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In this From Scratch series, professional fine artist Paul Taggart enthusiastically guides those new to painting or painters switching from another medium.

Watercolours from Scratch
Watercolours from Scratch

Oils from Scratch
Oils from Scratch

Acrylics from Scratch
Acrylics from Scratch
Pastels from Scratch
Pastels from Scratch


Over the years I have kept in regular touch with thousands of people interested in my work as an artist and author, through correspondence, mailings and newsletters. Now, with extensive world-wide interest, thanks to the internet and overseas distribution of my books, I can also keep you informed on a more regular basis.

I have created this newsletter to keep you updated with the latest on: -

  • Special Events
  • Recent Activities & Projects
  • Fund-Raising
  • Painting Breaks, Holidays & Workshops
  • Site Updates
  • Latest Releases (original paintings, prints, books etc.)
  • Paintings in progress on Paul’s easel
'Winter Solstice' Fund-Raising Limited Edition Print for Highland Hospice
September 13, 2009

Fund-Raising Project for Highland Hospice kicks off with "Winter Solstice" Limited Edition Print by Artist & Author Paul Taggart

“Winter Solstice”
an uplifting view that warms the heart as the sun sets on this exceptional winter’s day

Although I had been unable to commit as much time to my easel in 2008, this was one of the two paintings I was absolutely determined to complete - come what may. In July 2007 we welcomed to our home for lunch three dedicated folk, David Welch, Director of Fundraising and Communications for Highland Hospice, along with Sandy and Barbara Morrison (John Grant & Sons, Dornoch), to go through our proposal in support of Sandy Morrison’s commitment to Highland Hospice.

At that point we knew the choice of subject would have to be very carefully considered and would probably take some time to manifest itself. After which it would take some while to produce the oil painting. Patience was therefore going to be required until such time as things could be moved forward. We did however have the end of 2008 in mind as the ultimate goal for the completion of the painting and to our delight it has turned out that way. All thanks to a last minute trip to Inverness for various bits’n’bobs, before we set off for our 2007 Christmas trip south of the border to visit various friends and family.

We have two favourite routes back to our home, one goes through what we call the magic woods, a route saved for twilight and deep night time, so that our car headlights can pick out the lichen draped trees. The other goes through a tiny hamlet and past a glorious Highland loch, where thousands of whooper swans and geese settle after their migration from the far North.

It was three-thirty in the afternoon as we drove along the single track road, past various cottages and the paddock in which miniature horses graze, over the steep humpy back bridge with the sharp bend left and on a bit. That is when we spotted the full moon in the cloudless sky over the other side of the loch and stopped the car.

The day was golden with the slowly setting sun. Streaming in from the right of the view it clothed the bales of hay in the field immediately in front of us and picked out the delicate tracery of the frosted stalks and weeds, which so resembled lace-work. The frozen mirrored surface of the loch had been slowly melting all day, but trees in the shadows were still stiffly white. Two horses grazed contentedly in one of the fields on the opposite shore – and yes – they can be seen in the finished painting!

This was it, the perfect image for Highland Hospice that is now “Winter Solstice”.

I cannot tell you how fulfilling it has been to turn this gift of a scene into a painting that gives me the greatest delight. Although the composition was fairly challenging, the end result has been worth the effort.

It gives me the greatest pleasure to dedicate this Limited Edition Print to Sandy Morrison for this exceptional cause. As each framed copy is sold, in the ‘Winter Solstice’ edition of one hundred prints, £80 will be passed over to Highland Hospice.

Full details of the original painting and print can be seen in my Limited Edition Prints and Work in Progress Galleries

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Paul Taggart paints Winning Views Around Dornoch
July 7, 2009

On Thursday July 23rd, Artist & Author Paul Taggart, will be out and about in Dornoch, Northern Highlands of Scotland, producing a winning watercolour painting, all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Paul will be hard at work at his easel from 9 o’clock in the morning, until 4.30 in the afternoon, moving from place to place, as he captures at least five different views in one large montage.

