Winter 2021

by Miss Roberts

The Holly Tree – Painting tip: Holly has a blue tint to it, it can work well if you give it an initial very pale blue wash, allow that to dry, then paint on a green and using a damp tissue remove parts of the green in areas you want to look highlighted.

Holly, unlike Oak, seems to repel lightning and has been seen as guarding against lightning, poison and evil spirits. It was sacred to the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis, as well as the Scandinavian Gods Odin and Thor. During the Roman festival of Saturnalia holly was sent as a gift to a friend. These days it is often regarded as the Christmas decoration, being evergreen with its green leaves and bright red berries.

Holly wood burns the brightest of all the woods and it also produces a good charcoal. It is a powerful tree, symbolising strength and protection. It keeps its leaves and berries throughout the cold winter months providing food for many woodland creatures. The thrush loves holly berries.Men carrying holly leaves were said to be irresistible to women. A mild tea of holly was said to be good for relieving feelings of jealousy, envy, anger and revenge. Placed over the bedpost or burnt as an incense, holly could help rekindle desires and increase appetite.

A Holly leaf placed under the pillow can give prophetic dreams, it is said to reveal the source of your problems and encourage you to deal with your darker more difficult emotions.

Courses this term

Online: Drawing and Painting Nature.  In association with The South London Botanical Institute. Tuesdays 6pm to 8pm. From 18th January to 22nd March. Suitable for beginners and those with some experience. Follow this link for more information:

Studio based teaching: Get skills in botanical illustration.  City Lit, Keeley Street, London. Thursdays 10am to 1pm. 27th January to 17th February. Botanical illustration is both an art form and a means of scientific engagement. Learn about depicting form, colour and differences in plant species with precision and detail on this studio and location-based course. More information:

Online: Make a creative Handmade Sketchbook. Tuesdays 10.30 to 12.30. 22nd February to 22nd March. This Handmade Sketchbook Course will take your ideas and personal stories as a starting point and explore them in different visual directions, through drawing, painting, collage and mono-printing techniques. More information:

All course dates can be seen on the website www.obscurewonders.comFor further information email