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

Becoming Dr. Ruth


[By Thomas Thorspecken] 

June 9, 1997, Washington Heights, NY, Apartment of Ruth and Fred Westheimer. Dr. Ruth (Eileen Dessandre) was packing to move. Her large bay window had a glorious view of the George Washington Bridge. I liked how the book shelves mirrored the shapes seen in the bridge. The arches of two shelves were like the opening in the bridge support structure and even the square and then vertical arrangement of the shelves mirrored the overall shape  of the bridge support. All the books and chachkies were white. I had sketched the books being created in the scenic shop weeks before.

As Dr. Ruth packed she talked to the audience. Her husband Fred, the love of her life, had died so she was planning to move. This was a one woman show and she held my attention for the full 90 minutes. As she spoke of her youth, photos appeared on the apartment windows of her parents and their life right before the rise of the Nazi Party. Her father was sent away to a work camp after Kristallnacht, but Ruth was saved by being sent by Kinder transport to Switzerland. When packing for the escape from Germany Ruth inexplicably packed a dish rag fro her mother's kitchen. Chocolates she had packed were confiscated and eaten by guards. At 11 years old she ended up in a Swiss orphanage where she became a caregiver to other children. She was not allowed to attend a local school but a boy smuggled books to her so she could study at night.

She recounted her first kiss with a young man whose name she could not disclose since she was still friends with him and his wife today. She was married three times and she discovered that the need for family and the need for touch were things she needed most since she had been denied her family and she wasn't touched for years after she left Germany. The love of her parents sustained her, but she never saw them again. The last letter she got from them as in 1941 and though she sometimes hopes that they survived the holocaust, it is unlikely.

After the WWII Ruth moved to Israel living on a kibbutz. Hard labor on the kibbutz was as hard as the labor in Switzerland. Israel however represented hope for the future. One fact that surprised me was the fact that she had been a sharp shooter for the Haganah (Israeli Paramilitary). She was a really good sharp shooter. Also because of her petite stature she ran messages since there was less of a target for an enemy to shoot at.

She met a boy, and together they emigrated to NYC and within two weeks she had won a scholarship for students who survived the holocaust. She studied with a passion and eventually discovered she wanted to get a doctorate in sex therapy. A radio station asked her if she would talk at a meeting about sex therapy and she gladly did so for free. That meeting resulted in them asking her to begin a talk radio show and the rest is history. She was non-threatening and wise with a thick accent. She was and is also very funny. When one woman caller explained that she did not like to "go down" on her husband, Dr. Ruth advised her to get whipped cream or chocolate syrup. Also a banana was great for practice.

This was a well paced show and it as fascinating to learn about this woman who always bounced back from any adversity. She is an inspiration, and the show is a delight.

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