Helen Tabor British, b. 1960


Helen Tabor was born in Middlesex in 1960. After a career in teaching, including several years in The Himalayas, she settled in Scotland and became a freelance artist in 1997, combining bringing up a family with developing her painting career.

Helen has exhibited regularly with Thompson’s Galleries in both London and Aldeburgh for 20 years.


From childhood, Helen has had a passion for drawing and painting.  After studying English and History at university, she travelled in India, taking a sketchbook and paints with her. She had her first exhibition in York based on her experiences.

Following three years of teaching in the UK, she became a VSO teacher in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, filling her baggage allowance with oil paints and rolls of canvas. She employed the local carpenter to make stretchers for her canvases and based her paintings on village people, landscapes and religious artefacts.


Returning to the UK, starting a family and moving to Scotland brought a wealth of new inspiration in terms of landscape, seascape and a rich domestic life illustrated by many of the narrative themes in Helen’s figure paintings. As her children have grown up, the opportunity to travel again has provided new and exciting material, particularly evident in her paintings of Italy.


Personal Statement

‘I’ve always had an instinctive urge to express both the world around me and in my imagination through colour and texture. Over the years, I’ve been inspired by different cultures and landscapes as well as artists and makers who have influenced and are influencing the history of art. I feel privileged to have been able to draw on these rich resources to shape my own creative vision.’


Painting style

Helen’s painting style is both expressive and delicate, combining often vigorous brush strokes with fine detail. This creates an alluring contrast which intrigues and excites the eye.


She uses collage and under- layers of colour to build depth and texture, combining the use of large and small brushes, printing rollers and palette knives to keep the surface fresh. While Helen’s landscapes and seascapes are an emotional response to the world around her, the figure paintings are more contemplative and arise from imagined narratives or experience of family life.


‘In both my figure paintings and my paintings of land or sea, I aim to capture an atmosphere whether of drama or calm, while at the same time playing with paint and colour to free up ideas as the work progresses. There is an excitement and anticipation at the beginning of every painting, followed by a period of anxiety until at some point along the journey the painting begins to speak for itself and all the artist has to do is to follow its lead. That point is always a magical moment and never ceases to thrill. It perhaps can be compared to getting through the pain barrier in sport and the consequent surge of adrenalin and simultaneous sense of peace is what takes me be back to my studio every day.’




Solo exhibition, Thompson’s Gallery, Aldeburgh

London Art Fair (with Thompson's Gallery)

Scottish show, Stafford Gallery



Solo exhibition, The Smithy Gallery, Blanefield, Glasgow

London Art Fair (with Thompson’s Gallery)

Group exhibition, Red Rag Gallery, Bath



Solo exhibition, The Smithy Gallery, Blanefield, Glasgow

London Art Fair (with Thompson’s Gallery)



Solo exhibition, Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh

2019 Art London with Thompson’s Gallery



Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth.

Three-woman show, Smithy Gallery, Glasgow


Solo exhibition, Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh



Solo exhibition, Albion Gallery, Chipping Norton

Three-person show, Gullane Gallery

Selected for The Gordon Smith Memorial Exhibition, Dovecote Gallery, Edinburgh



Two-person show, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth


Gullane Gallery Award, Royal Society Scottish Watercolourists, Royal Scottish Academy

Society of Scottish Artists exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy

Royal Society of Scottish Watercolourists exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy



Visual Arts Scotland, Royal Scottish Academy


Lily McDougal Award, Visual Arts Scotland, Royal Scottish Academy

Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth

Solo exhibition, Art Amatoria, Edinburgh

Visual Arts Scotland, Royal Scottish Academy show

Two-woman show, Marinehouse at Beer



Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth

Annual open exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy



Solo exhibition, Rowley Contemporary Art, Winchester



Three-person show, Thompson's Gallery, London


Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth

Three-person show, Thompson's Gallery, London



Three-woman show, Thompson's Gallery, Aldeburgh



The Scottish Show, Thompson's Gallery, London



Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth

‘Ports of Call’ Dronninglind Kunstcentre, Denmark (sponsored by The Danish Arts Council)

Art London, Chelsea with the Mainhill Gallery



Solo exhibition, The Mainhill Gallery, Edinburgh Festival show

Visual Arts Scotland, Royal Scottish Academy



Solo exhibition, Castlegatehouse Gallery, Cockermouth

Glasgow, Bristol and Battersea Affordable Art Fairs



Glasgow Art Fair with the Mainhill Gallery


Art Edinburgh, Mainhill Gallery, Edinburgh Festival exhibition


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