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

USk Workshop: Light & White in Watercolour, Portugal 28th April - 4th May 2019

28th April-4th May 2019

Learning goals:
  • Becoming confident with your watercolour
  • Handling different techniques with ease and fluency
  • Become familiar with classic techniques such as glazing and wet-on-wet 
  • Avoiding common pitfalls

The location:
Portugal's Algarve region is well known for its beautiful beaches, great food and sunny climate. We'll stay in two special places during this week-long workshop.
Armaçao de Pera is a fishing village along the south coast with a pristine, long sandy beach. 
Aldeia de Pedralva is a restored village near Sagres on the west coast of the Algarve. 
Our trip will take us to both villages and we will explore the region around each during the workshop.

The workshop:
We all know how beautiful watercolour can look, but sometimes it feels as if that beauty is out of reach. Streaky surfaces, muddy finishes and a struggle to achieve the glorious transparency we see others producing.
In this workshop, you will learn lots of simple techniques that will allow you to master watercolour in a way that is simple and easy to access, in the warmth and beauty of Portugal's Algarve region.

Accommodation and Meals:
Accommodation is included in the cost. There will be three nights at the Holiday Inn in Armaçao de Pera and three nights in the restored village of Aldeia da Pedralva. All rooms are single occupancy unless otherwise requested.

Every evening we will eat together in a convivial and warm environment, so the trip is ideal for solo travellers. Breakfast and dinners are also included but lunch is at the participants' own expense.

Each evening you will be asked to extend your day's learning by half an hour and practice the technique of the day on a bottle or glass over dinner! 

Day 1: 
Sketching on the first evening will include dry brush techniques, wet-on-wet and avoiding visible brushstrokes. We'll relax along the promenade and sketch the world-famous sunset using a variety of techniques to capture the sparkle of sunlight on water and a sky full of colour.
Focus on:
  • The basics of watercolour
  • How to avoid visible brushstrokes in a large body of colour
  • How to blend using wet-on-wet
  • Using masking fluid for sparkles on water
  • Dry (drier) brush techniques

Day 2: 
We will relax around Armaçao de Pera, sketching the boats bringing in the catch and the typical bustling Algarve village of Armaçao, including the old town. 
Focus on:

  • Avoiding muddy results
  • How to subtly change colour through transparent washes
  • Achieving a deep, rich colour
  • Avoiding wishy-washy colour
  • Colour popping

Day 3:
We will travel to Aldeia da Pedralva and its environs, and make a trip to the beach.
Focus on:
  • Blooms – how they form, how to avoid them, when to embrace them
  • The power of wet-on-wet
  • Learning to let go of control

Day 4: 
In the morning we will explore the power of values in watercolour, becoming familiar with blues and how they can be used to convey light and shadow. We will explore ways to add people on the beach to a sketch.
Focus on:
  • Recognising values
  • Getting to know your blues
  • Using a limited palette
  • Light and shadow
  • Making subjects glow
  • Adding people to a sketch in watercolour
The afternoon is for relaxing. There is a trip to the magical caves of Benagil organised for those who would like to avail of it, otherwise the afternoon is yours.

Day 5:
How the white of the page can make buildings glow, and how it can be used for foliage to convey light hitting the tops of trees. We will make quick studies of trees, clouds and reflections.
Focus on:

  • Leaving the white of the page
  • Fixing spashes and stains
  • Foliage, clouds and reflections

Day 6: 
Warm and cold colours: the power of a limited palette. How to avoid clashing colours.
Focus on:

  • Keeping to three colours
  • Harmonising colours
  • Understanding warm and cold colour
  • Avoiding a clash
  • Translating reality into watercolour on the page
Day 7:
Our last morning in Portugal will be spent having fun with watercolour, putting into practice any of the techniques you've enjoyed over the week.
Focus on:
  • Freestyling with watercolour
  • Letting go of control
After that, there will be a farewell lunch in the old town of Faro for those whose schedule allows it.

The cost of the workshop is €1850.
Details of registration and booking are available from
Accommodation, breakfast and dinner, travel within the workshop and tuition over six days.

Not included:
Alcoholic beverages, lunch, travel to and from Portugal on the first and last day of the workshop. 
Non-sketching travelling companions although they are most welcome to join us.

About the instructor:
Róisín Curé is from Galway on the west coast of Ireland. She is a teacher, urban sketcher and writer and is the author of An Urban Sketcher's Galway, to be published with Currach Press in May 2019. As well as hosting many international urban sketching workshops in Galway, Ireland and Kent, UK, Róisín taught at USk Porto in 2018 and will teach at USk Amsterdam in 2019. She is a member of the Irish Watercolour Society but her passion is for on-location drawing and the stories that go with it.
Róisín fell in love with Portugal during the Sketch Tour Portugal in which she took part and is proud to bring sketchers to this special part of Europe.




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