Welcome to Moment Sketchers

Hello! My name is Candace, and I’m a sketch artist with a passion for helping you connect with the world through art. Pull out your sketchbook and watercolors and find your favorite view — I’m glad you’re here!

“Colors speak all languages.”

— Joseph Addison

Last week, I loved sharing a sketch with you that I created in Vancouver, Canada, in 2014, in the beautiful public market on Granville Island. And as I read through your comments on the story, I noticed a common thread running through your observations: Many of you mentioned the vibrant colors and details of the fruit stall I’d chosen to sketch that day.

Markets in Vancouver

As I picked up on the common theme in your comments, my mind began to wander, envisioning the spectrums of other markets I’ve had the chance to sketch over the years. I first thought of the Dadar flower market in Mumbai, India, with its wide, round baskets overflowing with yellow and orange marigolds and the air sweetened with the scent of jasmine and red roses.

Markets in India

I remembered arriving in the town of Yenişehir, Turkey, just in time for market day, where I sat sketching in front of a stall selling pomegranates — one of which the stall’s owners broke open and gifted me, its bright seeds spilling out into my hands like rubies.

Markets in Turkey

And there were still more smaller produce shops or carts I sketched in places such as Colombia, Bulgaria, and Spain, each time my painting kit’s palette racing to match such a vivid array of hues.

Markets in Colombia

Markets in Bulgaria

Markets in Spain

But it isn’t just the colors I’ve always loved about markets — it’s the chance for connection. Here’s how I described it in an article about Mumbai’s flower market for Selamta Magazine a few years ago:

“Markets have a way of drawing me to them. The weekend Chatuchak market in Bangkok. The Sunday bird market in Porto, Portugal. The morning market on Nusa Penida — a small island off the coast of Bali. No matter how big or small, each market has a way of unlocking that place for me, letting me get to its very heart as I witness the local community coming together.”

Markets in Indonesia

Markets in ThailandMarkets in Colombia

And so, inspired by your comments and observations last week, I went on a little hunt through my hard drive, gathering the sketches I’ve created in different markets around the world, as though gathering a bounty of fresh fruit or flowers at a market.

I hope these sketches send a bit of color your way today, friends, and that you enjoy this whirlwind watercolor journey through some of my favorite markets around the world!

Markets in Bosnia

Markets in Czech Republic

Markets in CanadaMarkets in Turkey

Markets in Guatemala

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What are some of your own favorite markets around the world? I’d love to hear about them below! And if you have a sketch or photo of a market to share, that’s even better 🙂

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  • Brenda K

    Absolutely gorgeous, Candace. Thanks for sharing this collection! I’ve not had time to sketch the last few weeks or even going into my art instagram, and I was happy to get your blog post in my email inbox today. 🙂

    • Thank you, Brenda! I’m so glad this collection of sketches could send a little art and color your way last week 🙂 And I hope you’ll have a chance to pull out your sketchbook again soon — I miss seeing your wonderful work on Instagram!

  • You have created a beautiful energy with every sketch Candace. It is so interesting to see not only how your style has changed but also the style given to each particular sketch is what truly enhances it. This email came through tonight at such an appropriate time for me as a sit in my hospital room for the 5th and final night, before I go home for an enforced recuperation period. Nothing major but feeling slightly despondent as I try to write a book and resurrect my art, thinking, “This is not easy!” Then your wonderful blog came through with all these beautiful and descriptive coloured stories. and re-reading your “Home is a Cup of Tea” blog. Magic! Thank you again so much Candace.

    • Victoria! I was so concerned to hear you were in the hospital for five nights last week…I hope everything is okay, and that your recuperation period is going as smoothly as possible. Please know I’m sending many healing thoughts your way this week! And it’s an honor to hear that this collection of sketches could have brought you a bit of color and light on your final night in the hospital — thank you so much for sharing that. Thinking of you, and hope you are on the road to recovery! <3

  • Belinda Noda

    I’ve stopped talking photos of markets because I have so many and they never really get it. This post reminds me that markets are the essence of community where abundance and poverty coexist in a colourful bustling mishmash of the senses. Thinking about it in light of what you’ve captured, Candice, I think my market photos where a disappointment because I couldn’t capture the spirit and experience of being there. I also feel unable to draw the detail -which you always manage to capture so (apparently) effortlessly. You’ve even caught the conversation and what’s hidden inside a plastic bag. Now I see why I deleted so many market picture. Still got a couple I’d like to share tho’ “big pants in Japan” but where/how? Thanks as ever for shedding (and spreading) the light.

    • Dear Belinda, I can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful and insightful comment here. I was so moved by what you shared here: “…markets are the essence of community.” They truly are, and I know they will forever be one of the places I am drawn to the most when I travel.

      I also completely understand the challenge of being unable to capture every detail! I specifically remember a sketching session in an Irish pub in Dublin, as I sat in my seat trying to capture the scene in my sketchbook…and I can vividly recall thinking, “Sketching is just a series of decisions — deciding what to put in the sketch and what to leave out.” The end result is a reflection of all those decisions you made, and sometimes they’re not easy ones!

      But in the moments that I grow frustrated at being unable to capture everything in a scene, I have to remind myself that sketches aren’t supposed to — that they are perfectly imperfect and completely incomplete 🙂 I’m not sure if that resonates with you, but I loved that your comment reminded me of my thoughts in Dublin! <3

  • Karla

    Hi Candace – I enjoyed reading this posting so very much. Not only were your sketches fun to see, but the little comments you wrote on them added so much to the full enjoyment of the sketch! You pointed out little things you observed with your senses as you sketched that most of us wouldn’t notice, and reading them enriched the sketch by taking me to that veggie stand in a much deeper way. I could almost hear those roller skate wheels on the sidewalk, or the rain on the umbrella, or smell the flowers at the market. I can almost see the bicycles pass by behind you with bags of lemons on the handlebars! I’m going to keep all this in mind as I sketch next time. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Karla! Thank you so much for your note here…it’s been so fun to see what resonated with different people in this collection of sketches, whether it was the details or the spirit behind markets in general or, in your case, the little sensory details and observations I wrote on the sketches!

