Whimsical island artwork on display

This month’s art exhibition at Full of Beans showcases the work of Bunny Holmes, a Chicago native who first began visiting Cayman with her family 40 years ago. 

Holmes, who now splits her time between Chicago and Cayman, paints island scenes, wildlife and flora, and has been told her subjects are frequently imaginary and whimsical in style.  

“I enjoy painting tropical plants, palms, still life, animals and scenes of the islands,” she said. “My colors are often pushed to the extreme, whereby green palm trees are laced with purple and pink and the sea might have hues of magenta.” 

Now inspired by French impressionist artists, as well as Andrew Wyeth, N.C. Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth, and many of “the old masters,” Holmes began painting as a child, beginning with watercolors and drawings. “Saturday TV in Illinois, where I grew up, had shows which taught painting,” said Holmes. “I would watch those shows and ask for the artist supplies for birthdays and Christmas. I would practice everything the art teacher would advise… for me it was my favorite type of play.”  

As she entered adulthood, she continued to learn and undertook life drawing classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as various watercolor and oil pastel workshops.  

“I believe than an artist never stops learning and developing,” said Holmes. 

Through coming to Cayman for so long, and then living here, her subject matter has widened. Holmes loves to sit outside and paint quaint buildings, trees and flowers. “One of my favorite paintings is that of the restaurant Heritage Kitchen, located in West Bay on Boggy Sand Road,” said Holmes. “It is a beautiful building, and as an added benefit, serves delicious food.” 

For her watercolor pieces, Holmes draws directly onto heavy watercolor paper with a Bic pen, therefore avoiding the risk of smudges and murky paints caused by using pencil. She is also currently enjoying delving into oil pastel work, despite the difficulties of using it outdoors in warm climates. “Oil pastel is completely different, it can be used over a watercolor underpainting, and is thick, textural and almost glides onto the paper or board.”  

Holmes’s artwork takes varying time to complete. Sometimes a piece may come together in a few hours, but more often a number of days or weeks are needed as she makes “additions and revisions as (her) mood allows.” 

Holmes has accumulated many awards for her work in the U.S., and she often shares her talents with others, in lessons and workshops. “I love teaching beginners, proving to them that they can create and have fun in the process. I have even done workshops called ‘Mom and Me’ for parents and children to attend together.” 

Bunny Holmes’ exhibit at Full of Beans runs through the end of February and on March 7 her work will be featured at Grand Cayman Beach Suites. 


‘Birds of Paradise’ oil pastel.


‘Terracotta with Blooms’


Cactus garden


Island flora such as palm trees are the focus of some of Bunny Holmes’ work.