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!

One of my favorite things about announcing the new name for our Moment Sketchers community two weeks ago was sharing the backstory for how I got the idea for our sketching challenges in the first place. I’m a huge believer in the power of beginnings, and I always love hearing and sharing about the genesis of ideas.

As I shared with you, the idea for Moment Sketchers came to me last December, and our first sketching challenge launched in January of this year. Then, only a few weeks later, another idea came to me — in addition to online sketching challenges, what if I also organized on-location travel sketching tours? The more I thought about such a workshop, the more it felt like a perfect opportunity to bring together my passion for connection with my passion for teaching.

Suddenly, my mind was dancing with a dozen possibilities — with dates and details, workshop logistics and locations.

Without a doubt, I knew these workshops would be a big part of my vision for 2017.

My 2017 “starburst” model, where I outlined my different projects and focal points for the coming year, including on-location workshops.

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My original vision was to spend the month of March planning the workshop, before announcing it in April. As you can see in the above photo, I thought I would host the workshop in Guatemala, where I’ve found lots of inspiration as an artist before. I’ve always had a kind of nerdy love for travel logistics, so I was even excited to take on the organization of the workshop myself.

Finally, March arrived — it was time to get planning! I attended webinars about hosting creative retreats and workshops around the world. I took copious notes, started to learn about things like group liability waivers and cancellation policies, and began to feel just a teeny bit more overwhelmed about taking on the entire logistical side of the workshop.

And then, on a quiet Monday evening during the first week of March, I got an unexpected email.

The email was from a woman named Sharon, who was writing to tell me about her company, Arts & Cultural Travel. She told me that they organize and host tours with artists around the world, and that they especially love working with travel sketchers.

Her email was so serendipitously timed, I could hardly believe the coincidence.

The first thing I did was visit the company’s website — and I immediately loved what I saw. It was colorful, well-designed, and, most important to me, it evoked the same spirit of creativity and adventure I always aim to share here:

“Arts & Cultural Travel is about the state of mind known as flow – the creative place where time stands still. [Our] focus is on experiential travel through cultural explorations, the arts, and culinary samplings…with generous time thrown in for personal growth and creative pursuits.”

When Sharon and I spoke on the phone one week later, I again felt an immediate sense of kinship with her and the company’s ethos. But I was even more impressed by her know-how and expertise in tour planning. I spent a few days thinking about it before I finally decided to begin working with Arts & Cultural Travel — but the decision was one that gave me an instant sense of peace.

It felt great to let an expert take over the logistics, so I could return my own focus to the very things that had inspired me to launch a sketching tour in the first place: Teaching and connection.

Sketching workshop

Making connections at my sketching workshop during the 2017 Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference.

I loved starting the summer with a sketching workshop at the American Institute of Architecture Students’ leadership conference in Washington D.C.

The full group of incredible students I had the honor of teaching at the AIAS conference in July.

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For the past six months, Sharon and I have been slowly bringing my first on-location sketching workshop to life. The very first thing we did was talk about the destination — and we ended up choosing a country in Europe, to make it more accessible to artists from around the world. Again, our minds danced with dates and details and ideas — and today, I can finally share it all with you:

My friends, I’m thrilled to invite you to join me next September…in Portugal!

As I’ve shared with you many times before (especially in my post, “Six Years in 60 Sketches”), Portugal was the first country I ever pulled out my sketchbook in, on a weekend trip to Porto in 2011. Sharon and I both loved the idea of hosting my first sketching tour in the very place I began my own journey as a sketch artist.

