Europe 2020V: Scotland

July 15, 2020 | 5 Comments

Well this is it… my last sketches from my big 11 week Virtual Trip to Europe!

This year I had intended to fly from Amsterdam to Inverness and then spend a week or so with my sister and family while on holidays (vacation) on the mainland. (If you don’t know, my sister lives on a remote island in Scotland.) I was then booked to fly out from Glasgow.

So this meant that I wasn’t planning to visit Edinburgh or the Isle of Lewis (which would have been weird since both places have become almost a second home to me). But as my sister and family are still on the island at the moment and I wanted to catch up with Esther Semmens (who lives in Edinburgh) I jumped around Scotland a bit for the last week of my Virtual Trip but still following an itinerary which could have been possible.

I have so many photos of Scotland from different trips over the years (12 trips?) that it was easy for me to sketch numerous locations. And as I was super busy getting ready for the start of Watercolour On Location I didn’t do a lot of sketching – generally just one double page spread per day .

And I could have worked on some sketches a little longer… but that just makes them more like true travel sketching when I never have enough time!

I had three early morning zoom sketching sessions with Esther (starting at 6:30am!) which were really wonderful!

I was also running out of pages in my Hahnemuehle Watercolour book so I found some Moleskine pages to stick in and extend the life of this book (Volume 4). It was really good to use the Moleskine paper again and it made me realise that my struggles with direct watercolour during this project were completely related to paper. Hmm, that needs a separate article!

Here are my Scottish spreads (click on images to view larger)… there is a fun variety in subject matter and colour schemes in this collection.

And then it was time to head home…

So here is a plane sketch (using a previous sketch as reference) and a back home teacup sketch on the last page of my sketchbook.

Well, I made it to the end of my 11 week trip! Yay!

There were times when I felt it was a bit of a burden and I wasn’t sure I could stick with it for the full itinerary. But once I lowered my standards and developed a routine for carving out the time to sketch, it became a lot easier.

All that is left now to do for this project is a “Trip Reflections” article. So stay tuned for that!



  • Jane Varley says:

    Hi Liz, I’m so impressed by your wonderful sketches, enthusiasm and not least, your tenacity in staying with your virtual tour. What a ride!! After buying your book a couple of years ago and following your blog for quite some time, I finally subscribed and also enrolled in Watercolour on Location. It was a last minute decision, so I feel I’m running to catch up, especially when seeing other people’s work posted when I’ve barely begun. However, I’m very much enjoying your inspirational demos. Thanks so much.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jane!!! I hope that you enjoy Watercolour On Location and that it really helps your work!

  • Janet Fox says:

    It was lovely to have a virtual visit. My kids two soft toys are very realistic!

  • Marianne Patton says:

    Especially love the sketches with both ink and watercolor! I stare at them and wonder out loud… was the whole page wet first, or just the sky? Or none of it? Did she use ink first, or paint, or back and forth? Did she start in front, or on the horizon? And I hear no answers coming back to me… ahhh, maybe Vicenza 2021?

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