Leaf of the Day:Acanthus Montanus.. Some Prickles.

The very prickly thing I have drawn today is a piece of the Acanthus montanus or Mountain Thistle. It’s in bloom now at the Gardens and I took this photo a week ago. I have to say that even though this may be handsome, it is an extremely unfriendly plant. Every bit of it is covered with sharp spines.

This is not the acanthus leaf of the classical Corinthian capitals which were more likely to have been inspired by the Acanthus mollis, also charmingly named Bears Breeches, which I will come back to. I would like to draw a real, Corinthian column type, acanthus leaf.

A quick sketch of the leaf itself and a detail of the leathery spiny surface, and then a small watercolor for some texture practice. The veins are deep, the sections well defined and the surface shiny and it has prickles ..a bit of a nightmare to paint really and these small pieces take a ridiculous amount of time for what you get ..hence very short post.. but it is good practice.


Mountain Thistle Leaf

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  1. Hi Val
    I love acanthus, although the one I am familiar is a. mollis. Although I am not an artist I like to look closely at the fine detail on plants. Lately I have been especially appreciating mature tree trunks. Anyway, I think you did a fine job drawing the prickly leaves.
    cheers, catmint.

  2. I love the shadow in the last one-

  3. Thanks so much both.these are such aggressive leaves. everytime I picked this up it embedded itself in my fingers.. I am going for the non prickly version next!

  4. Well its a shame you've left Europe, as we have the National Collection of Acanthus; with many more prickly (and non prickly) versions you could've drawn!

  5. Well its a shame you've left Europe, as we have the National Collection of Acanthus in the UK, and many more pickly (and non prickly) ones you could've drawn!

  6. Hi there Miss A… that sounds very interesting! Where are they? I shall be back in August for a coupole of months!

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