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!

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

— Hal Borland

One balmy Friday evening, a few weeks ago in Montevideo, I stood in the entranceway to my yoga studio, surrounded by teachers and fellow members of the studio — whose name, Alma Libre, means “free soul” in Spanish. We were gathered for Alma Libre’s first annual end-of-the-year party, and the air was filled with lively conversation and laughter befitting such an occasion.

Not long after the party started, though, the atmosphere shifted. One of Alma Libre’s owners, Alejandra, motioned for us to begin moving upstairs to the studio space, where we would share a group meditation session. One by one, we filed up the stairs, our laughter quieting to a hushed calm. Suddenly, the air was so still it felt reverent. When I finally reached the top of the stairs and turned to walk into the studio, I stopped on the threshold, amazed at the sight in front of me. 

The studio was completely dark, apart from the dozens of tea lights placed across the wooden floor, each giving off a gentle orange glow. In the very center of the floor were five bowls brimming with fresh white gardenia blossoms, their fragrance suffusing the room with unbelievable sweetness. And up through the studio’s open windows filtered the rhythmic trickling of the water fixture in the courtyard below. I found a seat on the floor, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply — for all I knew, I had suddenly been transported from the center of Montevideo to a secret garden: The wind whispering of gardenias, a stream bubbling at my feet.

This moment of stillness and serenity would have been enough for me — it would have carried me right on through Christmas with its sacred beauty — however Alejandra began to speak again, quietly inviting us to prepare ourselves for the new year ahead.

“But first,” she said, “you need to leave behind lo vivido.”

Lo vivido — in English, the phrase literally translates as “the lived.” I interpreted this as Alejandra encouraging us to leave behind what we had already lived this year, in order to make room for what we are about to live and experience in 2018 — or what we might call the not-yet-lived. I always love the transition between one year and the next, but never before had I heard the process described in such a unique way.

About half an hour later, a single bell was rung three times, signaling the end of the meditation. When I opened my eyes, I was struck by the scene in front of me for the second time that evening: At some point during the meditation session, someone had gathered all of the tea lights scattered throughout the studio and arranged them in a circle around the bowls of gardenia flowers. To me, not only was it another picture of sacred beauty; it was also a perfect image for how we can prepare ourselves for the new year — by looking back on a year full of moments and events that might at first glance seem scattered and disparate, but with a bit of reflection and stillness, can soon be gathered together and given order, shape, and meaning.

It is this image of beauty and reflection that I will be carrying with me into the start of 2018, having left ‘the lived’ of this year behind — and I hope that this picture, and Alejandra’s timely words, hold inspiration for you as well.

Here’s to a new year full of beauty, light, and connection — Happy 2018, friends!

Happy 2018 candles

  • Syowoe

    Love this! Love Gardenias. Love the lights. Lo vivido indeed! In the present. Into the future.

  • Treava

    Oh my gosh Candace! It was like meditation reading your post! You transported me to your studio in Montevideo! So beautiful and soul-quenching. Thank you. This is a wonderful process and ideal to be grateful for what has transpired in the past year and move on to fill up a full year ahead with new and remarkable moments. Happy New Year Candace!

    • Amanda Thompson

      I was thinking that too. Have a wonderful New Year Treava

      • Treava

        Thank you! You have a Happy New Year too Amanda!

  • Veena

    What a beautiful way of thinking about the end of one year and the beginning of the next. I hope your 2018 is a wonderful one, and as always I am sending lots of love and a big hug from Memphis 🙂 xx

  • Really, really beautiful way of transitioning from one year to the next, Candace, doesn’t yoga and meditation just bring that absolute clarity and peace to one’s soul?
    New year, new work, new career, new friends (via IG) and my absolute dream: Canada and the USA!!!!! Here goes, Candace. An extremely Happy New Year to you. 🦄🦄🐬🐬❤️❤️🌸🍀🌼

    • Amanda Thompson

      Are you off traveling Victoria???? I am so excited for you for all of the above. Not sure that I recommend having corn dogs for breakfast if you are off to the US mind you 😉

      • Ha ha, I think I would agree with you on the corn dog front Amanda. I don’t have all the funds together to do the planned trip at present and it is only if I can get my ‘new’ career off the ground and make some money from it. Patternmaking in fashion requires such long periods of standing and the stress is enormous so my new plans have to eventuate for me. Anyhow that is why I was so enthralled with all your fab photos from your trip, I want to go to Toronto and Quebec then down to Chicago and get the South West Chief through Santa Fe, Flagstaff and into LA. But since Candace decided to throw a spanner in the works about her yoga/sketching retreat in Massachusetts, I am now rethinking the time frame. 😳🤞Look forward to more of your fab US sketches.🌸🍀

        • Amanda Thompson

          Amazing! Gosh your career sounds fascinating and exhausting. We love the US – have seen 31 states and counting. That said they don’t always get our sense of humour unless you go to Canada. I hope it all works out. If I had extra cash I would be at Candace’s retreat but we went into a draw system Jan 2017 to be able to see the Katmai bears in July 2018 so I have stretched my cash which is a bugger. Where are those money growing trees!

        • Money trees indeed!! I could do with even a baby one starting to sprout!! I agree with what you said about Canada on Instagram and feeling ‘at home’. I have wanted to go for so many years so really hoping the stars align this year. Thought I might brush up on my French!

  • Kar

    An insightful journey which you have shared in this piece evokes such a bitter sweet thought in me. I dread to take the step up the stairs with you to that yoga room, yet I know in my heart I need to go there and face it. In 2017 I have lost a greatest piece of my soul, but I have encountered the long lost shadow which you have brought it to light and shine in our friendship. I am so honoured and grateful to be part of your journey this year. Thank you Candace! May 2018 bring you and your love ones peace, light and love.!! With metta, kar.

    • Amanda Thompson

      Thinking of you Kar. I didn’t realise 2017 had been such a tough one for you. Take care of yourself xxx

      • Kar

        Thank you Amanda! Happy New Year❤

    • And may you continue to keep us captivated by your utterly beautiful intuitive and insightful sketches Kar. They let us imagine our own dreams in every one of them. God Bless you Kar and all the best for 2018.🌺🌸🌼

      • Kar

        Thank you Victoria! Happy New Year💖

  • What a beautiful way to bring the year to a close and make space for what’s to come in 2018. I’ve found this in-between space a good time to reflect. Thanks for an inspiring year with Moment Sketchers, Candace and I wish you all the best things for 2018.

    • Amanda Thompson

      It really is an in-between space isn’t it? Have a lovely New Year if I am not chatting before then.

  • Amanda Thompson

    Lovely reflection Candace. Sounds like a wonderful group to be part of-thanks for passing those thoughts and images on to all of us around the world. Happy New Year in a few days! Enjoy your family time.

  • Beautiful! Thank you for your blog Candace, your posts have definitely been a consistent highlight for me in 2017! I’m going to try and do some sketching every day in 2018. A question for you: do you think we should become proficient at the basic skills of drawing (e.g. perspectives, ratios, values) before moving onto watercolors?

  • Mary Ann Miller

    What a lovely way to begin the year. I am sitting on the porch of our beach house in Florida looking out at 26 mph winds blowing 9′ waves on shore. And reading John 6:18-20. Happy, happy new year.