The first image to be painted will be Dornoch Cathedral. After an hour Paul will pack up his paints, sling his easel on to his back and move on to the next view, the choice of which will be weather dependent. Details of where he is throughout the day will be posted on the notice-board in John Grant & Sons and in the bar of the Dornoch Castle Hotel, as Paul moves around.

“As you can imagine, I was delighted when Barbara Morrison, Chairman of the Dornoch branch of Macmillan Cancer Support and her fellow committee members added this event to their schedule of fund-raisers for 2009”, says Paul.

“Even more so when they wondered if my day’s painting could be rounded off with an Afternoon Tea at the Dornoch Castle Hotel, where my two fund-raising prints are on permanent display. So it was pleasing for all concerned that Colin and Ros Thompson readily agreed to join in with our fund-raising efforts on the day.”

Paul aims to end up in the gardens of the Dornoch Castle Hotel to start work on the final image at 3.30, where Afternoon Tea is available for anyone who would like to watch him as he paints, or for that matter, have a natter while he wields his brushes.

4.30 is the deadline for finishing the painting, popping it into a frame and taking it over to John Grant & Sons where the raffle draw is to take place at 5pm and the winner gets to take the painting home.

Raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the day wherever Paul has pitched his easel, accompanied by one of the Macmillan Cancer Support Dornoch branch committee members; as well as in John Grant & Sons and the Dornoch Castle Hotel.

“People are always fascinated by watching an artist at his easel and as always, it will give me the greatest pleasure to share my passion for painting and I will be delighted to answer occasional questions.

When completed, the painting will be mounted and framed and could be won by anyone wishing to purchase raffle tickets – the entire proceeds from which will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Barbara & Sandy Morrison have very kindly supported my two fund-raising prints of Dornoch, ‘Lone Piper’ and ‘Christmas Bells, which have already realised over £6,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Additionally, members of the Dornoch branch committee, chaired by Barbara Morrison, have always worked their socks off selling sackfuls of raffle tickets resulting in large amounts of monies raised.

Once again, everyone is very generously backing this event for a cause that is so well supported by the community at large.“

‘Lone Piper’ and ‘Christmas Bells’ have proved very popular as commemorative gifts, for special occasions such as significant birthdays and wedding anniversaries, with well over £6,000 raised so far through sales of the prints alone, in support of the Dornoch branch of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Although framed copies of each of the two prints will be available on the day, full details of the ‘Lone Piper’ and ‘Christmas Bells’ fund-raising prints can always be found at John Grant & Sons and the Dornoch Castle Hotel, where they are currently on display.

Limited to only one hundred copies, each print is numbered and signed by Paul Taggart and comes mounted and framed at a cost of £265, with £80 from each print sale going to Macmillan Cancer Support. Every print is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and can be ordered through this website.

Picture Above

Final preparations for Afternoon Tea at the Dornoch Castle Hotel on July 23rd with [from left] Ros Thompson (Dornoch Castle Hotel), Barbara Morrison (Chairman of Dornoch branch of Macmillan Cancer Support), Artist & Author Paul Taggart, Colin Thompson (Dornoch Castle Hotel) with Paul Taggart’s fund-raising limited edition print “Christmas Bells”.

For ‘Lone Piper’ and ‘Christmas Bells’ Limited Edition Prints click here.

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Live Painting at Traditional Music Sessions
July 7, 2009

Renowned Scottish fiddler Bruce Macgregor's Bogbain Farm Traditional Music Open Sessions draw Artist & Author Paul Taggart for on-the-spot paintings.

Master fiddler, Bruce MacGregor, is the founder and driving force behind the multi award winning Blazin’ Fiddles. Along with his musician/composer wife Liza Mulholland they are the directors of Bogbain Farm, a buzzing visitor centre south of Inverness, Highlands of Scotland.

