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August and the Fun and Games at Collieston Gala!

August and the Fun and Games at Collieston Gala!
Artist & Author Paul Taggart at Collieston Gala August 1 & 2, produces on-the-spot painting in aid of Collieston & Slains Community Trust.


Not much luck on the weather front for this weekend, which had been spent at Collieston, where, once again I was working out of doors.

Imagine if you will a howling easterly gale, blowing straight at us off the sea. All of the gala activities were decamped from the harbour walls into the marquee erected on the cliff top, at the entrance to this one-time fishing village, a few miles north of Aberdeen.

Having found a relatively sheltered spot down by the harbour in the morning, I started the first of the five views to form the watercolour montage for the fund-raising raffle. Picture this, my easel tethered with rope and stakes, Eileen grimly hanging onto an umbrella held over the painting for it was the painting we needed to protect, whilst Eileen and I simply bore the brunt of the lashing rain. This was the first of the two days and we soldiered on, until it simply got too much to bear sometime mid-afternoon when we beat a hasty retreat into the comfort of the Ritchie dining room, from where I painted a view overlooking the harbour.

We were there to support one of our longest-standing friends, fellow artist and master etcher Paul Ritchie. Paul and his father, Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie, host an annual fund-raising exhibition that benefits restoration of the harbour walls and their continued upkeep. Paul and I were at Art College together and, once again, I was delighted to accept their invitation to take along my paints and easel for this event that takes place on the final weekend of the week-long Collieston Gala.

Thankfully the second day brought with it the sun and I was able to continue by the harbour wall, finishing the five views in time for the late afternoon raffle draw which realised more than 400 in raffle ticket sales. And, as luck would have it, the painting was won by the Kirks, a South African family, who were reluctantly leaving their home in Collieston, for Australia, where their work was taking them. In fact, it was the son, ten-year old Duncan who had pestered his father for tickets and there was much debate as to who could lay claim to it! Judging by the photograph, Duncan is in no doubt that it is he while Paul Ritchie (far left) and his father Steve Ritchie (next to him) were just pleased it had gone to a family who had become well respected in the community, knowing that they would treasure the memories evoked by the painting.