Adventure: Liz Steel – Watercolor non-Credit online course

I admit I am an online course snob. I am an Instructional Designer who works for a college. I have won two Blackboard Exemplary Course awards. I have a Master’s in Instructional Design. I can’t help it I love well-structured courses that make it easy for learners to learn.

I am no stranger to the non-college online course, I started to take them when all there was mIRC (a web chat client), a group posting board, and email. At times they were clumsy, to say the least. None were really well designed.

I started to get back into watercolors a couple of years ago. I wrote a blog post about how I created a OneNote notebook to collect and track my journey. I decided to take the plunge and take a non- college online class.I have been following an Urban Sketcher Liz Steel for a number of years on  YouTube and Instagram.

(Note: what is a non-college online course? Any course that is not providing for credit (or degree credit) courses.)

@lizsteelart on Instagram and Twitter (Her Blog)  (YouTube)

So has different courses on her Sketchingnow website. I heard some great reviews from people who have taken her classes. Mostly they are self-directed, which means that you go at your own pace. I most likely will end up taking the fundamental course in the near future, but first I want to go through her watercolor class.

This is the first time she has run the watercolor class so it’s instructor-led(ish). Why the ISH? She does provide feedback for some of the work, but it’s not provided for everyone. The feedback session in the instructor-led(ish) will show up in the feedback section when it becomes a self-directed course. I am not sure if Liz can be reached to answer any questions once the course becomes self-directed, and I don’t think there is any feedback to the learner, outside of peer review of assignments.

What is there, what is the value of these courses? The value is in the material that she presents. The videos, the downloadable content, and the discussion boards are well worth the access.

Review of some of the lessons and my thoughts:

I started with the following colors. These are the colors I had in my Pocket Palette for well over a year and a half. I started with the Daniel Smith Essentials kit and built off of them. When I started to work with the colors I realized that I was missing a few colors that might work better. I had the colors but I had them in other palettes.

watercolor pallete

Colors from my watercolor palette

Cerulean Blue Chromium PB36
Transparent Pyrrol Orange PO71
Permanent Alizarin Crimson PR 177, PV19, PR 149
Amethyst Genuine (PrimaTek Series, ground Amethyst)
Burnt Sienna PBr 7
Burnt Umber PBr7
Hansa Yellow Light Py3
New Gamboge PY 97, PY 110
Quinacridone Rose PV 19
Pyrrol Orange PO73
Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) PB15:3
French Ultramarine  PB 29
Moonglow PG 18, PB 29, PR 177


This was Lesson 2 layering. I used Phthalo Blue GS, but really didn’t like how the mountains came out. I loved the layering effect. But the Colors seems off to me. The object of this assignment was to layer paints to build up the amount of pigment.

Liz calls for three types of mixes: Watery, Juicy, and Pasty. On these pages, I was playing around with different mixing techniques. (Including layering bottom left-hand-side.

Once I realized that my colors were off. I changed up my palette and redid the assignment. I like this much better.








One of the first assignments. I kept myself under 20 minutes for this. The assignment was mixing colors. I think the palette did a great job but wished I put some details in it, to help with the overall look of the piece. I think that I will go back to this, or select some of my own vegetables.















After completing the lesson, I changed my palette.
Lemon Yellow P 175
Hansa Yellow  Medium PY 97
New Gamboge Py 97, PY 110
Transparent Pyrrol Orange PO71
Quinacridone Lilac PR 122
Phthalo Blue GS PB 15:3
French Ultramarine PB 29
Cerulean Blue Chromium PB36
Cobalt Teal Blue PG 50
Sap Green Deep PO 48, PY 3, PB 27
Potter’s Pink PR 233
Monte Amaite Sienna PBr 7
Transparent Red Oxide PR 101
Payne’s Blue Grey PB 60, PK6 (Honestly I am not sure if this is going to stay or go…)



I am learning a lot from this course. I am glad that I took it. So far it really allowed me to step back and put me in a different place. I need to get out of my “oh, no, I have to be perfect mode.” This can be dangerous for me to do, because I will never do anything.

If I look at it as a skills building class instead of a masterpiece, for me at least, is the best way to learn.

Just some notes. I am a watercolor junkie, I have several different branks, Daniel Smith is just the brand that I have the most of, followed by Schminke. I love trying out new watercolors and playing with them.

Another take away so far is to play with the colors. See how they interact with each other, not just the chart – But to mix them with different techniques on different paper. It’s amazing what you get.

I will review the course once I am done with the whole course in a couple of weeks.I will look at it professionally as well as from a student perspective.

Thank you for reading.



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