The exact dates for the tour are September 10-16th, 2018, and here’s a brief look at the itinerary:

Day 1

– Arrival in Porto
– Walking tour of Porto
– Regional cooking class and welcome dinner

Day 2

– Morning sketching workshop #1: Moment Sketchers: The Art and Soul of Travel Sketching (also covering drawing, composition, and perspective)
– On-location sketching in Porto
– Wine cellar visit and tasting

Day 3

– On-location sketching in Porto
– Coimbra University tour and sketching
– Transfer to Lisbon

Day 4

– Morning Workshop #2: The Wonder of Watercolors: Honing your medium
On-location sketching in Lisbon, including visits to Jeronimo’s Monastery and St. George’s Castle

Day 5

– Daytrip sketching adventure to the villages of Cascais, Sintra, and Pena Palace

Day 6

– Morning Workshop #3: Project Post-Production: Editing your sketches digitally
– On-location sketching in Lisbon, or solo wandering, shopping, etc.
– Fado music dinner show

Day 7

– Depart for home

What’s included:

2 Nights’ Accommodation Porto
4 Nights’ Accommodations Lisbon
6 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Full-Time Tour Escort
Private Transfers Porto | Coimbra | Lisbon
Porto Tour with Wine Tastings
Regional Cooking Class
Tour Entrance Fees
Art Instruction
Complimentary Sketchbook


$3,425.00 – per person shared accommodations

Click here for more information

Porto Portugal

I was truly captivated by the beauty of Portugal during my first trip there in 2011…here are a few of my favorite photos from that journey!

Porto Portugal

Porto Portugal

Porto Portugal

Porto Portugal

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There are many more details about the tour on the Arts & Cultural Travel website, so if you’re interested, please visit the workshop’s listing here (or click here to register). For now, there’s just one last thing I want to share with you all today.

There are three things I believe this workshop brings together in a fun and beautiful way:

#– Creativity

Whether you’re looking to hone and develop your sketching skills, or discover them for the first time, creativity will be at the heart of this tour. I’m especially excited about the series of in-depth workshops we’ll have on three mornings of the trip, which will cover everything from drawing and composition to watercolors and post-production (i.e. scanning your sketches and creating high-resolution digital versions of your artwork).

#2 – Culture

One of the biggest reasons I love travel sketching is for the way it helps us create rich, vibrant memories of the places we’re exploring — and so, too, will sketching help us absorb and record the culture and traditions of Portugal. From the northern city of Porto to the historic neighborhoods of Lisbon and lastly to the villages of Sintra and Cascais, we will slowly work our way down the coast of Portugal, keeping our senses on high alert as we capture this beautiful country in our sketchbooks.

#3 – Connection

As excited as I am about how this workshop will combine creativity and culture, I must admit that what I’m most looking forward to is helping everyone on this trip grow their courage and comfortability with sketching on-location. From my own journey as an artist, I know that sketching in public can be an intimidating endeavor — but I’ve also come to realize that it’s a powerful, meaningful way to unlock deeper connections when we’re traveling:

Connections with each place, with others, and ultimately, with ourselves.

On this trip, when we’re not taking a deep dive in our morning workshops, we’ll be out sketching together, sitting side-by-side as we capture Porto and Lisbon in our sketchbooks. My hope is that you will not only leave Portugal with greater confidence as an artist, but that the connections and memories you make will leave you enriched as a human being, too.

I can’t wait to share more about this immersive workshop in the coming months, but for now, I’m simply thrilled to launch my first sketching tour — and I hope you’ll consider joining me!

Portugal sketching tour

Portugal sketch

My first on-location sketching session along the Duoro River in Porto, Portugal…

Portugal sketch

…and my first ever travel sketch that resulted from it. I can’t wait to sketch in Portugal again next year, and I hope you’ll join me!

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Have any questions? Please feel free to email me at [email protected],
or contact Sharon directly at Arts & Cultural Travel at [email protected].

