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

USK Workshop - Let's Get Closer

Plein-Air Watercolor Workshop in Tuscany with Majid Modir and a guest artist. 

Join a creative adventure in the historical town of Volterra located in the heart of Tuscany and bring a lot of pleasant memories and some vibrant paintings back home!

You will improve your live sketching & plein-air painting methods and in particular watercolor techniques. The focus will be on capturing the perfect Motives & Compositions, finding the Focal Point in the chosen scenes and zooming in it step by step (Getting Closer).

May 22-29 and September 11-18 /2022 
In association with URBAN SKETCHERS 
Arranged by IL PUNTO Watercolor School 

We will explore various locations every day: The old Etruscan town as well as surrounding hills with cypress trees, nearby picturesque villages and pine woods at the seaside.

There will be a lot of demos, instructions, exercises and reviews, both individual and in the group, so you will feel confident to find your own way and express your feelings.

In the meantime, we will experience spending time and sketch with likeminded participants, meeting interesting local artists, taste the Tuscan food & wine and have a touch of Italian lifestyle, simply having a joyful and rewarding adventure!

A whole week within 5-days’ workshop arranged by The Watercolor School IL PUNTO, in collaboration with USK, Volterra-Detroit Foundation, and hosted by Villa Mascagni and lead by the Swedish visual artist, urban sketcher and watercolor instructor Majid Modir, and accompanied by a guest teacher for a day:

May edition with Ekaterina Maltseva from Russia/Italy
September edition with Kristina Bength from Sweden

This workshop is ALL-INCLUSIVE, and you will get your art supplies as well, the only thing you need to do is to buy your flight!

Start with putting the dates in your calendar ūüėČ
And watch a glimpse of a previous workshop (Volterra 2019) HERE!
Volterra view from the city wall

Villa Mascagni 5 minutes'walk from the center.

Apply for one of the editions May or September, the choice is yours! 

Primary aims

We are surrounded by 360-degrees views in reality and we see lots of wide-angle sketches and paintings which looks ok, but we actually don’t know where to look and focus our eyes on.

It’s a common habit to report everything we see and transfer lots of information in a single sketch. And it’s just fine if we choose the ”Reportage Method” and are aware of Focal Point and Overall Values. Otherwise, we risk presenting a bland general and average image.

Another method is to try to reduce by getting closer to the point of interest, drastically pruning and choosing tight compositions. Simply practicing zoom function with our built-in cameras, namely the ”Targeting Eyes”.

” It is how the artist draws attention to the particular content of the painting and is often the most important element of the painting.”

Learning goals

Keeping pure transparency and making a good balance between wet-in-wet and dry brush -by varying the amount of adding water and the waiting time between each wash.


Capturing the soul and beauty of a certain place -by finding a unique angle and selecting the point of interest and putting it in a good composition.

Discovering the most interesting spot in the chosen view and focusing on it -by studying its structures, dynamic lines and transforming these on the paper as a sketch.

Finding the Contrasts as the basis and going on with colors -by making different level of contrasts in the focused area and its surroundings.

Thinking “out of the box” and working “selectively” with a “tailor made” image -by minimizing the details and removing unnecessary elements.

And finally taking a step closer in order to understand and sketch/paint an object -by gradually studies.

Language: English

Number of participants
Minimum 6 participants, maximum 12 

All levels are welcome (preferably with basic experience of watercolor painting).


Each participant will be provided with a high quality complete watercolor kit asa practical and unique “Plein-Air package” from IL PUNTO, including:

  • Palette, made of birch plywood with smart solutions (for both right & left hands), to set up everything you need and hold with one hand. Dimensions 145mmx330mm
  • Paint box, 12 selected colors (Schmincke) from tube to capsules in a metal box (including 2 small side-palettes)
  • Papers, 20 loose leaves (Arches) cold-pressed 100% cotton 300 gsm in 2 different roughness, A5 size (21x15 cm), in a metallic box (which also protects the finished paintings)
  • Brush set, 5 brushes (Da Vinci 8740 College), 2 round and 2 flat in sizes 4 & 12 with long handles (30 cm) and 1 wide-flat (FIT 30), all in a bamboo-mat case.
  • Sketchbook, small & practical notebook (Moleskine), in A6 size (15x10.5 cm) for thumbnail sketches, 32 perforated pages in 70gsm
  • Drawing pen & pencils, 1 pen (Signo Uni-ball) 0.38 black-ink, and 2 pencils (Staedtler) in H2 & B6
  • Water cup + Clamp, enamel cup with associated clamp for attaching to the palette
  • Backpack, super light, compact and waterproof bag to collect & carry all materials & accessories.

Plein Air Package from Il Punto, included in workshop fee. 

