Polly o'Leary

Botanical Artist

Polly o'Leary lives on the border of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.

"The discipline of Botanical Illustration and Botanical Painting requires a high degree of scientific observation and accuracy, along with technical ability, and a good eye for composition. This blending of science and art perfectly expresses my fascination with nature, which I have drawn and painted since I could hold a pencil. I have furthered my studies to include the Plants and the materials I use; the substrates, both watercolour paper and vellum, the paints and their pigments.

I tell the story of each plant through composition, form, structure and detail. Working mainly from life, I enjoy the quiet meditative process of studying, recording and painting plants and natural subjects. I work mainly in watercolour, graphite and silverpoint, and aim to establish an intimacy between the viewer and the subject of my paintings"

- Polly o'Leary

Polly is an SBA Fellow and a member of the Association of British Botanical Artists

Polly’s paintings have been examined and passed by the RHS Picture Panel and she is currently planning and working towards the exhibition of a body of work with the RHS

Her illustrations have graced the pages of The English Garden Magazine, the cover of the De Jager Catalogue and in 2014 her Step-by-Step article on the painting of Phragmipedium Bel Royal was published in the Orchid Society of Great Britain Journal.

Polly currently tutors Botanical Painting with the London Art College and tutors a Botanical Watercolour class in her local area.

Exhibitions and awards

2018

18 May - 15 June
Painting selected for the UK exhibition In Ruskin’s Footsteps. Part of the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition, held in 22 participating countries around the globe at the same time. A worldwide day of botanical art was held on May 18th, with events held for 24 hours, following the sun from venue to venue.

March 20th - May 20th
Exhibition Tulip-Tulipae, Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid

2017

October
Paintings selected and exhibited at the Society of Botanical Artists - 'Changing Seasons'

2nd - 3rd September
The Orchid Study Group, Demonstration and Exhibition of Orchid Painting, at the Orchid Festival, National Botanic Garden of Wales

20th May
Orchid Day Dyffryn Gardens - Demonstration and Exhibition of Orchid Painting with the Orchid Study Group

25th February
RHS Botanical Art Show at Lindley Library – SBA Stand – Demonstration of watercolour techniques

2016

Paintings selected and exhibited at SBA - 'Shape, Pattern, Structure' - Certificate of Botanical Merit - Echeveria cante

Elected Full Member of SBA

3rd - 4th September
Orchid Study Group, Demonstration and Exhibition of Orchid Painting, The Orchid Festival, National Botanic Garden of Wales

7th May
Orchid Day Dyffryn Gardens - Demonstration and Exhibition of Orchid Painting with the Orchid Study Group

2015

SBA 'In Pursuit Of Plants' - Joyce Cuming Presentation award - Highly Commended - Bearded Irises

Elected Associate Member of SBA

5th - 6th September
Orchid Study Group, Demonstration and Exhibition of Orchid Painting, at the The Orchid Festival, National Botanic Garden of Wales

2014

Graduated from SBA Distance Learning Diploma Course with Distinction

6th - 7th September
Exhibition of Paintings with Orchid Study Group, Orchid Festival, National Botanic Garden of Wales