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

Capture the spirit of artwork in a museum space with USK Community Workshop Grant

[by Marion Rivolier in Paris] 

Creating Urban Sketching workshops on location for disadvantaged children: more than a desire, it was a determination that came to us when we had the idea to share and transmit our passion for drawing to budding Sketchers.
Those whose parents, weakened by life’s difficulties, do not have the financial means to enroll their children in drawing workshops, even the least expensive ones. We also wanted to encourage these children to sketch on location like us, face to face with artworks, in museums, in monuments where these places steeped in art and history can open their minds, sharpen their curiosity and develop their creativity.

We contacted the Secours Populaire. This non-profit association, created in 1945, has set itself the mission of acting against poverty and exclusion in France by relying on the spirit of solidarity. Secours Populaire enriches its essential social and humanitarian projects with cultural ones. This resonated perfectly with the approach we had in mind. With the teams of the Department of Access to Culture and Educational Activities, supported by the Paris Federation and their dedicated volunteers, we were able to implement and launch this workshop program for children.
We started in April 2019 and we want to continue through June 2020, if not longer.…
We taught four workshops until the end of June at the Panthéon in Paris, ending with a nice exhibition of the project and children’s drawings in the crypt of the Pantheon: a great pride for the children and their parents.

The second workshop of the year takes place at the Musée Guimet in Paris, the museum of Asian art in Paris. After a careful survey of the area, we decided to take the children on a journey: they would be adventurers, explorers of Asian lands in search of temples, deities, animals, luxuriant vegetation; they will meet merchants, caravans, lions and guardian kings! As we have to make small groups (maximum eight children), I have designed three classes to be given simultaneously:
workshop 1 “In the heart of the Jungle, explore a Khmer temple in Cambodia!”
workshop 2 “Discover fantastic animals”
workshop 3 “Expression and movements among the merchants of the Silk Road”

[ drawing by Mat Let ]
With this project, I was awarded a scholarship from the Urban Sketchers Community Workshop. With the money, I bought sketchbooks (A5) for children, watercolor chalk in special colors: lots of green to draw the jungle and trees, shades of ochre, red and gray for stones and terracotta. We also have fine black markers for drawing, watercolor graphite pencils and white pencils. We never know in advance how many children will come, so we have planned equipment and materials for 24.We even have “Urban Sketchers Paris” T shirts to recognize one another in the crowd of the Museum.

The children arrive a little late, they are finally 13, so we will give two workshops.
I will teach the “jungle” session (for the little children) and Brigitte the “animals” one (for the older ones). We are each assisted by a draftsman from the group. The others will take pictures and draw the session. For this session, are present : Marion Rivolier, Brigitte Lannaud Levy, Mat Let, Claire Archenault, Sylvie Lehoux, Tula Moraes, Stéphanie Senez, Elise Robineau and Sacha.

We install tarpaulins on the ground and unpack all the equipment. The course can begin. I give them the A5 sketchbooks, a map of Asia and explain that we are going to make a travel notebook together, a journey through the temples and deities of Cambodia today. We start by discovering and drawing the 3 great sculptures of deities. We mix the names with the line drawing, Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva. Then we move on to exploring the colors of the place, the children very quickly understand that the green color of water used for the walls and pedestals refers to the vegetation.

I then tell them to find vegetal and plant motifs in the large Khmer portals. They draw in pencil on a large coloured base. For the last drawing, I ask them to draw the large portal of the temple (in pencil) that is in front of them. Then they are invited to draw the large invasive trees with giant roots that hide these temples. A little intrigued at first, they are inspired by the photos I brought and play with the colors to transform their temple so meticulously designed!

Brigitte also starts with the map of Asia to understand the origin of the sculpted works that surround us: Vietnam. She immediately got to the heart of the matter by giving the children the tools of the session: a notebook, three “neocolor” watercolor pencils in orange-brown shades, a brush with a water tank and a black marker.

She then suggested that they transform themselves into explorers and leave armed with painting equipment, in search of the animals that surround them in the room and capture them in drawings. She questions them about the originality of their representations. Some are sculpted in a very classic way: the animal is immediately recognizable, others are humanized with human arms and legs. And some of them are a mixture of several animals. She points out to them that they do not have any eraser, because in this workshop you draw directly with a felt pen because you consider that nothing is ever a mistake. You have to observe well, trust your view on the subject. The hand and pencil then glide across the paper with confidence. The young 11-year-old Eto even tells us very nicely «it is not with the hand that we draw but with our thoughts.» The workshop is divided into three line exercises, in color and words, sitting and standing in search of the uniqueness of these sculptures.

This workshop ends with joy and good humour shared by everyone. The children’s eyes shine, as do those of the accompanying mothers. At the end of the session, we all gather to take a group photo. The children are happy. And so are we! We leave them in the joyful anticipation of meeting them all the following month for a new workshop at the Musée Guimet.
We are continuing this project until June 2020 to conduct at least twelve workshops with an exhibition of the children’s drawings and the entire project at the end of June.

Thank you to our wonderful team of Urban Sketchers Paris !
Thank you Urban Sketchers for the grant!




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