Gillian Cullen (b. 1983), Healing, 2018. © Gillian Cullen. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.
Gillian Cullen (b. 1983), Healing, 2018. © Gillian Cullen. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.

Gillian Cullen

Healing, 2018

Pencil on paper (Bristol board), 78 x 60cm

"The common thread that unites my work as a full-time illustrator and fine artist is my desire to capture the essence of the subject matter; to enhance some intangible, ephemeral quality that may not be always be noticed. For me, detail is everything. I hone in on particular elements, whether it be a subject’s hair or the petal of a flower, and map out their intricacies. I invite the viewer to look deeply at the little details that exist all around us, and to take a moment to appreciate their beauty.

These areas of detail and subtle textures are incorporated into my portrait Healing. It portrays my husband Macdara, who, ten years ago, fell 100 feet down a cliff in a climbing accident. He suffered numerous injuries and fractures, including a broken back. I drew this portrait in honour of him; in celebration of his incredible strength and personal journey. I wanted to depict how beautiful, strong and incredible the human body is – every freckle, bone and scar. This drawing tells a story of healing and strength, both physical and emotional, yet also evokes a feeling of gentleness and vulnerability."


Gillian Cullen, a fine artist from Meath, specialises in detailed pencil drawings. She draws inspiration from all elements of nature. This love of nature is a recurring theme in her work. A graduate of Environmental Science at Trinity College, Dublin, she has a deep respect for the natural environment. Gillian has taken part in numerous exhibitions, including the annual exhibitions in the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Ulster Academy. In 2016 she was awarded the Prize for Drawing and the Rowel Friers prize, by the RUA. Her work features in many private and public collections.


Go back to the shortlisted works