And the ivy

The holly and the ivy...

This time of year, I draw a lot of holly. But wandering out into the garden on a day so grey that it's barely got light, it's the ivy that's singing out.

I think of the ivy as one thing, sprawling over the back of the garden, sometimes cleared, sometimes harvested for wreath-making and when I'm leaving it alone, a feast for garden creatures.

But picking off a few leaves to bring in to draw – it's chilly out – I notice how wildly different they are, even within the same species. Each has its own shape and pattern.

They're tricky to draw on watercolour paper that favours softness and not the hard-edged layers and lines of these leaves. So I grab wax crayons, a household candle, watercolour pencils and a highlighter for added depth and brightness.

Here's to the energetic, individual, un-pin-downable thing that is ivy.

Ballpen, watercolour, fineliner, highlighter, watercolour pencil, wax crayon and household candle on handed-down watercolour paper.

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