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

Seattle’s viaduct: concrete, potholes and memories

[By members of Urban Sketchers Seattle]

Tina Koyama:

On our final day of driver’s ed, my car mates and I were supposed to drive on Interstate 5 to show that we could merge and achieve freeway speed safely. When it was my turn, however, my instructor wasn’t confident that I could drive at 55 mph (88 kph) safely, but he apparently thought I could handle 45 on Highway 99 instead. It was the first time I had driven on Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Since that summer of 1975, I have driven on the viaduct countless times, safely but often mindlessly. As a Seattle native, I usually took for granted the glorious views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle that the viaduct offered. For me, it was just a way to get from point A to point B – an often convenient and faster alternative to I-5. It was my husband, a Midwest transplant, who taught me to appreciate the viaduct whenever he deliberately chose that route just for its views.
Tina Koyama

Those views are no longer available to us. Replaced by a brand new tunnel, the viaduct closed on Jan. 11 and will be destroyed in the coming months. I’m not exactly teary-eyed to see it go; dark, noisy and unsightly from the ground, the viaduct is a formidable barrier between our city and its waterfront. Built in 1949, it’s also a scary seismic risk. Still, it’s part of the city’s history and my personal history. Love it or hate it, the viaduct is worth remembering through sketches.

Shared here are sketches and memories from several USk Seattle members. One sketch was made after the viaduct closed – eerily missing the 90,000 vehicles that used it every day. Two sketches were made on Feb. 2 when the city held a public event that allowed 100,000 pedestrians to walk on the viaduct for the first and only time to say their final good-byes.

Eleanor Doughty (sketch at top of post):

As I've lived in Seattle for only a year and a half, I don't have the nostalgia about the Alaskan Way Viaduct that others do. I've only been on it maybe five times. To me, it's a toxic structure that makes all of the waterfront street below it kind of dark, dingy, and loud...generally unpleasant to be nearby. Further south in the West Edge, it's all empty buildings, trash strewn everywhere, and generally creepy vibes. . . . I went out to document these views feeling a sense of duty to preserve how it is now – before it changes forever – and I realized that it's not especially beautiful or interesting. R.I.P.
Eleanor Doughty

Antonella Pavese:

I found its dark grey ugliness mesmerizing. Since I moved to Seattle three years ago, I’ve been fascinated by the city’s contrast of beauty and ugliness: the Olympic Sculpture Park and the corporate buildings of South Lake Union; the snow-capped mountains at the horizon and downtown’s ubiquitous construction zones; the beautiful waterfront and the ugly viaduct. 
Antonella Pavese

Sue Heston:

I think this is the first time I have ever sketched the Seattle viaduct, and sadly, it is also the last time. I met up with sketchers Tina and Antonella to commemorate the last weeks of this Seattle icon. I have driven on the viaduct many times, and I know that many Seattleites are taking “last” drives through town on it, documented with photos and video. But this is the view I will keep in my memory.
Sue Heston

Peggy Gloth:

While I’ve found the viaduct a bit scary since the experts have assured us that it will eventually fall down, I will miss having such a great, welcoming view whenever we return to Seattle from a trip.
Peggy Gloth

Stephanie Bower:

For someone who has been part of the visioning of a new and improved waterfront for about 20 years, I am surprised how nostalgic I feel about the end of life for this urban behemoth. Won’t miss the noise, the dirt, the enormous wall that cuts us off from the water, but oh, we will all sure miss those spectacular views! Still, what is to come will be so much better.

Stephanie Bower

Empty viaduct sketched after its closure by Antonella Pavese
Viaduct filled with pedestrians by Eleanor Doughty
Tina Koyama bids farewell to the viaduct along with 100,000 other pedestrians allowed to walk on it
for the first and only time.




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