Gilyan Noble



Click on a thumbnail image above to enlarge.

Fallen fledgeling, oil on canvas paper 22 x 18

Small nest, oil on canvas, 76 x 61

Nest with skull, oil on canvas 122 x 76

Deer's head, oil on canvas, 91 x 60

Cormorant 1, oil on canvas, 61 x 91

Nest building heron in flight, oil on canvas, 101 x 76


For many years my work has primarily focused on wildlife. Initially I worked in mixed media. My images were figurative and were largely concerned with illustrating details of a wide range of species from flies to mammals. However I decided I wanted to capture more than simply the physiology of these creatures and their habitats.

Intense study of some of these forms using printing, drawing, photography and sculpture, revealed previously unnoticed features. For example the astonishing formation and construction of a wasp nest: the absent presence of the architects that built and occupied this structure. The sadness of a fallen fledgling that will never fly, or perhaps the tiny translucent feet of a field mouse; all these images have caused me to reflect on the sometimes hidden world of creatures with whom we co exist.
I aim to share with the viewer some of the feelings of sadness and wonder that these forms evoke. Perhaps by learning about other life forms we will think more about the impact we have on the wildlife that surrounds us.

I am currently using a monochrome oil painting technique whereby I apply pigment to a primed surface and then remove varying degrees of pigment to achieve light and detail. This painterly way of explaining characteristics of the structure of a nest for example, or the pattern of a feather, allows for a freedom of expression that extends beyond merely recording. Using this method of pigment removal rather than applying a brush stroke, I can achieve traces of marks that allude to the fragile nature of living things. This technique also enables me to convey a sense of depth in a nest hollow or the centre of an ear.

It is important to me as an artist that my images represent not just the miracle of Nature, but also the struggle and adaptation required by its wildlife in our expanding and industrialised world.
I admire the work of Trung Nghia a contemporary Vietnamese Artist who uses explosives on paper to convey the destruction of hunting to extinction, and the emergence of some of these creatures through wildlife protection.

I am currently studying for my degree and continue to explore the ways in which human beings perceive and understand wildlife.


Born, raised and educated in south east England, Gilyan moved to the Highlands in 2007 following a lengthy career in Criminal Justice. Gilyan seized the chance to pursue her lifetime's interest in visual art by embarking on an honours degree in Fine Arts and is currently engaged in her final year.