A Palladian Odyssey

or: Seeing and drawing in Veneto with Liz Steel & a group of wonderful sketchers –

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

–Joseph Campbell


I have been to my second sketching workshop – a 6 day workshop in Veneto, Italy with the excellent urban sketcher Liz Steel, and a bunch of wonderful “trainees”. A trip I extended with a few extra days, because … one really never wants to leave Italy …


A short description of Liz’s Palladian Odyssey reads like this:

Come to the Veneto region of Northern Italy to express your creative side. Explore the rich cultural heritage of the Venetians through the work of their most influential Renaissance architect, Palladio and record what you see in sketches and paintings under the guidance of artist  Liz Steel.

Over 6 days we will visit some of the most famous Palladian villas with their wealth of classical artworks  and manicured gardens. We will explore the city of Vicenza home of Palladio and some of the most stunning palaces in Italy as well as visit some of the lesser known hill towns always characterised by the ubiquitous Venetian campanile (bell tower). The tour will include accommodation, the best of local produce and traditional cuisine as well as tastings of fine local wines.

You will come away with greater knowledge of the significance of Venetian culture beyond the City of Venice and a passion to keep recording your adventures in your sketchbook creating a uniquely personal record of your travels.

In addition to greater knowledge about Veneto & Italian history + a fine sketchbook, I also came away with new friends, new ideas, and a longing for going back to the incredibly beauty of northern Italy – .

But, maybe just as important; I came home with a strong desire to keep on sketching, which is really what a good workshop is all about, I believe — it should give you energy and enthusiasm to carry on.

And finally, a few of my sketches:


Villa di Maser – Villa Barbaro



Ca’ Marcello



Bassano del Grappa



View from Asolo



San Lorenzo, Vicenza 



The church at Monte Berico



Last morning in Vicenza

7 Comments Add yours

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Such attractive sketches – I love the contrast between the precision of your lines and looseness of your washes. The last one has an abundance of emotion, hard to articulate. Something about the light, bright sun on the buildings and those heavy shadows – very intense. Beautiful.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you! I had a wonderful time in Italy, such a beautiful country 🙂

      1. bluebrightly says:

        I bet! Any artist would – I still haven’t been there. Maybe someday….

  2. Oh, lovely! Especially the russet browns!

  3. pflanzwas says:

    Gorgeous! Great sketches! I am doing a class of urban sketching right now, but when I see your drawings I feel I am million miles away 😉 But it is an inspiration to continue. I bet you had a wonderful time 🙂

    1. Sigrun says:

      A wonderful trip! Great teacher, nice company – and lots of time to draw.
      I think urban sketching is very much about the sketchers voice – because a good sketch is smth else than a pure realistic rendering – it must have «personality» to be interesting for other people to look at 😉 (just like a great image has to be carefully composed)
      I Wonder, maybe it is like this: sketching – or art really – is a combination of hard, and in many ways repetitative work, over time & letting go. And letting go is just as hard as the working part … 🤔

      1. pflanzwas says:

        Haha, letting go may even be the harder part 😉 Yes, you are probably right about the personal expression. I must still get used to the sketching instead of the rendering!! Sometimes I’m getting stuck in details…

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