  • 7 days of accommodation including 5 workshop days.
  • 6 hours session per day with a lunch break.
  • Morning: 3 hours (10-13) / Afternoon: 3 hours (14-17)

Daily Workshop Schedule / Learnings & Exercises

  • Day 1: Arrival, Registration and Installation at the Villa Mascagni, Welcoming Dinner
  • Day 2: In-Door Studies at the Studio Volterra-Detroit Foundation
    • INTRODUCTION: Presentation and looking at some helpful examples in order to analyzing how a good work should be planed
    • BASICS IN WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE: Studying the materials and devices for best plein-air watercolor painting (paints, brushes, papers, easels etc.), followed by a demo
    • GROUP EXERCISE: Basics in watercolor & color palette
  • Day 3: Windows and Housetops / Sunset from the city wall (Volterra town sketch walk)
    • VIEW-FINDING INSTRUCTIONS: Training our eyes to capture the best subjects & angels, from a different point of view or perspective -than the regular or expected.
  • Day 4: Panoramic Hills / Gardens and Green Palette (Trip to the picturesque village of ”Mazzolla” -or nearby)
    • COMPOSITION & CROPPING INSTRUCTIONS: Doing some exercises to achieve the best motives by drawing some fast thumbnails on sketch book, and also framing the chosen subjects by a viewfinder. Continuing with the selected sketches as paintings on watercolor paper.
  • Day 5: Constructions & Details (Trip to ”Badia” the monastery and ”Ferri” the abandoned hospital)
    • VALUE-FINDING METHODS: Instructions in order to achieve the best Contrasts (the light and the darkness), Color selection, and some other terms such as sharpness & blur, dry brush & wet-in-wet.
  • Day 6: Figures in Movement (Trip to seaside & the beach)
    • GETTING CLOSER: Using all previous learnings and exercises of the week in order to select a part of a wide view and achieve the optimal close-up.
  • Day 7: Day off with optional activities (Museum visit, Saturday Market ...) and Own Exhibition with public show of our works in Volterra-Detroit Foundation

    *With reservation for changes regarding the weather condition!

Workshop Fee

1950 € * (payable through PayPal or Bank Transfer)


  • 7 days of accommodation (apartments in Villa Mascagni)**
  • Transfers between Volterra and Pisa Airport (arrival & departure), and daily trips
  • 2 exclusive dinners (first and last suppers) + 5 picnic lunches
  • 30 hours tuition (5 days of lecture, demos, instructions and critiques -four days by Majid Modir and one day by the guest teacher)
  • Complete watercolor supplies of quality brands 
  • Final show

* 1250 € for a non-participating partner (including the first 3 points)

** In each apartment there is a bedroom and a living room, both with their own twin-bed, all to share for 2 persons.

Limited single rooms with twin-bed are available with extra cost of 350€.

Pay in full by 31 December 2021 to get 10% discount!

Apply by sending mail to:

About the instructors

Majid Modir

Visual artist, photographer and graphic designer, born 1961 in Iran, moved to Sweden 1986 and 2016 to Italy. He graduated in Graphic Design & Illustration (MFA) at The Swedish University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack).

As creative director he runs his own Design Studio and also teaches motion graphic at The College of Art & Design (Nyckelviksskolan) in Stockholm. He is a member of Swedish Artist’s Association, Swedish Center of Photography and a jury member of the European Broadcast Design Award (BDA & Promax).

Multiply awarded, he has been showing his works and watercolors in a number of separate and group exhibitions in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years.

Artist website:
Selected watercolors:
Watercolors by Majid

Ekaterina Maltseva (Russia / Italy)

“I am looking for life in life. I love watercolor for its spontaneity, which speaks a living, unpredictable language. Water itself is a powerful, unbridled element that I would like to explore.

Watercolors are soft, flexible, thin, fade easily and disappear in a layer of paper. They cannot be completely controlled. The water chooses the path itself, avoids obstacles, refines the "stone" pigment, intolerant in structures and limits, destroys them, transforms them into its own and alive.

I love the ringing line and a soft, blurry point. I love strong contrasts and bright colors. In the process I like to watch how the painting lives its life. I do nothing, the watercolor breathes and is done without my visible participation. I look for what is between the lines and hidden from the eyes.

I like to paint without checking the results, but I hope something good happens. I don't hold back with expectations, so that the watercolor speaks to me, to hear his voice, his will. I try to create a magical world on paper with water and color. Reflecting the poetry of moments, a fragment of space, capturing a moment in time, subtle and elusive.”

Artist Website

Watercolors by Ekaterina

Kristina Bength (Sweden)

”Kristina Bength’s projects are most often taking their point of departure in the implications of photography on society, both today and throughout the history of the medium. In recent years Kristina Bength has painted from literature rather than photography. She has investigated memories of rooms from literature.

Kristina Bength lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She is educated at Gerlesborgsskolan in Bohuslän, at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, and at Valand School of Fine Art in Gothenburg (BFA).

Kristina Bength have had solo shows at Galleri Flach in Stockholm, LM D galerie in Paris, Ahlbergshallen in √Ėstersund, Ebelingmuseet in Eskilstuna, Kiruna Stadshus and Trollh√§ttan Konsthall. She has participated in group shows at Uppsala Art Museum, G√§vle Konstcentrum, and hangmen Projects in Stockholm, and participated in art fairs such as Volta 5 in Basel, Volta 13 in New York and Le Salon du Dessin Contemporain in Paris.

She has received one- and two-year working grants and Project grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, the County Council of Dalarna Culture Grant, Kiruna Artist Grant, Byggnads Culture Grant, Axel Theofron Sandberg’s Watercolour Grant from The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte’s Art Fund Grant.

Kristina Bength has had workshops in drawing and painting since 2006 fore example at The Nordic Watercolour Museum in Tj√∂rn and Nordic Art School in Kokkola in Finland, and she has been teaching at Nyckelviksskolan in Stockholm since 2013.”

Artist Website
Watercolors by Kristina




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=