A SOMERSET woman with no formal art training is in the running for the ‘Oscars of Wildlife Art’ thanks to her breath-taking drawing of a tiger.

Margaret Percival lives in Ilton, and this is the second time she has been shortlisted for the internationally acclaimed David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award.

Margaret was born in Highbridge, went to Bridgwater Technical College, and live in London for a few years before returning to life in Somerset.

She said: “All the time I was at school I loved art. When I left school I went into secretarial college and then I got a job in London as a PA.

“I was made redundant and I started messing around with pastels and pencils again.

“My big love has always been animals. I love going to zoos and taking my own reference photos.

“I have always loved big cats - tigers and snow leopards.”

In 2014, her piece titled Sumatran Tiger became her first work to up for the artist of the year main prize.

Six years on and it is another tiger portrait, Beauty of the Beast, which sees her nominated for the awards’ top gong.

Chard & Ilminster News:

Margaret added: “When I was made redundant, I didn’t for a minute think ‘I could be an artist now’.

“I started messing around and a friend came over and saw what I was doing and said ‘oh my god, that is something you should take a bit seriously’.

“I am totally self-taught. I love working on the detail. I spend a month on each piece, sometimes a few weeks.

“The best compliments I have had are when people say it is like they could reach into the picture and touch it,because that is taking it from the 2D to 3D.”

A longlist of top wildlife artwork is always featured in the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London - something which Margaret has achieved four times.

However, the May display will now take place online as a result of the national lockdown.

After being shortlisted for the main prize, Margaret said: “I was chuffed to bits. This is recognition at the very highest level.

“The Oscars of International Wildlife Art. A global competition with entries from around the world.”

Margaret is set to discover if she has won the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award on May 26.

To find out more, and view more of her artwork, go to margaretpercivalartist.com.