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

Kopiko Aotearoa – last few days


[By Murray Dewhurst in New Zealand].  
Kopiko Aotearoa Day 10 — starts very early and, like day 7, it starts with armed hunters. I stir to the thump of boot steps on the hut veranda and a hunter enters with his head torch pointed into my bleary eyes at 1.30am. They announce they’re up to do a recce for the upcoming ‘roar’ (deer mating season) and doing some spotlighting (hunting at night with a strong light), they’re going to sleep a few hours and head off again early.

We bump into the hunters Ash and Haami on the trail later that morning, and I do a pretty poor sketch of them that I colour later from memory. The last half of the Pakihi trail is fantastic, lots of swing bridges over the crystal clear river surrounded by dense bush. I’ll definitely be back to do these trails again!

At the end of the trail we come across what's left of a 1930 Ford car. Of course that had to go into my sketchbook too. We ride out of the national park onto the plains, past dairy farms and on to Ōpotiki, we stop at a cafe then leave town and on to the coastal dunes trail. It's nice to be riding along the Pacific Ocean again!

Des has a deserved break and a sign protesting against possible oil field exploration on the East Coast

The dunes trail is sweet, but as it turns out, sapping on the legs and our expected ‘fast, flat ride’ along the coast is interrupted by lots of climbs. I stop at the top of one of these bluffs and meet Des. He’s sitting on the road barrier taking a 'smoko' break surrounded by a number of 1 ton bags of rubbish. Trailing off down the cliff is a long rope that is strapped to the barrier and I see his ventilator beside it on the ground. I learn that Des has been travelling the country for 2 years picking up rubbish. It looks really bloody dangerous. Des is a legend in my book and my vote for New Zealander of the year. He could use your help — make sure you visit his page and leave a donation.

I want to stop more and sketch some of the carved pou and marae along the way, but the scent of the finish keeps us pedaling. If we can get as far as Maraekaho or Waihau Bay today we’ll be in striking distance of the finish tomorrow. We do eventually make it to Maraekaho – exhausted. Maraekaho is beautiful, a gift to the sketchbook, and someone has even parked their 1950’s Ford Fairlane with a matching 50's caravan under one of the enormous pohutukawa trees - but first it’s time for a swim! 
Maraekaho Bay with old car

Kopiko Aotearoa – last day: one last big (115 or so km) day to the end! We leave beautiful Maraekaho with wet tents – that’s the first night of rain on the whole trip! We head east with awesome views along the coast all the way to Waihau Bay. We grab a coffee at my riding mates old school at Raukokore, the school has closed but Kura Cafe is open. Next Waihou bay where we grab a pie for breakfast and a melting moment that’s so big it should be called a ‘many melting moments’.

The Tinorangatirotanga flag flies on the coast
 
May be an image of book and outdoors
I finished 2 sketchbooks on the Kopiko Aotearoa
Then inland from the west side of the east coast as we head to the east coast of the west (if that makes any sense). We come out at Hicks Bay and bump into cyclist Josh. His Surly Disk Trucker is fully loaded with Carradice panniers, he’s not doing the Kopiko, had planed to be cycling from London to Singapore until COVID hit. Instead he's cycling all the way up from Christchurch in the South Island and is heading to Cape Reinga (top of the North Island). Nice. 

Onward 40 more kms to go through Te Araroa with a stop for yet more food and the coast road again with beautiful views. A strong tailwind helps make the last 20 kilometres really zoom past. I’m enjoying the old cars dotted here and there along the coast: A couple of Bedford vans and 3 or 4 old Landrovers, all beautified with rust and long grass – I'll have to come back and sketch them some time. 

We eventually make it to the road end – we've made it to the eastern most part of the country. But we're not finished yet – we have to walk the 800 steps up to the lighthouse to make it offical! Once up there we're presented with amazing views out to the east. I can't help but think the next stop Chile is just there over the horizon (I've just checked it online and it's actually 10,000km).The event requires that we prove we've completed the event with a photo, but we have been so off the grid we have no cell phone charge. Luckily we meet a couple who take a photo for us and send it to us. Nice one, thanks guys!

I was surprised to discover the lighthouse used to actually be on East Island (that's it off to the left of the sketch). Authorities worried that erosion would topple the lighthouse into the ocean moved here onto the mainland. 

With my sketch done thoughts turn to how we're getting to our accommodation for the night – back 40 kms at Hicks Bay – especially as that fantastic tailwind that pushed us here will now be a mean headwind! Luckily we discover we’ve got a ride waiting for us below – Mum and Dad have arrived with a bike rack on there car and celebratory beers – what a relief. 

So that's our Kopiko Aotearoa; 11 days, 1200km of cycling including 20,000 metres of climbing (the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest – twice) and 2 sketchbooks!

Thank you to Jonathan Kennett for designing such a great course and my riding mate Ian for coming along – it would have been lonely at times doing it alone.


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