Mary Mulholland paints in oils.

She paints mostly glorious blooms from lilies to roses, accentuating them with a depth and luminous quality that glow with a quiet grace.

Her work is held in public galleries and collections including the Otago Museum and the University of Otago's Hocken Library, as well as many private and international collections.

Mary is a quietly spoken woman with lively hazel eyes, who says her passion for botanical painting is probably a bit of a "prissy thing" to do.


"I love to paint bigger flowers and I think the petals really have something to say. They are so beautiful."

For the past two years, Mary has lived in an old cottage in Waverley and paints from home.

A spare bedroom is her dedicated studio. A gauzy curtain covers the wooden sash window, creating a diffused look.

"The light is important for every artist, along with somewhere quiet to work."

Her cottage, on the corner of a back street in Waverley, is hushed except for the sound of birds outside.

Three of her large rose paintings are hanging in the Waverley library, attracting a lot of interest from locals.

"I am amazed when people stop me to talk about them."

She is under way with an exhibition titled Perfume for the Bryce Gallery in Riccarton in Christchurch, and only has a few days to get the work completed and sent south.

Mary admits the South Island is really her home. She graduated with a diploma of fine arts from the Dunedin School of Art in 1973. "I love the south and always will," she said.

After marrying and having a family of three children, Mary didn't start painting again until 2003. Ever since, she has had a number of acclaimed exhibitions. She is living in Waverley for family reasons.

Her paintings of flowers have been described as "elegant and profound".

In April she held an exhibition of her work at the Whanganui Community Arts Centre in a show entitled Twelve Paintings.

Though Mary's flowers are bold and beautiful they're not from her garden. "It's funny but that's one thing I'm not interested in is gardening. I get my flowers to paint from other people's gardens, supermarkets and florists."