Taught by the late master, Donald Riddell, this renowned Highland fiddler not only tours as a musician, but his composing skills have seen his work commissioned for TV, radio and stage and his deep love for traditional music has also been harnessed for presenting TV and radio programmes.

Bogbain Farm is run by Bruce and Liza, who have progressively developed the Bogbain Highland Market (restaurant, farm and gift shops), started in late 2006 and in 2007 won “Best New Business” at the Highland Food and Drink Awards . In December 2007 the overall facility won “Best New Business” at the Highland Tourism Awards.

Music is very much an integral part of Bogbain, which hums to the sound of concerts, open sessions and ceilidhs on a frequent basis

A growing collection of Paul Taggart watercolour studies capturing the regular Open Sessions and Concerts at Bogbain, is progressively building up and on display in the Bogbain Bistro - where they hang alongside various other musical memorabilia, attesting to the traditional music vein that runs throughout Bogbain.

Open Sessions always take place on a Sunday in the Bogbain Bistro, with musicians and singers striking up from 3pm onwards. Lunches are served from 1pm and everyone is welcome to come along to enjoy an afternoon of traditional music making from Bruce Macgregor (on fiddle) and fellow musicians, such as those featured in ‘ Paul Taggart’s painting Their Musical Heritage Shared’.

“Over the last few sessions I have been setting up my easel to paint the musicians as they play and sing. Once finished, these are framed and hung alongside various concert posters and musical instruments that adorn the walls of the bistro at Bogbain” ……… explains Paul.

“Setting up my easel before a Bogbain session is always a thrill. I am particularly aware that the time available to capture the atmosphere is going to be limited. As the musicians arrive - I never know how many – I try to position myself for the best angle.; progressively getting closer and closer so that during the last session I was right in amongst the action.

The music starts and my brush gets going. There is no doubt that the music directly affects my painting. I feel my body pick up the beat and the rhythms, which run out along my finger and into the paint. I feel that my being there also affects the performance. Musicians are used to their work being captured on CD, tape and photograph, but not many have been painted while playing.

Time disappears and we are carried along on a creative high. I know that people are watching my painting develop as well as listening to the music but I am encapsulated in a world of sound. When the music stops and the image is finished I feel as drained and satisfied as the musicians themselves.

I always ask the players to sign their respective images and I am always pleased and surprised that they are willing to do so.

For me, the finished sketch is a moment in time in which we have all shared and a record of our collective enjoyment.”

OPEN SESSIONS DATES [July : August] – Sunday July 12 & 26 : August 9 & 30

FOR EVENING CONCERT DATES – check details on


Click here for details of Open Sessions and Concerts dates

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Latest Paintings - Heritage Collection
July 7, 2009

Miniature oil painting of Arbroath Smokies is latest addition to Artist & Author Paul Taggart's Heritage Collection.

“Iain’s Auchmithie Legacy”


Smoked fish is of course synonymous with Scotland and apart from the ubiquitous smoked salmon, another form of smoked haddock is attracting attention from far and wide – one that has been protected for future generations through the passionate intervention of the Spink family, who pursued Protected Geographical Indication status for the process.

We first heard of Iain Spink, the multi-award-winning producer of ‘Arbroath Smokies’ on the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, when he won the coveted BBC Radio Food Producer of the Year in 2006. Having watched Iain smoking his fish at the Highland Field Sports Fair in 2007, I had included his image as part of the commemorative oil painting and Limited Edition Print of the proceedings at Moy, although I didn’t get a chance to actually speak to him on that occasion.

Last year however, we finally got the opportunity to introduce ourselves and discuss the possibility of doing a dedicated painting as part of my intended Heritage Collection. A little while later Iain popped in to see us with a suggestion. How would I feel if he were to set up the whole process for me in the fishing cove of Auchmithie, where the Arbroath Smokie originated?

Which is how, on a late November day, we found ourselves driving hundreds of miles down the east coast of Scotland to the remote fishing village of Auchmithie, immediately north of Arbroath.

