Len Tabner was born in 1946, at South Bank on the River Tees. His father had been a merchant seaman and Tabner remained fascinated by the wildness and grim industrial northeast landscape and coastline. He studied art at Bath and Reading before returning home to the North of England. ”
Im interested in the wildness, ruggedness and grandeur of the landscape, the weather and the physical forms of the land.”
Much of his work is concerned with the forces of nature and he immerses himself in the subject to create the paintings which have won him numerous awards. He prefers to experience the extremes of both the natural and man made environment and has painted deep underground in potash mines, in intensity of an ironworks and during storms while standing on the deck of a boat, or on the beach with the waves crashing over him.
“I cant conceive of any other way of painting. If I want to paint the weather I want it in front of me, I want to feel it.”
He has exhibited his work at shows around the country for more than 30 years.
Several years ago he joined the joined the Royal Navy not as a seaman; but as an artist, travelling with them to the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Atlantic. Sometimes, while waves and winds lashed the ship, he remained on deck to battle the elements with his brush, frantically trying to contain something of the ocean’s terrifying immensity on paper. “I was carried along almost like a cork,” he says, “in a small grey ship lost in the vastness and timelessness of the ocean. That small grey ship was HMS Exeter, a guided missile destroyer. “I was awed by the power and might of nature. What we do in comparison is so feeble and weak.”