from previous Volterra workshops in collaboration with Urban Sketchers HERE. Read more about the hosting Villa Le Guadalupe.

Please apply by sending an e-mail to:

Kelly and Majid at the workshop ”Framing the world, Differently!” in Volterra, May 2017




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=