The designated morning did not auger well, with lashing rain and a bitterly cold wind, but there was no turning back, especially as Iain had given up his precious time for me. As we approached Arbroath the weather slowly began to change and to our joy on reaching Auchmithie the rain had ceased, with the sun dramatically breaking through the clouds. The cove is relatively small, protected by high rising sandstone cliffs; typical of this stretch of the east coast of Scotland. I knew the sun would soon be skimming the water as it worked its way behind the cliffs, to disappear from view. Time was not on our side and this was no mean process for Iain to set up. Happily there were a few boats resting on the pebbled beach and Iain’s father had very kindly let Iain bring along some of his collection of antique baskets, nets and knives with which the fishwives originally prepared the smokies. So, while Iain made his initial preparations I set up a couple of still-life possibilities for another miniature to add at a later date and another story to tell.

Iain’s passion for his family’s heritage in the fishing industry is infectious, which goes a long way to explaining his commitment to keeping this unique tradition and process of Arbroath Smokies alive. We very much looked forward to capturing the whole process from beginning to end and were fascinated as Iain went about his work, just as the fishwives did in the 1800’s.

I had been really looking forward to this painting and already had a strong impression of the image in my mind’s eye before we even visited the cove at Auchmithie. However, on arriving I soon realised that the successful outcome of the composition would demand a combination of landscape, portrait and still-life painting. After taking careful note of the salting, preparation and smoking of the fish, it became obvious that to encompass the entire process within a miniature, would require careful planning out and positioning of the various elements.

To this end the various effects of light and atmospheric perspective were brought into play. Glazes and tints became essential tools in creating the effects that would render them natural elements within the scene. Note how the smoke is used to separate the fish awaiting the smoking process, from the two beached boats behind them. The finished painting is one of the most complex I have had to achieve in the Heritage Collection thus far.

See the original in my Work In Progress Gallery

Also available as a Limited Edition Print

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Paul Taggart Painting Live at Highland Field Sports Fair
July 7, 2009

Artist & Author Paul Taggart will capture Art & Soul of the Fair at Moy on August 7 & 8.

Highland Field Sports Fair
Moy Hall, Moy Estate, nr Tomatin, Inverness, Scotland
Friday Aug 7 & Saturday Aug 8 10am to 6pm

Winning Paintings Celebrate Fair

Nestling in the grounds of Moy Hall, with the sparkling waters of Loch Moy as a backdrop, the annual Highland Field Sports Fair enjoys a stunning location, which proved irresistible as a narrative painting to celebrate the Highland way of life.

I refer to this composition as a kaleidoscope of memories. The painting features twelve, instantly recognisable, miniature studies. The viewer is encouraged to enter the scene at any point and is then taken for a stroll around various events and highlights, selected to capture the soul of the Fair.

Visitors to this year’s fair, will be able to see me at work out and about and, once again, in the Clan Chattan/Mackintosh marquee; by kind invitation of Mrs Mackintosh of Mackintosh (Moy Estate) and the Clan Chattan committee. 2009 is the 400th Anniversary of the signing of the great Clan Chattan Bond of Union in 1609, which brought together the Clan Confederacy, the only ‘super clan’. Clan members from around the globe will be attending this year’s Ceremonial Signing of the new Bond of Union, which will be witnessed, as in 1609, by the present Provost of Inverness.

As in 2008, my presence at the Highland Field Sports Fair will also be in support of Celia Mackintosh’s work with Pets As Therapy, as well as the Highland Field Sports Fair Committee Surplus Funds (which they distribute annually to charities and deserving causes). Pets As Therapy have a formal part to play in the Fair, by way of organising the Companion Dog Show on the Saturday.

In 2008 six lucky visitors each won an original watercolour that I had created on-the-spot over the two days - in aid of Pets As Therapy.

So please watch out for me painting at different points throughout the Fair - do not miss this ‘unique’ opportunity to bag yourself a winning watercolour and help this deserving cause.

