My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated

My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated - student project

Here is my second go. 

My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated - image 1 - student project

At first, I tried to make a more complex work with many succulents but felt really overwhelmed when it got to texturing. Here are the plant doodles I created for it. I used the symmetry tool to work on succulents seen from above.

My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated - image 2 - student project

I also prepared a palette for this work:

My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated - image 3 - student project

Then I decided to switch to something that's easier for me. I found a photo taken in Greece with a really bushy cactus. I used the top of it as a reference and that what I got as a result.

Here is the rough sketch:

My Lonely Cactus Garden: feedback appreciated - image 4 - student project

I'm not quite satisfied with the final artwork. I think it's overloaded with textures and effects. Yet my experiments weren't taking me anywhere, so I decided to leave it like this. I still somewhat like it, especially the skies and the mountains. I'm totally going to use this effect more.

Thanks for the class!