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

Kopiko Aotearoa – Day 6 and 7

[By Murray Dewhurst in New Zealand].  

Kopiko Day 6 was a big one! Starting with a nasty climb out of Waikite Valley, which in turn is an invigorating downhill on the othertside. We ride one of the few State Highway sections for a few kilometres looking for the turn off into the Rainbow Mountain single track. We take the wrong turn but it  didn't slow us down too much — must have been last nights hot pools that rejuvenated the legs. 

The following long flat tarseal section stretches all the way to Murupara, a forestry town in the middle of Kaingaroa Forest. Riding that long on flat roads really aggravated my sore arse ouch! All was well though once we hit Murupara and settled into De'Cafe for a big lunch and where a big bunch of east - west riders arrive. Anne-Maree, George, Joe, Anne, Matt and others. I manage to draw a few of them while a few locals look surprised to see so many visitors today. Meanwhile over the radio ‘You’re listening to DJ Che, A big welcome to our manuhiri on bicycles...’ ('a welcome to our (non-māori) guests on bicycles..'). Radio station Te Reo o Tawhiuau must overlook the cafe. 

We say goodbye and start climbing, and climbing heading east. We pass a number of ornately carved whare whakairo (carved meeting house) like the Waikotikoti marae sketched roughly here. Then past Mingunui and we're feeling very, very remote, up over the Tarapounamu Saddle where we meet self-described ‘Dutchie and a half’ pairing of Jos and son Luke both looking super amped to be riding out in the middle of nowhere. We ride through Ruatāhuna and there are horses everywhere, more horses than cars, and they're on the road – even saw a guy towing a horse (slowly) with his ute — maybe he was breaking it in?

We finish the day at idillic, bush clad Orangihikoia department of conservation camp when we realised it was getting dark and had no chance of making Waikaremoana today!

Kopiko Aotearoa day 7 started with a Booooooom!!!! The unmistakeable crack of a large caliber rifle fired near my head — well close enough — actually just across the road but it feels much closer. I check my watch and it’s 3:30 am! Hunters are 'spotlighting' along the road from a ute. Terrifying. Mōrena e hoa!

Later that morning we’re starting to get enticing peeks of Lake Waikaremoana through the dense bush. Beautiful. 

Then we run into our friends group. They’re riding in the other direction to us and they’re the reason we pushed on so late yesterday trying to meet them. We spend some time catching up, taking photos, it's all a bit like a high school reunion. A while later we stop at the Waikaremoana camp store and hear stories of the 'walking wounded' who came through last week during the storm, they were on the hunt for hot pies.

We dodge a lot of roadkill today, dozens of possums and 1 wallaby thanks to our spotlighting hunter friends. Pretty gross, but these animals are introduced pests to New Zealand that decimate forest and kill native birds, it's a constant battle keeping their numbers down. Lake Waikaremoana is vast. You look across at those impressive Panekire bluffs surrounded by massive podocarp forest that have been around since Aotearoa was attached to Gondwanaland — of course it’s a must draw moment.

Sketch done we leave the bush behind on a long descend down past Tuai (another dam) through the Ohuka valley. Ohuka country school is open with a Kopiko Riders Welcome sign out. We wander in hoping for water but teacher Sharon sets us up with fruit and coffee, next we’re swimming in their pool! Neat school and the roll is just 6 students.

Straight away we're riding up what I like to call the hell hill of Ohuka (whoever designed the road should be shot) and the swim is almost instantly forgotten. Onward up the Ruakituri valley, more hills, and gravel roads with massive views as we get higher above Hawkes Bay. It has been a big day in the saddle so, exhausted, we pull into the Tuahu Station driveway where we meet John. ‘You guys want some steak?’ He asks followed by ‘beers are around there’. With steak and beer in hand he points us toward the sheerers quarters — best welcome ever! We meet Ross at the shearer’s quarters, he’s already set-up for the night (he doesn’t look anything like my sketch!).

Read days 8 – 9 here.




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