Another featured crowd-puller from the Fair and new to Paul Taggart’s Moy Fair series of paintings is a dedicated painting of Iain Spink and his award-winning Original Smokies from Arbroath.

This miniature oil painting and limited edition print has been recently added to Paul’s significant ‘Heritage Collection’ and has its first public viewing here at Iain Spink’s smokie.

Details of the original paintings can be seen in my Work In Progress Gallery.

Framed copies of the commemorative “Highland Field Sports Fair” print, Pets As Therapy fund-raising print “Jan’s Happy Brood” and “Iain’s Auchmithie Legacy” are available through my Limited Edition Prints Gallery.

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Northern Roots Festival captured live in Paul Taggart paintings
April 28, 2009

A highly successful and exhilarating inaugural Northern Roots Festival has been commemorated in three unique paintings produced live over the three days by Artist & Author Paul Taggart. Over fifty artistes including Bruce Macgregor, Brian O’hEadra, Andy Gunn, the Groanbox Boys, found their performances being immortalised in a series of watercolour montages painted by Paul Taggart as he worked at his easel a few feet away from the stage and the audience. To round off these commemorative paintings, thus making them totally unique, each featured performer autographed their particular portrait.

“The inaugural Northern Roots Festival, which took place at Bogbain Farm, Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands was one of those special events in life. It fired my imagination and captured the hearts of everyone attending. Without the belief in their heritage, the commitment to sustaining its value in the wider world and the absolute determination to succeed when faced with challenges, leading musicians such as Bruce Macgregor and Brian O’hEadra (co-founders of Northern Roots) would not even contemplate such an undertaking.

I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting Bruce Macgregor’s invitation to participate in this festival in whatever capacity I wished.

When Bruce first approached me about the festival I was in the process of completing the first few paintings in my new ‘Heritage Collection’. As I see it, Bruce and Brian are creating tomorrow’s heritage today, so it seemed the most natural thing to bring the launch of this collection forward, with the unveiling of ‘Their Musical Heritage Shared’ at Northern Roots.

Apart from that however, I felt that to capture the very essence of the live performances of the various artistes and the characteristic of the festival itself would prove exhilarating – not fully comprehending that this would keep me on my feet and working at my easel from doors opening to doors closing on each of the three days.

A commitment that I did not however regret for one moment; as the hours sped past and my adrenalin kicked in to sustain me for something like 12 hours on one of the days.

Bruce is an Ambassador for Highland Hospice and with my own commitment to the Hospice, we felt it appropriate to put my work to good fund-raising use on their behalf.

And so it was that all visitors to each of the three days had the opportunity to win the original painting produced on each day of the festival weekend, through a raffle with all proceeds going to Highland Hospice.”

Photographic Montage opposite (reading from top to bottom)

Paul Taggart painting live at opening evening concert with artistes on stage High Lonesome [Willy MacAskill, Ali Dooner, Marc Clement], Martin Stephenson and friends [Karen, Henry, Wadada], Sandy Brechin, Bruce Macgregor, Brian O’hEadra

June Clark (third from left), winner of Northern Roots Festival 2009 Montage #01 signed by all performers, flanked by Paul Taggart (second from left),Brian O’hEadra (extreme left) and Bruce Macgregor (extreme right).

Paul Taggart painting live at second evening concert with artistes on stage Andy Gunn and the Groanbox Boys.

Cliff Hewitt (centre), winner of Northern Roots Festival 2009 Montage #02 flanked by Paul Taggart and Bruce Macgregor – painting signed by all featured performers from open mic session, afternoon and evening concert – Andy Gunn and fellow band members, Cameron Kellow, Sandra MacBeth, Janet McCandlas, Cross Eyed Gals, Mary Ann Frew, Ranald Smith & Iain MacGillivray, Fiona Mackenzie and band, Groanbox Boys, Sheila Henderson and band, plus Jeannie the canine star of Bogbain.

Paul Taggart painting live at third evening concert with artistes on stage Dean Owens and Goldrush.

