"My greatest inspiration for art comes from the natural world and informs my work on a daily basis. As a child I would collect and study shells, feathers, skulls and other objects and continue to do so even now.
I received no formal artistic training but have attended various specialist workshops. I was a self taught taxidermist for 15 years. As well as animals and wildlife I am very influenced by the beautiful illuminated manuscripts and books of hours from the medieval era, I use these as a source of inspiration but equally strive to create my own unique take on these works combining the traditional medieval decoration around the borders of my paintings with a more modern realistic centrepiece featuring a particular animal or bird.
I favour gouache in my medieval style paintings, I also use 24ct gold leaf for most of the highlights, as well as shell gold for the finer details, I predominantly paint on heavy watercolour paper and sometimes on vellum or parchment.
I enjoy researching and learning how to use different media. I paint botanical and entomological subjects as well as sculpting animals in wax or clay, making moulds and casting them in bronze resin. I am a glass engraver, porcelain painter, I also paint and fire traditional delftware and tiles.
From my small studio in Petworth, my interest in the natural world continues to develop and with it so does my understanding of working with watercolour, gouache, oils and acrylics." - Tabitha McBain