Holly Leaves

I keep coming back to holly. I think I’ve found it my biggest challenge since starting botanical illustration. I think its the combination of the flat surface and the shine. I still remember an attempt I made a couple of years ago, that’s how much of a disaster I viewed it as (I would post a photo for the comedy value, but I can’t find the painting…….!)

I did quite a lot of browsing other botanical artists’ paintings of holly, and there is a lot of inspiration out there.


This is ‘Holly and Ivy’ by Gaynor Dickeson.
She is a wonderful artist and has been a huge inspiration to me. 

I knew that for my next holly attempt, I would need to practice, practice, practice. I drew multiple outlines of a holly leaf and set to work.


Here you can see my first 3 attempts, with some notes at the sides as to the colours I used, and the layers of washes. None of these felt right to me. By the 4th attempt I felt like I was getting somewhere.

IMG_1826 IMG_1827IMG_1828 IMG_1829


4th Study – Finally a success?



8 thoughts on “Holly Leaves

    • Thank you, Chris. I think holly will be something I come back to over and over again (probably around Christmas!), and will never get perfect, but hopefully I’ll improve each time. Thanks for visiting my blog – yours is wonderful too! I look forward to seeing your future posts. Best wishes.

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