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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Welkom in Amsterdam!

Bricks, a bicycle, a typical lamp post: welcome in Amsterdam!
[By Gwen Glotin, 2019 symposium correspondent, in Amsterdam] I cannot believe that in just 3 weeks (three little weeks!), there will be hundreds of people arriving in Amsterdam from all over the world for the best reason of all: to sketch!
We (the Dutch urban sketchers) have been talking about the Symposium for a loooong time now, and it has seemed to be an event set in the future for so long that it's difficult to realize that yes, the big day is approaching (just three little weeks, guys!).

Approaching so fast, in fact, that it might be time to introduce myself and to give you a foretaste of the location where we will spend several days together - in real life or through this blog.
My name is Gwen, I'm French but have been living in Amsterdam for 20 years now - and I'm a drawing addict. My "thing" (hmmmm, yes, I do mean "obsession" actually!) is drawing people, but throughout the last 3-4 years, I've been enjoying drawing buildings too more and more. During the coming symposium, I will act as the local correspondent and try to report everything which is happening, together with my two "colleagues": Mark from the United States and Orling from the Dominican Republic. The three of us are looking forward to this. A LOT!

As you might now, the central location where we will meet every day is the Zuiderkerk, so I thought that to begin with, I would take you there and show you around.

The Zuiderkerk ("Southern Church") is a Protestant church from the 17th century (the date 1614 is clearly written in golden numbers on the church tower, so you might want to add a golden pen in your sketching kit - just saying!) that was used for church services until 1929. It had different uses since then and now serves as a municipal information centre

The beautiful church tower is visible above the other surrounding buildings, you cannot miss it - which is convenient if you're not sure which way to walk to the central location! In the drawing below, it is seen from the Jodenbreestraat. I sketched it while sitting on the terrace of Café Orff, opposite to Rembrandt's house - if you want to draw it (Rembrandt's house I mean), it's also a good place to go to (but be prepared to have to draw a LOT of windows then!).

The church tower of the Zuiderkerk.
From there, you just have to walk a few meters further away to reach the Zuiderkerk. While doing so, you will walk in front of another beauty, the café Sluyswacht, which stands alone above the water and is just begging to be sketched. It also has a terrace which should be very much appreciated by the urban sketchers.

Café "de Sluyswacht" - I'm quite sure it will be sketched a lot during the symposium!
But as I was saying, if you continue walking and cross the Sint Antoniesbreestraat ("St. Anthony's Broad Street"), you arrive on the Zuiderkerkhof where the church is situated. It's a quiet square generally, even though it is regularly visited by groups of tourists with their guide. There are several benches on the square, which I expect will be rather convenient for the sketchers who want to take a break or draw the church or the surrounding buildings, like I did a few months ago: 
The buildings and the metro exit next to the Zuiderkerk.
But the most famous view is without any doubt the one from the Groenburgwal, which was also painted by Monet. That view is also to be admired from the Staalmeestersbrug bridge, from where the Zuiderkerk is photographed every day by many many tourists.

If you go there, be aware though that this bridge is not just for pedestrians: ok, there are no cars there, but there are a lot of cyclists who use this bridge and who are not amused to have to slow down just because someone is standing in the middle of the street (well, of the bridge) in order to take a picture. As a rule, Amsterdam cyclists do not slow down when they can avoid it - they do "ding, ding, ding" and hope you will get the message in time - don't say I didn't warn you! So, be especially careful on that bridge! Actually, be careful everywhere and check out both directions twice before crossing any street. And do NOT walk on the cycle paths! (In many cases, you can recognize them through their pinkish colour - quite similar to Daniel Smith Potter's Pink actually).

The Staalmeestersbrug (also knows as the Bridge of Love).
Speaking of bicycles, you will of course see a lot of them in Amsterdam. In every form and in every state - including bicycles that had a tragic ending, or the frequently seen "bakfiets", the cargo bikes used to transport mainly children, but also dogs, plants, groceries, lamps - ok, everything!

Sad sight: a dead bicycle on the Groenburgwal.

A cargo bike in front of the "plants and earth globes" place (Amstel 43)
I cannot resist adding a few words about that mysterious "plants and earth globes" place, because you might want to check it out, as it's near the Waterlooplein (which is where café Amstelhoeck is, where the Drink and Draw evening meet-ups will take place): I have no idea what it is, it doesn't seem inhabited, it doesn't seem to be a shop, I've never seen anyone inside - although you actually don't see much, just plants (below) and dozens and dozens of earth globes (at the top). It's been there, like this, ever since I can remember - so at least 20 years. If you find out what it is during your stay in Amsterdam, please don't tell me, I kind of enjoy the mystery!

So, that's it for now, I'm going to check that countdown again!

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