A selection of my Montreal sketches

September 8, 2017 | 17 Comments

Montreal is an incredibly beautiful and sketchable city, and it’s also home to two of my great sketching friends whose work I adore – Marc Taro Holmes and Shari Blaukopf. So it was totally a dream come true to be sketching there last month. It was also fun to hang out with Anne Laure from France and meet lots of local (and not so local sketchers). Ah, it was so good!

I recently mentioned a few takeaways from my week in Montreal here and showed you a flip through of my sketchbooks here.

But today I simply want to share with you a collection of my sketches from my visit. I have a question for you at the end, so please keep scrolling through the images!

Chateau Ramezay

Old Town Hall

Le 357

Old Fire Museum

Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde – sketch 1

Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde – sketch 2

Pointe Claire windmil

Bridge to the mainland at Sainte Anne de Bellevue

Crazy roofs everywhere! (super quick sketch)

More  on Avenue Papineau

Ecole des Beaux-arts de Montreal

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours

Sketching in the rain!

Place Jacques-Cartier

Chinese Tea

Question/s for you:

Is there a particular sketch from this collection that you would like to know more about? Or any aspect to this collection that you would like me to discuss.

Particularly for those doing my SketchingNow Buildings course… please feel free to ask any questions about my approach to these sketches. Can you see how I have applied the concepts from the course?



  • Deb says:

    They look really nice, Liz.
    If I can only pick one – Le 357. Did you paint he shapes first, then do the pen work, with black then blue?
    Or pen fist then paint?
    Doing SketchIng Now Buildings course.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Deb – in that one I was definitely alternating between wash and line (and multiple pens too) I hope you enjoy the course 😀

  • I love the two versions of the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde – when do you choose to do just watercolour and when pen + watercolour? Is it just to do with the amount of time you have available? Thanks! Marie-Hélène

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Marie-Helene. Great question and in fact I plan to right more about it in a separate article. There are a lot of factors that go into my decision and sometimes I make it up as I go. 😀

  • Sharon Stover says:

    I love them all! How much time did you spend with Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde – sketch 2?

    • Liz Steel says:

      HI Sharon, its hard to say but I was totally in the groove having sketched all day and there was something special about this building. I am guessing that it took about 10 minutes, but might have been a little longer. Marc reckons that since writing my book my sketching has gotten a LOT quicker!

  • Annie says:

    Beautitful collection, Liz. A keeper to look at and study. Thanks so much.

  • Jo-Christy Brown says:

    This was a wonderful post to read, but it saddened me a bit to hear that your walls at home are empty! With your amazing talent, and the talent of your friends around the world, I hope you find one painting that speaks to your heart and “pin” it to your wall today! I have just the opposite circumstance! My small home in Austin is filled with paintings from top to bottom…..I’ll send you a photo sometime! I will make you laugh… but every day ..with every step , my eyes land on something that inspires and makes me happy!

    Thank you for being one of the creative people who that does that for me!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Ha ha – my new home is a tiny flat and the empty walls certainly help make it feel more spacious. I will definitely put some art on the waLL soon!

  • I like the tree and perspective of Chateau Ramezay, the ethereal quality of the rain sketch and also Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, the bridge sketch. Ecole des Beaux-arts de Montreal and Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde took me back to our honeymoon visit to Montreal 20 years ago! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jeanette Gillings says:

    All are inspiring and just wonderful to study… my question is on “sketching in the rain!” Am I correct in saying that the paint was affected by ‘raindrops’? If so, how did you control the contact of the elements? It seems a perfect combination of rain and paint. I just love this sketch. Thank you for always providing such great inspiration and instruction. I love your classes.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Ah! great question. Firstly it has to be the right misty rain or else the rain will wash away your sketch. In this occasion it was the perfect weather and I was carefully watching what was happening while I was sketching. At one point I realised my page was getting too wet so I decided to stop. I put my umbrella up to protext my sketchbook while I packed up – ie. I allowed myself to get wet packing up while my sketchbook was on the ground with the umbrella over it.

  • Sharon Nolfi says:

    I love Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde – sketch 1. You seem to have abstracted shapes and arranged them to form the whole of the building. Did you use any guidelines for this sketch? Same question for the Chinese Tea sketch. I think this method is similar to Marc Taro Holmes’s “direct sketching with watercolor.” I like it because the building seems to appear out of nothing, as though created effortlessly..

  • Evie Conroy says:

    Your work is always a delight, Liz. I am one of your Buildings students and have been wrestling with the rose window on the North Sidney Church. The sketch I did of just the window is good but I find it hard to get the shape right when sketching the whole building. Interestingly, the clock in your Old Town Hall sketch is perfectly round.

  • Christine kopet says:

    The one ‘more on avenue Papineau’ looks like you just went for it with shapes and lines in watercolor. Is that true? That would be fun to know more about. As for the others, I enjoy them all for the way you captured them-and becuase I sw most of them on a visit to Montreal. Beautiful sketches!

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