Artist Spotlight: Giles Ward Gives Us An Up-Close Look At The Natural World

Giles Ward - All the Fish

Here at the Rose Gallery, we were recently visited by the incredibly talented Giles Ward, an exceptional natural artist. Of the many reasons we loved his work, we were particularly excited by Giles’ striking use of colour and texture and were thrilled with this opportunity to learn more about how he achieved both. 

A Passion for the Nature World 

As a child, Giles told us of his memories of exploring rock pools during summer holidays. Investigating these shallows he was enthralled by the tiny creatures he found and enjoyed sketching them, trying to capture these exciting habitats on paper. In fact, he tells the story in his book ‘See Life’ (available in the gallery):

“We’ve all done it; paused on a beach walk and crouched beside a rockpool. The surface is still, a drift of seaweed occasionally sighs on the pool’s surface and we think there’s nothing to see. Linger a little longer and, slowly but surely, a whole world of activity starts to announce itself. A sea anemone stretches its tentacles, a tiny blenny darts between crevices, a shore crab peeps out to see if the coast is clear. The longer we look, the more we see.

This is where my love affair with life in the sea began: in the bottom of a yellow plastic bucket of rockpool finds. And that’s when I started seeing the shifting shimmer of colour, the tell-tale texture of shell and scale, the perfect patterns of nature’s op-art design.”

An Artist’s Journey

Giles tells us it was no surprise he became an artist. From this early passion for discovery and doodling, he studied Fine Art in Sheffield and Illustration and Design in Exeter. While he still finds much of his inspiration along the coastline, we discovered Giles is also often struck by the colours and beauty of his subjects in more surprising locations such as fishmongers or restaurants.

Giles Ward Crab II Original Artwork - detail

Giles' artistry extends far beyond the typical paintbrush, with his unique approach holding experimentation at its heart. While working mainly with oil on canvas, he creates unusual textures by adding acrylics, inks, and spray paint. Building layer upon layer with each piece, he incorporates other natural textures from the environment, including sand and crab shell. 

He describes the finished works not just as textured paintings but as almost sculptural works. 

This sculptural quality adds depth to the works in more than one sense; each abstract sea life captures the essence of the sea creature - art that truly evokes something of the creature, not just its image. The bold colours he uses as splashes and backgrounds on each artwork are drawn from the colours of the subjects themselves—colours you wouldn’t associate with these marine animals but which are discovered the closer you look.

Bringing the Ocean Home

Giles Ward Crab 2

Giles captures sea life on his canvases in stunning detail, and the colour and detail of these textured paintings will draw you in; even on prints, his subjects seem to be coming off the board. 

If you are looking to bring some coastal vibes into your space, this sea creature art will do exactly that. Maybe the plain background of your favourite piece works with your colour scheme, or your chosen piece has the added depth of a textured background—pages from a map or newspaper. Giles told us how much he loves creating commissions, so if you see something you love but would like to bring your story to the piece, we can help you with that. Imagine the joy of having a piece of Giles’ art gracing your walls. 

Whether you consider yourself an art collector or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, Giles Ward's artwork offers a truly captivating experience.  We’d love you to explore his work at our gallery and discover the magic he’s distilled from the ocean.

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