Europe 2020V: Video flip-through plus my five favourite sketches and pages

July 29, 2020 | 2 Comments

Here is the final article about my recent virtual trip to Europe including a video flipping through all four sketchbooks, plus my five favourite sketches and double-page spreads.

Video Flip-through

I used four A4 landscape Hahnemuehle Watercolour Books. Towards the end of the fourth book I added some pages from a Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook. Click here to watch on YouTube.


Five Favourite Sketches

It’s always hard to decide on favourites, but if I could only pick five, these ones have a special significance for me.

Often my favourite sketches are related to how I felt at the time, whether my work was flowing and how almost effortless it felt. There is often also a social aspect to my favourite sketches as well. And for this virtual project, the top five all have some strong link with friends or family.

Montone Roofscape, Umbria

I did a lot of complex scenes as part of the Palladian Odyssey Umbria Virtual Tour and this was my favourite as it was quick and fun to do. I also had incredible memories of teaching in this location last year which came flooding back when I did this sketch.

Palladio’s Tempietto in Maser

This  is one of my favourite buildings to sketch in the Veneto and often a highlight of my visit to the region. I like this sketch as it was one of the rare occasions when I was happy with a direct watercolour sketch on the Hahnemuehle paper.

San Marco, Venice

I think this is my pick for my favourite sketch of the project.

Done late at night while waiting up for a zoom call with my friends… this is the most interpretative sketch of the collection. I had been experimenting with using finer brushes as part of the 30×30 direct watercolour work and I felt as if my work was really flowing when I did this one.

Royal Place, Brussels

Sketching this row of complex and richly decorated buildings was pure delight as I was talking non-stop with my friend Frannie (via Zoom) at the time.  It was total reflex sketching and I was pleasantly surprised at the end when I sat back and looked at what I had been doing!


Dun Carloway, Isle of Lewis

This sketch makes the cut of my top five mainly because of how amazing it felt to do it. This was done on Moleskine paper in only a few minutes. After struggling (to various degrees) off and on with the Hahnemuehle paper for the full project, I suddenly realised why I love the Moleskine. I also have fun memories of being here last year with Esther Semmens and times with my sister.


Five favourite spreads

It was also hard to limit my choice to five spreads, as composing my sketchbook pages was one of the biggest highlights of this 11 week virtual trip project.

The first spread where I realised how nice it is to include round objects for the flow across the page. 🙂

My Baroque day was one of the special parts of this V-trip and this spread was where I started to explore some new concepts for sketching buildings. I love the colours and the combination of text and sketches.

In this spread I realised how much I like the white space which surrounds a simple ink sketch… and once again the circular shape of the food is fun. (Oh! the Umbrian truffles… yum!)

There were a number of spreads (mainly from my stay in the Veneto region) where I combined numerous sketches and a diagram or two with text on the page. This is one of them.

And lastly, this spread jumps out to me because the colour scheme is a little different… and the subject matter is too! More incredible memories of being in these sketches – this time with my family.


All the 2020V Trip articles can be found here with thumbnails for each.


But I thought it would also be helpful to have an index in chronological order.

My Europe 2020 trip is on… virtually!

The Virtual trip begins

First two days in Rome

A Baroque Day in Rome

The rest of my time in Rome

A week in Umbria

A Virtual Palladian Odyssey Tour in Umbria

Marostica and a few Palladian villas

Palladian Odyssey Virtual Veneto Tour

Vicenza and the Veneto

Five days in Venice

Florence and San Gimignano

A weekend in Luxembourg

A week in Brussels

Overnight in Gouda

Last few weeks in Scotland

Five Reflections from my 11 week virtual trip to Europe

Thanks again for coming along on this virtual trip with me. It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve loved having you following along.


  • Cathy Ramsey says:

    That was so much fun!!
    Great to recall the exhaustion and excitement of travel, when it’s hard to know when the opportunity will arise again. Your sketches are gorgeous, and the layouts are always interesting. I learn a lot watching your work, thanks so much for sharing.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Cathy – yes, I really don’t know when I will be able to travel again… especially from Australia… but this was just a fun and satisfying project.

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