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  • Brenda K

    Woah… how exciting! When I first read your blog post title, I thought it meant you were doing a sketching/teaching tour, and SURELY you’d be making a stop in Toronto! 😀

    I can’t join you in Portugal but it would definitely be a dream, and you’ll have a great group of people that will join you. Looking forward to reading/seeing more about it! I love that you are making this happen in the place where you started! 🙂

    • Thank you so very much, Brenda! And that makes perfect sense that you would think I was planning a sketching tour–I can totally see that now how this post’s title could be read both ways 🙂

      But that’s such a great idea, and of all the places I would love to visit and teach and sketch, Toronto is *very* high on that list, so that I could connect with all of you wonderful Ontario-based Moment Sketchers! Here’s hoping that can happen one day soon 🙂 <3

  • AAAAAAH! Candace you give too much food for thought. How absolutely magic. I am planning a train trip across Canada and on the South West Chief across the USA for that time next year. I have been brushing up on my French for Montréal, Quebec and Toronto!!! Now you throw this spanner in the works. OOOOOHH!! It sounds MAGIC, MAGIC!…. and I really want to visit the Alhambra in Seville so I will have to think very seriously on this one………..Perhaps if my new career takes off……….. This is fabulous news Candace.

    • Victoria! As always, your comment here made my day and brought such a smile to my face. First of all, I am so thrilled to hear about the incredible journeys you’re already planning for 2018–I can only imagine the scenes and moments you’ll be catching with your sketchbook in Canada and the Southwest of the US (another corner of my home country I would love to visit myself soon). Secondly, I’m so happy and honored you’re even considering the tour in Portugal…it would be amazing to have you join us, and pretty much a dream to get to finally sketch with you in person 🙂 Can’t wait to see how 2018 unfolds for us both!! <3

  • Rhonda Wiley-Jones

    Candace, you have really explored, exploited, and now exploded the idea of travel sketching. You are an inspiration for any artist to follow their dream and ideas. It has sure paid off for you. Way to go!

    • Dear Rhonda–I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and support here! I know we share a great passion for all things travel sketching and journaling…and even more, for sharing that passion with others 🙂 I’m truly thrilled to finally get to offer my own workshops and tours, and will be hoping yours continue to bring inspiration and insight to everyone you teach! <3

  • Jennie Cobb

    This sounds amazing – and a great way to spend my birthday on September 16! I’ll have to think seriously about this!

    • Jennie! I loved learning that your birthday is in September…I’m so sorry to have missed it a few weeks ago, but I hope you had a wonderful and inspiring day 🙂 And even more, I loved hearing that you’ll be thinking about coming on the tour through Portugal! As I shared with Victoria just below, it would be such a dream to sketch with you all–please let me know if you have any questions about the tour and what it will entail as you consider it! <3

  • Treava

    Candace congratulations on this new and wonderful venture!! This sounds fantastic! I will seriously consider this!😍👩‍🎨

    • Thank you so much, Treava! As I loved sharing in this post, I’ve been thinking and scheming about launching a sketching tour since the beginning of this year, so it’s almost surreal to finally be able to share it with you all here 🙂 I’m so glad it sounds fun and inspiring to you, and I’m even more delighted that you’re thinking about joining us…it would be amazing to have you with us!! <3

  • JourneyCount

    Wow, this sounds absolutely wonderful. If it wasn’t out of my price range I would be there in an instant! Although I may actually be in Portugal that time next year as I’ll be ‘van-lifing’ and finding somewhere warm to spend Autumn! Good luck Candace 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Jade! How fun to hear you might be in Portugal around that time next year–if so, we will definitely have to be in touch about making a meet-up (and sketching session!) happen…it’d be wonderful to finally connect in person with you 🙂 And I completely understand about the cost–I’m excited to host this first tour and get more familiar with leading on-location workshops, so that I can hopefully offer different options (and price ranges) in the future! <3

  • Amanda Thompson

    How exciting Candace! Good on you for moving in this direction. All who attend will be sure to have an amazing time and learn so much. I can’t wait to hear how it goes next year.

    • Amanda, as always I’m so touched by your kind words and support–I’m thrilled you love the idea of these new sketching tours and workshops, and I’m just looking forward to the day when I can finally make it over to Australia to bring all of our wonderful Moment Sketchers down under together 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week so far! <3

      • Amanda Thompson

        Definitely try to make that happen!!!

  • Sunny Christian

    Wow, oh Wow, oh Wow!!! good for you Candace!! This is SO exciting! and what a fabulously lovely beautiful excursion you have planned. I would truly love to go….must give it some thought and prayer….xoxox