      I actually first got that idea from a book on keeping a nature journal or sketchbook…they suggested writing similar little annotations as you observe weather conditions or natural details in a landscape, and when I sat down to create my first sketch in Portugal, the idea came back to me as a perfect practice for travel sketching, too! I’m so glad it resonated with you, and I can’t wait to see you give it a try in your own future sketches 🙂

  • suzanne mcneill

    Markets are always where I want to go… around the world they set the tone of the culture and always have lots of friendly vendors. I love all of your market sketches. thank you for sharing them.
    Also, THANK YOU for posting about the #Talesonrail2017 opportunity. It was fun to view what other travelers are doing. I loved going through my collection of photos and sketches to choose what to post. It was a wonderful opportunity to relive memories of special journeys.

    • Hi Suzanne! Thank you so much for your great comment — I not only loved your note about markets setting the tone of a culture (what a great way to put it!), but I’m equally thrilled that you enjoyed learning about the #Talesonrail2017 residency 🙂 My fingers will be crossed that perhaps you’ll be selected for it! <3

      • suzanne mcneill

        Your note are encourageing. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed.
        A magazine invited me to write a guest blog… I think it turned out very nice. If you’d like to take a peek, here’s the link:

        http://www.clothpaperscissors. com/blog/travel-sketch-journals-suzanne-mcneill/

  • Barb Sykes

    Beautiful work. I always love your illustrations and story of what captures your eyes and heart. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Barb — I really appreciate you sharing them with me!

  • Kar

    Past few days I have been looking at the photos which I took in the Foça weekly market with nostalgia I thought time to sketch this, but all those shapes of fruits and vegetables, colors and all the detail was just too overwhelming for me to tackle them. But your timely post inspired me to look at the photos again, may be I will start with one pile of tomatoes…..thank you so much for sharing all those beautiful, atmospheric sketches and your journey. Mil besitos de Ronda😘😘😘

    • Dear Kar — thank you so much for this wonderful note here! And I believe first of all, I need to begin by welcoming you home to Adelaide 🙂 I believe I saw on Instagram that you had left Ronda, and I hope you aren’t missing your time there too much — and that you feel full of the gifts and moments that your time there and in Turkey and Bosnia gave you. I also love that this collection of market sketches might have inspired you to begin sketching scenes from your own weekly market in Foça…your idea to begin with a single pile of tomatoes is a beautiful one, and I can’t wait to see the end result on Instagram! Besote de Seattle 🙂 <3

  • Treava

    Thank you Candace for sharing (again) your wonderful and inspiring sketches and stories from your travels. I love how you compose your sketches and stories – both at the time when you were there and then again now!
    Markets are wonderful, yes connections and pieces of life. In some places they are a lifeline, both for the seller and the consumer. Here it is a trend and an expensive one at that. Many people are embracing these markets.
    When I lived in Italy it was a highlight and far better than any store. Every Friday was market day, I even bought a winter coat. Rosella felt that I needed one as it was 15 C at night. (This was funny as it 15 C right now, in July, near Toronto as I write this)! It was the cheapest price I ever paid for a coat and it was an excellent coat! Rosella was a friend there that accompanied me to the market that day to bargain for a coat. The Sunday market there was fruit, candies and the most delicious, ginormous, melt-in-your-mouth dates. I lived on those dates, and bananas!
    Thank you Candace, and for fuelling our memory banks!

    • Thank you so much for this delightful comment, Treava — and please know I am always excited to help fuel your memory bank, as I love getting to then hear your own stories and experiences! I loved hearing about your time in Italy, your friend Rosella there, and your weekly trips to the market each Friday…those dates sound delicious, and I so enjoyed the sweet humor of you buying a winter coat for rather warm winter temperatures 🙂 Thank you for sharing that, and thank you as always for being so supportive and kind — I can’t wait to see what you create this weekend for our next Moment Catchers challenge!

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  • Thank you for sharing your colourful sketches Candace. Markets are so vibrant, not only the produce, but the people and as you say, a great place for connection. I have fond memories of markets in Italy – small and large. What great places to just sit and watch, and also sketch! We have farmers markets here in Adelaide. The stalls are operated by the farmers from areas around the city, so all the produce is local. A wonderful way to shop! What lovely memories you’ve shared. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for your great comment here, Colleen, and for sharing about your own local farmers’ markets in Adelaide — isn’t it wonderful to have them right in your community? I also loved your observation about how on the deepest level, markets are about the people behind the produce…that’s such a beautiful thought, and I’m grateful you shared it with us! <3

  • Genevieve

    A gorgeous collection! I really like how you often frame just a corner of a market, letting the imagination fill in what must be just beyond the edges of your paper. I’m drawn to markets as well, you’ve inspired me to take the time to sketch them more often.

    • Thank you, Genevieve! That means a lot coming from you. And I’ve definitely been learning a lot lately about leaving room for the viewer’s imagination! I’ve always been so tempted to fill in the entire page with as much of a scene as possible, but my time in Chile two months ago was the first time I narrowed my focus and only sketched a single element from each scene. It’s such a different shift for our eye and mind, isn’t it? But I’m really enjoying it so far, and am especially excited to try it out the next time I’m in a market 🙂