Karen Fraser (centre), winner of Northern Roots Festival 2009 Montage #03 flanked by Paul Taggart and Bruce Macgregor – painting signed by all featured performers from open mic session, afternoon family concert and evening concert – Goldrush, John Mitchell, Sofie Jonsson, Rose, Roddy & Aila with Lillian Ross, Brian O’hEadra, Sandy Brechin, Bruce Macgregor, Bob Massie, Dean Owens, Kim Edgar

For more pictures, slideshows and blogs check out www.myspace/paultaggartartist

For more pictures from Northern Roots Festival click here to go to My Space (Bogbain)

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Launch of 'Heritage Collection' at Northern Roots Festival
March 22, 2009

Bruce Macgregor & Brian O’hEadra Co-Directors of new Northern Roots Festival invite Artist & Author Paul Taggart to participate

“Their Musical Heritage Shared”
(featuring Bruce Macgregor,second left on fiddle, founder of Blazin’ Fiddles, in open session at Bogbain Farm) from Paul Taggart’s latest ‘Heritage Collection’ gets first showing at new Northern Roots festival April 3-5 2009, Bogbain Farm, Inverness, Scotland

Miniature Oil Painting on Gesso Panel – Actual Size 7” x 9”

Visitors to the festival will also get the opportunity to win three original paintings which Paul will be producing over the festival weekend in aid of Highland Hospice.

“When Bruce approached me about the festival I was in the process of completing the first few paintings in my new ‘Heritage Collection’. As I see it, Bruce and Brian are creating tomorrow’s heritage today, so it seemed the most natural thing to bring the launch of this collection forward, with the unveiling of ‘Their Musical Heritage Shared’ at Northern Roots.

As with their music and musical expertise, the ‘craft’ of my painting owes everything to a repertoire of processes rooted in an established heritage of traditional methods. Without the specialist knowledge passed down from artists through the centuries, it would not be possible for me to work in the style that I have carefully nurtured and developed over my professional life as an artist. It is a method that requires an unhurried approach, with each oil painting built layer upon layer, to capture the very heart of the subject.

I use a complex range of bold and subtle heritage techniques to create depth, in order to produce a seemingly three-dimensional space filled with light, space, mood and movement.

My goal is to capture the very essence of a moment in time – one that will evoke a memory, or an emotional reaction.

The subjects for this Heritage Collection owe everything to those who seek to keep their traditions and customs alive Those whose working and social lives are rooted in the legacy of their birthright – be it through music & dancing, history & storytelling, farming & crofting, literature & poetry, fishing & shooting – wherever a boundless enthusiasm exists for creating tomorrow’s heritage today.”

A selection from each of my collections will be showing at the festival, comprising of prints and original paintings, dotted about the complex of buildings in which the various concerts, workshops and open sessions are taking place. Limited Edition Prints are available of “Their Musical Heritage Shared” and these will be available as well as the original oil painting.

In keeping with Bruce’s idea of roving musicians throughout the festival, I also will be roving about the festival, producing watercolour sketches of performers in the concerts, workshops and open sessions. There will be one complete montage of these sketches on each day, giving visitors the chance to win something quite unique on each of the three days. I will also aim to get each featured performer to place their autograph alongside their image, making the framed watercolours rather special mementoes of the occasion.

Bruce is an Ambassador for Highland Hospice and with my own commitment to the Hospice, we felt it appropriate to make them the beneficiaries of the raffle ticket sales, for which these paintings will be the prizes.

Co-Directors and Organisors, Bruce Macgregor and fellow musician Brian O’hEadra (also Artistic Director of the Blas Festival) will themselves be performing as a trio with Sandy Brechin in the opening concert on the Friday evening. As will another familiar face, seen alongside Bruce in the painting; seasoned performer Iain Macgillivray, appearing in the Afternoon Concert on the Saturday.

Click here for full details of the Northern Roots Festival, Inverness, Scotland

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